"Baptism now save you" 1 Pet 3:21
Just so no one misunderstands what it is I’m about to say concerning ‘baptism’ and it’s importance in the Plan of Salvation let me make it perfectly clear in the onset, that the "only" way anyone who ever lived, or ever will live, can be saved is by the shed blood of Yahoshua the Messiah.
Even though we must believe and have faith in the Messiah Yahoshua, it's “not our believing or our faith" that saves, it's only by the shed blood of the Lamb, Yahoshua, that our sins will be forgiven. And yet without "faith" no man will be saved. (Eph 2:8-9)
Even though we must repent, that is turn from our sins, it’s “not our repentance” that saves us, it's only by the blood shed at Golgotha that our sins can be forgiven. And yet if we do not repent we will perish (Luke 13:3, 5).
Even though we are commanded to be baptized, it's “not baptism" that saves us, it's only by the blood of Messiah, but without "baptism" no one will be saved (Mark 16:16; Act 2:38; 1 Pet 3:21).
In this study we’re going to see that “baptism” is as important as “believing/faith” and “repentance.” But as important as those 3 things are it’s only the shed blood of the Messiah Yahoshua that can ever wash our sins away. And as we’ll see, that blood is applied to our lives “at baptism“.
In this study we’re going to take a look at:
The “Biblical Plan of Salvation and the importance that baptism plays in it.
it will become obvious throughout this study that no one, not in apostolic days nor today, has ever been saved by saying a "sinners' prayer".
That our baptism has to be for a specific reason and reason is for the “forgiveness of sins.”
We must be baptized in the one name given among men, and that name is Yahshua, pronounced 'Yah-shua' or 'Yah-oo-shua'. (the name "Jesus' did not exist in any language at the time the Messiah walked the earth)
we'll take a look the ‘objections’ to the necessity of baptism in the plan of Salvation, objections such Eph 2:8-9; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 1:17; the thief on the cross and others.
That it is “water” baptism and not “spirit” baptism that we are commanded to obey.
The 'Biblical' Plan of Salvation
Rather then teaching the heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation as given to us through the Messiah and his disciples, which is, believing (John 3:16, Act 2:38), repentance (Luke 13:3,5; Act 3:19), baptism (Mark 16:16; Act 2:28) and 'enduring to the end' (Matt 24:13; Rev 2:26), many churches today teach what they call, the 'sinners prayer' as a “plan of Salvation“.
These Churches tell their members, who are often times very sincere individuals, that in order to be 'saved' all they have to do is bow their heads and repeat a 'sinners prayer' after which time the individual is told that he or she is now 'saved.' Some Ministers will even go as far as to tell these 'saved' individuals that nothing they can do or say can ever cause them to lose this salvation they "think" they just received.
I don't believe there are too many people that would argue with the fact that to 'believe in' or have faith in, the Messiah Yahoshua is absolutely necessary in the plan of Salvation. But not only do we have to believe that Yahoshua is who he claimed to be (John 20:31), we must also believe the things he said as well, things such as:
unless you repent you'll perish" (Luk 13:3,5),
unless you love me more than your father, mother, son or daughter you're not worthy of Me.” (Mat 10:37).
unless you lose your life you'll never see life" (Mat 16:25).
unless you take up your cross and follow after Me you're not worthy of Me.” (Mat 10:38)
The sad truth is though that many ministers today fall short of bringing their parishioners through that 'narrow gate' that leads to life, (Mat 7:13-14). They fail to tell them that to “repent”, that is turn from their sins, is not optional, it is something that must be done in order to be saved (Lk 13:3,5) and almost never do they tell them they have to be baptized 'for the remission of their sins' (Act 2:38; Mk 16:16), in order to have their sins forgiven.
The word 'repent' simply means to 'turn' or 'change' and in the biblical sense 'to turn from our sins.' Very few ministers ever even mention the need to “repent” and of those who do, almost never do they tell their perspective convert that "they must repent" in order to be saved. The Savior never told us to "try to repent" from your sins, or it would be nice if we repented, he said, “unless we repent, we will perish.“ (Luke 13:3,5; Act 2:38; 17:30)
The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear numerous times that “no one who continues in sin” will inherit the Kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; 2 Tim 2:19; Heb 10:26-29). And it will only be the “overcomers” who make it on Judgment Day (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21, 21:7)
(For a fuller discussion on ‘sin’ and the heavenly Father’s Law see the articles 'The Hard Saying of Paul, 2 Pet 3:16)
Baptism, which is as important as 'believing' and 'repentance,' is sometimes completely ignored by ministers or at best it's mentioned as something someone can do “after they think” they've been saved by saying a 'sinners prayer.'
Before the Savior ascended into heaven he told his disciples to "go into all the world preaching the Good News, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved" - Mark 16:16. According to the Messiah salvation comes "after" one believes and is baptized, not before. And as we see all the disciples understood exactly that.
As it was stated above and will be proven in this article, from the scriptures, that baptism has to be done for a specific reason, and as Peter tells us Act 2:38, that reason is "for the remission or forgiveness of our sins"
It will become clear in this study that if someone was baptized for any other reason other than the "for the forgiveness of your sins," your baptism was not based upon the scriptures and your sins were NEVER forgiven. That's not an opinion, it a scriptural fact.
The Word “Baptism”
The word 'baptism' comes from the Greek word 'baptizo' and it simply means 'immersed' (that is to be covered fully). Not 'sprinkled' with water, or to have water 'poured on' as some churches teach. The word “immersed” and “baptized” are interchangeable, Eng - “immersed”; “baptized” Greek. Some translations use the words ‘immerse’ and ‘baptize’ interchangably, they mean the same thing.
As strange as this may seem to most English speaking Christians, people can and are ‘baptized‘ or immersed, in water many times through out their lives, sometimes in their every day routines. For instance while swimming, someone could be immersed numerous times, each and ever time they were ’immersed’ in the water, they were technically ‘baptized’. If we were speaking Greek rather than English we would be saying they were ’baptized’ not ’immersed’ in the pool or the lake. And that bit of information will become relevant in the course of this discussion on 'baptism'.
On Shavuot, the feast of Pentecost, thousands of Jews were gathered in Jerusalem observing the feast, and after seeing the miracle and hearing the preaching of Peter and the apostles they cried out, “brethren, what must we do” (Act 2:37-38)? Did Peter tell these 1,000's of Jews to bow thier head and say a "sinner's prayer" as most minister would do today? No, of course not, Peter told them to "repent and be baptized" in the name of Yahoshua the Messiah "for the remission, or forgiveness, of their sins"
“For the remission, or forgiveness, of your sins….“
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahoshua Messiah for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What was the reason for Peter’s telling these thousands of Jews to “repent and be baptism”, it was so their sins might be forgiven and that they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(It will become abundantly clear in this study that the “forgiveness of sins” takes place at baptism - NOT BEFORE.)
Baptism has to be for the right reason
As we've seen the Greek word 'baptizo' translated 'baptize' or ‘baptism’ simply means “to immerse“. What makes one immersion, or baptism, different from another? It’s the “reason” that a person is being immersed or baptized, and the reason Peter commanded the thousands of Jews to be baptized was "for the forgiveness of their sins." Satan, through his ministers, has perverted the Gospel in numerous ways over the last 2,000 years, and ’baptism’ is one of those ways. Realizing that the importance of baptism and the reason for it, Satan has people today being baptized for every reason except the right one and that is “for the forgiveness of theri sins.”
if someone was baptized to join a particular religious group or church - then their baptism was not for the “forgiveness of their sins” and their sins were never forgiven.
if someone was baptized because they felt they were following the example of the Messiah, and of course the Messiah’s baptism had nothing to do with the forgiveness of his sins, then that person’s sins were never forgiven. We'll be discussing the reason the Messiah was baptized in shortly.
if someone was baptized “as an outward sign of a inward thing” and not for the forgiveness of their sins, then their sins were never forgiven.
if someone was baptized “thinking” their sins were already forgiven, then their baptism could not have been “for the forgiveness of their sins” and therefore their sins were never forgiven.
I realize that there are some who might think I'm sounding a little petty in saying that any other baptism, other than for the forgiveness ouf our sins, is irrelevant and such a person is still in their sins, but as you'll soon see that's not my opinion it's a scriptural fact. A fact that I hope and pray you'll take seriously by the conclusion of this article.
It’s at Baptism that:
We are buried with the Messiah
Rom 6:3 do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yahoshua have been baptized into His death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (after baptism)
We clothe ourselves with the Messiah
Gal 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah.
We have our sins forgiven
Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and …be baptized …for the forgiveness of your sins….
Mar 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…”
"He that Believes and IS Baptized, shall be saved" Mk 16:16
After the Savior rose from the dead and before He ascended into Heaven He commissioned His Apostles telling them,
"Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
There are two conditions here, according to the Savior, that have to be met in order for us to be saved.
First, we “have to believe" and secondly, we “have to be baptized“.
Clearly according to the Savior, “believing + baptism = Salvation.
Satan, through his ministers, has successfully convinced the churches to accept a different plan of Salvation. That is, that after they “believed” they were saved, and than sometime in the future they can be ‘immersed’ or ‘baptized’ for anyone of a number of reasons, other than the reason given to us in Scriptures.
The Biblical plan of salvation “believing + baptism = Salvation“ - Mark 16:16, Act 2:38.
Satan‘s plan “believing = Salivation.“ Baptism having no part in this plan.
(we’ll discuss more of Mark 16:16 in the “Objections” in closing)
In the 'New' Testament, as we'll soon see, we have examples of literally 1000's of individuals that came to believe in the Messiah, Yahoshua. And AFTER believing, they repented and were baptized 'for' the remission of their sins. At which time their sins were forgiven, NOT BEFORE.
It’s always amazing me how someone can say they believe in the Messiah and yet not believe the things he said. One would expect that someone who professes to be a believer in the Savior would readily accept and believe the things he said, but concerning the subject of Baptism, even though the Messiah said "He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved..." Mk 16:16. There are many who refuse to accept that, they insist they were saved “before” baptism not “after” as the Savior tells us.
In this article we're going to show that the apostles and all of the disciples of the Messiah believed that it was AFTER baptism, as Yahoshua said, that one's sins were forgiven, and not before.
The most convincing proof in the Bible of the importance of baptism is the apostle Paul’s conversion. And as we’ll soon see it was not until Paul was baptized that his sins were forgiven. But before we take a look at the apostle Paul's conversion we’ll take a look at numerous other examples in the "New" Testament,to show that everyone had their sins forgiven “after” they were baptized not before, and never by saying a ‘sinners prayer’.
3,000 Jews on the day of Pentecost
In Act chapter 2, the apostle Peter after explaining to the thousands of Jews who were gathered in Jerusalem for Shavuot, the feast of Pentecost, that it was the Messiah, the “Anointed One” of Yahuweh, that they put to death by the hands of lawless men. And after their hearing this they were pricked in their hearts and asked Peter and the other apostles, "...What must we do" (vs 37)?
It’s not only important in realizing what Peter “did tell” them, as to what it is that he “did not” tell them. Unlike the ‘ministers’ of today, Peter “did not” tell them to “bow their heads and say a sinners prayer” or possibly to “accept the Savior into their hearts” what Peter did tell them was to:
"Repent (stop sinning), and …be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins” Act 2:38. “Those that received Peter's words, were baptized, and after being baptized, about 3000 souls were added to the assembly of believers. (vs 41)
These 3,000 souls were added to the assembly “after” they were baptized. The “assembly” is the ‘body of the Messiah‘ (1Cor 12:27; Eph 4:12).
In Act 8:26-39, an Ethiopian eunuch, returning from Jerusalem, was traveling through Gaza, a desert place. Philip approached him as he was reading in the prophet Isaiah “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.” (Act 8:32-34; Isa 53:7-8).
“Do you know what it is you’re reading?” Philip asked him. “How could I unless someone explains it to me?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached unto him Yahoshua.
We’re not told anything of what it was that Philip said to the Eunuch concerning the Messiah Yahoshua but one thing we can be certain of, Philip absolutely told him of the necessity of being baptized. For the next thing out of the eunuch’s mouth was, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized” (vs. 36)? Philip ordered the chariot to stop and they both went “down into the water” and Philip baptized the eunuch. It was “after” the eunuch was baptized that he “went on his way rejoicing” (vs. 39).
The Philippian jailer and his family
In Act 16:30-34, the Philippian jailer, after seeing Paul miraculously released from his bonds while in prison, asked Paul, "Sir what I do to be saved" (vs. 30)?
Paul told him to “believe in the Master Yahoshua, and you will be saved, you and your household" (vs. 31) I would guess that the next logically question that the Jailer would have asked Paul would have been “What is it we have to believe about this man Yahoshua?”
And again, like Philip and eunuch, we’re not told exactly what it was that Paul spoke unto them (vs. 32). But I would imagine he told them that they had to “repent” (Luk 13:3,5), that they had to love Yahoshua more than they loved their mother, father, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. (Mat 10:37). That they had to “take up their cross daily” and follow after the Messiah Yahoshua (Luke 9:23), “losing their lives” and allow Yahoshua to live his life in them (Mat 16:25; Gal 5:24).
We’re not certain if Paul told them all of the above, but in all probably I believe he would have. Something though that we can be certain of, and that is that Paul definitely told them of the necessity of being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, because “immediately that hour of the night” Paul took the jailer and his entire family and baptized them (vs. 32). He did not, as ‘ministers’ today would have done, told them to get baptized at their earliest convince, he did it “immediately.”
What that means is, the jailer and his family would never have went to slept that night. Let me explain. It was “midnight” when Paul and Silas were in singing in jail (vs. 25) when the earthquake accorded and the prison doors were opened. Afterwards Paul went with the Jailer to his house and preached unto them the word of Lord (vs. 32). The Jailer and his family washed the wounds of Paul and Silas (vs. 33), and after which time Paul, Silas, the Jailer, and his entire family went out and were baptized. And it was “after” they were baptized they ”rejoiced greatly.“ (vs. 34)
In the last two instances, concerning the eunuch and the jailor, we're given much more detailed information concerning their salvation experience then we are of other New Testament conversions, which is the reason I commented on them first. Allow me to back up now and comment on a couple of conversions that I passed over.
In Act 8:4-13, When Philip preached to the people of Samaria, we're told that "when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Yahoshua Messiah, they were being baptized, men and women alike" (vs. 12) "Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized ..." (vs. 13)
Did you notice the order in the above account? First they ‘believed' and then they were ‘baptized‘. And according to the words of the Savior, at that point they were Saved, Mark 16:16.
Cornelius and his family (the first Gentile converts)
In Act chapter 10, we have the account of Cornelius and his family.
There are a few things we should consider about Cornelius before we take a look at his baptism.
First, we're told in Act 10:1-2 that Cornelius "...was a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually"
And Peter mentioned that even before his arrival to Cornelius' house, Cornelius knew of the Savior Yahoshua, Act 10:37-38, "...you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Yahoshua of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
So we see from the account of Cornelius that:
1) he was 'a devout man' - vs. 2
2) 'he feared God,' as did his whole household. vs's 2, 35
3) he 'worked righteousness' (KJV) - vs.’s 22, 35 (“righteousness” is keeping the commandments Deut 6:25)
4) he 'gave alms to the Jewish people' - vs. 2
5) he 'prayed to God continually' - vs. 2
6) he already knew of Yahoshua and how God was with him. - vs.’s 37-38
Of course there was no reason for Peter to tell Cornelius to first 'believe,' he already did believe (Act 10:38). There was no reason for Peter to tell Cornelius to 'repent' for we're told that he “feared God” and that he was a 'righteous' man (Act 10:22, 35)
All that remained for Cornelius and his household to do, in order to have their sins forgiven, was to be baptized.
But since the last command that Peter received from the Savior concerning the gentiles was that they, the apostles, “were not” to go to the gentiles.” Matt 10:5, These twelve Yahoshua sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
Peter and the six Jewish brethren knowing that it was forbidden for them to go to the Gentiles would need a sign from Yahuweh Himself, in order to convince them that He was now calling the Gentiles.
So the sign that the Almighty gave to Peter and the Jewish brethren was the sign of speaking in tongues.
Act 10:44-46 "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God."
Peter tells us that Cornelius and his family received “same gift” as the apostles did on the day of Pentecost. That is, that on the day of Pentecost even though Peter and the apostles were speaking Hebrew to all the thousands of Jews gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world, the Jews understood the apostles in their own language (Act 2:6-8). And now Cornelius and his household, who were Romans and who’s native tongue would have been Latin or an Italian dialect where understood by Peter and the Jewish brethren who were with him. You see Peter and the brethren “were amazed” because they heard these Latin speaking Romans “exalting God” in a language that they understood, namely “Hebrew”.
Act 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
Act 10:45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
Act 10:46 because they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God…”
The Jews were amazed because the Romans were “exalting God” in a language they understood, just as the thousands of Jews on the day of Pentecost understood the apostles (Act 2:6-8).
Paul tells us that the gift of “tongues“ is a sign to the “unbelievers” (1 Cor 15:22) and in this case the ones that had to be convinced that God had accepted the Gentiles - was Peter and the 6 Jewish brethren, and eventually the Congregation in Jerusalem (Act 11:2-4).
So when Peter heard them speaking in tongues “exalting God” he turned to the 6 brethren that he brought with him, and the very first thing Peter said, was "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?'' (vs 47). Since there were no objections from the brethren Peter "...ordered them to be baptized in the name of Yahoshua the Messiah…(vs 48).
Why was baptism the first think Peter thought of after hearing Cornelius and his family speaking in tongues “exalting God”? Because Peter knew that to be saved they had to first “be baptized” (Mark 16:16; Act 2:38; 1 Pet 3:21), . Why didn’t Peter assume these gentiles were already saved when he heard them speaking in tongues, as most ministers today would have done? Because Peter knew it was at baptism that our sins are forgiven, not before.
It’s when we’re were baptized into Messiah that we’re clothed with Messiah (Gal 3:27). So thus when Cornelius and his household were baptized they were baptized into the 'Body of the Messiah,' making them 'new creatures in the Messiah, as Paul tells us in
Rom 6:3-4 Or do you not know that all of 'us' (Paul includes himself) who have been baptized into Messiah, Yahoshua, have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
It's AFTER we are buried with him in the waters of baptism that we are raised up to 'walk in newness of life.' NEVER BEFORE !
The apostle Paul's conversion
Now let's take a look at the most prominent 'conversion' in the 'New' Testament, that of the apostle Paul.
The Apostle Paul, formerly called Saul, had an encounter with the Messiah on the road to Damascus. His story is given to us 3 times in the book of Acts, chapters 9, 22, and 26. Turn now if you would to Acts chapter 9 and we’re going to begin to take a look at exactly how, and when, Paul's sins were 'washed away' that is forgiven.
Paul was traveling on the road to Damascus, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Master, when suddenly a flash of light from heaven appeared and Paul fell to the ground, and a voice from heaven said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" not recognizing the voice Paul asked, "Who are You, Master?" And He said, "I am Yahoshua whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do." Act 9:1-6.
Paul, being blinded by the light, was lead into Damascus, were he was 3 days blinded, and without food or water (vs. 9).
Now in Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias, and Yahoshua came to him in a vision and said to him, "...Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." ...So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Master Yahoshua, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized..." Act 9:10-18
So we see in Acts 9, that the apostle Paul:
had a personal encounter with the Savior Himself on the road to Damascus after which
fasted for 3 days without food and water (vs. 9)
and according to the Savior himself, Paul prayed (vs. 11), what was probably the longest “sinners prayer“ that anyone ever prayed.
and finally Paul “got up and was baptized” (vs. 18)
So in realizing all of the above let me ask what may seem like a silly question to most Christians today, “at what point were the apostle Paul‘s sins forgiven?”
Was it when he personally met the Savior on the road?
Was it during his 3 days of fasting and praying?
Or was it when he was baptized?
With all that we’ve seen thus far about the importance of baptism in the plan of Salvation it would seem as if that would be an easy question to answer. And it is, Paul’s sins were forgiven when “he got up and was baptized” (vs. 18).
I mentioned earlier, Paul's conversion is given to us 3 times in the book of Acts. In chapter 9 we have Luke describing the events of Paul’s conversation, but in Act 22 we have the apostle himself telling of his encounter with the Messiah, much the same way as it’s told in chapter 9, but with one exception. He tells us 'exactly' when his sins were forgiven.
In Act 22:13-16, when Ananias, who was a devout man 'according to the standard of the Law,' came to Paul he said, "Brother Saul, receive your sight! The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." (Act 22:13-16)
It was AFTER, not before, Paul got up and was baptized that his sins were 'washed away.'
I imagine that there are some who because they have been so saturated with this 'false' notion that in order to be to be 'saved' all one had to do is say a 'sinners prayer,' that they might suggest that Ananias was wrong in thinking Paul's sins had not yet been forgiven. For Ananias knew that Paul had already been praying, for it was the Messiah himself who told him (Act 9:11). And according to today’s ’minister’ a “sinners prayer” is all that is needed for one to have their sins forgiven. But unlike so many ministers today, Ananias knew and believed that the Savior meant what he said, when He said, "He that believes and IS BAPTIZED will be saved" (Mk 16:16).
"Calling on the Name of Yahweh" (the L-RD?)
When the Messiah went to Ananias and instructed him to go and inquire of the man named, Saul, he made clear to Ananias, that this Saul had been praying, Act 9:11. And yet when Ananias came to Saul or Paul, one of the first things he said to him was , "What are you waiting for, get up and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
It should be obvious that to Ananias 'calling on His name' was not the equivalent to 'praying.' For Ananias had been told by the Messiah, himself, that Paul had been praying and he still instructed Paul to 'call upon His name.'
If 'calling upon the name' is not 'praying,' then what does it mean?
The Apostle Peter answers that question in:
1 Pet 3:20-21 "...when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to Yahuweh for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Yahoshua the Messiah."
The definition for the word 'appeal' or as it's worded in the King James Version, 'answer,' is; "a calling upon" or 'earnestly seeking after.'
So what Peter is saying here is that 'baptism' is not for the purpose of removing dirt from the flesh but rather it is a 'calling upon' or an 'appeal' to God for a good conscience. The act of being baptized is the 'calling upon his name.' Which is the reason that even though Ananias knew Paul had been praying, he still instructed him to 'arise and get baptized, calling on His name'
Is Baptism “a work”?
Some people try to say that baptism is a work, but the fact is baptism is not something we do, it's something someone one does to us. Notice, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them….”Mat 28:19
What about the Thief, he wasn’t baptized?
Often times people will look to the thief, as an example as to why they feel they do not have to be baptized today. The idea is something like this.
If the thief on the cross, was never baptized and he is going to make into the kingdom and we know he will, because the Savior said he would, then why do I have to be baptized?
Well, the answer as to why the thief didn't have to be baptized is two fold,
1) When the Savior walked the earth, He, of course, had the power to forgive sins. Which in the case of the thief is exactly what He did. But now after His death and resurrection, He gave the commission to go and baptize all nations to His disciples.
2) To illustrate this point let me give an example of a 'good' American, who never paid his taxes, Abraham Lincoln.
Most people today would say that Abraham Lincoln was a good American, and yet the truth is he never in his life time paid a penny in taxes. But the reason for his not paying any taxes is because there weren't any tax laws in his day.
And the same is true with the thief. The Savior gave the command to go and baptize all nations, 3 days AFTER the thief had been died.
What about Eph 2:8-9, it says by grace we are saved?
Yes, without question we are saved by 'grace through faith, not of works' Eph 2:8-9.
Now, who wrote this statement? None other then the Apostle Paul. Who's conversion we just discussed in Act 9 and 22. If Paul, in order to have his sins 'washed away', had to 'arise and be baptized' (Act 22:16), as we just read, then how are we to understand Paul, when he tells us that we, including himself, are saved by 'grace through faith?'
In Phil 4:9 Paul tells us to be imitators in the things we've learned, heard, received, and seen in him. And there is no other man in the New Testament who's conversion is recorded 3 different times, showing how he was 'saved.' As I've mentioned earlier, in Act chapters 9, 22, 26. So briefly lets review how Paul was 'saved by grace through faith.'
After meeting the Savior on the road to Damascus, Paul was so 'repentant' that he 'fasted and prayed for 3 days, (Act 9:9,11).
Then Paul tells us in his own words, that his sins were not 'washed away,' until he did what the Messiah command Ananias to tell him to do, "arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name" Act 22:16.
Paul was saved by grace through faith when he was obedient to the Master's command to be baptized, which was preceded by genuine faith and repentance (Mk 16:16; Act 2:38) in order to wash away his sins.
When Paul was baptized, he was baptized into the Messiah and not before. Notice the word 'us' in Rom 6:3.
You see grace gives the conditions and commands concerning salvation and our faith responds to them in obedience. Thus we're saved, 'By grace through faith'
How could Paul of said "the Messiah sent me not to baptize" if baptism was so important? (1 Cor 1:17)
1 Cor 1:17 "For Messiah (Christ) did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,..."
Paul, as the rest of the Apostles, was under the 'Great Commission' to go and baptize all nations. (Matt 28:19; Mk 16:15).
And we know that on occasion he did baptize individuals, as in the case of 'Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas. 1 Cor 1:14-16.
So how are we to understand 1 Cor 1:17?
It's what is known as an 'elliptical' phrase. An elliptical phrase is one in which a word (the ellipsis) must be supplied for it to make sense in keeping with other clear passages of Scripture. Let's take a look a few examples.
In John 6:27 Yahoshua says "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, Yahuweh, has set His seal."
If an individual were to read this passage and take it at face value he would understand the Messiah to be saying, "Do NOT work in order to buy any 'meat' for your table, for that is the meat that perishes"
But then we also have this command, in
2 Thes 3:10; "... if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."
Could this be a contradiction by Paul of the Savior's command 'Not to work for the meat that perishes?'
Not at all ! We must understand the Messiah's statement to be 'elliptical.' When we supply the 'ellipsis' it would read, "Work not for the meat that perishes (only), but for the meat that endures to everlasting life..." And thus the confusion is alleviated
One more example before we look at Paul 's statement concerning baptism again.
1 John 3:18 "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."
Again if we were to understand this passage the way it is written, without supplying the ellipsis, 'only,' it would seem that John is telling us NOT to love with our words and tongue. But that of course is not the case. With the ellipsis supplied, it would read, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue (only), but in deed and truth." For we're told in
Eph 4:15; "...but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Messiah..."
So with the ellipsis supplied to Paul's statement in 1 Cor 1:17, it would read, "For Messiah sent me not to baptize (only) but to preach the gospel..."
Why did Paul say in verse 14, "I thank Yahuweh that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,..."?
Paul gives his reason in verse 15, "so that no one would say you were baptized in my name."
Paul was concerned about the 'quarreling' (vs 11), among the believers, some were saying , "I am of Paul" and "I am of Apollos" and "I of Cephas" and "I of Messiah." Paul asked the question in verse 13, Has Messiah been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? And the answer to all these questions of course is, NO.
Even though Paul baptized only a few of the Corinthians himself, "many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." (Act 18:8), The others were apparently baptized by Silas and Timothy who were working with Paul. (Act 18:5) So even though Paul himself did not have to do the baptizing, he did preach baptism. (See Rom 6:3,4,17,18; Col 2:12; Act 22:16).
Isn't Rom 10:9-10, all a person has to do to be saved?
Rom 10:9-10 "that if you confess with your mouth Yahoshua as Lord (Master), and believe in your heart that Yahuweh raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
First of all it is obvious that baptism is not mentioned in this passage, but does that mean that Paul is saying it isn't necessary? By no means !!
I'm convinced that so much confusion could be eliminated if people would remember when reading the epistles, that they are 'letters' and as such, to properly understand what is being said you have to start in the beginning of the letter to get a proper understanding of what is being said. If you pull a couple of passages out of the middle of the letter often times it will lead to confusion.
For example the letter to the Romans. Are the 2 passages, in Rom 10:9-10, Paul's condensed version of all that one must do to be saved? Has he excluded 'baptism' from the plan of salvation? NO not at all.
In the 'beginning ' of the letter to the Romans, Paul describes these individuals that he is writing to as 'saints' (Rom 1:7).
Rom 10:9-10 is not telling people how to become saved, Paul is talking to people that are already saved, 'Saints,' and telling them how to stay that way. Notice Paul's words in
Rom 6:3-5: "... do you not know that all of 'us' who have been baptized into Messiah Yahoshua have been baptized into His death? Therefore 'we' have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so 'we' too might walk in newness of life. For if 'we' have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly 'we' shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,..."
ALL of these 'saints' in Rome have already been baptized, before Roman 10:9-10 was ever written.
What Paul is saying in Rom 10:9-10 is, that if we confess with our mouths, Yahoshua as Lord, (meaning He is the Master or Lord of our lives, and we are 'walking as He walked, 1 Jn 2:6 ) and believe in our hearts that Yahuweh raised Him from the dead, (in other words not to lose faith that he WAS raised from the dead as our hope of a resurrection also) we will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Again this is written to 'saints,' that were all baptized, including Paul. Telling them how to stay saved, by not losing Faith, not how to become saved.
Why was the Messiah Yahoshua baptized?
So many people today 'think' they were baptized because the Messiah was baptized. If we're to be baptized for the "forgiveness of our sins" as Peter tells us, then clearly that could not be the reason for the Messiah's baptism. Why than was the Messiah, Yahoshua, baptized?
It's necessary to understand that in Judaism it's not called 'baptism' it called a 'mikvah' and it's described in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) as washings or cleansings, and people were immersed by a priest for a number of reasons. John, being the son of Zacharias, was of course a priest (Luk 1:5), baptized, or mikvah'd, Yahoshua, in order for Yahoshua to start his ministry. It was at his baptism that the Holy Spirit descended on Yahoshua and his ministry began (Matt 3:16).
According to the Torah it was at the age of 30 the priest were to begin their ministry, their duties in the Temple service (Numbers 4). Whether Yahoshua, being 30 years of age, was baptized, or mik'vd, for the same reason as a priest would have been, in order to start his ministry or not, really isn't important maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. What we can be sure of is that Yahoshua was not baptized for the same reason we are to be baptized for, that is the 'forgiveness of our sins'.
Water or Spirit Baptism
There are some that try to imply the baptism Peter mentions Act 2:38 is not 'water baptism' but 'spirit baptism', but you'll notice this is something Peter is commanding these individuals to do, not something God was going to do to them, “they had to repent” and “they had to be baptized“. If it was “spirit baptism” that Peter was commanding these perspective converts to do, he would have told them, as the Pentecostal ministers of today would do, to pray for the baptism of the spirit. But as with so many things taught by the churches today, never is anyone ever told to “pray for the baptism of the spirit.“
Also you‘ll notice in verse 41 we’re told that “…those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
So Peter commanded them to “be baptized” (vs. 38) and they “were baptized” (vs. 41).
If what Peter was telling these 1,000’s of Jews to do was be baptized “in the spirit“ it would have made no sense for him to tell them that “after” they ‘repented and were baptized‘ they would receive the “gift of the spirit“. they would have all ready have been ‘filled with the spirit”.
The Samaritans: But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Yahoshua Messiah, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Act 8:12.
We’re told in verses 14-15 that Peter and John had to be called to Samaria, why? Because even though the Samaritans were baptized and would have received the “gift of the spirit“ they had not yet received the baptism of the Spirit. Which could only be given by the ‘laying on of the hands of the apostles.
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,
Act 8:15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
The Eunuch: in Act 8:38, when Philip met the eunuch and preached to him the word of the Master they both “went down into the water” to be baptized.
The Philippian Jailer: in
Act 16:33 concerning the Philippian Jailer and his family we’re told “he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.” Could that baptism be talking about “spirit baptism“?
The apostle Paul: Ananias told Paul “what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized…”(Act 22:16). If it would have been “spirit baptism” rather than “water baptism” than Ananias would have said to Paul, “stay right where you are, and I’ll pray that you might receive the “baptism of the spirit” but of course he didn’t do that. Paul had to “get up” and go to the water to be baptized.
In the future I’ll be adding other example and answering more ‘objections’ that people might have to being baptized “for the forgiveness of sins.” Such as:
We’re “saved by grace through faith” (Eph 2:8-9), why isn't baptism mentioned?
Isn't Rom 10:9-10 all a person has to do to be 'saved'?
But for now I hopefully enough has been said in this article to show the importance of Baptism. If anyone has any specific question please feel free to email them to me and I’ll add them immediately to the article.