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Are we saved by baptism? Part 1

1) An explanation of Acts 2:36-41

Acts 2:36-41 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

  •  By observing the Greek, it is clear that “be baptized” is set off from “repent and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost” because it is a 3rd person singular, while the other verbs are 2nd person plurals.  Peter is saying that, he had just preached the Gospel that they had presently rejected.  Your sin is a dependence upon your own righteousness and a rejection of the risen Son of God.  You must turn from this sin which will damn you, and you must depend alone upon the righteousness of the risen Son of God for your eternal salvation.  This is the essence of the repentance, and it is in the 2nd person plural indicating “all of you repent”!
  • The second command is in a different person, and is referring to a select group.  It is a 3rd person singular which means “those of you who repent are commanded to submit to believer’s baptism as an unashamed public profession of your faith in Christ.” 
  • The prepositional phrase “for the remission of sins” is eis+an accusative noun.  This construction has the idea of cause.  In other words, he is saying you all are to believe, and those of you who have turned to Christ are to submit to believer’s baptism because your sins are forgiven.  A common way of saying “for” with this idea is the sentence: John was in court standing on trial for robbery. 
  • Every other time the Gospel is preached in Acts, baptism does not come as a part of the Gospel message.
  • The phrase, “and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost” is not a command, but it is a future tense verb indicating that after their conversions they would receive that Holy Ghost. It is interesting to notice that this verb phrase is in the 2nd person plural like the command “repent.”  This indicates that the promise of receiving the Holy Ghost is dependent upon and connected to the command to “repent,” but it is not dependant upon or most closely connected to the command to “be baptized” because of the remission of sins.  An example of this in common English would be the sentence: Go grab my jacket, gloves, and keys; and warm up the car.  I want you to do all of these things, but the car can be turned on without a jacket and gloves. 
  • There is no record in the next verses of those who believed speaking in tongues.
  • We must remember that there is more than just an eternal salvation context.  There was also a need for unbelieving Jews to turn to Christ in order to be delivered from the promised judgment upon the Jewish generation that rejected their Messiah.

2) An explanation of John 3:3-18

John 3:3-18 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

  •  As we read this passage and chapter 1, we see that there is an obvious comparison and contrast between physical and spiritual birth.  It should not surprise us that Christ would be continuing on this subject.
  • In the passage, Jesus uses the word “water,” but not “baptism.”  It would be reading into what Jesus said to interpret water as baptism. 
  • The word “and” between water and spirit indicate that we are not talking about two requirements for the new birth, but rather we are talking about two separate births.  It is talking about two separate births.
  • In the rest of this conversation, baptism is not even hinted at, yet believe is mentioned six times
 

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