Be saved from this perverse generation
Peter described his generation as perverse. The basic meaning of
the Greek word [σκολιός] is crooked, not straight. Figuratively it
refers to something different from what it ought to be. It describes
behavior that is depraved, degenerate and immoral.
Is our generation depraved, degenerate and immoral, different
from what it ought to be? We know that ... the whole world lies
under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). Peter’s appeal is
certainly still applicable: Be saved from this perverse generation!
Are we part of this crooked generation?
We were born into it and we share responsibility for it. None of
us is what we ought to be, for all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Your iniquities have separated you from your God (Isaiah
How can we be saved from this crooked generation?
Salvation is possible by the grace of God through Jesus Christ:
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under
heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Through Jesus our sins can be forgiven. When Peter’s hearers
asked, What shall we do? he replied: Repent, and let every one of
you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
We must repent to be saved.
To repent is to be sorry for our sins, turn away from a life of sin,
and put God first in our lives by doing His will from day to day.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mathew 9:13). He said
that everyone must repent or perish (Luke 13:3). He said that
Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to
all nations (Luke 24:47).
We must be baptized to be saved.
Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Peter said, Every one of you must be baptized. Jesus gave His
followers the assignment: Go into all the world and preach the
gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be
saved (Mark 16:15, 16).
Christian baptism is a burial. We are buried with Christ in
baptism (Colossians 2:12). The Greek word for baptism means
immersion. Many people think they have been baptized, when they
were never buried with Christ. Their so-called baptism was not an
Christian baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. Many people’s
baptism is not valid because - although they were immersed - they
were not baptized for the forgiveness of sins.
Forgiveness comes through the sacrificial death of Jesus, who
loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation
1:5). Our sins are washed away at baptism (Acts 22:16).
Through baptism we are united with the death of Christ: Or do
you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him
through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the
dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life (Romans 6:3, 4). We are saved at baptism because it
is a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Spiritual rebirth occurs at baptism. Jesus told Nicodemus, Most
assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he
cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).
To believers who had been buried with Christ in baptism
(Colossians 2:12) Paul wrote: God has delivered us from the power
of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of
sins (Colossians 1:13, 14).
Thus, God saves us from this crooked generation by grace when
we are born again by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for
the forgiveness of sins.
During the summer of 1961, after graduating from university, I
participated in two evangelistic campaigns in western Canada. We
worked one month at Salmon Arm, British Columbia and one month
at Edmonton, Alberta. One Saturday at Salmon Arm, brother and
sister Armstrong invited our group to spend the day at their
summerhouse on Shuswap Lake.1
They told us about their conversion to Christ. They lived in
California where brother Armstrong sold insurance. He was a member
of the Million Dollar Round Table, a professional association of people
who sell at least a million dollars’ worth of insurance each year.
Since they had been active members of a Baptist church for
many years, brother Armstrong was greatly annoyed when members
of the church of Christ suggested that he was not yet a Christian
because in the Baptist church he had not been baptized for the
remission of sins.2
To prove them wrong, brother Armstrong decided that when
they went to their cabin in Canada for a holiday the next summer, he
would make a thorough study of what the Bible says about salvation.
He studied at a table in front of a big window with a view of the lake
and the mountains.
Sister Armstrong said she remembered the day, after they had
been studying for two weeks, when brother Armstrong suddenly
sprang up from the table and started pacing back and forth.
His Bible was open to Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them,
‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the
He picked up his Bible, read the verse again, laid it down, and
started pacing some more. Then he exclaimed: That is exactly what
it says! Be baptized for the remission of sins!
He had known that verse from memory for years, but had never
really noticed what it said.
The next day they drove 700 kilometers to the nearest church of
Christ they knew about, so they could be baptized into the body of
Christ. There were congregations much closer, but they did not know
Christians shine as lights in this crooked generation.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is
God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do
all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become
blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of
a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights
in the world, holding fast the word of life (Philippians 2:12-16).
To work out our salvation does not mean that we earn our
salvation but that we are to elaborate or flesh out our salvation, to
develop it to its intended fullness. This is not easy in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation. We need God’s help! He works in
us when we hold fast the word of life. At baptism we receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Paul describes this unfolding process: For this reason we also,
since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask
that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom
and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in
the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His
glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving
thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in the light (Colossians 1:9-12).
Our calling is to shine as lights in the world, to become
blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of
a crooked and perverse generation.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear!3
The gospel of Christ calls everyone to be saved from this
crooked generation. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God. Forgiveness of sins is available through faith in Christ. We must
repent and dedicate our lives to God. When we are born again
spiritually by obeying God’s command to be baptized for the
forgiveness of sins, He transfers us out of the darkness of this
crooked generation into the kingdom of His Son, into the church of
With God’s help, we then work out our salvation with fear and
trembling to become blameless children of God in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.,
Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive