They "Gladly Received His Word"

by Larry Ray Hafley
Truth Magazine, Vol. 50, No. 2, Jan. 19, 2006.

Larry Lester Roloff said that when they "gladly received the Word" (Acts 2) that meant they were saved because no sinner would do such! I am wondering why we did not think of that?

Reply: If the fact that, before they were baptized, they "they gladly received the Word" in Acts 2:41 means they were saved before they were baptized, it also "proves" the Bereans were saved before they believed. The Bereans "received the Word with all readiness of mind" (Acts 17:11). According to Mr. Roloff, that must mean "they were saved because no sinner would do such!" If that is true, the Bereans were saved without faith, for after they eagerly "received the Word," the very next verse says, "Therefore many of them believed."

Hence, if the fact that those on the day of Pentecost "gladly received the Word" before they were baptized proves they were saved before baptism, then the fact that the Bereans eagerly "received the Word," before they believed proves they were saved before they "believed." Roloff's argument means that neither faith nor baptism is essential to salvation, yet the Lord said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16).

Ask yourself this question, "What word did they 'gladly receive'"? Whatever that "word" was, it was one in which they were intensely interested. Anxiously, after hearing proof that they had murdered the Messiah, they had implored and inquiered, "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:36,37). It was in answer to that burning question that they received "the Word" which they so happily and "gladly received." What was that "word"? It was that they, by the authority of the very One whom they had crucified, should repent and be baptized "for the remission of (their) sins" (Acts 2:38). One cannot present a meaning of what it means to "gladly receive" that word until he defines the "word" which was "gladly received."

They had not received "the word" which told them baptism was not essential. No, rather, they were acting in response to "the word" which told them to be "baptized...for the remission of (their) sins" (Acts 2:38). One can make no judgment about what that expression, "gladly received the Word," means which contradicts the intent and content of that "Word."

Finally, whatever the expression, "gladly received the Word," implies in Acts 2:41, we know it cannot bear Roloff's explanation, for three verses earlier, the Spirit told those same people to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38; cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 22;16). Thus, even if I did not know the full import of what it means to "gladly receive the Word," I would know that it could not contain Mr. Roloff's conclusion.

If I were resting on his argument, I believe I would roll off it.