Were Saul and the Jews on Pentecost Already Christians Because Of What Was Said?
If a person reads Acts 2:37, Acts 9:17, and Acts 22:13, he or she may come away thinking that Saul of Tarsus was already a Christian because Ananias called him "brother Saul" and the Jews on Pentecost called Peter and the other apostles "Men and brethren."
Were Saul and the Jews on Pentecost already Christians because they were referred to as "brothers"? No.
- The context of Acts 2 indicates that the Jews were not saved brethren because Peter commanded them to repent of their sins and be baptized so that their sins would be remitted (Acts 2:38). This indicates the Jews were lost under the Old Testament system (Romans 10:1-3).
- Words have different meanings depending upon context. The term "brother" is used in different ways in the Bible. It can be used in a national sense where a fellow countryman is called a "brother". In the American military, the fellow soldiers will refer to each other as brothers. This is how it is used in the aforementioned passages.
- Romans 9:1-5, "I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen." It is obvious that this is how it is used in Acts 2:37, Acts 9:17, and Acts 22:13.
All of us are fellow brothers of humanity, but NOT brothers in Christ. Peter, Paul and all the other Jewish-born apostles were "brothers" nationally with all Jews of their day, but they were not "brothers" spiritually.
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