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Saving Souls in Acts

Saving Souls in Acts When we think about evangelism, we think about things like convincing people that there is a God, that God is perfect and that we are not. But for the Apostles in the early part of the book of Acts, what matters is the announcement that Jesus is Messiah. The closing lines of Peter's argument on the day of Pentecost is not "see, there is a God after all" or "there really is a place called heaven" but rather,

"So the whole house of Israel must know this for a fact: God has made him Lord and Messiah--this Jesus, the one you crucified." Acts 2:36

The difference is that a Messiah is not primarily a soul-saver in the sense of saving our souls for a place called "heaven". The Messiah is the one who accomplishes on behalf of Israel what she could not do for herself, namely, the Messiah sets the world right again, which includes but is not limited too, saving our souls. Soul-saving is vital of course, but the point is that it is not being saved FOR heaven but for earth here and now. When souls are saved from wasted-living, as Paul describes it, they then become agents of God's new creation on earth as it is in heaven, here and now. Jesus said of Himself that the angels of God would descend and ascend wherever He was (John 1:51). In other words, Jesus would be a walking temple of the God of Israel. But Jesus also said that as the Father sent Him into the world, so He is sending us, and He gave us the Holy Spirit (John 20:21-22). Our souls are saved, therefore, not for the sake of going to heaven when we die, but for the sake of being heaven on earth here and now, though, not we, but Christ in us! The question that Peter and the apostles were facing concerning their fellows Jews on the day of Pentecost is the question of what exactly it would look like when God became King and established His healing, heavenly reign on earth as it is in heaven. Peter's and the rest of the Apostles' answer was and is: it looks like Jesus. Any other answer is a lie and a tragedy. It is even blasphemy. All loyal Jews, according to the Apostles, should follow Jesus if they want to retain the title of "loyal Jews".

Saving Souls in Acts

The arguments that the Apostles put forth had nothing to do with attempting to "prove" that there is a God. The resurrection did not prove God's existence. The resurrection offered proof that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Messiah of God. It still offers the same proof today, because Jesus is still alive and winning souls, not just for heaven, but for becoming agents of heaven by manifesting Jesus to the world around us and being agents of His mercy and new creation. That is what we were made to do, and that is for what our souls are saved.

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