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by Dr. John Thomas
Of what use was their faith to them in this extremity?
They believed in the kingdom, they believed in Jesus, they were penetrated with remorse, but still they were conscious only of guilt, and of judgment well deserved.
It was yet a hidden mystery to them what should be done for pardon of this great transgression.
What was "the righteousness of God" which He required of them?
Should they go to the high priest, and offer a whole burnt offering, and confess their sin?
This would have been impracticable.
Caiaphas would have offered sacrifice for them upon the altar upon no such confession as this; for in confessing themselves sinners for killing Jesus, they would have charged the high priest as a principal in the crime.
To what, or to whom, were they to look for a solution of "the mystery"?
Who could unlock it, and open to them the door of liberty, and loose them from their sins?
Is not the reader prepared to answer, "The Holy Spirit alone could reveal to them of righteousness, because Jesus had gone to the Father"?
This is true; and the time had arrived to do it.
But how, or through what channel, was the Spirit to do this?
Was it to be by words thundered from heaven; by a still, small voice whispering in their ears; by a feeling that they were forgiven; by words of inspiration spoken by the tongues of angels; or by the mouth of man?
After what has been said, the reader will be prepared to say, "The keys of knowledge, or the power to reveal the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, were committed to Peter; therefore, the new doctrine concerning righteousness, or justification to life, was to be revealed through him".
This is also true, but the "devout Jews" were ignorant of this arrangement; therefore, instead of addressing Peter alone, they inquired of all the apostles, saying, "Men and brethren what shall we do?
" Mark, reader, though the question was put to all, only one of them, and that one, Peter, replied to the inquiry.
He was the spokesman of the twelve, by whose mouth God had chosen that Israel should hear the word of the gospel, and believe; or, as Paul writes, "The gospel of the circumcision was committed to Peter, in whom God wrought effectually for the purpose".
The answer given by Peter announced for the first time, what believers of the gospel of the kingdom and in the things concerning Jesus, must do, in order to become joint-heirs with him of the promise made to the fathers.
To these devout Jews, who now believed what both the prophets and apostles had spoken, who were now humbled in disposition as little children, swift to hear, and anxious to do, whatever the spirit should dictate; the holder of the keys to unlock the mystery of the gospel, said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins".
Such an annunciation as this had never been made before.
In this way "repentance and the remission of sins" were "preached in the name of Jesus".
This is God's way of righteousness, and besides this, there is no other way of salvation; "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved".
God's salvation is placed in the name of Jesus; and this name is accessible to mankind only upon the condition of believing "the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus," and being baptized in his name -- "He that believes the gospel and is baptized shall be saved" is the unrevoked fiat of the Son of God.