What is the meaning of “How to enter the narrow gate”? What is the sin that was repented of in Acts 2:38 in order for them to enter the small narrow gate?
The answer to your first question can be found in a study called the “Wide and Narrow Roads.” The study explores what Jesus meant by the wide and narrow roads as well as the wide and narrow gates. The answer to your second question starts with Acts 2:22-23. The passage is part of a sermon that Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost. In the Acts 2 Peter was preaching to a group of people who in some way were responsible for Jesus’ death. So Peter said,
Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death . . . (NASB) Acts 2:22-23
Peter is bold and clear in his message. The sin that they committed was that they were responsibile for the death of Jesus. We do not know if they were present during Jesus’ questioning or if they were part of the crowd that chanted for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified. Then Peter continued his sermon telling them that Jesus had returned to life and was living in heaven. Finally, Peter made his point,
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.
When Peter finished, the crowd felt guilt and conviction.
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do? (NASB) Acts 2:36-37
Their question was significant, “What shall we do?” It reveals that they believed what Peter told them. They believed that Jesus was God, Messiah, and the one who could forgive their sins. They believed in Jesus! Peter answered their question by telling them to repent and demonstrate their submission to Jesus by being baptized. Baptism was and still is a public declaration to others that a person believes in Jesus. It is the first public act of obedience.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NASB) Acts 2:37-38
What was the narrow gate they passed through? The narrow gate was that they believed Jesus Christ was the coming prophet, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, and our God. In response they repented and willingly submitted themselves to Jesus Christ. Have you entered the narrow gate? You can if you will repent and believe too!
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