Gospel Heard, Not Felt
Following Peter’s sermon which included preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as Saviour of the world, Peter then called on all who “heard” to obey (Acts 2:37). Please notice in this verse that it is not said, “when they felt these things” they were pricked in their hearts. But it says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart” and asked “Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This, then, is how the Holy Spirit operated in changing the sinners on Pentecost to children of God. It was by preaching that faith was produced (Gal. 3:26-27). In Acts 2:38-39, Peter gives the Holy Spirit’s answer: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Not only was this the way people on Pentecost “called on the name of the Lord” — were converted — but it’s also how everyone who was converted in the New Testament after the day of Pentecost came to Christ.
Call On The Name Of The Lord
Saul of Tarsus was on his way to persecute Christians when the Lord arrested him on the Damascus road. Though the Lord spoke to Saul, he did not appear to him to convert him (Acts 26:13-18). The Great Commission had placed the gospel in the hands of men and Saul was told to go into the city and there, “it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6). A preacher named Ananias was the one who would “tell” Saul what he “must do.” In harmony with the Lord’s commission, Ananias said to believing, penitent Saul, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Here — as well as in Romans 10:13-17 — how souls call upon the name of the Lord, according to the Holy Spirit. Calling upon the name of the Lord is the same as obeying the gospel plan of salvation — delivered by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 4:16-18) — in faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. All of us must obey the same gospel in order to be members of the same institution, the body or church over which Jesus reigns as head (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18).
The Gospel: God’s Power To Salvation
Thus, we must conclude that the gospel — revealed by the Holy Spirit through the apostles — was and is the power of God for salvation. That was true for men of the first century and is true for all today. Salvation never came to anyone in the first century by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit, but by obeying the Spirit’s word that was preached by men. The power of God for salvation to all people, then and now, is the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17). When the gospel reigns in the hearts of men it means they are Christians, converted by the Holy Spirit.