Archive for Holy Spirit

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”.

Cornelius, Baptism, and the Holy Spirit

Posted in Baptism, Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Religion, Salvation with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by willnotbesilent

We now return to the topic of baptism and salvation.

“Faith only” proponents often point to the story of Cornelius in their attempt to defend their mode of salvation. “Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before being baptized,” they say. “That proves he was saved before baptism.”

Does it?

THE POINT OF CORNELIUS’ STORY

For the sake of time and space, I will not reproduce the story here, but I urge you to open your own Bible to Acts 10, then Acts 11:1-18. Notice as you read that the account of Cornelius’ conversion is repeated — first told through the pen of Luke, then again as Peter tells of his experience to the brethren in Jerusalem who took issue with him going to the Gentiles with the gospel. The fact that the story is told twice in the Bible, especially in such close succession, tells us that God considers this passage important. If it is so important, then it is equally important that we understand it.

First of all, what is the main message behind this story? It begins with Peter on the rooftop and his vision of unclean animals. God tells him to “kill and eat”, but Peter, a devout man of strong Jewish background, refuses — three times — upon which God tells him, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider holy.”

Then a knock at the door. Cornelius’ messengers have arrived to take him to Caesarea and their master. At the direct order of the Holy Spirit, Peter goes with them. And when he meets Cornelius, he says, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and you God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) After he preaches to Cornelius and returns to Jerusalem in Acts 11, Peter encounters “those of the circumcision” — Jews — who objected to his going to the Gentiles. Upon which Peter recounts the story, including the part with his vision. Luke’s account ends with the following in Acts 11:18:

When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

So what can we conclude was the entire point of this whole story? That God’s gift of salvation is available to every man — not exclusive to the Jews, as Peter and others once thought, but to all the nations of the world.

Keep this in mind as we continue the study.

DOES THE STORY OF CORNELIUS DISPROVE BAPTISM?

Now let’s go to the parts about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his household.

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 in tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. — Acts 10:44-48

“The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” — Acts 11:12-18

Now, let’s back up a little.

The angel told Cornelius Peter would “speak words to you which you will be saved.”

Now Acts 10:44 says the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household “while Peter was still speaking”. Peter, in Acts 11:15, says, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did upon us at the beginning.”

Based on these two statements, Peter had only begun preaching when the Holy Spirit fell upon them. Now consider these points:

  1. This is the apostle Peter, who preached on the day of Pentacost with the words, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38) The gospel never changed. Remember also that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit interrupted Peter, so when the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius, Peter had not even gotten to the part about baptism. This was God’s way of confirming to Peter immediately that He accepted Gentiles as well as Jews. Notice that Peter says in Acts 11:17, “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as he gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” If Cornelius was saved upon receiving the Holy Spirit, then how could Peter stand in God’s way . . . unless he refused Cornelius something essential for salvation? In Acts 10:47-48, Peter exclaimed, “ ‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” In other words, to refuse Cornelius baptism would be to stand in God’s way. And God’s mission is to save Gentile as well as Jew.
  2. Let us assume for the moment that Cornelius was meant to be saved through the “faith only” method. “Faith-only” proponents will say that all a person must do is believe and confess Jesus to be saved (Romans 10:9). According to the account of Acts 10 and 11, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius before he even had a chance to confess Jesus. Remember, the Holy Spirit fell while Peter was still speaking — it interrupted him. Therefore, if the story of Cornelius disproves Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:20, Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16, and other verses linking baptism to salvation, then it also proves that one need not confess Jesus either, thus rendering Romans 10:9 ineffective. This, of course, is absurd. One passage does not disprove another. God is not a God of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). Therefore, rather than disproving the passages above, Acts 10 and 11 link together with and support the passages referenced above.

BUT WOULD THE HOLY SPIRIT FALL ON AN UNSAVED INDIVIDUAL?

As incredible as it might sound to some, yes. It can, and it has. Scripture supports this with several accounts of the Holy Spirit in relation to a person who was unsaved or displeasing to God.

— Balaam spoke through the Holy Spirit in Numbers 22-24. Balak king of Moab hired Balaam to curse the Hebrews, but Balaam, though the Holy Spirit, only blessed them. But later we learn from II Peter 2:12-16 that Balaam was a wicked man “who loved the wages of unrighteousness”. In Jude 11 we read that wicked men “have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam”. Revelation 2:14 says that though the Holy Spirit only allowed Balaam to speak blessings on Israel, he still taught Balak “to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.”  Balaam was anything but a righteous man, and yet God “the Spirit of God came upon him” (Numbers 24:2).

— In I Samuel 19:18-24, David was hiding from King Saul among Samuel and the prophets at Naioth. Saul, intending to murder David — and filled with an evil spirit (I Samuel 16:14) — sent a company of men to Naioth to capture David and bring him back. God protected David by sending His Spirit upon them. They stopped at Naioth and prophesied along with the resident prophets at Naioth. So Saul sent another company of men, and they too were overcome by the Spirit of God and began to prophesy. The third company Saul sent was also stopped in similar fashion. And so Saul went himself. Of course, we know what happened:

He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

Remember, Saul was also under the influence of an evil spirit, and intended to murder David. He was not saved. He was not pleasing God with his behavior. And yet God sent His Spirit to overcome him — not because Saul was so righteous or pleasing before God, but as a method of protecting David.

— Caiphas was the High Priest when Jesus was killed. In John 11:49-53, while conspiring with the Pharisees and chief priests, he says, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Verses 51-52 say,

Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Now if you read this passage carefully, you’ll notice that Caiaphas was not speaking as a believer in Jesus, but rather in favor of killing him. They were worried that, if Jesus kept speaking and the people kept listening, the Romans would take away “both our place and our nation”. After Caiaphas speaks, John writes, “So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.” (John 11:53) Caiaphas intended to say that they needed to kill Jesus in order to protect themselves and their positions. However, Verse 51 says he did not speak of his own volition — in other words, he was speaking prophecy without intending — the Holy Spirit was guiding his tongue.

That Caiaphas was not a believer in Jesus is proven later in Matthew 26, when Jesus is brought before Caiaphas. The high priest was not Jesus’ friend, but rather one of the loudest proponents for His death, calling Him a blasphemer.

Was Caiaphas saved, or in any way pleasing in God’s eyes? No! He was an evil man who conspired with others to murder Jesus, and participated in the sham trial that ultimately sent Him to Calvary.

Based upon the above instances of Balaam, King Saul, and Caiphas, we can see that it is not necessary for a person to be saved to have the Holy Spirit fall upon them and influence their actions. (NOTE: The supernatural OUTPOURING of the Holy Spirit versus the INDWELLING of the Holy Spirit are not to be confused — a topic to be covered later.)

This proves that the Holy Spirit falling on Cornelius and his household does not prove they were saved. It did, however, cement in Peter’s mind the novel concept that Gentiles are accepted by God.

As we read all of the New Testament, we find cases in which the Holy Spirit fell on people prior to and after baptism — the Holy Spirit fell on some people as a result of the apostles laying hands on them, and on others without the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit fell on people as God dictated. Whether they were saved or not had no bearing on the matter.

ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

In some places of the New Testament account, we find instances in which the Holy Spirit fell on people AFTER they were baptized. Acts 8:12-17 tells of the people of Samaria receiving the gospel, and the apostles laying hands on them so they would receive the Holy Spirit . . . . AFTER the new converts were baptized. In Acts 19:1-6, Paul met men in Ephesus who had never heard of the Holy Spirit. When he learned that they had only been baptized in the baptism of John, he rebaptized them in the name of Jesus Christ. He then laid hands on them, whereupon they received the Holy Spirit, and prophesied and spoke in tongues.

Now if some can isolate the instance of Cornelius and say that their outpouring of the Holy Spirit proves they were saved prior to baptism, then others can isolate the cases listed in the previous paragraph and say these prove that one is only saved after baptism. We now see, however, that none of those stories lends strength to either argument. The only conclusion one can logically draw is that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and its gifts can fall on anyone God so chooses, saved or otherwise.

Again, remember that there is a distinct difference between the OUTPOURING of the Holy Spirit and the INDWELLING of the Holy Spirit.

PETER PREACHED OBEDIENCE TO CORNELIUS!

We know from Acts 11:14 that Peter went to Cornelius to “speak words to you by which you will be saved”.  When Peter began preaching to Cornelius, what was one of the first things he said?

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and DOES WHAT IS RIGHT is welcome to Him.” [emphasis mine] — Acts 10:34-35

Now what is the definition of doing what is right? According to Paul in Romans 6:17-18,

But thanks be to God that that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Thus, doing what it right is being sincerely obedient to God’s teaching.

No one is saved until they do what God tells them to do (i.e., are obedient).

The story of Cornelius does not prove that we are saved by “faith alone”, but by fearing God and making our faith alive through obedience. When Peter told Cornelius to “believe” in Acts 10:43, they would not have arrived at the conclusion that salvation was through faith without obedience, because Peter had been very specific in Acts 11:35 that obedience is needed for salvation. He preached the same gospel to them that he preached to the 3000 on the day of Pentacost, which was to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

PETER PREACHED WATER BAPTISM TO CORNELIUS!

Peter told them words by which they would be saved (Acts 11:14). His words, the words he told them in obedience to God’s command, included water baptism (Acts 10:47-48). When the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household, Peter had not yet concluded preaching. As a matter of fact, according to Acts 11:14-15, he’d just begun to speak! He’d told them to be obedient, but hadn’t yet specifically told them HOW to be obedient. Read the account carefully: He starts to speak, the Holy Spirit interrupts by falling on them, and Peter finishes preaching (telling them words by which they would be saved), by saying they must be baptized in water.

Again, he was delivering the exact same gospel message that he preached on the day of Pentacost!

CONCLUSION

And so we see that the story of  the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius does not prove that one is saved without or before water baptism, but rather lends strength to the argument that one is saved when one believes, repents, and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. History has shown that men both good and evil have experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and that the outpouring has nothing to do with salvation.

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?

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