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AN EXAMINATION OF THE LORD’S PRAYER — PART 2

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Prayer, Religion, Salvation, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2011 by willnotbesilent

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – Matthew 6:9-13

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Welcome to the second installment of this study of the Lord’s Prayer. So far this examination has been quite exciting, and I hope you find the same interest in this topic as I have. Last post, we looked at the salutation of the prayer (“Our Father who is in Heaven”) and how we are children to an almighty God. Now we move on to the body of the prayer.

“Hallowed be Thy name”

The model prayer given to us by Jesus Christ is characterized by seven requests, of which this is the first.

That the prayer should contain seven requests is important to note. God loves numbers and gives various numbers a certain significance. In the case of seven, it is the number of divine perfection or completeness. We can learn from the occurrence of seven requests that this prayer which Jesus prayed as an example for his disciples was perfect and complete. A brief summary of the seven requests might appear as follows:

  1. May Your name be hallowed
  2. May Your kingdom come
  3. May Your will be done
  4. Provide us with our day-to-day needs
  5. Forgive our sins
  6. Do not lead us into temptation
  7. Deliver us from evil

Notice that the first three requests pertain to God Himself, and the last four pertain to us. Again, we see that we place God ahead of ourselves, seeking glorification of His name, promotion of His Kingdom, and the execution of His will before our own needs. We must place God before ourselves.

We could also make special mention of the fact that there are three requests pertaining to God, each request specific to each aspect of the Godhead. For the Father, that He his name be sacred and holy; for the Son, that His Kingdom might stand; and for the Holy Spirit, which is the will of God. These three requests address God in His completeness.

In this post we will discuss the first of the seven requests: “Hallowed be Your name”.

As previously mentioned, this request is the first, and Jesus placed this request first for a reason. He here illustrates that the foremost desire in our minds must be that God’s name be held in reverence. All we say and do should be for the glory of God, that His light might shine through us (Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:15). More than any other desire we might have, we must place God’s glory above all things (I Corinthians 10:31).

When we speak of God’s name, we do not merely refer to the term we use for Him (Yaweh, Jehovah, God, etc). God’s name IS God – likewise, God IS His name. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, Moses asked who he should say sent him to the Israelites. God replied, “I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) This small phrase means everything. Essentially, I AM could be interpreted to mean, “He who was, is, and ever will be; the omnipresent, omnipotent power that exists through Himself and through which all things exist.” He is Himself, and His name is He. To honor God’s name is to honor God – to honor God is to honor His name. This honor does not come through the emptiness of Pharisaical false worship, but through the genuine obedience and heartfelt praise of His people and His own awesome works.

Next post, we will examine the second request of the prayer: “Your kingdom come”.

An Examination Of “The Lord’s Prayer” — Part 1

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Prayer, Religion, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by willnotbesilent

Prayer is an integral aspect to the Christian walk. It is how we communicate our thanks, requests, and praise to Him. It is a personal thing, in which God and the individual praying have communion through Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible, and particularly the New Testament, we read a great deal about prayers and praying. Jesus prayed, as did the apostles and the great men throughout Biblical history. We are encouraged to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Because it is so important, we should be sure to understand it. Jesus’ disciples understood this when they asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus responded to His disciples’ request with one of the most famous passages in Scripture.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. — Luke 11:2-4

The Lord’s Prayer has long been held up as a model for concise, beautiful prayer. Indeed, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the example he gave them was the absolute opposite of what a Pharisee might have done. It is the embodiment of humility, worship, penitence, and perspective. Jesus even warns the disciples against the loud prayers of the Pharisees, who prayed on street corners and in public places so passersby would be impressed by their piety — but Jesus enjoins silent, even secret prayer. (Matthew 6:6) Prayer is an intimate thing between God and the petitioner, something between the two of them alone. Anyone who may happen to hear the prayer has no role in this interaction.

Even today, people, particularly Catholics, recite the Lord’s Prayer word for word. But that this is not how Jesus intended it is evident by the fact that Matthew and Luke have varying versions of this prayer, as well as Matthew 6:7, in which Jesus prefaced His example with a warning against “vain repetitions”, as the nations employ. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and many other religions rely heavily on chants and repetitions. The worshipers of Baal (I Kings 18:26) and the worshipers of Diana (Acts 19:34) also used repetition, and as Scripture illustrates, their repetition did no good.

Our relationship with God is like that of a father and his children. As a father myself, I am well aware of how annoying it can be when my children repeat something meaningless over and over and over. It gets old quickly! Soon I want them to simply be quiet and stop talking, rather than give them what they want. There is no reason not to place God in that same predicament when we fall into prayer patterns and vain repetition. God seeks earnestness. He wants us to come before him with our petitions, speaking from the heart with faith. “Ask, and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7) If we pray the same prayer, word for word, in a mindless chant, rather than having heart and meaning behind it, God only considers it empty words.

Another thing that Jesus illustrates through His model prayer is that it is not long-winded and flowery, as were the prayers of the Pharisees and, sadly, are many prayers we hear today in churches of all denominations. It is to the point, and in being so concise, multiplies the power and beauty of its words a thousandfold.

  • Our Father which art in Heaven.

As I mentioned earlier, our relationship with God is as that of a father and his children. Romans 8:15 says that we have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (“Abba” is simply a transliteration of the Chaldee word for “father”). In Galatians 4:5, Paul reminds us that we were redeemed that we might receive the adoption of sons. When Jesus teaches us to cry out to God as “Father”, He emphasizes that we share with Him a special relationship with God, a relationship of glory as well as subservience. At the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the usual address of Jewish prayer was, “Oh Lord God of our fathers”. Jesus is turning that on its head by showing that, not only is God the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but He is also OUR FATHER — not someone to regard in terror, but someone to whom we are free to run in times of trouble, who loves us and desires our good.

Jesus repeatedly made examples in which he compared God to a father (Luke 11:9-13, Luke 15:11-32), and repeatedly referred to God directly as the Father (Luke 6:36, John 6:37).

Now, we know that God did not beget Christ or Christians in the sense that our physical fathers begot us. Christ is an aspect of God — His Word — rather than an actual offspring or child, and has been with God since the beginning. Indeed, we are told that nothing exists that was not created THROUGH Jesus (John 1:3). Thus we know that God and Jesus, being one, have coexisted since past eternity. Christians, in similar manner, are not God’s children in the sense that you and I are the children of our own parents. Rather, our position as “begotten” or “sons” is something bestowed upon us by God Himself (Galatians 4:4-5).

God begets us when we obey Him. We are not His literal, biological children, but rather children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). We are adopted as God’s children when we repent and obey. Notice that not until Jesus had “fulfilled all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15) by being baptized by John the Baptizer did God announce, “This is my only begotten Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  Likewise, when we believe, repent, and are baptized into Christ, we become sons with Him (Romans 8:17).

“In Heaven” is a qualifier that sets God apart as a specific Father: The one who is in Heaven, the only one truly qualified to bear the title (Matthew 23:9). It signifies His majesty, placing Him high above all (Ephesians 4:6). Our prayer ascends to a place where we are not, to a Being far above us in every regard.

It denotes respect, as well as humility, acknowledging God’s far higher status and our own lowly, unworthy position. We come before God as sinners, penitent and humble — not proclaiming our own self-worth like the Pharisee in Jesus’ story (Luke 18:11). God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and magnificent beyond comprehension, while we are not even worthy of notice (Psalm 144:3).

We serve a mighty God. We must recognize Him as such.

 

In the next post on this topic, we will continue to examine “The Lord’s Prayer” and how it serves as a model for us to follow when we address our Lord. Remarks on this topic are welcome.

The Last Days: When Are They?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, End Times, Religion, Salvation, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2011 by willnotbesilent

In this era of political upheaval all over the world, of constant wars, of famine, disease, earthquakes, storms, and more widespread abandonment of God’s principles, many people are proclaiming our era as “the Last Days”. There is a great deal of debate over this. The return of Jesus Christ has been predicted for countless dates for a thousand years or more. In the case of each prediction, people thought their society had reached a moral and spiritual zenith, and that surely Jesus would come to take His kingdom back. Indeed, even during the days of the apostles, people were waiting for Christ’s return, as illustrated in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.

The question is, WHEN ARE THE LAST DAYS?

Some hold that the “Last Days” will begin once the “Rapture” has taken place, but as pointed out in my previous posts, the “Rapture” is a fallacy and a fraud. Some look for signs of the Antichrist, some mysterious individual possessed by the devil himself (We’ll go into the topic of the Antichrist in a following post). The most recent “prediction” for Christ’s return is May 21, 2011.

These folks who try to give an exact date are wasting their time. Jesus Himself said,

 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. — Mat 24:36
 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. — Mat 24:42
 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. — Mat 24:44

This is important to remember: ONLY GOD HIMSELF KNOWS WHEN JESUS WILL RETURN! Men cannot predict it through any means, whether theological, mathematical, or otherwise. God is the one and only being who knows when the Second Coming will take place. If anyone tells you Jesus is returning on a specific date, ignore them. They are mistaken, and arrogant to think they can discover what God has specifically kept secret.

But can we at least know when the Last Days are?

YES! In fact, we don’t need to speculate or wonder, because the Bible is very, very specific about exactly when the Last Days begin.

In Acts 2, when the apostles are baptized by the Holy Spirit (verses 1-4), they begin preaching to the crowds that have filled Jerusalem for the Day of Pentacost. When the people hear these uneducated Galileans preaching in various languages, they are skeptical, suggesting the apostles are drunk (verse 13). At this point, Peter speaks for all the apostles:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ” — Acts 2:14-21

STOP! In quoting Joel, Peter says that all THIS which the people are seeing, only days after Jesus has ascended to sit at God’s right hand, is a sign of the Last Days!

The Last Days began roughly 2000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Kingdom of Christ was established through the apostles. A sign of the Last Days is the opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ.

So why are we wondering if we are in the Last Days when the they have been in full swing for millennia? Because false prophets have been preaching lies, telling us to expect a Rapture and support a political state of Israel, to watch for a mystical Antichrist and wait for a spaceship-esque New Jerusalem to descend from the sky. In actuality, THE LAST DAYS ARE NOW, which is why we are told to be vigilant and faithful. This is why we can expect Jesus to return when we least expect it.

So with this in mind, let’s focus on spreading the truth of the Gospel and preparing ourselves as a bride prepares herself for the groom. We don’t know when He’ll knock. But when He does, let’s make sure we’re ready, rather than simply wondering when He will return.

PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD!

Jude and Eternal Security

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Eternal Security, Perseverance of the Saints, Religion, Salvation, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2010 by willnotbesilent

Jude is a very short epistle, in some Bibles only occupying the space of a single page. But it is a powerful epistle, and filled with poetic analogies. In this epistle, Jude (or Judas), brother of James, writes to the church warning them about false teachers.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. — Jude 3

By reading this verse, we know Jude was writing to people who were saved and were active in the body of Christ. This is important to remember as we continue to read. In a previous post, I pointed out the fallacy of “Once Saved Always Saved” — also known as “Perseverance of the Saints” or “Frozen Chosen”. In this post, I am about prove that, if Christians cannot lose their salvation through willful sin or being led astray by false doctrine, then the book of Jude would never have been written.

Jude continues to mention “certain persons” who had “crept in unnoticed” — he doesn’t mention names, but does make it clear that they are present and perverting the Word under the Body’s very nose. He then goes on to say something interesting:

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as those indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. — Jude 5-7

The reference to the people saved out of Egypt is, of course, the children of Israel. We know that, once in the wilderness, the Hebrews rebelled more than once, finally culminating in refusal to enter the Land of Canaan. Out of all the adults who had left Egypt on this exodus, only Joshua and Caleb believed God would keep His promise and give them the land, despite the intimidating giants and their cities (Numbers 14:1-10). God condemned them to another forty years of wandering in the wilderness until all of them aged twenty years or older at the time of their rebellion had died (Numbers 14:27-35). Not long afterward, during the wandering, Korah started a mutiny against Moses and Aaron, only to be destroyed, he and his followers, when God opened the earth, which swallowed and destroyed them (Numbers 16).In fact, Jude later refers to Korah’s destruction in Jude 11.

The Bible refers to Christians as God’s new chosen people (I Peter 2:9). In an earlier post, I pointed out how Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea was a type, or foreshadowing, of Christian baptism and salvation. If those of Israel who rebelled against God never got to enter the Promised Land, and Jude used these rebels as a warning to those of the church, then we can conclude that Christians who turn away from God’s true doctrine and follow after falsehood are in effect rebelling against God and will not see the eternal reward of salvation. If that is not the case, then Jude was using an inaccurate comparison.

Jude then goes on to use the instance of the fallen angels, whom God at this moment has locked up until the day of judgment, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In each case, he is referring to those who turned away from God and brought punishment down on themselves. He is using these examples as warnings to the Christians to whom he addresses this epistle. Again, if Christians cannot lose their salvation and bring condemnation upon themselves, these examples would be inaccurate. But this is the Word of God. God never uses inaccurate comparisons.

Jude spends a large portion of the epistle describing the false teachers and their fate. “They have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 11) Remember that not only did Korah perish, but also those who followed him. The same can be said of those who were followers of Christ, but are led astray by false teachers. Both the leaders and those they lead will meet with the same fate.

Jude ends his epistle with this admonishment:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. — Jude 20-21

The core statement of this sentence is, “Keep yourselves in the love of God”. It is up to us to remain in God’s love. In fact, Christ himself said,

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love — John 15:10

This was said shortly after He warned,

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. — John 15:6

The word “abide” is translated from the Greek meno, which means “remain, tarry, not to depart”. It is a command to Christians to remain in Christ’s love, or else we will meet with the same fate as Korah or the fallen angels or Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus said in John 15:6 that the branches that wither and dry up are cast away and burned. It is because of His love, His desire that we be saved, that He commands us through Jude to keep ourselves in the love of God by building our faith and praying to God.

Christ gave us the gift of salvation. It is up to us to keep it or throw it away.

This is the whole point of the epistle of Jude: To not listen to false teachers and perverters of the Word and be led astray to destruction by their falsehoods.

Lucifer: Satan’s Proper Name?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Religion, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by willnotbesilent

Isaiah 14:12 is the one and only place in Scripture that contains the name “Lucifer”. To point out how rare this reference is, I might also add that the KJV and perhaps a couple other versions are the only Bible translations that contain the name at all.

From this one reference in Isaiah, people take the name of Lucifer and assign it to God’s antithesis, Satan.

Here is where my mind is boggled: How can people possibly conclude that Lucifer is Satan’s proper name?

If one reads Isaiah 12, they will find in the first verse that God, through the prophet Isaiah, is specifically taunting Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire. There is no possible way for someone to contextually construe “Lucifer” (verse 12) to refer to Satan.

Indeed, we also know from the name itself that it could not possibly be Satan’s proper name. “Lucifer” is Latin, a compound word consisting of luce (light) and fere (carry or bear). The name “Lucifer” is a transliteration from the Latin copies of Scripture, which had been in turn translated from the Hebrew. Latin is not God’s language. Hebrew is. If Satan (presumed by many to be a fallen angel) has a proper name, it most certainly is not Latin!

We do know, however, that Nebuchadnezzar was often referred to by his people as the “bringer of light” and the “star of the morning”. He was compared by these terms to the morning star, the planet Venus. It was a term of adoration. In this taunt against Babylon, God uses this term in sarcasm, reminding Babylon of how high it once was, and how far it would fall. This is proven by reading this verse in context with the passage, rather than taking the verse by itself and using the enclosed transliteration as a proper name. Even a casual reader can see this is evident.

So next time you hear the name of Lucifer, don’t picture a red guy with horns and a tail who runs around poking people with a pitchfork. Think “bringer of light” and Nebuchadnezzar. As a matter of fact, if you seriously think about it, you’ll quickly realize who the real “bringer of light” is.

Our King and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If anyone has truly earned the name of Lucifer, in its truest sense, it is He. For us to assign the name to Satan would be to call him the “bringer of light”, our source of truth and glory. That, of course, is unacceptable and blasphemous.

Isn’t it amazing how the Enemy manipulates Scripture, going so far as to give himself the name most suited to Christ? Don’t fall for the deception!

Acts 2:38 — Satan’s Favorite Verse?

Posted in Baptism, Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Religion, Salvation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by willnotbesilent

While surfing the internet for various viewpoints regarding baptism and salvation, I discovered the following link:

http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/acts2.html

Below, you will find this article again, this time with my response woven into it. I tried to send it to him in an email, but all I got was a failure notice. I was a bit disappointed, but decided to share the following here.

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“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The above verse of scripture is a favorite among many religious groups. One can hear it several times on Sunday morning radio programs, as well as from the pulpits of numerous groups, and it can be found in much religious literature. The verse is a favorite because, on the surface, it seemingly states that one must be baptized in order to be saved, and without baptism one is not saved. So, those who believe that water baptism is essential for salvation make it a regular habit of using Acts 2:38 as scriptural support.

The problem is that Acts 2:38 isn’t the only verse in the Bible which deals with salvation. (True — it certainly isn’t.) While many claim to “speak where the scriptures speak and remain silent where the scriptures are silent,” they practically ignore most of the New Testament teaching on salvation. (That is hardly the case. Proponents of water baptism can find a plethora of verses, not to mention Old Testament types, that point to baptism and its relation to salvation.) The only verses that such false teachers quote and reference are the ones they feel they can use to promote their “water gospel.” (Which is every single verse in the Bible that relates to salvation.) The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn’t include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), (Many verses that speak of belief and salvation don’t mention repentance — does that mean we shouldn’t repent? And there are verses that speak of confessing or repentance that do not mention belief — does this mean we don’t need to believe?) and the few places that do mention water baptism do not include it as part of one’s salvation (then what do you do with Mark 16:16 or I Peter 3:20-21?). Water baptism follows salvation as one of the first steps of obedience for the new believer.

In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists remain steadfast in their heresy, insisting that Acts 2:38 sets forth water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Thus, this verse of scripture has become Satan’s favorite Bible verse (SATAN’S? So if you are baptized, you’ll go to hell?). In fact, many are trusting water baptism alone for the salvation of their souls!  (This is hardly the case. People who believe in water baptism rely on Jesus’ blood, to which they gained access through belief, repentance, confession, and submission to immersion. Without the blood of Jesus, none of these things would have any power.) Indeed, Satan has deceived multitudes by his perversion of Acts 2:38. (Well, your “Satan” has a lot more Scripture to back him than you do.)

Rather than ignore Acts 2:38 by quoting “our favorite verses” instead, it is more appropriate to face this popular verse of scripture and see if the cultists are right in what they claim it teaches.

The Truth about Acts 2:38

First, please notice that verse 38 isn’t the only verse in Acts 2. In Peter’s message, a great deal was said before verse 38 came out of his mouth. In fact, he even told his listeners how to be saved before verse 38! In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (This is true — if one believes, they will be saved — if they don’t believe, they simply won’t. God has never saved anyone who did not believe.) His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were “pricked in their heart” in verse 37. (They believed and asked, “What shall we do?” This implies that they are terrified of judgment, not relieved that they were safe. “Pricked in the heart” means, terrified, horrified. Would they be feeling these emotions if they were saved? If they were, Peter would have told them they were all okay. But he didn’t. He instead told them what to do.) So, to use verse 38 out of its context causes a misrepresentation of God’s word. (True — but the context actually lends strength to the interpretation.) The verse does not stand alone, and, in fact, a totally different meaning is conveyed when one makes it stand alone.

Another error that many make with Acts 2:38 is the error of assumption. It is assumed that the word “for” must mean “in order to get.” That is, being baptized “for” the remission of sins supposedly means to be baptized “in order to get” remission of sins. However, a closer look at the scriptures will reveal that this isn’t the case at all.

Notice Luke 5:12-14: “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus made this man clean in verse 13, yet in the next verse, verse 14, Jesus tells him to go offer a sacrifice “for thy cleansing” as a “testimony.” Here the word “for” cannot mean “in order to get” because he had already gotten his cleansing in verse 13! It obviously meant “because of” his cleansing. If a man goes to jail “for stealing,” then he goes there “because of” the stealing that he’s already done, not “in order to get” a chance to steal again.

Some like to argue that the Greek word “eis” means “in order to,” but this isn’t always the case. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Greek word for “at” is “eis.” Does this mean that the men of Nineveh repented “in order to get” the preaching of Jonah? No, they repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. So, even “the Greek” doesn’t demand the popular interpretation of Acts 2:38. The word “for” can be used different ways, not just one, so it is wrong to assume that it must mean “in order to get” in Acts 2:38.

(Okay, let’s assume you’re right, and that “eis” in this case means “because of” rather than “to the end of”. Consider these points:

  • To command the 3000 to repent and be immersed BECAUSE their sins were already forgiven, Peter would be telling them, not only to be baptized because their sins were forgiven, but to also REPENT of sins that had already been remitted. This, of course, is absurd.
  • It contradicts an obvious fact. It makes Peter command those who asked, “What shall we do?” to be immersed because their sins were already forgiven, while it is an indisputable fact that their sins were NOT yet remitted. In actuality, those who were pierced in the heart with guilt and were asking what to do were trying to learn how to obtain the very remission this interpretation assumes they already had.)

Another factor which is commonly ignored is the JEWISH factor. Every person in Acts 2 is a Mosaic law observing Old Testament Jew. In fact, they are all gathered together to observe a JEWISH FEAST called Pentecost (verse 1). A fair reading of the whole chapter (especially verses 4, 14, and 36) will clearly reveal that no Gentiles (non Jews) are present. Since this involves Jews, it involves a NATION (verse 36!!), not individuals. No one asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The question asked concerned the NATION of Israel: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (verse 37) Not, “What shall I do,” but rather, “What shall WE do?” Acts 2 presents a NATION of people who come to realize that they have murdered their blessed Messiah and they’re asking what THEY must do. It’s a question concerning NATIONAL salvation. Isaiah 66:8 says, “. . . shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The “nation” is Israel! Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Acts 2:38 is dealing with NATIONAL salvation. The Messianic Kingdom is still available to the Jews (until Acts 7:60 when they kill Stephen), so national salvation remains an issue until then.

(Okay, but surely there were more Jews in Israel than the 3000 Peter addressed. Jews killed Jesus. Peter has just convicted the Jews of killing the Son of God. They are horrified at what they have done, and also afraid of the consequences. Wouldn’t you expect something terrible from God if you learned you were guilty of killing His Son? You’d want to know what to do as well.)

This is clear from what follows Acts 7. In Acts 8, an individual from Africa is saved (before baptism) (BEFORE? Really? Then why was the eunuch so eager to be baptized right away? Why did he wait to “go on his way rejoicing” until AFTER he’d been baptized?). In Acts 9, an individual from Asia is saved (before baptism). (Saul believed, and Jesus told him to go into Damascus where he would be told what to do. What did Ananias tell him to do? “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” If his sins had yet to be washed away, after belief and three days of praying, then he was not yet saved. He had to do what Ananias told him what he must do.) In Acts 10, an individual from Europe is saved (before baptism). (The whole point of Acts 10 was to point out that Gentiles had just as much access to salvation as the Jews. Peter, very much biased in favor of the Jews, needed to be shown that these people were just as acceptable to God as Jews. This is why, when the Holy Spirit descended on Cornelius and his household, Peter cried, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit just as we [the apostles] did?” In other words, if God gave them the greater baptism, we should not deny these people the way to salvation. This is also the only place in Scripture where anyone received the Holy Spirit prior to baptism. God was making a point to Peter that He is no respecter of persons.) Why didn’t these individual conversions occur before Acts 7? Because the first seven chapter of Acts deal with Israel (1:6-8; 2:36; 3:12; 4:8-10; 5:31; 6:7-14; 7:1-60). The question of INDIVIDUAL salvation is asked and answered in Acts 16:30-31: “. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (And in verse 33, the jailer and his household were baptized “straightaway”. They lost no time! Why? Because he believed, and wanted to be saved! If he had not believed, he would never have been saved.) Those who fail to make this distinction are guilty of violating II Timothy 2:15 where we are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth. (Remember that.)

The Bible says the gospel is to go to the Jew FIRST (Rom. 1:16), so they are the FIRST to receive the gospel in the book of Acts (chapter 2), but they are not the last to receive it. Acts doesn’t end with chapter 2, so we should be cautious of anyone who develops their doctrine in Acts 2 while practically ignoring the next 26 chapters! (Ah, but proponents of water baptism actively employ the entire book of Acts!) If God didn’t stop in Acts 2, then why does anyone else? Could it be that the later chapters in Acts contain information which the cultists want hidden from us? (Pardon me, but you failed to mention a lot of verses regarding baptism — in context — could it be that there are verses and passages which the “faith-alone” cultists want hidden? Namely, James 2:24 or I Peter 3:20-21 or Romans 6?) Could it be that there are other scriptures in Acts which do not agree with the wording of Acts 2:38? (Not that I’ve found so far.) Could it be that Peter himself, the one preaching in Acts 2:38, says something different when speaking to individual Gentiles like you and me? (Definitely not! It is one way, one salvation, for all men, Jew and Gentile.) One only has to read Acts chapter 10 to get the answer. Peter is preaching again in Acts 10, except only to individual Gentiles, and something very interesting occurs. In Acts 2:38, the Holy Ghost was promised to be given to the converts AFTER they were baptized, yet in Acts 10:44 the Holy Ghost falls upon the Gentiles BEFORE they are baptized! (As I explained, God was making a point to a very prejudiced Peter. This event does not EVER happen again in any of Scripture. In fact, in Acts 19:1-6, believers did not receive the Holy Spirit and its gifts until AFTER they had been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) Now, Paul tells us in Romans 8:9, ” . . .if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Having God’s Spirit is synonymous with belonging to God or being saved (John 3:6-8), so the Gentiles in Acts 10 were saved BEFORE they were baptized in water. Why don’t the Acts 2:38 cultists ever point this out? Answer: It destroys their perverted doctrine that water baptism is essential for salvation. (Actually, the story of Cornelius supports baptism for the remission of sins.)

The fact is that Acts 2:38 is NOT the “model” plan of salvation, nor are any of the other “water verses” which the cultists use. Only by taking such verses out of their context can one teach such heresy. All of the Bible is true, not just the favorite “proof texts” of the cults (including the “faith-only” cult). Baptism saves no one (I Peter 3:20-21). It only serves as a testimonial picture of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ AFTER one has believed on Christ (Acts 8:36-38). Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17 that “. . . Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” This “gospel” is defined by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and it does NOT include water baptism. (Ah, but Paul DID baptize converts, as proven by the previous verses, I Corinthians 1:10-16. His main duty was to preach, while others who accompanied him, such as Peter and Apollos, performed baptisms. You have just taken Scripture out of context to prove a point. A bit hypocritical, no?) The dying thief was not baptized, yet Jesus saved him (Luke 23:42-43) (Jesus, being God, had the power to forgive sins while on earth — and the New Testament and its salvation had not yet been instituted), and John wrote that we are washed in the BLOOD of Christ (Rev. 1:5), not in the water. In fact, the saints in Heaven claim to have gotten there by the blood of Jesus (Rev. 5:9), not by water. By faith in the blood of Jesus Christ one is saved (Rom. 3:25). (True, water has no power in itself. But the obedience of submission to baptism in water for the remission of sins is a clear prerequisite laid down in the very first preaching of the gospel and throughout the epistles. Jesus’ blood is what lends its power to belief, repentance, confession, and baptism.) Water baptism only follows this faith as an outward step of obedience.

Friend, if you have fallen for the water gospel, why not repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone? Acts 10:43 says, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Why not believe on Christ 100% right now and quit trusting something you DO for salvation? (Trusting is something you DO . . . believing is something you DO . . . repenting is something you DO . . . confessing is something you DO . . .to “be baptized” is something you RECEIVE, something to which you SUBMIT! A convert does not baptize himself. He IS BAPTIZED by a Christian. Baptism is the most passive thing in the entire list. You are rejecting something received as a gift from God [through the hands of a Christian] as something which you must do yourself! Don’t you see the irony here?) “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 10:9-13 says,”That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Why not right now?

Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-13; Acts 10:43; II Corinthians 7:10; I Peter 3:20-21; Acts 22:16

Which of the above verses is valid, and which of these verses shall we reject? Or, shall we accept them all? Read them carefully in context, and decide.

You do not understand that against which you speak. I believe every single verse in Scripture, including those that teach the heresy of water baptism. Which ones do you believe?

Also:

Which of the following does Mark 16:16 say? Which do you believe?

  • He who does not believe and is baptized will be saved.
  • He who does not believe and is not baptized will be saved.
  • He who believes and is baptized will not be saved.
  • He who believes and is not baptized will be saved.
  • He who believes and is baptized will be saved.


Which of the above is the Word of God? Which is the truth? Which is a fabrication of man?

An Attempt To Explain Away Acts 2:38 — FAIL!

Posted in Baptism, Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Religion, Salvation with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by willnotbesilent

Here’s an article I found online that I thought I would share. Notice that the author emphasizes that we must be wary of a doctrine that directly claims that a statement in the Bible is untrue. When preachers of the “faith-only” doctrine say baptism does not save, or that it is not for the remission of sins, they are taking affirmative quotes from the Bible and contradicting them. Keep this in mind at all times when you hear someone speak on the Scripture!

http://grandoldbook.com/baptismfortheremissionofsins.pdf

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