DID GOD CREATE THE WORLD IN SIX LITERAL DAYS?

Vol. 46, No. 12 December 2009 DID GOD CREATE THE WORLD IN SIX LITERAL DAYS? Mark Lindley, Chapman, MS In an attempt to reconcile the theory of evolu...
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Vol. 46, No. 12

December 2009

DID GOD CREATE THE WORLD IN SIX LITERAL DAYS? Mark Lindley, Chapman, MS In an attempt to reconcile the theory of evolution with the creation account of Genesis, some have taken the position that the days mentioned in the creation account are not literal 24-hour periods; rather, the days represent vast periods of time, perhaps millions of years. According to this view, God created the world, but He did so by the process of evolution. Is this a plausible view? I affirm that it is not. Consider the following: 1. According to the Biblical account of creation, God ―called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day‖ (Gen.1:5). This passage defines the term ―day‖ as the light period in the regular succession of light and darkness, which, as the earth rotates on its axis, has continued since the beginning. A literal day! 2. The Bible says that God created lights to be ―for signs, for seasons, for days, and for years‖ (Gen.1:14). If a day is an ―age,‖ an indefinite period, then what is a year? Notice that both ―days‖ and ―years‖ are mentioned in this text. Clearly, literal days and years are meant. 3. If the days of Genesis were actually long geological periods, then plant life must have survived in long periods of total darkness and extended

periods of light, running into millions of years (Gen.1:11-19). This would not have been possible. 4. God commanded the Jews to work six days and to rest on the Sabbath. In giving the command, the work-week of the Jews was made parallel to the week of creation: ―Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day‖ (Ex.20:9-11). No Jew in his right mind ever thought that God was telling His people to work six long, indefinite periods. This passage is clear: just as the Jews were to work six literal days, God created all things in six literal days. 5. Jesus said that God made Adam and Eve ―at the beginning‖ (Matt.19:4). However, if the days of the creation account are geological ages, then, perhaps millions of years had already passed when Adam and Eve were created. Yet, the Son of God said they were created ―at the beginning.‖ The theories of men change with time; they come and go. The Christian, however, can stake his soul on the unchanging Word of God. It reveals the truth about the Creation! WOT

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EDITORIAL

COURAGE IN SPITE OF THE HEAT Living a godly life in an ungodly world is necessary and lofty in principle, but often difficult to implement in practice. It is usually not the case that we don‘t know what is right, but rather we struggle with putting into practice what we know to be right. The willingness (or unwillingness, as it may be) to live a godly life in the midst of a terribly wicked world comes down to a matter of conviction. Paul would write, ―That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world‖ (Philippians 2:15). In a world steeped in the darkness of sin, and enshrouded in the blackness of wickedness, those who are lost need us to shine forth the glorious light of Christ. Satan will see to it that we face the fire in order to test the depth of our convictions. We will have our mettle tested by persecution, ridicule, threat of harm, loss of relationships, negative peer pressure, and myriads of other ways by which the Devil will attempt to persuade us to compromise or abandon our faith. Those who are trying to live for the Lord will face trials of faith (2 Timothy 3:12). If you have not experienced fiery trials, one of two things holds true: 1) tests are coming, or 2) you have not shown a depth of conviction which would convince the Devil and those through whom he works that you need your faith tested. Most don‘t desire struggles or pain. It seems natural to wish to avoid such. Yet, the Christian understands that the trials of his/her faith will build character, and teach a greater reliance upon, and faith in, God (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:7). Christian, you will have your feet held to the fire! How will you respond in those times of great tribulation? Will the fire prove too painful, or will you come through these tests with deeper conviction? Will you give up, or will you stand in? Likely one of your favorite stories from the Bible that you remember from the time of your youth is the account of the three Hebrew youths Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (later given the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were taken captive to Babylon during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar (606 B.C.). With the threat of being burned alive in a fiery furnace looming over them, these three

young men refused to give in to the king‘s command to bow down and worship a ninety-foot tall image of his likeness. With the fierceness of his anger kindled, Nebuchadnezzar commanded the furnace to be heated to seven times its original temperature so that these rebels might suffer for their stubbornness. The response of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the midst of such a trial provides us with a great lesson about taking courage in spite of the heat. Here were three young men who stood firm upon their convictions, and would not be persuaded otherwise! What can we learn from them about conviction, compromise, courage, and character? CONVICTION BREEDS COURAGE Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been raised up with the word of God. The very names their parents gave them were to serve as a reminder of their belief and trust in the God of heaven. Hananiah‘s name meant ―Jehovah has favored.‖ Mishael‘s name meant ―who is what God is?‖ Azariah‘s name meant ―Jehovah has helped.‖ From the earliest of remembrances, these young men had been taught about their covenant relationship with Jehovah, and were reminded of this day after day. When these young men, along with Daniel, were forcibly removed from their homes and taken away captive into Babylon, their faith was immediately put to the test. The three joined Daniel in the refusal to partake of the king‘s meat and the king‘s wine which was being fed to the noble sons of the Hebrew captives (Daniel 1:8, 17), even though such a stand could have cost them their lives. The depth of their convictions caused them to stand up for what they knew to be right, in spite of the circumstances or consequences. Friends, this is the true definition of courage! Many are under the impression that a person is courageous who is willing to take risks. Don‘t confuse stupidity or thrill-seeking with bravery and courage. Real courage is born out of true conviction. Upon hearing the command of Nebuchadnezzar, that at the sound of the instruments of music the entire nation was to bow down to the golden likeness of the king, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego already knew that they would refuse to honor such a request. It wasn‘t that their courage suddenly caused them to stand up

December 2009 WORDS OF TRUTH 3 for their convictions; it was that they were so convicted sign of cowardice, and cowardice in regard to standing of the truth about the one true and living God that they for the truth will cost us our souls (Revelation 21:8)! were willing to suffer whatever may come as a result When we are truly convicted concerning God‘s word, of standing foursquare upon it! Just how convicted we will be the same no matter where we are, and no were these three young men? When asked of Nebumatter who we are with. chadnezzar, ―[a]nd who is that God who shall deliver you out of my hands?‖ (Daniel 3:15), these three reCONVICTION BUILDS CHARACTER markable youths spoke with unmistakable conviction: While Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can ―If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver certainly teach us many lessons about courageous, us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver faithful living in the face of great trial, they also likely us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known learned a few things about themselves through the unto the, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor course of the events recorded in the book of Daniel. worship the golden image which thou hast set How could three young men stand so firmly against the up‖ (Daniel 3:17-18). These were not the words of threats of the mightiest king on earth? What caused rebellious, defiant youth. Shadrach, Meshach, and them to exhibit such courage, and to refuse to comproAbednego trusted fully in God‘s power to deliver mise? I submit unto you that experience had taught them, but, even if God chose not to do so, they would them that God will always reward faithfulness. Why gladly die in order to remain true to their God! May were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego willing to we be reminded that God has not given us a spirit of face the fiery furnace? God had already brought them fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind (2 through one test, as recorded in Daniel chapter one. Timothy 1:7). Are we so convicted of the truths of Why could they make the request to eat only vegetaGod‘s word that, when our feet are held to the fire, our bles and drink only water while their brothers in the faith will stand the test? flesh were feasting on the king‘s meat and wine? God had seen them through the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and their subsequent march to BabyCONVICTION BUCKS COMPROMISE How easy do you suppose it would have been lon. Every time these young men were willing to stand for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to have given for what was right, God had blessed them, cared for into Nebuchadnezzar and bowed down to worship his them, provided for them, and had been with them image? After all, they were young, they were far away through every trial. With each test of their faith sucfrom home, far away from the eyes of those who knew cessfully passed, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego them and who would disapprove of their actions. Who could take comfort in knowing that the next trial could would expect young men who had been torn away be overcome just as had those before it. Paul by inspifrom their homes and thrust into the midst of such a ration tells us that the trying of our faith works experiwicked, idolatrous people to stand up and stand out for ence (Romans 5:4, KJV), or builds character (ESV). what was right? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego As the fire of trial grew hotter, the character of the were not concerned with what others expected of them; three young men grew stronger and more refined. It is they were only concerned with what God expected of often said that trials prove what kind of people we them. They could be taken from the city of God, and really are. They will show our faith for what it really they could have their names changed in order to reis—conviction, or convenience. move the thought of God from them, but these three Will your faith stand the test of fiery trial, or Hebrew youths would not allow their convictions to be will your soul wither in the heat? Until you are fully taken from them, or compromised in any way! When convicted of God‘s word, then courage will fail you in our faith is put to the test, the Devil will make sure that the heat of the moment, and compromise and convenopportunities to compromise our convictions will be ience will reign supreme. Study the word of God (2 placed conveniently before us. Will we attend all asPeter 3:18). Meditate upon it constantly (Psalm semblies of the church faithfully when on vacation, 119:97). Lay it up in your heart (Psalm 119:11). even when those we know are nowhere around? Will Then, when Satan begins hurling his fiery darts, you we be tempted to compromise our modesty and dress can stand firmly upon your convictions, building charlike the world when among the worldly? Will we find acter with each test of faith that you pass. Take courit convenient to tell dirty jokes and curse when we are age in spite of the fire! around those who do such at work? Remember, it is WOT far easier to give in than to stand in! Compromise is a

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BE WISE TO DO GOOD Kevin Beard, Fayette, AL There are many different things in the world that vie for our attention: some are good, some are morally neutral, and some are evil. What should the Christian allow to capture his interest? For those even superficially familiar with the Bible‘s teaching, it should be clear that those evil things of the world should never be allowed to captivate the thinking and interest of God‘s people. John said, ―Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him‖ (1 John 2:15, NKJV). Then there are those things that are neither right nor wrong inherently: those ―morally neutral‖ things that can become sinful if allowed to command too much time and energy from the Christian, to the detriment of his service to God. While it is easy to admit that God must come first in Christians‘ lives (Matt. 6:33), there is still the problem of these other things in the world that cry out for our time and attention and sometimes even demand at least some of it. How can we tell if we have devoted too much of ourselves to those things that would pull us away from the faithful life? Jeremiah relayed the words of the Lord to the people of his day: ―For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge‖ (Jer. 4:22). Notice the last part of this description: ―They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.‖ Examining the depth of knowledge we have about various things in comparison to our knowledge of God‘s ways should shed some light on this issue. Sadly, there are many people, some even among the family of God, who know more about things that are evil, or even things that are basically harmless than they do about the things of righteousness. American society is fascinated with all sorts of wicked things: illicit sex, drinking, drugs, violence, and so forth. People of God may not participate in these kinds of things directly, but how much of their influence do we allow into our lives through entertainment? Much of today‘s movies, television, books, and music glorify the wicked things of the world. How much knowledge and ―wisdom‖ in these

kinds of things do we absorb through our entertainment? When we compare how much we might know about such things with how much we know about the ways of righteousness, what do we find? People enjoy many different hobbies. So long as the activity is not a sinful one, there is nothing wrong with a Christian‘s enjoying a hobby; in fact, there can be some benefit to having a distraction to relieve stress and clear the mind. However, some people get so involved in their hobbies that they could become sinful. Suppose someone really enjoys golf. He (or she) loves to play, to watch, to learn about golf as much as possible. It might not be unusual to learn that a person like this could tell you all about the various golf courses in the area, or that he could tell you all about the strategies and techniques of playing, or even that he could tell you all about the different players on the PGA tour. There is nothing necessarily wrong with having an extensive knowledge about one‘s hobby—unless that knowledge displaces the knowledge of God‘s Word. Every Christian needs a thorough understanding of what God has revealed. Paul commanded: ―Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is‖ (Eph. 5:17). That understanding comes from reading the things that Paul (and other inspired men) wrote (Eph. 3:4). When compared with our knowledge of other things in life, that understanding of God‘s Word ought to be a priority. Paul expressed a similar thought to the one from Jeremiah: ―…but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil‖ (Rom. 16:19). Not all things that we might devote time to learning about are evil, but some things are. When it comes to the depth and sophistication of our knowledge, Christians ought to be ignorant concerning doing evil (and perhaps to some degree in other matters as well) in contrast with being wise concerning doing good. WOT

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MERCY Keith Dixon, Luverne, AL Jesus said, ―Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy‖ (Matthew 5:7). Again Jesus said, ―Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful‖ (Luke 6:36). Mercy is as attribute of God. Mercy is something that we should desire to have because we want to be like God. Mercy is something that we need to have so that we too can obtain mercy. Understanding that we need mercy to be a part of us because it is an attribute of God and we need to have mercy so that we can obtain mercy is not the same as knowing what mercy is. Mercy, according to Vine‘s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, is ―the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it.‖ Thus, one can see that there are three parts to this definition. Let us look at each part more closely. One, someone can show pity toward others. God is rich in mercy: ―But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us‖ (Ephesians 2:4). Jesus had compassion many times on many people. He had compassion on the multitudes. ―But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd‖ (Matthew 9:36). ―And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick‖ (Matthew 14:14). Some were blind and Jesus had compassion upon them: ―So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him‖ (Matthew 20:34). Jesus had compassion upon those who had lost loved ones (Luke 7:11-17). God does have the capacity to manifest this emotion toward us. We are glad that He does. Yet the question may be, do we have the capacity to show pity toward others who are in need? Second, the definition says, ―it assumes need on the part of him who receives it.‖ Studying the times that the Bible says that Jesus had compassion on others, the student will see a need every time. There were those who needed their physical needs taken care of. Some had followed the Lord far from their homes, listening to his teachings all day, and were in need of food before they began their journey back home. The lady in Luke 7 was a widow. Her only son was being taken to the graveyard to be buried. She now would have no one who would look after her needs. Paul discusses this kind of situation in one of his letters to Timothy. Al-

most the entire fifth chapter of 1 Timothy is devoted in how widows ―indeed‖ are to be cared for. James 1 instructs us of pure religion. There are the fatherless and the widows that need mercy (James 1:27). Widows and the fatherless were in need. They needed someone to take care of them. This then fits the definition given by Vine‘s. Yet, do we ever need mercy? Is there ever a time when we need compassion from others? Do we ever need mercy from God? Thirdly, our definition states, ―resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it.‖ God has the resources to meet our every need both physical and spiritual. Jesus said, ―But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you‖ (Matthew 6:33). Those things that will be added according to the context are: food, shelter, and clothing. That covers a lot of our needs. God has the resources to meet all of these needs and has promised to take care of us if we seek His kingdom and righteousness first. Then, God has the ―resources adequate to meet‖ our spiritual needs. God has told us our relationship with Him. If we are sinners, and all of us are, ―For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God‖ (Romans 3:23), then we are separated from Him. ―Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear‖ (Isaiah 59:1-2). God instructs us through His Word that He gives us love, grace and mercy. ―But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)‖ (Ephesians 2:4-5). This is manifested in the sending of His Son. The planning that God did so that we can be reconciled back to Him declares His mercy to us. If we are obedient to Him, then we have grace and mercy from God. We too have the opportunity to share our resources with those who need them. There is opportunity to share with those who are in physical need. Those in Haiti need physical help. There are those who have lost loved ones. They need our emotional help. There are those who are lost and do not know it. They need our help to find their way to God. Are we willing to help? We have the resources. What are we doing with them? Let us extend mercy to others so that we too can have mercy! WOT

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COTTON-CANDY PREACHING Tom Moore, Temple, TX If I were to ask you what would be worse, to give your children cotton candy or poison, what would you say? In answer to this question most people would very quickly say that poison would be the worst thing to give our children. But consider this, what if all we gave our children to eat was cotton candy? What if cotton candy was their favorite food and that was all they wanted, and any time they received anything else they would throw a fit? Would we only give them cotton candy? Would we be loving and concerned parents if we only fed our children this cottony pile of sugar? Most assuredly not! We understand that our children could not survive only on sugar, for they would soon grow weak and sick, and would soon die. So, what is worse for us to give our children, only cotton candy or poison? The truth is that both will eventually kill our children. Now let us make a spiritual application. Is it worse to teach in the Lord‘s church false doctrine or to teach simple pleasant truths from God‘s word? In answer to this question most people would quickly say that false doctrine would be the worst thing of all to teach. But consider this, what if we only taught concerning the loving story of Ruth, or about benevolence, or about the need for loving families, or about the need to feel good about ourselves? Now these are topics that we should be concerned about and are issues of interest, and should be taught. But, can a Christian survive spiritually solely on this kind of diet? Can a child of God mature and be grounded in the faith solely on these kinds of meals? The answer is no! There are many preachers and teachers in the Lord‘s church who are not teaching error, but neither are they being distinct in their preaching and teaching. Many are given more to proclaim what the brethren want to hear than what they need to hear. Concerning the people of Isaiah‘s day, the Lord declared, ―For it is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of Jehovah; that say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits‖ (Isa. 30:9-10). Many today are clamoring for the same things as the Israel of old – smooth things, and sweet and pleasant words. And what is even more disturbing are the preachers and teachers who are giving into their cry with sermons and lessons filled with nothing but ―lovey-dovey mush.‖ Many preach to please men and tickle their ears with what they like to hear. Paul said, ―For do I now

persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ‖ (Gal. 1:10). Paul warned Timothy about people who have ―itching ears‖ and warned that such people will gather around those who will scratch their ears by teaching lies (2 Tim. 4:3-4). The whole counsel of God must be preached, regardless of how it is received (Acts 20:26-27)! The truth is truth and must be preached! I didn‘t write the book (Bible) and have no right to ―water it down‖ to please men. The apostle Paul declared, ―I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house… Wherefore I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God‖ (Acts 20:20, 26-27). If we really care for our families and brethren the actions of Paul will be true of us! Furthermore, Paul also said, ―Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching‖ (2 Tim. 4:2). You will notice that good gospel preaching demands positive and negative proclamation of truth. But as already mentioned, some ―will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables‖ (2 Tim. 4:3-4). We must not allow this attitude to influence us away from preaching the whole counsel of God. We have too many ―cotton candy preachers and teachers‖ in the brotherhood who are ―sugar coating‖ the brethren into spiritual decay! Tell me, which are worse, false teachers or cotton candy preachers? The truth is they both will cause the spiritual demise of their listeners. Beloved, our preaching and teaching must be true to the Book, straight forward without apologies, addressing the spiritual needs of the people, encouraging the faint hearted, rebuking sin, and lovingly setting forth the whole counsel of God. Will you help me in this effort? Will you be as Jeremiah who said that the word of God ―was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay [or, I could not hold it back]‖ (Jer. 20:9). May we all feed the brethren a well balanced diet from the word of God! WOT

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COOPERATION NEEDED Mark Tonkery, Coolville, OH Cooperation is needed in every part of our human body so it will function properly. Take for example the foot: it has 26 bones, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments. Walking up stairs requires the cooperation of 300 different muscles. The sense receptors in your foot let your brain know exactly what kind of surface you‘re walking on—rocks, ice, soft sand— and your foot immediately adapts. In the course of your life, you will walk about 100,000 miles. If you walk or jog for exercise, of course, that number will be higher. Although most people don‘t often do this, the toes can be used to pick up things. Some people can even write or draw with their feet. All this is done when our body, brain, bones, muscles, and ligaments cooperate together. No wonder Paul used the foot as well as other parts of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 to illustrate the need for cooperation with one another in the local church. Paul states in verses 14-19, ―For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‗Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,‘ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‗Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,‘ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?‖ Paul is telling us as the church we must cooperate and work together to do the will of Christ. Romans 12:4-8 teaches us that every member of the church family has a responsibility; it may be prophesying, (which could be understood as preaching the word of God. Paul points out in Rom. 10:15, “...And How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" So preachers must cooperate in the body too!). It may be we have the gift of servicing the needs of the congregation as a deacon or in a number of others ways, teaching the Bible to children or the lost; exhortation; giving; leading as an elder, or showing mercy. Ephesians 4:11-16 teaches that the body

of Christ will not grow spiritually until the congregation is cooperating according to the will of God. Every member must do the Lord‘s work. The human foot was described by Leonardo da Vinci as ―a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.‖ I would have to say when the body of Christ, the church, works together you have so much more than just ―a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art‖: you have the beauty of Christ being revealed to the world so lost sinners can be added to the Body by obeying the Gospel and the saved staying saved! So whether you are a foot, ear, hand, or even a pinky toe, Christ needs your cooperation. The body of Christ will not be able to run, walk, or move until all its members are working, functioning, and cooperating together. WOT

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ASK A BIBLE QUESTION QUESTION: Can you give me a clear explanation of what Acts

2:38 means? ANSWER: Acts 2:38 is Peter‘s response to an audience of Jews

whose rejection of their Messiah had put them into a lost state and who thus needed salvation (vs. 22-24). Their question to Peter (v.37) was ―What shall we do?‖ That is, what shall we do to be saved? Peter named two things they must do: repent, and be baptized. He also names two things they would receive as a result: forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This verse specifically says that baptism is ―for the forgiveness of sins.‖ Forgiveness (or remission) is equivalent to justification; it is the cancellation of all guilt by the power of the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7; Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:5). A key word in this verse is ―FOR,‖ which translates the Greek preposition EIS. This word signifies purpose, intention or result (Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p.183). In other words, Peter says to be baptized for the purpose of bringing about the forgiveness of sins. It is used exactly the same way in Matthew 26:28. Acts 2:38 also says that those who are baptized ―will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.‖ This is that which Jesus promised in John 7:37-39; the direct result of this gift is the new birth promised in John 3:3-5. The Spirit‘s presence raises the spiritually dead sinner to a state of spiritual life (Rom. 6:4). Thus Acts 2:38 makes the meaning of baptism crystal clear. It is the time God has appointed for removing the sinner‘s guilt and for bestowing upon him the regenerating effects (i.e., new birth – Jn. 3:3-5) of the Holy Spirit. —Mark N. Posey Decatur, AL