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Acts 2:39

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For the promise is unto you - Jews of the land of Judea: not only the fulfillment of the promise which he had lately recited from the prophecy of Joel was made to them, but in this promise was also included the purification from sin, with every gift and grace of the Holy Spirit.

To all that are afar off - To the Jews wherever dispersed, and to all the Gentile nations; for, though St. Peter had not as yet a formal knowledge of the calling of the Gentiles, yet, the Spirit of God, by which he spoke, had undoubtedly this in view; and therefore the words are added, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, i.e. all to whom, in the course of his providence and grace, he shall send the preaching of Christ crucified.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the promise - That is, the promise respecting the particular thing of which he was speaking - the influences of the Holy Spirit. This promise he had adduced in the beginning of his discourse Acts 2:17, and he now applies it to them. As the Spirit was promised to descend on Jews and their sons and daughters, it was applicable to them in the circumstances in which they then were. The only hope of lost sinners is in the promises of God, and the only thing that can give comfort to a soul that is convicted of sin is the hope that God will pardon and save.

Unto you - To you Jews, even though you have crucified the Messiah. The promise had special reference to the Jewish people.

To your children - In Joel, to their sons and daughters, who would, nevertheless, be old enough to prophesy. Similar promises occur in Isaiah 44:3, “I will pour my Spirit on thy seed, and my blessing on thine offspring”; and in Isaiah 59:21, “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed‘s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.” In these and similar places their descendants or posterity are denoted. It does not refer merely to children as children, and should not be adduced as applicable exclusively to infants. It is a promise I to parents that the blessings of salvation shall not be confined to parents, but shall be extended also to their posterity. Under this promise parents may be encouraged to train up their children for God; they are authorized to devote them to him in the ordinance of Christian baptism, and they may trust in his gracious purpose thus to perpetuate the blessings of salvation from age to age.

To all - To the whole race; not limited to Jews.

Afar off - To those in other lands. It is probable that Peter here referred to the Jews who were scattered in other nations; for he does not seem yet to have understood that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles. See Romans 10:12, Romans 10:14-20; 11. The Gentiles are sometimes clearly indicated by the expression “afar off Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:17; and they are represented as having been brought nigh by the blood of Christ. The phrase is equally applicable to those who have been far off from God by their sins and their evil affections. To them also the promise is extended if they will return.

Even as many … - The promise is not to those who do not hear the gospel, nor to those who do not obey it; but it is to those to whom God in his gracious providence shall send it. He has the power and right to pardon. The meaning of Peter is, that the promise is ample, full, free; that it is suited to all, and may be applied to all; that there is no defect or lack in the provisions or promises, but that God may extend it to whomsoever he pleases. We see here how ample and full are the offers of mercy. God is hot limited in the provisions of his grace; but the plan is applicable to all mankind. It is also the purpose of God to send it to all people, and he has given a solemn charge to his church to do it. We cannot reflect but with deep pain on the fact that, although these provisions have been made - fully made; that they are adapted to all people; but that yet they have been extended by his people to so small a portion of the human family. If the promise of life is to all, it is the duty of the church to send to all the message of mercy.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
From the first delivery of that Divine message, it appeared that there was Divine power going with it; and thousands were brought to the obedience of faith. But neither Peter's words, nor the miracle they witnessed, could have produced such effects, had not the Holy Spirit been given. Sinners, when their eyes are opened, cannot but be pricked to the heart for sin, cannot but feel an inward uneasiness. The apostle exhorted them to repent of their sins, and openly to avow their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, by being baptized in his name. Thus professing their faith in Him, they would receive remission of their sins, and partake of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. To separate from wicked people, is the only way to save ourselves from them. Those who repent of their sins, and give up themselves to Jesus Christ, must prove their sincerity by breaking off from the wicked. We must save ourselves from them; which denotes avoiding them with dread and holy fear. By God's grace three thousand persons accepted the gospel invitation. There can be no doubt that the gift of the Holy Ghost, which they all received, and from which no true believer has ever been shut out, was that Spirit of adoption, that converting, guiding, sanctifying grace, which is bestowed upon all the members of the family of our heavenly Father. Repentance and remission of sins are still preached to the chief of sinners, in the Redeemer's name; still the Holy Spirit seals the blessing on the believer's heart; still the encouraging promises are to us and our children; and still the blessings are offered to all that are afar off.
Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 344.3

Talk as Christ talked. Work as Christ worked. We must look to Christ and live. Catching sight of His loveliness, we long to practice the virtues and righteousness of Christ. It is by beholding Christ that we become changed into His image, and by renouncing self, giving our hearts up wholly to Jesus for His Spirit to refine, ennoble, and elevate, we will be in close connection with the future world, bathed in the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Then we are commanded to go into other cities and towns and tell them the good news with hearts all aglow with divine love, even to them that are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God shall call. UL 344.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 57

God declares: “I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea 2:23. “And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. 8T 57.1

God has poured out richly of His Holy Spirit upon the believers in Battle Creek. What use have you made of these blessings? Have you done as did the men upon whom the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost? Then “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. Has this fruit been seen in Battle Creek? Have the church been taught of God to know their duty, and to reflect the light which they have received? 8T 57.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW), 996

20. Obedience Will Break Down Barriers—The strong barriers of prejudice that have been built up will just as surely come down as did the walls of Jericho before the armies of Israel. There must be continual faith and trust in the Captain of our salvation. We must obey His orders. The walls of Jericho came down as a result of obeying orders (The Review and Herald, July 12, 1887). 2BC 996.1

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 151.2

Christ has promised the gift of the Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe, and profess to claim the Lord's promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit, God works in His people “to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given.... OHC 151.2

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