What is meant by baptism for remission of sins?

So many people are confused as to what scripture says about the remission of sins.

Please look at http://www.biblestudytools.com and do a search in the King James version for remission. Then look at every passage which has that word in the New Testament. Then look at the meaning of the words in each passage.

To summarize it, to be baptized for the remission of sin is NOT to be baptized so one will be forgiven (have remission) of sin, but because one has forgiveness of sins.

Let’s look at this in more detail:

Matthew 26:28 tells us, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

In Mark 1:4, we see, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance FOR the remission of sins.”

In Luke 3:3, we see, “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance FOR the remission of sins.”

In Acts 2:38, we see, “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.”

Now, before you get confused that people must be baptized in order to have the remission of sin, there are two ways to use the word “for.” What is meant by the phrase “Billy the Kid is wanted for murder”? It can either mean he is wanted so he can murder someone, or it can mean he is wanted because he murdered someone. Obviously, we understand the phrase to mean the latter – he was wanted because he murdered someone. This is the same usage of the word translated as “for” (the Greek word is Eis) in Matthew 26:28, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3: Christ shed his blood because people would receive salvation through faith in what He did, and people should be baptized because of what Christ did – not so they will receive forgiveness, but because of the forgiveness they have already received when they believed. The idea is we should be baptized because of what Christ did for us (shed blood so our sins could be forgiven when we have faith) – not so we will receive forgiveness of sin.

This is very clear when we look at Acts 10:43-44

43 “To him give all the prophets witness , that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word”.

In that passage, we see Peter tell his listeners that those who believe in Christ receive forgiveness of sins, and then the gentiles believed and received the Holy Ghost – they were saved when they believed – not when they were baptized.

It is in Romans 3:25 where we see a different word translated “for” (the Greek word is Dia): “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past , through the forbearance of God.” In this passage, the word translated as “for” means “by means of,” “because of for this reason,” and “through.” In this passage, we see Jesus is that which appeases God when people have faith in the shed blood of Christ. It is declaring the righteousness of Christ is the means by which sins are forgiven.

Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” It is only by the shedding of blood that there is forgiveness.

Hebrews 10:18 reads,  “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” This is telling us where there is forgiveness of sin, there is no more need for sacrifice for such.

Just how important was baptism to Paul? We see the answer in 1 Corinthians 1:17 which reads,

 For Christ sent me not to baptize , but to preach the gospel : not with wisdomof words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect .

Some would believe that Paul is saying that unlike in the past (like John the baptist), Paul is there not to baptize and give his own wisdom so that he appears to be the one doing the saving, but IS there first to give all the glory to God and to let them be convicted and be baptized.

No John the baptist did not give his own wisdom – he was called by God to proclaim the need to repent because of (for) forgiveness of sins. Paul is NOT saying in 1 Cor 1:17 “to let them be convicted and be baptized.” He is saying that baptism is not that important. It is Christ and faith in the blood of Christ shed upon the cross that is important.

Baptism is NOT a part of faith; it is ALWAYS mentioned separately, distinct from faith. It is evidence of faith. There is a huge difference. It is something we DO – an act, a deed, a work. We are NOT saved by works or deeds, but by grace through faith – which we see in Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We see in Hebrews 11 an entire chapter dedicated to people who had faith and demonstrated their faith by their actions. That is what we are called to do by God, as Paul tells us in Acts 26:20,

20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Looking at Mark 16:16, we see,

 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned .

So we see Jesus say that if you have no faith you are condemned. But if you have true faith, you will be baptized. Its not the baptism that saves you, but that gives evidence to the faith you have. This is seen more clearly when you look at the word translatd here as ‘and’ – it is Kai in Greek. This word means, “and, also, even, indeed, but.” So a better translation would be, “He that believes, even baptized, shall be saved; but he that does not believe will be damned.” The idea is that if one truly believes, one will be baptized to show that belief, but if one doesnt have faith, then one is condemned.

But while baptism is important, because it shows our faith, not being baptized is no worse than any other sin. Indeed, all of us will continue to sin until we die. Some will sin in one area, while others will sin in other areas. So long as we have true faith in what Christ has done and we continue to grow to become more like Christ, then eventually, we should be baptized to show that we have faith in Christ and are obedient.

In summary, no, water baptism does not save you and is not required to be saved. Faith in the finished work of Christ (his shed blood on the cross so people could have forgiveness of sins) is what saves you. Yes, if you are saved, then you should be baptized, as it shows you have faith. But baptism is something we DO, and so is a deed, a work, and so we are not saved through or because of it. Scripture is quite clear we are saved by God’s grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ. Baptism is merely one way to prove we are saved (which is what Paul said in Acts 26:20 we all have to do).

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192 Responses

  1. According to your logic you are suggesting that one is forgiven before repentance. This is not so. The website where you got your definition for “for” “Eis” is bias and does not believe that one has to be baptized for the remission of sins. If you look at http://translate.google.com/?tl=el&q=undefined#auto/el/for you will see that “Eis” is not defined as because at all. To teach that one’s sins are remitted before baptism goes against what Peter taught in Acts 2:38

    • First, modern greek can not be used in translation because the meanings of so many words are very different from the greek the new testament was written in.

      Second, ‘eis’ literally means ‘in’. Peter taught people need to repent and Be baptized in the name of Christ IN the forgiveness of sin. The repentance brings forgiveness, at which time we are to be baptized, which is one of many ways of calling upon God.

      This matches what Paul said in Acts 2:22, 26:20, 16:31, Romans 10:13. The calling on God is the evidence of salvation – that we have more than an idea, but faith or trust. Jesus said we only need to believe (Jn 3:16) – that is the least common denominator. If we have faith then we are saved and will call upon God and love God and obey God. Otherwise, it depends upon us, and we know from Romans 10, that it totally depends upon God.

      • Acts 22:16 Paul is asked what he is waiting for but to “wash away his sins” and calling upon the Name of the Lord.
        1 Peter 3:21 says baptism saves us
        Colossians 2:11 and 12 say baptism cuts of the sins of the flesh

        You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone wait more than mere hours to get baptized once they receive the gospel.

        • No, I know many who waited months or years before they are baptized, though they confessed Christ long before that.

          In fact, the early church fathers taught waiting for years, right before death, before being baptized.
          “Finally, due to other issues in the early church, many people would postpone their baptism until they were near death.”
          http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/water-baptism.php

          Let us look at the passages you mentioned.
          Acts 22:16

          Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

          Notice that in Acts 22:16, Ananias said to Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins, “CALLING ON HIS NAME.” Water baptism IS considered calling on Christ’s name. This is what Paul taught – that people must show/express that Jesus was Lord and was raised from the dead by God.

          We see this is what Paul taught in Romans 10:9

          9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

          Paul was clear that he wasn’t interested in baptizing people, 1 Corinthians 1:17 reads,

          For 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

          Realize that the baptism spoken of in 1 Peter 3:21 is NOT focusing on water baptism, but on the appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Christ. Water baptism is an expression of faith and obedience.
          1 Peter 3:21

          21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

          Water baptism is simply another way to call upon the Lord – a way to give evidence one is saved.

          The circumcision spoken of in Colossians 2:11-12 is GOD circumcising our hearts – without hands (which we can see in Dt 30:6).
          The baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection Christ underwent. Its not that water baptism in itself does anything, but is an expression of the faith we have been given.
          Colossians 2:11-12

          11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

          Deuteronomy 30:6

          “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

  2. Love this explanation! Especially in light of all who claim they “have faith and believe” in Christ before they can be baptized. What of denominations that baptize children younger than one year old…tell me that child has sins for which they must repent! Not.

    • Being baptized reflects the faith you must have to be saved. So if you are baptized as an infant, before you have faith and before you repent, then you should be baptized once you have faith and you repent. Baptism for children does nothing other than identify the child as belonging to Christian parents.

      Baptism should be IN forgiveness, that is to say, AFTER you get faith and repent.

    • So explain away Romans 5:12-21, or do you not understand……

  3. Salvation is the work of God. No man can add to it. Neither through circumcision as in the old testament or baptism as in the new testament although both are an act of obedience in their respective covenant. If any of you doubt this, let the Holy Spirit convict you of this truth.

  4. Dear Baptist/evangelical Christian brother:

    Here is where you go wrong: believing that Baptism is a work.

    The sinner must believe. That is something HE must do, an act he must accomplish. So since it is something the sinner does…is that a work?

    The sinner must also repent. Believing alone is not enough. Satan and his angels believe. Repenting is an act. It is something that the sinner must do. So is repenting a work?

    “Believe, repent, be baptized” we see that theme over and over in the New Testament in the conversion of sinners to Christianity. So why do Baptists and evangelicals teach that baptism is a work of man when it is simply the third part of a three part command? Baptism is not a work of man, but a work of God. Yes, the sinner must present himself to be baptized, but the act of saving and forgiving sins in baptism is all God. No matter how ardently Baptists and evangelicals try to twist and contort God’s Word, there are so many verses in the Bible that state very clearly that God forgives sins in Baptism. Why not believe the simple, plain reading of the Bible instead of explaining away what God says to make it fit your doctrine?

    You are following a sixteenth century false teaching, my friend. NO ONE in the approximately first 800 years of Christianity believed that Baptism is simply and only a public profession of faith. You won’t find even ONE historical document that states as such.

    Praying the Sinner’s Prayer is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and neither is “accepting Christ into your heart” or “make a decision for Christ”. “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins” IS found in the Bible!

    • Actually, no.

      Belief is not a work. This comes from God – it is NOT something we do, it is something given to us.
      Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith.
      Hebrews 12:2

      fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

      God gifts us with faith.
      Ephesians 2:8

      For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

      As for repent – this is not something we DO, it is something God causes in us. GOD causes us to change our minds regarding whether Jesus is the Son of God sent to pay the price of our sins.

      Repentance comes from God, not because you decided to repent:
      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.”

      If repentance came from us, Esau would have been able to repent, but he couldn’t, showing it comes from God:
      Hebrews 12:15-17

      15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

      God does not save us because we do certain righteous acts, but because of His mercy. We are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
      Titus 3:5

      He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

      If water baptism was so important, then surely every instance where it talks about what is necessary to be saved would have spoken of the supposed need to be baptized. But there are scripture verses which talk about being saved without mentioning a NEED to be baptized. Acts 16:29-32

      29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

      Yes, we see in Acts 16:33 that the jailer and his household were baptized. But the apostle Paul and Silas were clear, people must believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved. That is what is needed, anything else are evidences that our salvation is real – that we have a saving faith instead of a saying faith.

      If we don’t have evidence of our faith, then our faith is dead and worthless.
      James 2:14-17

      14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

      Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

      Additionally, our faith must persevere for it to be real faith.
      Hebrews 10:36

      You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised

      Acts 10:44-11:18 show explicitly how God baptizes the believer with the Holy Spirit without the use of water. In particular, Acts 10:43-48 reads,

      “’All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.”

      In this act of God baptizing with the Holy Spirit, God set the course for how baptism would occur for most believers. Jesus Himself told Nicodemus that one must be born again, of Spirit, to enter the Kingdom of God, as seen in John 3:3-8. We know from Titus 3:4-7 that God saved us because of His mercy through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, thus what occurred in Acts 10-11 were not isolated events. Only after the new believer was baptized with the Holy Spirit did they publicly announce their discipleship of Christ through baptism. From these verses, we see the method of baptism for gentiles has four steps. New believers must 1) believe in Christ; 2) receive forgiveness of sins through Christ’s name; 3) be baptized with the Holy Spirit; 4) be baptized with water in the name of Jesus Christ.

      When does baptism of the Holy Spirit occur? Acts 2:38 indicates it occurs when one believes the Gospel. Certainly being born of the Spirit is an instantaneous event, as indicated by the idea that people must repent and be baptized so the Spirit can live within us (Acts 2:38, Galatians 3:5, James 4:5). The ‘repent’ spoken of is the changing of one’s mind about the truth regarding Jesus and believing in Him (Acts 8:12, Romans 3:22). This is an act of God within man – Philippians 2:13

      for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

      ‘Eis’ (the word translated in Acts 2:38 for the word ‘for’) literally means ‘in’. Peter taught people need to repent and Be baptized in the name of Christ IN the forgiveness of sin. The when we have faith, that is a repentance which brings forgiveness, at which time we are to be baptized, which is one of many ways of calling upon God. Thus, being baptized IN the forgiveness of sin is the same thing as being baptized because we have been forgiven our sin.

      This matches what Paul said in Acts 2:22, 26:20, 16:31, Romans 10:13. The calling on God is the evidence of salvation – that we have more than an idea, but faith or trust. Jesus said we only need to believe (Jn 3:16) – that is the least common denominator. If we have faith then we are saved and will call upon God and love God and obey God. Otherwise, it depends upon us, and we know from Romans 10, that it totally depends upon God.

      How much does a baby have to do with his birth? Nothing, except to be created by God. The same is true for the second birth! GOD works in you to repent and to believe and to have evidence of your faith! We are to be born of of water, which is the first birth, being born of flesh, and we are to be born of spirit, the second birth, being born of the Spirit.
      John 3:5-8

      5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      Note, that Peter recalled God had said John baptized with water, but believers would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
      Acts 11:15-18

      15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

      It is clear that baptism of the Holy Spirit is required, and this comes from the faith they were given to repent (change their minds about Jesus being from God) and turn to God. This faith engenders deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:20), which are evidence of our salvation.

      Some other posts of mine regarding baptism:
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/is-water-baptism-part-of-the-process-of-salvation/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/does-water-baptism-save-us/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/saving-faith-verses-saying-faith/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/1571/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/more-on-water-baptism-and-whether-it-is-for-childreninfants/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/baptism-water-or-spirit-required-or-not-is-it-for-infants/

        • I am very happy to see that you do not believe in “decision theology”. We both then agree that God saves whom he wants, when he wants, where he wants.

          So, now…what is the PURPOSE of Baptism? Is there anywhere in the Bible that specifically states that baptism is simply and ONLY an act of obedience/public profession of faith? Baptism or one of its derivatives is mentioned more than 100 times in the New Testament (the term “born again”, by comparison, is only mentioned three times). How could God talk about his command to be baptized more than 100 times but never state what PURPOSE it serves?? The Baptist/evangelical position is based solely on an assumption.

          The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” We Lutherans believe that literally. If you believe on Christ..you are saved. You are saved before you ever get near a baptismal font.

          The Bible says, “Call on the name of the Lord, and thou shalt be saved.” We Lutherans believe that verse literally. If you call out to call to save you, he will save you immediately. If you die before you are baptized, you WILL go to heaven. You are a Christian.

          The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We Lutherans believe that literally. If you publically express Jesus as Lord and sincerely believe in his resurrection…you are saved. Baptism is NOT a requirement for salvation!

          AND when the Bible says, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the Holy Ghost”; when the Bible says, “Why are you tarrying, arise, be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord”, we Lutherans believe those verses literally. If you are baptized, God forgives and washes away your sins.

          Baptists and evangelicals won’t accept reading those last verses literally because they seem “in tension” with the verses above it. We Lutherans don’t try to make verses fit together into a neat, logical statement. We believe God literally. If he says he saves when the sinner believes, calls, confesses…we believe and teach that. When God says he forgives sins in baptism. we believe that too.

          Orthodox Christians have always held this view of Baptism, going on almost 2,000 years. Evidence of it can be found in the writings of the earliest Christian writers/Church Fathers.

          • BTW, I dont care that others who call themselves Christians do something or other. My concern is what does the BIble say. The Bible says to not call up the dead (praying to saints), to not have idols (icons look a lot like idols to me).

            Some taught baptismal regneration, others didnt teach on it – it was just accepted that baptism after coming to faith was what you would do. Baptism was the key to entrances into the church.

            I will say this – for some, water baptism is the first time they turned to God and appeal to God with a clear conscience. When they turn to God, that is when they are saved. For others, it is an expression of the faith they have been given – obedience.

  5. AM BLESS AND THIS PURE TEACHING AND IS WHAT I NEED

  6. Update: Baptists and evangelicals have found proof that Acts 2:38 was mistranslated.

    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/05/baptists-and-evangelicals-find-proof.html

    • Did you read what that link points to? It supports the position that we are not baptized for the repentance of sin, be because we have repentance of sin.

      ‘Eis’ (the word translated in Acts 2:38 for the word ‘for’ literally means ‘in’. Peter taught people need to repent and Be baptized in the name of Christ IN the forgiveness of sin. The when we have faith, that is a repentance which brings forgiveness, at which time we are to be baptized, which is one of many ways of calling upon God.

      This matches what Paul said in Acts 2:22, 26:20, 16:31, Romans 10:13. The calling on God is the evidence of salvation – that we have more than an idea, but faith or trust. Jesus said we only need to believe (Jn 3:16) – that is the least common denominator. If we have faith then we are saved and will call upon God and love God and obey God. Otherwise, it depends upon us, and we know from Romans 10, that it totally depends upon God.

  7. Dear Brother,

    You are correct that believing and repenting are not works, they ARE gifts from God. But neither is baptism a work.

    The Baptist/evangelical interpretation of the Bible is a very educated, well-thought out, compelling belief system. I know. I grew up the son of a fundamentalist Baptist pastor, and then five years more as a non-denominational evangelical. The original Greek can even seem to corroborate the Baptist/evangelical interpretation.

    The problem is this: There is NO evidence that ANYONE in the first 800 or so years of Christianity believed this interpretation of Scripture. None. Zero. Zip. There is not one single shred of evidence that anyone during these 800 or so years believed that baptism is simply and only an act of obedience/public profession of faith. THOUSANDS of documents, written by early Christians, are still in existence…NONE of them support the Baptist/evangelical interpretation.

    The Catholics destroyed all such evidence? Where the proof of this mass “Baptistic” book burning? It doesn’t exist? Baptistic/evangelical believers were hiding out in caves without any writing utensils or ability to scratch on the walls? No evidence of this either.

    So are we really to believe, then, that Christ’s Word AND Christ’s Church, completely disappeared for 1,000 years until the Waldensians, Albigensians, Anabaptists and Baptists suddenly re-emerged as the true Church with the true interpretation of the Bible???

    Think about it brothers and sisters! The Baptist/evangelical thinking on this issue is no different than this scenario:

    —A man living in 2013 sits down and reads the United States Bill of Rights. He comes across the phrase “all men are created equal”. It hits him like a lightning bolt! The writers of the US Bill of Rights, including the Southerners, did NOT believe in slavery! They believed that black African men are equal to white European men! Our nation then has never had racial discrimination! Thank the Lord that I have discovered the truth about what this document says! It is irrelevant that other historical documents, many historical documents, do not support this interpretation, but the original English of this phrase cannot mean anything else! Americans have always believed in full equality of the races!—

    Silly, isn’t it?

    But that is how Baptists and evangelicals read the Bible. They refuse to read the writings of the early Christians to see how THEY understood the Gospel and the doctrines of the Faith. Their writings do not have the same authority as the Bible but they should not be ignored, just as the man above should not ignore the contemporaneous writings of the Bill of Rights.

    The Baptist/evangelical interpretation of the Bible is new doctrine. For 800-1,000 years it did not exist. God said he would preserve His Word and His Church. God is either a liar, or Baptists and evangelicals are wrong!

  8. Dear Baptist and evangelical readers of this Blog,

    Salvation IS by faith alone, in Christ alone. The question is this: does man make a decision to “choose” righteousness or does GOD choose to freely give righteousness to man? The second chapters of Ephesians and Colossians clearly state that the sinner is spiritually dead. Dead men can’t choose God.

    So how are we saved?

    It is very simple: God predestined, before the world existed, those who would be his children. Then, at some point in their lives, at a time of HIS choosing, he quickens/makes them spiritually alive, gives them the gift of faith, and simultaneously they believe and repent. Salvation is ALL God! Man is a passive participant in his salvation. He doesn’t do good works to be saved. He doesn’t make a “decision” to be saved.

    After being saved, the new convert is commanded to be baptized, and in baptism, the Bible, in multiple locations, in simple, plain language, states that the sinner’s sins are washed away.

    That is how salvation occurs. Yes, we are saved by faith, but not a faith that the sinner conjures up by his own intelligence and maturity. Faith is a gift of God. We receive it freely. We are NOT forced to make a decision before it is ours. If that were true, salvation would no longer be free.

    Orthodox Christians have believed this plan of salvation for 2,000 years. You can find it in the writings of the earliest Church Fathers. There is NO evidence anywhere of ANYONE believing in a “decision for Christ” and then a “symbolic baptism” that is simply a public profession of faith. Not one shred evidence!

    God saves. He does it without the assistance or even the cooperation of man. He creates faith which simultaneously creates belief and repentance. The sinner is saved immediately at this point. The sinner then obeys God’s command to be baptized, and in baptism, God washes away sins. Read the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts.

    The Lutheran Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church have always believed that an adult convert is saved in this manner. The latter two churches slowly added false teachings that infer that in order to keep our salvation we must do good works, but the fundamental core of the Gospel—the free gift of salvation, has always been with Christ’s Church.

    God bless you, and bring you back to the true, ancient, apostolic faith.

    • We are not puppets and God is not the puppet master. He does not crush our will. We are our own free moral agents. God knew before hand who would accept Jesus and who wouldn’t. He knows the plans He has for us and it is our choice whether we accept them or not. If God picks and chooses whom He wants to save then why does the Word says it is not His will that any should perish but ALL come to know the truth. Study the Word you will learn there are three baptisms. Blood. water, and Holy Spirit. I believe some get confused at to which baptism the scripture is in reference to.

      • I wish I had a penny for every time people told me their desires overrules God’s.

        Christ is the AUTHOR of faith.
        Hebrews 12:2

        fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

        Christ is the AUTHOR of salvation.
        Hebrews 2:10

        For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

        Jesis didnt say that people were not His sheep because the didnt believe. Instead, He said they did not believe because they were not His sheep.
        John 10:26

        But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.

        Jesus said the work of God is that people believe in Christ.
        Jn 6:29

        Jesus answered and said to them,“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent”

        Jesus knew some did not believe in him, and said ALL the FATHER gives to Christ WILL come to Him.
        John 6:36-37

        36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

        Further, scripture states NO ONE can come to Christ unless the Father draws him and Christ WILL raise those up.
        Jn 6:44-45

        44 NO ONE can come to Me UNLESS the Father who sent Me draws him; and I WILL raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me

        John 6:64-65

        64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me UNLESS it has been granted him from the Father.”

        Some want to believe they have a choice in whether they will be saved (which really makes no sense, because if God wanted them to be saved, they would be – and if God DIDNT want them to be saved, then they wouldnt be).

        It is evident from Romans 11:7-11 that God sent a stupor to the Israelites so that salvation could come to the Gentiles.

        7 What then ? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened ; 8 just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.” 9 And David says, “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. 10 “LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER. 11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. ”

        Not only does God know who will choose Him, it is clear that some are chosen by God and some are destined for stumbling and disobeying the message.
        1 Peter 2:4-10

        4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
        “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
        a chosen and precious cornerstone,
        and the one who trusts in him
        will never be put to shame.”
        7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
        “The stone the builders rejected
        has become the cornerstone,”
        8 and,
        “A stone that causes people to stumble
        and a rock that makes them fall.”
        They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
        9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

        We know at least Judas was doomed for destruction SO SCRIPTURE would be fulfilled.
        John 17:12

        12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

        As for believing that 1 Timothy 2:3-4 or 2 Peter 3:9 teach God wants everyone to be saved you have to realize that the scope of the word “all” is limited by the context. Look and see what the context of 2 Peter 3:9

        9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        We can see Peter was speaking of God being long suffering toward US, believers. Since the context is believers, the “all” refers to all believers, not all people. We see that God is long suffering toward us – toward believers. He is not willing that any who would come to believe should perish, but all who would come to believe should come to repentance.

        What about the context of 1 Timothy 2:3-4? We only have to look back a few sentences before this passage to see what Paul was speaking about.
        1 Timothy 1:15-16 tells us that christ came into the world to save sinners, and that Christ’s perfect patience is an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

        15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

        Just like Peter was speaking about believers in 2 Peter 3:9, so too was Paul was speaking about believers . The context limits the scope of “all” to “those who would believe in Him for eternal life. ”

        We are baptized by the Holy Spirit when He comes upon us. We are to be baptized in water because we have remission of sin as evidence of our faith.

        1 Corinthians 12:13

        For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

  9. Gary, Yes, the church fathers understood water and spirit to be water and spiritual baptism. But before you claim an absolute, you must realize that the church fathers taught that baptism was not absolutely necessary because of either the calling upon Christ or the baptism by blood (death of the martyr).

    CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (c. A.D. 350) in Catechetical Lectures 3:10,12 wrote, “If any man does not receive Baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive the kingdom….for the Savior calls martyrdom a Baptism (cf. Mark 10:38) …Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and come up made alive in righteousness.”

    Mark 10:38

    8 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

    ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (c. A.D. 354 – 430) in City of God 13:7 c. A.D. 420 wrote, “‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,’ made an exception for them in that other statement in which He says no less generally, ‘Whoever confesses Me before men, I too will confess him before My Father, who is in heaven’ [Matthew 10:32].

    Matthew 10:32

    32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

    Scripture to support that water baptism is not the requirement for salvation:
    Luke 15:10

    10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    Romans 10:9

    9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

    Yes, the church fathers understood water baptism to be the washing away of sins, but this goes against what Paul taught – even though when he converted he was told in Acts 22:16

    Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

    Notice that in Acts 22:16, Ananias said to Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins, “CALLING ON HIS NAME.” Water baptism IS considered calling on Christ’s name. This matches Romans 10:9 – which is what Paul taught. Paul was clear that he wasn’t interested in baptizing people, 1 Corinthians 1:17 reads,

    For Christ sent me not to baptize , but to preach the gospel : not with wisdomof words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect .

    Also, as we can see from the writings of church fathers, baptism did NOT occur immediately after repentance and having faith and confessing Christ.
    “This is evidence that these early Christians did NOT think baptism was ”required” to be saved. In fact, there is mention in Origen (Contra Celsum) and in the Didascalia (both early third century) that should a catechumen meet a martyr’s death prior to being baptized, he/she would be saved through a ”baptism of blood.” This mention is made in defense of the necessity of baptism, yet is given to show that there is an exception – kind of like thethief on the cross for those who insist that water baptism is a necessity for salvation” (from http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/water-baptism.php).

    Water baptism is an expression of the faith that saves us, as is calling on the name of the Lord and confessing Jesus as Lord. There are too many examples where we are told to believe to be saved that do not mention the need for water baptism (Luke 7:50; John 3:16-18; Acts 10:39-48; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), that it is by grace, not a work.

    These is an example of being baptized with water, and not having received the Holy Spirit: Acts 8:14-17.

    These is an example of being baptized with the Holy Spirit (“Holy Spirit poured out”), and not having received water baptism: Acts 10:39-48; Acts 11:15-18 in describing the previous.

    So no. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. Even so, it is a command and any obedient Christian WILL be baptized. But it may take a while for a new believer, or a believer who comes from a background which teaches infant baptism, to be convinced of the need and then submit to God.

  10. I am delving into this topic in an amateur manner.
    If Baptism was not important why did Jesus say ‘ by the spirit and water’??,
    why did Peter at Pentecost conmmand it. \
    I agree that ‘In Jesus’s Name ‘is the way to go.
    I note Jesus was Baptised in the Jordan, – Joshua led the Isreals from the wilderness into the Promise ( Land), by crossing the Jordan ( BAPTISM) …in which they eat the fruit thereof and Joshua 5 v14 |And HE said as Captain of the Host of The Lord am I now come”.
    Crossing the Jordan ( Baptism) was to mpve into the fullfillment of all Gods Promises by FOLLOWING JOSHUA ACROSS..How did our Jesus Go..by Death,…How do we go…By Death. Dont Cross and you are not in the Promise, You are not abiding, you are not in the Kingdom.
    You will note it says ‘be Baptised and you will receive the Holy Spirit ( a gift that those that obey receive).
    You will not that ihose baptised into the Death and Burial of Christ..are ressurected’…into a new life and those that obey reci9ve the Holy Spirit. I hold this is not a ceremony but a mystery of rebirth in Christ.
    Now if this Baptism is Not in the Name and identifcation of, the One who died for me, nut in ‘another name’, then this is ‘disobediance’ to the clear counsel of scripture. The person Has not DIED and ressurected in Christ. The Holy Spirit is given to those that OBEY. So when an add-on ‘ Holy Spirit’ is used in the formula, tell me what Spirit can the primed convert receive…is t it the Holy Spirit of obedience or a false Spirit from the father of Disobediance. This is the greater terror to me given the witnmess of Cgharismatic/ Penteciostal chaos to namje just a small portion of Christendom.

    • You wrote:

      If Baptism was not important why did Jesus say ‘ by the spirit and water’??,

      Actually, Jesus said one has to be born again, born a second time, to see the kingdom of God. Then he explained that being born again means, “one is born of water and the Spirit”. Then he further explained that with paralellism: ” That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” – Being born the first time is being born of water, or being born of the flesh – the water in this case is amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb.Being born of the Spirit is the new life God gives us through the Spirit (John 6:63).

      John 3:3-8

      3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      You wrote:

      why did Peter at Pentecost conmmand it.

      Because it gives evidence of the salvation we are supposed to have – it is one way of calling upon, confessing, the name of the Lord.
      Romans 10:9-13

      9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

      You wrote:

      I agree that ‘In Jesus’s Name ‘is the way to go.
      Crossing the Jordan ( Baptism) was to mpve into the fullfillment of all Gods Promises by FOLLOWING JOSHUA ACROSS..How did our Jesus Go..by Death,…How do we go…By Death. Dont Cross and you are not in the Promise, You are not abiding, you are not in the Kingdom.
      I note Jesus was Baptised in the Jordan, – Joshua led the Isreals from the wilderness into the Promise ( Land), by crossing the Jordan ( BAPTISM) …in which they eat the fruit thereof and Joshua 5 v14 |And HE said as Captain of the Host of The Lord am I now come”.

      You’re confused. Go read the story again – they crossed on DRY land – not a baptism by water.
      Joshua 3:14-17

      14 So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

      You wrote:

      You will note it says ‘be Baptised and you will receive the Holy Spirit ( a gift that those that obey receive).

      Let’s look at the text itself, Acts 2:37-39

      36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
      37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

      Realize, the Jews were convicted already – before they were told what was needed.
      Then realize that the word ‘for’ actually is ‘eis’ in Greek. This word means ‘in’. So Peter was saying change and be baptized IN (or because of) the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You are not being baptized so you will be forgiven, but because you have been forgiven. This is simpy you giving evidence that you have the faith God gave you at the same time He gave you repentance. And we know repentance comes from God from other scriptures:

      Acts 5:31

      He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

      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.”

      2 Timothy 2:24-26

      24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

      We also know that God gives us faith and salvation – not done based upon what we do or would do:
      Ephesians 2:8-9

      8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

      We also know that God gives us the free gift of eternal life – not because of being baptized.
      Romans 6:23

      For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      You wrote:

      You will not that ihose baptised into the Death and Burial of Christ..are ressurected’…into a new life and those that obey reci9ve the Holy Spirit. I hold this is not a ceremony but a mystery of rebirth in Christ.

      Yes, but did you die? Not physically. Baptism by water is a representation of the spiritual baptism which MUST occur.
      Here is an example of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit before being baptized with water:
      Acts 10:38-48

      38 You know of Jesus 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. 39 We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

      44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 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. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

      Here we have an example of people who were baptized and then received the Holy Spirit when Paul laid hands on them (in the act):
      Acts 19:1-7

      1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.

      The baptism with water shows you have been granted repentance and faith and the Holy Spirit and is a way of calling uopn the name of the Lord, or confessing Christ.

  11. Thank you for this one. People get confused when they think that forgiveness and grace were not freely given to all when Jesus died on the cross. It’s there, we just have to grab it.

  12. Can you really trust your English Bible to be God’s true Word?

    Have you ever had an evangelical or Reformed Christian say this to you:

    “THAT passage of the Bible, in the original Greek, does NOT mean what the simple, plain reading of the passage seems to say in English.”

    It happens to me all the time in my conversations with Baptists, evangelicals, and fundamentalists on my blog. They state: “Repent and be baptized…for the forgiveness of sins” was mistranslated. “This is my body…this is my blood” is a metaphorical expression, “Baptism does now save us” is figurative speech for what happens to us spiritually when we ask Christ into our hearts.

    What they are basically saying is that unless you speak ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek…you can’t read and really understand the Bible without the help of an educated Churchman!

    This morning I came across an excellent article on this subject, written by Jordan Cooper, a Lutheran pastor. I am going to give the link to his article below. I have copied a couple of his statements here:

    “So here is a question that we all need to ask ourselves when doing this (refusing to accept the simple, plain, English translation of a passage of Scripture): If a verse seems to disprove your theological beliefs, and you translate it in some way that doesn’t fit with any of the dozens of major English translations of the Bible, and that unique translation just happens to fit your own theological biases, could it be that it is in fact you who are in the wrong? Could you be reading your own preconceived theological convictions back into the text?”

    ” I know it can be frustrating when you are constantly told that Scripture can’t be understood unless you learn (an ancient) language or read ancient documents that you don’t have either the time or the energy to study. Honestly, if you have a few good English translations at your side, and you take the time to compare them to one another, you have all the tools you need to understand the meaning of the Bible.

    Link to Pastor Cooper’s original article:

    http://justandsinner.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-wrong-use-of-biblical-languages.html

    • Yes, generally the translated Bible can be trusted. But often translators have biases, just as preachers and teachers do.

      We must learn how to do word studies to ensure we are understanding the message being read or heard. For instance, there are two ways to understand the English word “for”: “because” or “to be”, but the correct understanding can be determined by going back to the original language (in Greek, the word is “eis”, which means “in”).

      So while generally the English translations are accurate and understandable, going to the original language DOES enhance our understanding.

      And why would English translations match? Because they often want to go along with a common understanding of what is found in the King James, or because the translators have a similar bias.

  13. Which Christian denomination today is closest to the Early Church of the Apostles?

    I would suggest that you consider taking the following approach to answer the above question. Look at the doctrinal statement of each Christian denomination and ask these questions:

    1. Do the beliefs/doctrines of this Church seem compatible with the plain, simple rendering of Scripture?

    Any belief or doctrine that requires that the plain, simple rendering of multiple passages of Scripture be twisted/contorted and re-interpreted to fit with the Church’s doctrine, is suspect.

    2. Any Church which claims that multiple passages of Holy Scripture were poorly translated, in every major English translation of the Bible since William Tyndale, either due to unintentional incompetence or due to an intentional conspiracy to translate the Bible with a particular theological bias, should be considered suspect.

    No Bible translator for the last several hundred years has been in danger of having his head chopped off for not translating the Bible in deference to the King’s Church and the King’s theological positions. Modern Bible translators are more concerned with “getting it right” than with angering/alienating a particular denomination. With the advent of the world-wide web, it is impossible for anyone to intelligently argue that a conspiracy exists today among ALL Bible translators to perpetuate the “lies” of past translators.

    3. Compare the beliefs of each Church with the beliefs of the Early Christian Church. Are they similar or very different? Is it really possible that the entire Christian Church became apostate with the death of the last Apostle, so that ALL early Christian writings, save the Bible, are untrustworthy? Are the writings of the early Christians completely useless in determining true Apostolic doctrine and practice as some denominations assert?

    I personally have used the above criteria to come to the conclusion that the Evangelical Lutheran Church comes the closest to the beliefs and practices of the Early Apostolic Christian Church. If you can prove to me, using the criteria above, that another Church/denomination is even closer…I am all ears!

    • My criteria is not which denomination is closest to the early church of the apostles, because different churches teach different things – then and now. If it WERE my criteria, I’d probably have to go with Orthodox (probably Greek).

      My criteria is what does the Bible say.

      Translators going along with the translation of the King James is not because one is in danger of death, but because people are comfortable with a translation and its correct.

      We can look at the translations and see the word ‘for’ is used. The translation is accurate, but the understaning of the word has been confused by people who want to claim that you must do something to be saved. The word ‘for’ has two meanings:
      1) “Jesse James is wanted for murder,” and
      2) “Good looking woman wanted for marriage to hard working man.”

      The first example is “because” – Jesse James was wanted because he murdered someone. The second example is “to be” – the good looking woman is wanted to marry the hard working man who placed the ad. Both are valid understandings of the word. At time like that, you go to the original language. The Greek word is ‘Eis’, which means ‘in’. So in this case, you would be baptized in the remission/forgiveness of sin – not so you would be forgiven, but because you have been forgiven.

      • “All men are created equal.”

        What does that phrase mean? If you open up a dictionary from the late 1700’s when this statement was written in our US Bill of Rights, what definition do you think you will see?

        “Every member or individual component of; each one of; as in, all men are mortal.”

        Now do you really believe that the men that signed that document in the 1780’s REALLY believed that black, African male slaves are equal to white, Anglo-Saxon property-owning men? If you say, “yes” my friend, you are either a liar or a fool. I don’t believe you are either.

        This example just shows how you cannot jump into a first century document with sixteenth century, as did the Ana-Baptists, or twenty-first century, as do the evangelicals, world view and understanding of a language, and expect to understand what these first century writers of the Bible really meant.

        When there are disputes over interpretation, we must use the criteria I mentioned above. All three thousand Christian denominations and sects think that THEY, and they alone understand the true meaning of God’s Word.

        • Either I am a fool, a liar, or I know more about American history than you. No, not all believed all men were created equal, but many of them did.

          http://americanfounding.blogspot.com/2010/08/all-men-are-created-equal-and-slavery.html
          http://americanvision.org/6227/were-the-founding-fathers-egalitarians-what-did-they-mean-by-all-men-are-created-equal/#sthash.2xtjmxrY.dpuf

          Thomas Jefferson is known to have condemned slavery, even though he was a slave owner. It was well known that slavery was more than simply tolerated by the founding fathers, even if they hated the practice. It was an economincal reality of the times. In order to ensure certain states agreed to enter into the union of colonies, it was necessary to allow for slavery. But movement had already begun to stop the vile practice. Jefferson argued against slavery, even while owning slaves. He freed his slaves. The meaning of equal did not mean same. It meant all men were equally accountable to God’s Law.

          I agree that language can change over the years. This is why its important to go back to the original language sometimes, to ensure we understand what is being said. This does not mean we should bleieve the church fathers are always correct in their understanding of thing.

          If water baptism was so important, surely Paul would have been sent to baptize.
          But Paul tells us he was NOT sent for that reason.

          Paul wrote in 1 Corinthins 1:17

          For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

          CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (c. A.D. 350) in Catechetical Lectures 3:10,12 wrote, “If any man does not receive Baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive the kingdom….for the Savior calls martyrdom a Baptism (cf. Mark 10:38) …Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and come up made alive in righteousness.”

          Mark 10:38

          8 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

          ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (c. A.D. 354 – 430) in City of God 13:7 c. A.D. 420 wrote, “‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,’ made an exception for them in that other statement in which He says no less generally, ‘Whoever confesses Me before men, I too will confess him before My Father, who is in heaven’ [Matthew 10:32].

          Matthew 10:32

          32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

          So no, we are not required to be baptized with water to be saved. It is expected of us to obey, to call upon the name of Christ. the motivations are different things.

  14. Does the Greek word “eis” really translate as “because of” in Acts 2:38 as you say, WB?

    ‘ve lost track of the number of times that a Baptist or evangelical has told me that Acts 2:38 was mistranslated; that the “for” in that passage of God’s Holy Word should be removed and replaced with “because of”.

    It doesn’t matter to them that EVERY English translation of the Bible, including that of William Tyndale, translates this word in Acts 2:38 as “for” or “into” and never “because of”, because these Christians know in their hearts that God would never, ever say that baptism has anything to do with the forgiveness of sins, regardless of how simple and plain His words are in the passage. They will refuse to accept it, now matter what evidence is presented to them, because they HAVE TO BE RIGHT!

    Below is an excellent article regarding “eis”. In it a top evangelical Bible scholar admits that “eis” CANNOT be translated as “because of” in Acts 2:38.

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=32616&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BJS+%28The+Brothers+of+John+the+Steadfast%29

    • There are a number of evangelical scholars who believe as you. There are a number who do not. Being evangelical does not give someone more weight in their arguments.

      Here is a good break down of various arguments for how ‘eis’ should be understood:
      http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1990i/Acts2-38.html

      Using your reasoning of how to interpret, one should take the text at face value, so ‘eis’ should be translated as ‘in’.

      I am tired of the arguing. You have failed to convince me. I have failed to convince you. I am ok with that. We each think the other is wrong, and that’s ok.

      We must be convinced in our own minds, and we are. There is no need to continue this argument.

      • “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ in the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

        You still have this issue: If this is the correct way to understand this passage…a believer does not receive the Holy Ghost until AFTER baptism. Do you believe that?

        I’m not trying to win an argument with you, brother. I am doing my duty as Scripture instructs me to encourage you to return to the true, apostolic doctrines of our shared Christian faith.

        • Remember, there was no puncutation used in the original language. And meaning can change based upon the use of punctuation.
          For instance: “Let’s eat grandma” is a different thing than “Let’s eat, grandma.”

          One can easily understand Acts 2:38 to be:
          ‘Peter said to them, “Repent (and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in the forgiveness of your sins) and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”‘

          The baptism is a sign of the faith you have. The gift of the Holy Spirit comes when you believe.

          One receives the Holy Spirit at the time of belief. We have examples in scripture where this is before water baptism, and after water baptism.

          We see in Acts 10:38 that people receive forgiveness of sin when they believe Christ was annointed by GOd, suffered and died and was raised on the third day, is appointed as Judge of living and dead.

          Acts 10:38-Acts 11:18

          38 “You know of Jesus 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. 39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 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. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

          1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying ; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky ; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. 7 “I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter ; kill and eat.’ 8 “But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 “But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ 10 “This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. 11 “And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 “The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 13 “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 ; 14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 “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.’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 ?” 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.”

          Notice – God granted repentance that leads to life, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, they were baptized with water, as an expression of the faith they have.

          Acts 8:12-17 shows that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God and been baptized into the name of the Lord.

          12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13Even Simon himself believed ; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. 14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

          But while they were apparently believers, Peter and John prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, as the Samarians had not yet done so. When Peter and John laid hands on the Samarians, they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:1-7 shows that Paul found some disciples in Ephesus who had received John’s baptism of repentance, done by water, but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, we know from this same verse that these people had apparently not heard the full Gospel, as they had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Once Paul shared the full Gospel with them, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit came on them when Paul laid his hands on them.

          There are many examples where we are told to believe and be saved (Luke 7:50; John 3:16-18; Acts 10:39-48; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), that it is by grace, not a work (not something we DO, such as be baptized). 1 Corinthians 6:11 speaks of being washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit, not water baptism (much like we see in Titus 3:5). Hebrews 10:22 speaks of having our hearts sprinkled (this is by the Holy Spirit), and our bodies cleaned (water baptism). 1 Peter 3:21-22 speaks of the water that symbolizes the baptism that saves us – that by the Holy Spirit.

          21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

          Yes, there are instances where we are told to call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-15), or confess the name of Jesus (Acts 2:21), or be baptized (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16). But there are too many instances where it is by faith that we are saved. All these have in common is faith. It is the faith that saves us, and the actions that give evidence to the faith being real.

          Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

          I think 2 Timothy 2:14-15 teaches us to not argue semantics, but to show ourselves to GOD as one who handles the word of truth correctly.

          14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

          Revelation 12:11

          11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

          It is by the word of God and how God has worked in us that we conquer the enemy (not other Christians). We must love God and not our lives. This is what matters. I think we must stand for doctrine, but we must love GOd and others more than the need to be “right”.

          We must let ourselves be led by the Holy Spirit.
          John 16:13

          13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

        • I love to live by John 3:16, which in my opinion seems to be overlooked as one of the most simple instructions from our father. “whosoever believes” says it all in a nutshell. But the question of the holy spirit only after you are baptized would lead me to ask what happened in Caesarea, and Ephesus? What then is the true meaning on Acts 19:1-7? Why did Simeon the sorcerer upon seeing the disciples laying their hands on people to give them the holy spirit, who by the way the Bible says had already been baptized, say “how much money do i have pay to have this ability as well? Why did Jesus tell his disciples in John 16:7 it is good that I go, so the holy spirit/comforter will come and be with you all?

          so we see the laying of hands to transfer the holy spirit

          so we see speech as the facilitator of the holy spirit

          So would it be safe to say that after you have been baptized you will receive more of the holy spirit? The holy spirit has been here since Jesus left and even John said I baptized with water but he will baptize with the holy spirit. So do we treat being baptized with the holy spirit as being immersed into more of God? I have understood that baptizmo also meant to be immersed in the sense of curing pickles, to make a change based on that immersion. it’s the same vessel, but it takes on a new character, much like the holy spirit does through us.

  15. There is more evidence in the NT supporting orthodox Christian infant baptism than there is evidence condemning or prohibiting the practice, as evangelicals claim:

    1. “Baptize all nations” does not include an age restriction in the Great Commission (GC).

    2. There is no mention in the GC of requiring an older child/adult “decision for Christ” prior to baptizing! Isn’t that really, really odd? If the only means of salvation is an adult “decision for Christ”, why would Christ not mention this in his final comments to his disciples before ascending to heaven? Why didn’t he say, “Go into all the world, and lead people to Christ by telling them to pray and ask me into their hearts. Then, teach them everything I have commanded you, including being baptized as a public profession of faith.”

    Nope. That isn’t what he said, is it?

    Baptize, baptize, baptize, baptize, baptize. It is repeated over 100 times in the NT. “Be born again” is mentioned twice, and “accept Christ/make a decision for Christ is NEVER mentioned in the NT!

    The simple, plain rendering of multiple passages of Scripture state the following:

    1. It is the power of God’s Word that saves.

    2. The Word saves only those who have been predestined by God to be saved. You will never understand how infant baptism/salvation is possible if you believe that sinners have a free will regarding spiritual matters and are required to make a “decision” before God is allowed to save them. You must believe in (Single, not Double) Predestination to understand Infant Baptism.

    3. When God quickens the spiritually dead souls of those he has predestined, at some point in their lives, they become spiritually alive and therefore believe and repent. There is NO decision on the part of the sinner.

    4. God is not limited to the “when” of salvation. God can save an adult by the preaching of his Word BEFORE baptism, and God can and does save sinners by the power of his Word spoken/pronounced during Baptism.

    The Church has always believed this. Baptism IS necessary for salvation, in that if one rejects or neglects to be baptized, he demonstrates he does not have true faith, and very likely will go to hell when he dies. But, baptism is NOT mandatory, in that God can and does save outside of baptism as was the case with all the OT saints, the thief on the cross, and many martyrs over the last 2,000 years.

    It is the lack of faith/belief that damns, not the lack of baptism.

    In conclusion, Christ did not give any age restrictions for baptism. Christ did not require a “decision for Christ” prior to being baptized. Christ did not require believing PRIOR to baptism. More than five entire households, filled with servants and slaves, were baptized. It is mathematically virtually impossible that none of these households had infants or toddlers, and Scripture says that the ENTIRE household was baptized. There is no mention of an exception for the infants and toddlers.

    The explicit mention of the baptism of infants is not mentioned in these household conversions for the same reason that the baptism of teenagers in the households is not explicitly mentioned; or the baptism of the household’s servants, their wives, and their teenagers; or the baptism of the household’s slaves, their wives, and their teenagers. These subcategories of the “household” are not mentioned because everyone in the middle east, in the first century AD, knew and expected that these subgroups are ALWAYS included in a household conversion when the head of the household converts.

    The Baptist worldview of only allowing persons who can make a conscious decision to believe prior to being baptized is a sixteenth century, industrialized western European mind set. First century Jews and other Mediterranean peoples would have NEVER left their children in a spiritual state of “limbo”, outside of the parents’ new religion, to make a “decision” for themselves when they grew up. Such a practice would have been unheard of and outrageous!

    In the post-Resurrection period of the NT, there are only TWO explicit examples of INDIVIDUAL conversions: Saul/Paul and the Ethiopian eunuch. Neither one had families: Saul/Paul probably by choice; the eunuch for obvious reasons. Household conversion was the norm in the NT, NOT individual conversion.

    • 1) There is NO evidence in the New Testament of baptizing infants.

      2) You wrote, “There is no mention in the GC of requiring an older child/adult “decision for Christ” prior to baptizing! …”

      Wow. You are reading a lot into what is not there.
      You have to realize that being a disciple REQUIRES a decision to submit to God through faith in Christ. You choose to give up your life to Christ.
      Matthew 10:24-39

      24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malignthe members of his household!

      26 “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yetnot one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

      32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 Butwhoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

      34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

      37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

      Granted, to be able to make that choice, God has to have worked in you (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 1:11). And truly, its only a choice from man’s perspective, not from God’s.

      No, there’s no age requirement to be a disicple. But there’s no way to become a disciple without making a choice to follow God.

      The answer to the jailer’s question is evidence of what must happen for someone to be saved:
      Acts 16:29-31

      29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

      The Jailer Converted

      31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

      He chose and believed, but he did so because GOD worked in him so he could.

      You want to make a big deal out of baptism for children – but baptism was not invented by Christians. It was a Jewish custom for ritual cleansing, and it was performed on adults – not children. In example after example in the Old Testament, we see adults being told to undergo ritual cleansing, not children: Leviticus 11:36; 14:6-9;15:5-27; 17:15; numbers 19; jeremiah 17:13.

      While the church fathers may have believed baptism was necessary for salvation, they also taught there were exceptions – which proves it was not necessary. The thief on the cross proves baptism was not necessary. Even if did believe baptism was necessary, that does not make it right. We have to go back to Jewish tradition to understand baptism, and it was for adults, not children.

      I agree a person who has faith will most likely be baptized – but being baptized without faith is simply getting dunked. It means nothing. One should only be baptized once one has faith in Christ. Then it is done in obedience to Christ.

      I have 4 biological children and one foster child. None of them are infants or toddlers. They have ALL made professions of faith. Its silly to claim any given household has infants and toddlers in it. I can name any number of families who have no infants in them. It would be reading into scripture to claim the jailer’s house had infants.

      As I have previously mentioned, Paul said he was not sent to baptize, so obviously it was not all that important to him.

      • Why is the New Testament silent on Infant Baptism?

        Baptist/evangelical response:

        The reason there is no mention of infant baptism in the New Testament is because this practice is a Catholic invention that developed two to three centuries after the Apostles. The Bible states that sinners must believe and repent before being baptized. Infants do not have the mental maturity to believe or to make a decision to repent. If God had wanted infants to be baptized he would have specifically mentioned it in Scripture. Infant baptism is NOT scriptural.

        Lutheran response:

        When God made his covenant with Abraham, God included everyone in Abraham’s household in the covenant:

        1. Abraham, the head of the household.
        2. His wife.
        3. His children: teens, toddlers, and infants
        4. His servants and their wives and children.
        5. His slaves and their wives and children.

        Genesis records that it was not just Abraham who God required to be circumcised. His son, his male servants, and his male slaves were all circumcised; more than 300 men and boys.

        Did the act of circumcision save all these people and give them an automatic ticket into heaven? No. Just as in the New Covenant, it is not the sign that saves, it is God’s declaration that saves, received in faith. If these men and boys grew in faith in God, they would be saved. If they later rejected God by living a life of willful sin, they would perish.

        This pattern of including the children of believers in God’s covenant continued for several thousand years until Christ’s resurrection. There is no mention in the OT that the children of the Hebrews were left out of the covenant until they reached an Age of Accountability, at which time they were required to make a decision: Do I want to be a member of the covenant or not? And only if they made an affirmative decision were they then included into God’s covenant. Hebrew/Jewish infants and toddlers have ALWAYS been included in the covenant. There is zero evidence from the OT that says otherwise.

        Infants WERE part of the covenant. If a Hebrew infant died, he was considered “saved”.

        However, circumcision did NOT “save” the male Hebrew child. It was the responsibility of the Hebrew parents to bring up their child in the faith, so that when he was older “he would not depart from it”. The child was born a member of the covenant. Then, as he grew up, he would have the choice: do I want to continue placing my faith in God, or do I want to live in willful sin? If he chose to live by faith, he would be saved. If he chose to live a life of willful sin and never repented, and then died, he would perish.

        When Christ established the New Covenant, he said nothing explicit in the New Testament about the salvation of infants and small children; neither do the Apostles nor any of the writers of the New Testament. Isn’t that odd? If the new Covenant no longer automatically included the children of believers, why didn’t Christ, one of the Apostles, or one of the writers of the NT mention this profound change?

        Why is there no mention in the NT of any adult convert asking this question: “But what about my little children? Are you saying that I have to wait until my children grow up and make a decision for themselves, before I will know if they will be a part of the new faith? What happens if my child dies before he has the opportunity to make this decision?” But no, there is no record in Scripture that any of these questions are made by new converts to the new faith. Isn’t that really, really odd??? As a parent of small children, the FIRST question I would ask would be, “What about my little children?”

        But the New Testament is completely silent on the issue of the salvation or safety of the infants and toddlers of believers. Another interesting point is this: why is there no mention of any child of believers “accepting Christ” when he is an older child (8-12 years old) or as a teenager and then, being baptized? Not one single instance and the writing of the New Testament occurred over a period of 30 years, approximately thirty years after Christ’s death: So over a period of 60 years, not one example of a believer’s child being saved as a teenager and then receiving “Believers Baptism”. Why???

        So isn’t it quite likely that the reason God does not explicitly state in the NT that infants should be baptized, is because everyone in first century Palestine would know that infants and toddlers are included in a household conversion. That fact that Christ and the Apostles did NOT forbid infant baptism was understood to indicate that the pattern of household conversion had not changed: the infants and toddlers of believers are still included in this new and better covenant.

        Circumcision nor Baptism was considered a “Get-into-heaven-free” card. It was understood under both Covenants that the child must be raised in the faith, and that when he was older, he would need to decide for himself whether to continue in the faith and receive everlasting life, or choose a life of sin, breaking the covenant relationship with God, and forfeiting the gift of salvation.

        Which of these two belief systems seems to be most in harmony with Scripture and the writings of the Early Christians?

        • There are tons of examples of ritual cleansing (Leviticus 11:36; 14:6-9;15:5-27; 17:15; Numbers 19; Jeremiah 17:13) – which is what baptism essentially is. But none of them happen to children.

          We can not offer an argument from silence. To do so adds to what is written in Scripture.
          We have no examples in scripture of children being baptized. So there is no way we can say children should be baptized. Every example we have is of adults being baptized. Because of that, we can say adults need to be baptized.

          I see no biblical evidence for baptism being equated to circumcision. It is only because of the mistaken belief that baptism is to be equated to circumcision that people believe that children who have no faith need to be baptized.

          Righteousness does not come through baptism. It comes from God through faith in Christ.
          Romans 3:21-25

          21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished

          You might think that children need to be baptized to be in the church. But Paul wrote that children are holy, clean, because of the sanctified wife or sanctified husband:
          1 Corinthians 7:14

          14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

          As for what happens when children die, I have written an article on that:
          https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/what-happens-to-infants-or-children-when-they-die/

          No, there is no evidence that infants were baptized, and as such, it is extra biblical to baptize children.

        • Hi Gary, I would just like to throw in this thought about age of accountability alluded to in the OT. You remember reading about the Israelites rebelling in the wilderness. God forbade them entry because of their unbelief. It is interesting, though, that God Himself put an age limit on their accountability as a people. Everyone under 20 was not considered accountable and were allowed to enter the promised land after previous generation died. Here is one such reference for your convenience:

          Numbers 14:29
          “28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.”

          Now, we can surely agree that plenty of those people under 20 were guilty of not trusting that God could protect them as Joshua had declared, and yet, God did not hold them accountable for it. It’s almost like there is an age of accountability here. Now, I am not advocating that 20 is the magic number or that this story is a proof text for all arguments in favor of the teaching of age of accountability. However, there does seem to be something here. If there was an age where God began to hold individual Israelites accountable for their belief, then is it possible that there is a point in our lives where God BEGINS to hold us accountable for unbelief?

  16. You have obviously not been listening to what I’ve been saying.

    Baptism is NOT mandatory for salvation. It is one of several possible “whens” of salvation. God can save whenever he chooses. And Scripture says that he saves in two situations: by the preaching of the Word and in baptism.

    BAPTISM IS NOT THE “HOW” OF SALVATION! The power of God’s Word is the “how” of salvation. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

    But Baptism is NOT just an act of obedience/public profession of faith. There is not one single passage of Scripture that says so. Baptism is so much more. The plain, simple reading of Scripture states that God forgives sins in Baptism. We put on Christ in Baptism. We are buried with Christ in baptism. And…God saves in Baptism. It isn’t the only time that he saves, but it is one of them.

    The Lutheran Church believes this. The Orthodox Church believes this. The Anglican Church believes this…and the Roman Catholic Church believes this. The Church has ALWAYS believed this for almost 2,000 years! Read the Early Church Fathers: Baptism is NOT absolutely mandatory for salvation. God’s Word/God’s declaration of righteousness, received in faith, is what is necessary for salvation!

    But if Baptism is only a secondary thought of public profession of faith, why does Christ mention Baptism before anything else in the Great Commission???

    On the issue of free will, I would urge you to read some of the writings of your Calvinistic Baptist/evangelical brethren. Sinners cannot choose righteousness. Sinners cannot choose or decide for God. Romans 3, Ephesians 2 and Colossians 2 say that “deciding” for God is impossible!

    • Your arguments are confusing, because you say that baptism is and is not required (go back and read your own words). You also said that the church fathers said baptism is required. Dont use those arguments if you dont want people to think you are advocating the necessity of baptism.

      • Baptism IS necessary for salvation…but baptism is NOT mandatory for salvation.

      • If a new believer dies before baptism, will he go to Hell?

        Many Baptists and evangelicals believe that Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans believe that if a believer dies without baptism, he will go to hell; without baptism, it is impossible to be saved.

        This is incorrect. They do not understand our position on Baptism.

        Lutherans would say: It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the lack of faith/belief that damns.

        We Lutherans believe that it is the person who states he believes and has repented but then refuses/rejects/or indifferently delays baptism that should fear eternal damnation. Why? We question whether his refusal to be baptized is a sign of a lack of true faith.

        The person who genuinely believes, repents, and desires to follow God’s command to be baptized, but dies or is killed before he is able to be baptized, WILL go to heaven, he is saved. Even the Roman Catholic Church believes this.

        The Church of Christ, which developed in the 1800’s in the “Restoration” movement, does not agree with Lutherans and other orthodox Christians (RCC, EOC, Anglicans) on this point. The Church of Christ believes that without Baptism you are damned to hell, NO EXCEPTIONS. To Lutherans, this (false) belief makes the act of baptism the means of salvation, not the power of God’s Word, received in faith.

        God DOES save in baptism, but he can also save without baptism. It is always the power of God’s Word/declaration that saves, not any act or decision of man.

  17. Many Baptists and evangelicals believe that Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans believe that if a believer dies without baptism, he will go to hell; without baptism, it is impossible to be saved.

    This is incorrect. They do not understand our position on Baptism.

    Lutherans would say: It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the lack of faith/belief that damns.

    We Lutherans believe that it is the person who states he believes and has repented but then refuses/rejects/or indifferently delays baptism that should fear eternal damnation. Why? We question whether his refusal to be baptized is a sign of a lack of true faith.

    The person who genuinely believes, repents, and desires to follow God’s command to be baptized, but dies or is killed before he is able to be baptized, WILL go to heaven, he is saved. Even the Roman Catholic Church believes this.

    The Church of Christ, which developed in the 1800’s in the “Restoration” movement, does not agree with Lutherans and other orthodox Christians (RCC, EOC, Anglicans) on this point. The Church of Christ believes that without Baptism you are damned to hell, NO EXCEPTIONS. To Lutherans, this (false) belief makes the act of baptism the means of salvation, not the power of God’s Word, received in faith.

    God DOES save in baptism, but he can also save without baptism. It is always the power of God’s Word/declaration that saves, not any act or decision of man.

    • I do not agree with the Lutherans doctrine, but I do believe what the bible says. read mark 16:16 John 3:3 John 3:5.
      Jesus himself was baptized.

  18. Jesus said in mark 16:16 “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” John 3:5 says “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”
    it says clearly in the bible that you cannot go to heaven without, water
    baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

    • I agree that we are saved by faith, but the bible says faith without works is dead. for those who think that when the bible says baptized it does not mean in water, look up the word used in the bible’s original text baptizo which means to dip, to submerge, to make clean with water. when the bible was translated in English they used the word baptized, look it up for your self’s Strong’s bible concordance # G907
      just believing is not enough, the bible says in the in James 2:19 that, even the devils believe and tremble, that not mean there going to heaven.

      • Jesus is coming back, and we need to be ready!!! the only way we will make it, is if we are born of the water and of the spirit.
        1. first we must repent. how do you repent? you ask God to forgive you
        in your own words, not repeat after me. 2.then you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins 3.you must receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. this is not opinion this is fact from Gods word, please don’t look past this, I will give you scripture on all of this. you will not find anyone in the bible that was baptized, in any other name they were all baptized in Jesus name. Acts 19:5 “when they heard this,they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”
        it also say it in Acts 8:16 it says in Acts 4:12 neither is there salvation in any other: for ther is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.if you need more scripture about baptism
        just e-mail me. when Jesus talked about being born of water, and spirit
        the spirit is the Holy Ghost. when you repent and get baptized in Jesus name it is promised unto you, that you will receive the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:39 and Acts 2:38 says ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. how do you know when you’ve received the Holy Ghost?
        you will speak in a language you’ve never spoken before.
        where does it say this? mark 16:17 and this signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. read Acts chapter 2 when they were in the upper room
        they were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. the Holy Ghost is more then just a feeling or goose bumps you must speak in tongues.it says in John 3:8 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. what does this mean? you must hear the Holy Ghost. eternity is a long time, where are you going to spend yours? we cannot base our salvation on opinion we must go by what the bible says, if the first churches did it this way, why would it be deffent now, God never changed, if you have questions e-mail me

        • Actually, repent does NOT mean to ask for forgiveness. Repent means change, particularly change one’s mind.

          Second, one is baptized BECAUSE one has remission of sin, not so that one gets remission of sin – otherwise you would be doing something to be saved, which goes against what Paul taught in Ephesians 2:1-10

          1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

          You were DEAD in your sins when God made you alive (if you are saved). What dead man does anything? They cant even breathe. Salvation is NOT what you do, but what GOD does in and through you.

          Third, yes, we must receive the Holy Spirit, but God is clear that not everyone speaks in tongues – each of us receive different kinds of working, different gifts, different manefestations of the Holy Spirit – AS DETERMINED by the HOLY SPIRIT. 1 Corinthians 7:4-11.

          4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

          7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

          John 4:1-2 explains Jesus did not baptize:

          1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.

          Water baptism is not baptism by the Holy Spirit, otherwise, why would there be cases where someone was baptized by water, but not have the Holy Spirit, and cases where one had the Holy Spirit, but not water baptism?

          John the Baptist said in Mark 1:8,

          I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

          Jesus however said in Acts 1:4-5 believers would be baptized with the Holy Spirit:

          4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

          This is an example of being baptized with water, and not having received the Holy Spirit:
          Acts 8:14-17

          14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

          This is an example of being baptized with the Holy Spirit (‘Holy Spirit poured out’), and not having received water baptism.
          Acts 10:39-48

          39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

          Note, that Peter recalled God had said John baptized with water, but believers would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
          Acts 11:15-18

          15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

          Water baptism is a very different thing than baptism of the Holy Spirit.

          Water baptism is an expression of faith, just as confessing Christ, or calling on the name of the Lord. These things show we have faith, and show obedience. It is the Christ who saves us because of the faith we have, which we show by our actions. If we do not do the action, then we must question if we have faith.

          But we are baptized with Holy Spirit when we accpet Jesus as our Lord and Savior – for some people that happens at the moment of water baptism. For others, that happens before or after – as we see in scripture.

          • Can u please help me understand mark 16:17 then cause they are some who say o those gifts are different from mark 16:17 and says that everybody has to speak in tongues as evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost

            • Let us look at the text Mark 16:17-18

              17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

              It doesnt say everyone who believes will do these things. But that these signs will ACCOMPANY those who have believed. This means that these things will be done by those who have believed – not by all.

              Notice in Acts 2:2-11 that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

              2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

              5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

              However, we see later in 1 Corinthians 12:30 that not EVERYONE spoke in tongues.
              1 Corinthians 12:27-31

              27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? ALL DO NOT SPEAK WITH TONGUES, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

              And I show you a still more excellent way.

              We see this again in 1 Corinthians 14:5

              Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

              In Acts 28:3-6, we see that Paul was bitten by a viper but he did not swell up or die. And in verses 7-9, we see that Paul completed the rest of what was spoken of in Mark 16:17-18 – he laid hands on someone and healed them.

              3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

              7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.

              But not every believer has been bitten by vipers and not harmed, nor has every believer has laid hands on people and healed them. In the same way, not every believer has spoken in tongues.

      • Paul said he was not sent to baptize.
        1 Cor 1:17-18

        17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

        Yes, faith without deeds is dead – meaning it is not true faith.

        The belief IS enough – but it must be the right kind of belief – it must be belief which is exemplefied in a changed life which comes from change/reptance.

        Paul taught the need to change, turn to God, and have a life which exemplifies the change (Acts 26:20).

        Acts 26:20
        20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

    • 1st, there is much doubt as to whether the verses from Mark 16:9 to the end of the chapter were actually in the original text.
      2nd, John 3:5 does not speak of water baptism, but of physically going through the water of the mother’s womb – physical birth. This is easy to see when we look at the paralellism in verses 5 and 6, where born of water is flesh born of flesh, and spirit is being born of Spirit:

      5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit

      3rd, assuming all of Mark 16 IS what Jesus said, this does not necessarily mean that water baptism is required for salvation – IT merely means baptism (by the spirit) is needed. There are plenty of sciprture which do not indicate a need for water baptism to be saved – merely belief which manifests itself in a live changed for God (Acts 16:30-31, 26:20)

      • Mr. Davis whilst I can probably surmise from your post that it is baptism or hell for your belief structure can you answer a couple quick questions for me?
        1. What about the thief on the cross? No baptism
        2. What about the sinful woman at the Pharisees home, whom Jesus said go your faith has saved you, why did he not say, by the way go see John to get baptized.
        3. Why is Bible mostly silent on when and where the diciples were baptized, if at all.
        4. If you receive the Holy Spirit only at baptism, why then did Jesus say it is good that I go, so the comforter/ holy spirit will come be with you?
        5. When you are baptized, do you get the holy spirit or the gift he chooses you for to suit your work for the kingdom? (Your spiritual gift)
        6. Can we put the holy spirit into a box, like the spiritual leaders of that time? Much like Jesus told Nicodemus, the spirit moves like the wind, you can’t see it, however it moves as it wishes.
        7. Why are we also trying to lock down salvation to ….if you do this this and this…then you are saved. The rich young ruler followed all of the this that and the other, but would you say he was saved? Or would you say it was/ is a heart issue?
        8. So if someone comes forward, wants Jesus, and wants to be baptized but has a heart attack on the way to the water, is that person saved?
        9.if someone is baptized but somehow is not fully immersed, is that person saved?
        10. Do you serve a God who would deny the people in questions 8&9, because they did not quite do it exactly like you think it should go, because I don’t.

        • This is why the Church of Christ are wrong.

          The means of salvation is ALWAYS the Word of God/God’s declaration of righteousness. 1. In the NT, God uses his Word to save sinners and forgive their sins in two situations: by the power of the Word preached or read. 2. when the Word is pronounced as the waters of Baptism are applied to sinners.

        • to answer the questions you asked Jesus said to the man on the cross he would be with him in paradise or Abrahams bosom not heaven second Jesus did not die yet so they where still under the law it was not till Jesus died that the vale was rent

  19. Would Jesus really tell a teacher of the Jews (a Pharisee) that he needs to be physically born in order to get into the Kingdom of God?

    If someone asks you how to be saved…do you ever tell them that they need to be physically born first? This concept makes no sense whatsoever.

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’

    And if you are correct, wouldn’t Christ have said this: “That which is born of WATER is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    So let’s paraphrase: Unless you are born again in Baptism, of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born physically is physical, but that which is born again by the Spirit (in Baptism) is spirit.

    • You can paraphrase all you want, but that is ignoring what the scripture says. To be reborn, or born again, one must first be born of flesh (which is done when you go through the water of the womb) and then be reborn (which happens spiritually).

      Water baptism is one mechanism for giving commitment to God – but so is confessing Christ is Lord, so is simple belief (with change in one’s live giving evidence of that change which brought belief).

      • Is there any passage in Scripture that describes physical birth as being “born of water”? No.

        Is there any evidence from Jewish historical documents that any Jew would refer to physical birth as being “born of water”? No.

        I am a physician. I have delivered babies. I would never think of describing the birth process as being “born of water”.

        When you, WB, witness to non-believers, do you ever tell them that they must be “born of water” first, and then born again of the Spirit in order to be saved? I highly doubt it. If that is the true means of salvation, why don’t you use the language of the Bible to describe salvation?

        The idea that Jesus would tell another Jew, especially a rabbi, that he must be physically born before he can enter God’s Kingdom is ridiculous. It would be like me telling you that one of the criteria for getting into the Super Bowl is that you must first be physically born. It is nonsensical! Your

        Your interpretation of Scripture cannot be found in the first 1,500 years of Christianity. It is an invention of radical Protestants trying to force the Bible to agree with their invented, sixteenth century, new doctrine.

        Open your eyes, WB. You have been sold a lie.

        • You are not Jesus, who spoke in parables so people would not understand.
          Mat 13:10-17.

          10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

          ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
          You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
          15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
          With their ears they scarcely hear,
          And they have closed their eyes,
          Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
          Hear with their ears,
          And understand with their heart and return,
          And I would heal them.’
          16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

          Whether you would speak of physical birth as being born of water is irrelevant.

          But there have been two common understandings of the phrase “born of water and the Spirit”: that which supports baptismal regeneration (saying being born of water is water baptism), and that which supports physical birth and spiritual rebirth (or spiritual birth from above).

          I think the second is better supported given the rest of scripture.

          Jesus said to Nicodemus that he must be born again (or literally, ‘from above’). Nicodemus understood him to say born again (showing he thought Jesus was speaking of a physical birth) and so answered, “He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” He recognized the first birth was physical and thought the second would be physical also. Jesus’ response was that one must be “born of water and the Spirit” – the first birth corresponding to being born of water and the second birth corresponding to being born of the Spirit. This is clearly seen in the parallelism in the very next sentence, where Jesus compared being born of water as being born of the flesh, and then said that one must also be born of the Spirit. He was explaining Nicodemus already had been born physically (of water) and needed to be born spiritually.

          However, there IS a third option – since Jesus gives the water of life, being born of water and spirit COULD refer to having the gift of water springing up to eternal life, which is of the Spirit, which had not yet been given. This is more clearly seen in John 7:37-39.

          John 4:10-14

          10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

          John 7:37-39

          37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

          When I evangelize, I tell people they need to believe Jesus was sent by God (John 3:16-18) to suffer and die (Luke 24:45-47) to pay for their sins (Hebrews 2:17), was raised again on the third day (Like 24:45-47). That they are sinners who earn death (Romans 3:23, 6:23) and need to be saved from the wrath of God and receive eternal life (John 3:18). I teach they must change, turn to God and have a REAL faith which changes their lives, which is exemplified in doing things that reflect the change (Acts 26:20, James 2:14-19)

          No one can do anything to be saved – including be baptized in water – its clear from scripture that nothing you do can save you. We are saved through faith.
          Ephesians 2:8-9

          8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast

          • I am assuming you believe that a sinner has a free will to “accept Christ”. If you do, your “decision to believe” is more of a work than when an infant is baptized. The infant does nothing, you are choosing to be righteous, which Romans chapter 3 and the second chapters of both Ephesians and Colossians rule out.

            You are teaching works righteousness. Your decision is an attempt to assist in your salvation.

            Baptism is GOD’S work. It is no more a work of man than is believing and repenting.

            • You are mistaken. I do not believe you have free will to accept Christ.

              God has predestined those who will be saved to be saved.
              Ephesians 1:5

              he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

              Ephesians 1:11-14

              11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

              Romans 8:28-29

              For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

              Obviously, some are NOT called to be saved, or Christ would not be a stumbling block to them.
              1 Corinthians 1:23-24

              23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

              Not all are saved because some are destined to not be.
              1 Peter 2:8

              and,“A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

              God has mercy upon whom He will have mercy.
              Romans 9::15-18

              15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

              ALL that God gives to Christ WILL come to Christ.
              John 6:37

              All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

              No one can come to Christ unless the Father enables them.
              John 6:43

              “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

              John 6:65

              He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

              GOD works in us to desire and to do His will. If God doesnt work in us, we will not desire His will.

              Philippians 2:13

              for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure

              I am teaching GOD works in us to WILL as God wants us to and to WORK for His good pleasure – not to be saved. IF we are saved, we do the things God wants. If we do the things God wants, this does not mean we are saved. Doing things does not save us.

  20. In our text we find Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jews, coming to talk to our Lord. He admitted that Jesus was a great teacher, yet he came to visit Jesus by night. After all, he was a member of the council, and other Pharisees probably would not have looked well upon him if they saw him talking to Jesus in plain daylight. What does Nicodemus want to talk about? He begins by complimenting Jesus, telling Him that He must be a teacher of God because of all the great works He has done. But before Nicodemus is able to ask his question, Jesus answers Him: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Now the discussion has begun! Nicodemus has just entered into a theological conversation with God-in-the-flesh, Jesus Christ. And Jesus has some important points to make in his conversation with Nicodemus, which we can learn from as well. First Jesus explains conversion to Nicodemus. Jesus not only makes it clear that conversion is necessary, but He also explains how it happens, who is in control, and how it is preserved. Finally, after he explains to Nicodemus the nature of conversion, He explains the foundation and confidence on which conversion rests.

    Conversion is necessary. Jesus says that before anyone can see the Kingdom of God, he must be “born again”. Nicodemus himself assumes, of course, that there is a standard that must be met before anyone can enter the Kingdom of God, but he is unable to under-stand what Jesus is saying. And therefore his almost ludicrous question, “Can a man enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born again?” He not only cannot fathom the idea that one can be born again, but he also assumes that being born again is something he must do.

    This is, of course, exactly what the opinion of the law tells us. It clings to our conscience and tells us over and over again that we need to do something to inherit eternal life. Nicodemus is not being malicious, rather his problem is that he cannot understand a conversion without it being a decision of his own will. Indeed, many pious Christians today think this way, and even we Lutherans are often vulnerable to slip into this way of thinking.

    But Jesus could not possibly have expressed salvation in a more passive way. “One must be born again.” When was the last time you saw a baby just walk out of his mother’s womb and say to the nurse: “I’ll take it from here!” and then proceeds to cut the umbilical cord and hop on the scale. … I believe it safe to say, never!. That isn’t how it works! Instead, the baby is completely dependent on the one delivering him.

    Surprisingly, Jesus does not scoff at Nicodemus’ question. He tells him how “being born again” happens: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Jesus did not say, “unless an adult” or “unless a child who has reached the age of accountability.” He says, “Unless one (someone, anyone) is born of water and the Spirit.” That is man, woman, child, or infant. Everyone must be baptized, because everyone is born with the sin of Adam. Just as Jesus says: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Baptism, Jesus says, is necessary for salvation, and this is how God brings children of the flesh into His fold: By making them His children through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

    The fact that we are baptized with water and the Holy Spirit shows who is in control of our conversion.

    • Jesus did not say baptism was needed to be born again. He said that one needed to be born of water and of Spirit, and then gave what seems to be a parallelism in saying “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

      Yes, a baby is born with the help of his mother (and often someone else, like a midwife, or a doctor, or some helper). Just as a dead man can do nothing, so a baby has nothing to do with his birth except to experience it. But you would have us believe that choosing to be baptized in water is you not doing anything. When in fact, it IS you doing something. At a minimum, it is you choosing and then participating in the baptism. The baby has no such choice. The same thing with a dead person.

      We were dead in our sin, but God made us alive.
      Ephesians 2:4-5

      4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

      And it did not depend upon us – whether we wanted it or did something for it. It depended upon God alone.
      Romans 9:15-16

      15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

  21. WB,

    Read the rest of the third chapter of John. What did Jesus and his disciples do immediately after discussing “being born of water and the spirit” with Nicodemus?

    Did they hold a rally and ask people to walk down the aisle and to pray the Sinner’s Prayer, asking Jesus into their hearts to be saved? Did they ask the crowds to make a decision for Christ to be saved? Did they preach that one must make a profession of faith to be truly born again??

    No.

    They went out and BAPTIZED!

    • Actually, continue reading to John 4:2 carefully, Jesus did NOT baptize, it was his disciples who were.

      • What difference does that make? THEY were baptizing, not having an altar call and urging sinners to pray the Sinner’s Prayer.

        • The words that evangelicals and Baptists use in their Theology of Salvation is nowhere to be found in the Bible:

          -Make a decision for Christ.
          -Accept Christ into your heart
          -pray a prayer to be saved ( any version of the Sinner’s Prayer)

          Your salvation doctrine is a seventeenth century, western-European invention of radical Swiss Protestants. It is not found in the Bible or in the records of the Early Church.

          • Except I dont teach what you claim I teach.

            I teach that God chooses people. God works in people to will and to for His good pleasure. God gives faith, allowing people to respond to the Gospel message. They are juistified, positionally sanctified when they are first saved. God saves us by grace through faith. People express the gift of faith they have been given by confessing Christ, by being baptized, by calling upon Christ, by showing the love for God and others which God has given them. God indwells those to whom He gives faith. God empowers those He has given faith to enable them to live as He desires.

        • If being baptized were what was needed for salvation, surely Christ would have done it. But He did not.

          Beign baptized is a way to obey Christ. It is something which people who have been given faith, whom God has worked in to respond, have done to them. But it is a separate thing from having faith, which saves us.

          Acts 16:14-15

          14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

          God worked in her to respond. So God saved her and then she was baptized – being faithful to the Lord.

          No one has said anything about a sinners prayer but you. I dont believe saying a prayer saves you aanymore than I believe being baptized saves you.

    • I agree with what you said; I also reject the idea that “Born of Water” in John 3:5 is a reference to natural child birth, but I am curious, are you suggesting that baptism in and of itself is the “new birth?”

      • The Word creates new birth.

        Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The new birth occurs when God uses his Word to save sinners. The Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, quickens the dead souls of sinners, gifts them faith, creating belief.

        So if I stand on the street corner and preach the Word, will everyone who hears me be saved? No. Why, if faith comes by hearing? Arminian Christians will say that only those who decide to believe by faith in the Word that I am preaching will be saved. However, Romans chapter 3 and the second chapters of Colossians and Ephesians very clearly state that sinners cannot choose righteousness; sinners cannot choose God.

        So how does the Word create faith and save if the sinner does not decide to believe? Many, many passages of Scripture tell us how: God chooses/predestines/appoints/elects those who will be saved. So when I am on the street corner preaching the Word, only those whom God has elected to believe will believe. The Word of God is that powerful! It is sharper than any two-edged sword! The Word of God, spoken or written, is what saves sinners.

        God can use his Word to save sinners, sinners that he ordained before the world existed to be his children, any many different situations. He can save by me preaching on the street corner. He can save by my pastor or your pastor preaching in church. He can save by a Sunday School teacher reading the Word to her class. He can save through the reading of a Gideon Bible in a hotel room. He can save by the reading of his Word in a Gospel tract….AND he can save by the pronouncement of his Word during Baptism.

        This is what the plain, simple interpretation of ALL of the New Testament passages that discuss Baptism clearly state…if one will let go of his preconceived doctrines, and simply accept what God said, as he said it.

        • Yes, God saves us. It is entirely the work of God.

          But baptism is not required for salvation. This is the point of this particular post.

          I’ve said it before, but I will copy it here:
          God can save during baptism, or before or after baptism.

          This is an example of the Holy Spirit coming upon people BEFORE baptism:
          Acts 10:44-48

          44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 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. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

          This is an example of the Holy Spirit coming upon people DURING baptism:
          Acts 19:1-7

          It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.

          This is an example of being baptized BEFORE the Holy Spirit comes upon people:
          Acts 8:12-17

          12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
          14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

          So I dont think water baptism is required for salvation. I think it is something all Christians should do, in obedience to Christ. It is one way to call upon God.

      • No, baptism by water is not the new birth. The new birth occurs when we are given a new heart and a new Spirit (Eze 36:26-27).

  22. Just to add on the subject of birthing babies.

    By the time the baby is born passing through the birth canal…there is NO water. Amniotic fluid may have been released hours earlier, but when the baby is born, there is no water, just a lot of blood and mucous.

    I’m not trying to insult you, but the term “she broke her water” is an uneducated ol’ wives saying, and it is this ol’ wives saying that is the source of your false understanding of what happens in the birthing process, and the source of the Baptist/evangelical misinterpretation of this passage of Scripture.

    There is amniotic fluid leakage at the very beginning of labor, but there is no water in the actual birth.

    • Whether something is an uneducated way of saying something has no bearing on whether Jesus used that phrase to indicate physical birth – he was not speaking to a doctor.

      • How do you know that Christ was speaking about physical birth when he said one must be “born of water” if neither the Jews nor anyone else in that time period used that expression…and…NO ONE has EVER used that term in all of recorded history to refer to physical birth?

        If there were other passages of Scripture, my Christian brother, that referred to being “born of water” as referring to physical birth, then I might view this interpretation as credible, but there is not.

        The only reason you believe that the term “born of water” refers to physical birth is because your parents, Sunday School teacher, or pastor TOLD you that is what it means. One cannot come to your interpretation by accepting the plain, simple reading of the text.

        Once again, immediately after this conversation with Nicodemus, what did Christ and his apostles do: Tell everyone to be born again by praying the Sinner’s Prayer??

        No. They went into the countryside and started BAPTIZING.

        Please explain that, brother.

        • As Jesus said in Matthew 13:13, he spoke in parables “because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Just because no one had used that phrase before does not mean anything.

          I read the scriptures for myself and no one told me that, I saw the parallelism myself – from the text itself.
          Nicodemus thought Jesus was speaking of entering his mother’s womb and being born again. But Jesus corrected him and said one must be born of water (leaving the womb the first time – being “born of the flesh is flesh”), and of spirit (“that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”). It makes perfect sense to me.
          John 3:3-6

          3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

          Looking at the context, it was not until later that baptizing occurred, and if you look at John 4:1, you will see that it was not Jesus who was baptizing, but his disciples.

          Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

          So no, Jesus did not baptize.

          • baptism is not works it is being obedient to the Word of God, yes I agree we are saved by faith
            it says in James 2:14 what doth it profit, my brethren Though a man say he hath faith,and have not works? can faith save him? James 2:17 says faith without works is dead. faith and works go together you cannot have one without the other. James 2:21-22 says was not Abraham our Father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works faith was made perfect.

            • Baptism is something you do.

              Belief is not a work. This comes from God – it is NOT something we do, it is something given to us. Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith.
              Hebrews 12:2

              fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

              God gifts us with faith. Ephesians 2:8

              For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

              Repenting is not a work. This is not something we DO, it is something God causes in us. GOD causes us to change our minds regarding whether God exists and whether Jesus is the Son of God sent to pay the price of our sins. Repentance comes from God, not because you decided to repent: 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.”

              God does not save us because we do certain righteous acts, but because of His mercy. We are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit – this is one act that does not involve water. Titus 3:5

              He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

              If water baptism was so important, then surely every instance where it talks about what is necessary to be saved would have spoken of the supposed need to be baptized. But there are examples in scripture which talk about being saved without mentioning a NEED to be baptized. One example is in Acts 16:29-32

              29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

              Yes, we see in Acts 16:33 that the jailer and his household were baptized. But the apostle Paul and Silas were clear, people must believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved. The baptism is obedience, which comes as an overflow of the faith we have been given.

              There are examples of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit before being baptized with water.
              Acts 10:47

              “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

              There are examples of people being baptized with water into the name of the Lord Jesus (which is NOT John’s baptism) before being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

              Acts 8:15-17

              “15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

              Paul said he was glad he didnt baptize many people – if baptism was important, he would have baptized many. He was not sent to baptize. Had it been important, Paul would have been sent to baptize. 1 Cor 1:17

              “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. “

              What Paul DID say is that people should repent, turn to God and prove their repentance. Paul never said people needed to be baptized to be saved. Acts 26:20

              “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. “

              What is needed is that our minds change (concerning God and Christ) and we turn to God – that turning to God will engender change, will cause us to do which give evidence that our salvation is real – that we have a saving faith instead of a saying faith. That change of mind, our belief, comes from God, not us. And it will cause us to show the faith God gifts us with.

              If we don’t have evidence of our faith, then our faith is dead and worthless. James 2:14-17

              14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

              Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

          • Jesus himself did not do the baptizing.  He was doing the preaching of the Word.  His disciples did the baptizing. The point is, immediately (immediately in the text) after his discussion with Nicodemus on being born of water and the spirit, what does the Word of God discuss:  baptism!   The Word is preached.  The Word quickens spiritually dead souls, gifts them faith, and creates belief.    And this usually occurs in Scripture when Christ’s disciples, Paul’s disciples, or some other preacher’s disciples are baptizing.  There is not one single passage in Scripture that states that Baptism is simply and only OUR act of obedience, our public profession of faith.  This view of Baptism is none other than an assumption.  It has no scriptural basis whatsoever.

  23. WB,

    Please…think about this fact: There is zero evidence that any Christian in the first 800-1,000 years of Christianity held your views on Baptism as simply and only a symbolic act of our profession of faith/obedience. No one?

    Doesn’t that concern you?

    • The evidence is in scripture – Paul taught that baptism was not what mattered, but having faith.
      1 Corinthians 1:17

      For 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 .

      I will repeat from the original post:
      Baptism is NOT a part of faith; it is ALWAYS mentioned separately, distinct from faith. It is evidence of faith. There is a huge difference. It is something we DO – an act, a deed, a work. We are NOT saved by works or deeds, but by grace through faith – which we see in Ephesians 2:8-9

      8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

      We see in Hebrews 11 an entire chapter dedicated to people who had faith and demonstrated their faith by their actions. That is what we are called to do by God, as Paul tells us in Acts 26:20,

      20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

      Looking at Mark 16:16, we see,

      He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned .

      So we see Jesus say that if you have no faith you are condemned. But if you have true faith, you will be baptized. Its not the baptism that saves you, but that gives evidence to the faith you have.

      • Your comment suggests to me that you hold to Arminian “Decision Theology”. This theology teaches that sinners have a free will to choose righteousness, to choose God. Romans 3 and the second chapters of Ephesians and Colossians adamantly state that sinners do not have the capacity to choose God: they are spiritually dead. Dead men do not choose. Dead men do not make “decisions” for Christ.

        God decides salvation, not sinners. God elects/chooses/appoints/predestines those who will be his children, those whom he will save, just as the many passages of Scripture clearly state.

        Baptism gives us a clean conscience, which is just another name for “soul” in the NT, not by our decision to be baptized, not by our parents’ decision to have us baptized, but by God’s divine election and the power of his Almighty Word, spoken at Baptism, to quicken/make alive the dead souls of predestined sinners, regardless of their age, maturity, or capability to make an informed “decision”.

        Salvation is 100% an act by God. He doesn’t need or allow your decision before he saves you. God can save at the time of Baptism by the power of his Word, and he can use his Word to save in other situations too: hearing the Word preached; reading the Word in a printed Bible; reading the Word in a Gospel tract.

        There is only one means of salvation: the quickening of a predestined soul by the Word. Period.

        • Well, you are mistaken in what you think I believe. GOD chooses. God works in us to believe. God works in us to choose Him. We have to choose God, but EVERYONE whom God elects WILL come to Christ.

    • you are trying to alter the Word of God to Fit your own theory. jesus said you must be born of the water and the spirit. Acts 2:38 Peter said repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.if you were truly trying to make heaven you would do everything the Word of God says. Jesus himself was baptized doesn’t that tell you something, we have the Word of God to guide us but it’s up to us to follow it In The end when we come before God he will judge according to his word, so there will be no excuse. baptism is a Salvation issue for one that’s how we get remission of sin, which is reason enough #2 it is being obedient to the Word of God, the Bible teaches us to him that knoweth to do good and doeth not to him it is sin. so all that being said are you willing to risk your eternity for your theroy

      • The choice of the word ‘for’ when translating the original word ‘eis’ in Acts 2:38 was an unfortunate choice. The word was translated as ‘for’, but means ‘in’. You should be baptized in the forgiveness of your sins – not so you will be forgiven but because you have been forgiven.

        If you saw a poster saying “Bonnie and Clide wanted for robbery and murder”, “for” could mean Bonnie and Clide are wanted so they CAN commit robbery and murder or because they HAVE committed robbery and murder. Obviously the latter usage is correct – they are wanted because of something that had happened in the past, not so they could do something in the future. This is the same usage for the word in Acts 2:38. We are baptized in the forgiveness of our sins, for we have been forgiven.

        I am not saying people should not be baptized. I have always held that baptism is something every believer should do. What I am saying is that it is not a requirement for salvation, it is an evidence of the salvation we have. We are to obey because we are God’s – and that includes obeying in baptism. But this does not mean someone who comes to faith on their death bed and is unable to be baptized before dying will not enter heaven. And if that’s the case, then the exception proves the point.

        We are saved by Grace because of what GOD does in us – we were dead and God gave us new life. God worked in us to will and work as He chose. God gave us faith. God authored our salvation. Its all about God.

        If someone leaves the church, or if someone does not obey Christ (rebels until death), then they were never saved in the first place. But obedience in faith is not the same thing as a requirement for salvation.

        • 1st Peter chapter 3verse 20-21 which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the Ark was a preparing wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water. the like figure whereunto even baptism Doth also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

          • There are many examples where we are told to believe and be saved or it was faith that saved someone, that it is by grace, not a work (not something we DO, such as be baptized):
            Luke 7:50

            50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

            John 3:16-18

            16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

            Acts 10:39-48 (note that the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon the people before they were baptized in water)

            39 We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

            44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 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. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 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 16:31

            31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

            Titus 3:5 (washing of regeneration and renweing by the Holy Spirit are one event)

            5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

            Ephesians 2:8

            8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

            2 Thessalonians 2:13

            13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

            1 Corinthians 6:11 speaks of being washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit, not water baptism (much like we see in Titus 3:5).

            11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

            Hebrews 10:22 speaks of having our hearts sprinkled (this is by the Holy Spirit), and our bodies cleaned (water baptism).

            22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

            1 Peter 3:21-22 speaks of the water that symbolizes the baptism that saves us – that by the Holy Spirit, not the removal of dirt by water.

            21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

            Yes, there are instances where we are told to call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-15), or confess the name of Jesus (Acts 2:21), or be baptized (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16). But there are too many instances where it is by faith that we are saved. All these have in common is faith. It is the faith that saves us, and the actions that give evidence to the faith being real.

            Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

            The least common denominator in all the passages which tell of how to be saved or what we should do is belief, faith. The other things are ways to show/express/live the faith God has authored in us.

            • do you believe in receiving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues?

              • I believe some have that as a sign of receiving the Holy Spirit .
                Acts 19:6

                And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

                But others do not.
                1 Corinthians 12:29-30

                29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

                • it says Mark 16 verse 17 that those that believe will speak with new tongues it didn’t say some of them or they might speak with tongues it said they shall speak with new tongues

                  • Actually, it says these signs will accompany those who have believed, it does not say everyone will do these things.

                    Mark 16:17-18

                    17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

                    • what Bible are you reading I read King James Version it says these signs shall follow them that believe

                    • NASB. But just because they follow them that beleive does not mean everyone who believes will do them – just that of a group of believers, these are some signs which will be evident. Are you telling me you that you can live from taking in deadly poison? I think its evident that PAUL did (Acts 28:1-6). But this does not mean everyone will.

                • anyone who is a believer must have the gift of the Holy Ghost what the evidence of speaking in tongues god never changed it has to be done the same way did the Bible I’m sorry to say but not everybody that says Lord Lord will go to heaven the people that say Lord didn’t we cast out devils and your name or didn’t we do miracles in your name and what did the Lord tell them I know you not depart from me you that work iniquity just believing without acting is not enough

                  • actualy, you are mistaken. People can speak as if they have tongues and not be saved. Scripture is clear that not everyone speaks in tongues.

                    • there are different kind of tongues there are tongues and interpretation for the church and there Are tongues when you receive the Holy Ghost this is evidence that you have the Holy Ghost

                    • tongues is A sign, not the only sign.

                  • BTW, I agee that simply saying you believe is not enough. God has to do a change in your heart – He has to give you a new heart and a new Spirit and make it so you obey Him.

              • No, I believe that speaking in tongues was needed for the early church only. However, it is not an issue I get worked up over…just don’t do it in my orthodox Lutheran church. :)

                • When did God change why would it be for the early church and not for us? The move of the holy Ghost is still the same if u dont believe this applys to us, then how can you believe anything the bible teaches in the new testament?

                  • There was no change from the early church to today – some spoke in tongues then and some do so now. Some did not speak in tongues then, and some do not now.
                    1 Corinthians 12:30

                    All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

                • Isaiah 28:11 Acts 19:6 Acts 2:4 Mark. 16:17 What are we suppose To do with these scriptures? Take them out

                  • You do not take out scripture, you figure out how to not ignore any scripture, such as 1 Corinthians 12:30

                    All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

                    We see not everyone speaks in tongues, and not everyone heals and not everyone interprets tongues.

                    But it seems you want to ignore that scripture passage as well. You have to put all passages together into one cohesive understanding of what God has said and done and requires – without ignoring Bible passages.

            • I really do agreed that we are saved by faith the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God but fate and works go together just like the woman what the issue of blood she had faith that if she touches the hem of His garment she would be healed yes she had great faith but what if she did not put her works with her faith would she have received her healing? when Jesus told the man with leprosy to wash in the River Jordan if he didn’t do it what he still have been healed? faith and works Go together remember the Bible says faith without works is dead

              • Yes, faith without works is dead. But we are saved by faith which is more than simple agreement (demons agree Jesus is the son of God). If we have true faith, then it will cause us to obey God.

            • God is forgiving and kind but is also just and he’s a God of order and he wants things done a certain way the Bible says God spared not the angels but I see that you are a man that reads God’s Word so you already know this to go to heaven we must put on Christ. I’m not meaning to get off the subject of baptism but what are your views on the Godhead how many gods do you believe in?

              • I believe in the single trinitarian God, with three persons within the God-head: God the Father, The Son of God (where Jesus of Nazareth was the human incarnation of the Son of God), the Holy Spirit.

                • let me ask you a question you say you believe in three Gods but the first commandment that God gave was Thou shall have no other gods before me we also read in the Bible that God is jealous and he will not share His glory With another so how does that work

                  • You misunderstood. I have edited the comment to be more clear. I believe in one God in three persons. Not three gods.

                    • the only thing that I could tell you bro is pray if what you believe does not agree from front to back God’s Word you need to go back and double check ask God to give you relation he’s faithfultry reading the Word of God without a preconceived mine and see what happens the Bible the spiritual book ask God for understanding

                    • Just because someone says something does not mean I buy into it. But God has to show me something is so for me to believe it. I often pray God show me where/if I err and change my mind. He has changed my heart and given me a new Spirit and caused me to obey Him, surely He can change my mind about scripture (he has done it before)

                    • God will only show you he will not change your mind we have free will

                    • not concerning salvation – Ezekiel 36:26-27 says GOD does it. Everything points to God being the agent and force and cause of salvation, not man.

                    • God will not force salvation on anyone if you can force you to change your mind he would have done it to the Pharisees

                    • God has mercy upon whom HE chooses to have mercy.

                      Romans 9:11-18

                      11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
                      14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

                      GOD works in us to desire and to do His will. If God doesnt work in us, we will not desire His will.
                      Philippians 2:13

                      for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

                      EVERYONE God gives to Christ, WILL come to Christ.
                      John 6:37

                      37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

                      NO ONE can come to Christ unless the Father enables them.
                      John 6:43

                      “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

                      John 6:65

                      And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

                      GOD chooses who will be saved – he predestines us to salvation.
                      Ephesians 1:11

                      11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will

                      Not all are saved because some are destined to not be.
                      1 Peter 2:8

                      and,“A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

                      More on who is saved:
                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/not-everyone-will-be-saved/

                      More on whether all God gives to Christ come to faith in Christ:
                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/do-all-that-god-gives-to-christ-come-to-faith-in-christ/

                      More on whether our salvation depends on us or on God:
                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/election-is-it-because-of-us-or-god/

                    • sorry again about the spelling I’m in my truck and my phone does its own thing

                    • LOL. I understand. Dont text and drive. Be safe.

                    • let’s try something let’s put the Fate and work togetherif there is error in what you believe I pray in Jesus name that he would bring you strong confirmation and I pray in Jesus name if there’s error in what I believe that God would bring me strong confirmation and I will accept it the Word says let every man be a liar but his word to be true do you agree

                    • see my other comment on how James and Paul were teaching the same thing – the fact that true faith has evidence.

                    • but the Pharisees have preconceived mine we Need not to be like that

                    • I dont understand this comment.

                    • disobedience is sin and we cannot give it a pat on the back disobedience will not make heaven you cannot say you have faith And be disobedient at the same time

                    • I never said we can disobey God. I said baptism is something we need to do – but it is not a requirement for salvation.

                    • I really am praying for you bro and the Lord will bring you a confirmation because he is faithful

                    • I pray God opens your eyes to His truth. :)

            • I hope I’m not driving you crazy I just love to talk about the Word of God god bless

              • Not at all. I love to discuss God. God bless you too!

                • Matthew 28:19 go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost in verse 20 jesus said teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you this is pretty straight forward

                  • Yes, we are to evangelize and disciple people, teaching them to obey all things Christ commanded – including baptism. But this does not mean baptism is a requirement of salvation, only that one who loves God will obey and be baptized. It is an express of faith that God gives us.

                    • look I understand that just believing is comfortable it makes and it makes people feel good but God’s ways Are not always comfortable the Bible says for many a called but few are chosen the broad gate is comfortable and many are going to be there and few will be at the narrow gate hell is not a fun subject but Jesus talk about it more than he talked about heaven there’s still time make it right

                    • Its not about comfort. Its what does scripture say?

                      God is clear we are saved by grace through faith. Baptism is something we do out of obedience, not for salvation.

                      Ephesians 2:8

                      For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

                      Yes, many who claimn to have known Christ and done miracles in His name will be shown to not have been saved to begin with – their hearts must be changed and a new Spirit put in them and they must be made to follow God’s laws and obey Him (Eze 36:26-27).

                      I agree that having a saying faith is insufficient. That faith must affect our lives.

                      Matthew 7:21-23

                      21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

                      James 2:14-26

                      14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

                      18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

                      But before you try to say we are sved by works – this is not what James meant. He was saying that unless the “faith’ produces works, its not true fait, its merely agreemnt, or assent – which does not save.

                      We can see this in what Paul said in Acts 26:16-20

                      16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

                      19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

                      Its the faith that saves. But its not true faith unless it causes us to obey God. Its not the obeying that saves us, but obeying is the evidence of the faith that saves us.

                    • dude that makes no sense if true faith cause you to obey the Word of God then if you are not baptized you have no faith

                    • you are not understanding… If we have faith, we will obey God.
                      1 John 3:9-11

                      9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

                      God can and will cause us to obey Him.
                      Ezekiel 36:26-27

                      26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

                      There are many who believe they are saved but are not.

                    • but I thought you said everyone who believes it saved?

                    • I said we are saved by faith (which is more than simply believing something is so). If we are chosen by God to be saved, we will be.

                    • you need to go back to the drawing board your doctrine is not what the apostles Preached

                    • I will pray for you, because it is evident you are confused.
                      There is one God, in three persons. God chooses who will be saved. God works in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure. God gives us faith. We are saved by grace through faith, and this is a gift of God, not as a result of works. Faith will be exemplified in our lives of obedience to God and the love we show towards God and others.

                    • re job 13:6 through 10 and see what it says about Gods persons

                    • I am not sure what your point is with this verse.

                    • its saying that we are mocking God by believing in persons rather than in person

                    • There is a distinction between God the Father and the Holy Spirit which Jesus mentioned in Luke 10:21

                      21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

                      The Holy Spirit is distinct and has the idea of ‘self’ (indicating personhood) in Romans 8:16.

                      16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

                      Acts 5:3-4

                      3Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

                      There is one God and one Lord, but that Lord is Jesus Christ.
                      1 Corinthians 8:6

                      yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

                      There is one Spirit. There is one Lord, and one God.
                      1 Corinthians 12:4-11

                      4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

                      While there is one Spirit, one Lord, and one God, God the Father is not God the son, but they are one.
                      Matthew 3:16-17

                      16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

                      The word translated as God in Genesis 1:1 is from the term Elohim, which is plural. Additionally, God refers to Himself in the plural (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8)

                      Just as we see in Genesis 1:1 that God is plural in the original language, so too in Genesis 1:2 do we see the Spirit of God was involved in creation, hovering over the waters. But not only that, we see in John 1:1-18 that God the Son was also involved in the creation. While both the Holy Spirit and God the Son were involved in creation, we see in Scripture that God the Father is not God the Son (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 17:4-6; Mark 9:5-8; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18; John 1:1-18; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16). In fact, Scripture shows the Holy Spirit is not God the Son and not God the Father (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; John 14:26; John 15:26; Luke 10:21; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Timothy 3:16). While the three are not the same, we see an eternally existent relationship between God the Son and God the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:1-18), just as there is an eternally existent relationship between the Holy Spirit and God the Father (Genesis 1:1-2).

                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/is-the-holy-spirit-separate-from-god-the-father-or-god-the-son/
                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/trinity-three-persons-in-one-god/
                      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/trinity-using-bible-words-trying-to-reconcile-with-theological-terms/

                    • but I see that you have scales on your eyes and only God could remove them but God bless and take care. this conversation could go on forever and get nowhere

                    • It can go on forever unless you choose to accept what the word of the Lord says, but you can’t do so unless god opens your eyes. I pray God opens your eyes and your heart to the truth.

                • there is only one God and Bible makes it clear over and over and over Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh the Bible makes that clear in 1st Timothy 3 16 and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness God was Manafest in Flash glorified in the spirit seen of Angels preached unto the Gentiles believed on in the world received up into glory

                • in Isaiah 44 ver 6 God says that he is the first and the last revelations 1 verse 8 Jesus says that he is the Alpha and Omega he also calls himself the Almighty in Revelation 1 verse 11 Jesus says he is the first and last. you see when you separate God into 3 separate Gods the Bible contradicts itself Jesus also said if you have seen me you have seen the Father in Colossians 1:15 it says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God in Colossians 2 verse 9 it says that in him is the fullness of the Godhead

                  • I am not separating God into three Gods. I am recognizing what scripture says about God.

                    1 Peter 1:2

                    according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

              • The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a special “filling” of the Ghost that enabled believers to speak in foreign tongues and preach great sermons.

                If the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was the moment of salvation for those mentioned in Acts, upon which the Holy Spirit was poured out, that would mean that Peter, John, and the other disciples of Christ were not saved until Pentecost.

                Do you really believe that?

                When God uses the word “baptism” without any qualifiers it means “water baptism”. For some reason, Baptists and evangelicals stop interpreting “baptism” as “water baptism” once they finish reading the Book of Acts and step across the line into the epistles. Why is that?

                • Some one is saved when God saves them.

                  Those who lived before Christ looked forward to the coming work of the Messiah. Those who lived after Christ look to the finished work of Christ.

                  I think that John was clear that John baptized with water, but Jesus was going to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

                  The apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit at pentecost, just as those in Acts were baptized with the Holy Spirit (some before, during, and after water baptism). I think all believers post Pentecost have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit. It may be this happens before, during, or after water baptism. I think none of us, post pentecost, are saved without God living in us. This does not mean I believe it will look the same for everyone – Paul was clear in 1 Corinthians 12:28-29 that not everyone speaks in tongues.

        • when we are baptized we are putting on Christ according to Galatians 3 27and this is how we become heirs to the promise. according toGalatians 3 28 29

          • Let’s look at the text in context. The Law led to christ, and we were justified by faith and then we were baptized. It did not save us.
            Galatians 3:23-27

            23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

            • Ephesians 2:8-9 says that faith is a gift from God. Do you believe that faith is a gift from God, with no strings attached, or is it a product of your intelligence, maturity, and decision-making capabilities?

              • The point is that GOD has to work in the believer to do what God wants.

                Ezekiel 36:26-27

                26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

                Acts 16:14-15

                14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

                Philippians 2:13

                for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

        • the blood of Jesus Christ and water baptism go togethe. when he was on the cross And They pierced his side blood and water came It is type and shadow 1st John 5:8 says and there are three that bear witness in earth the spirit and the water and the blood and these three agree in one

          • Its not clear by what John meant when he said Jesus came by water and blood, not water only. Perhaps he was speaking of water from the mother. Perhaps he was speaking of water baptism and his shed blood. But again, that does not indicate baptism is a requirement for salvation.
            1 John 5:5-8

            5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the
            Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

            • The only thing i can tell u is to pray about that because wee need to take what the Bible says seriously because if we teach people something that is not right God will hold that to our account Galatians 1:8 says but though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you then that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed and we clearly see the disciples baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins so pray about that and See what God tell you. the Lord is faithful says in his word if you acknowledge Him in all Your ways he shall direct your path God bless

              • I do pray – daily. I recognize that we are responsible before God for what we teach.

                But I am teaching what scripture says – GOD has to put a new heart and a new Spirit in HIS people and will cause them to obey Him.

                Ezekiel 36:26-27

                26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

                Paul said we are saved by grace through faith, not of works – and this is what I am teaching.
                Ephesians 2:8-9

                8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

                • the works Paul was talking about is the works of the Old Testament law you taking the word God out of context

                  • You are reading into scripture. Paul said we are saved by grace through faith, not as a result of works. This does not mention Old Testament Law.

                    Let’s look at the passage in context:
                    Ephesians 2:1-10

                    1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

                    We are not saved by doing something, but we were created to do good works. But this is not the old testament law. Good works are things God has prepared for us to do beforehand.

        • I’m sorry about some of the spelling my phone has a mind of its own

      • Mr. Davis as someone whom is going through this very same discussion right now with others at my church several things make this argument very circular in nature;

        1. the Bible cannot contradict itself, therefore if baptism is required for salvation, and not faith alone some would say there is a contradiction there.

        2. the bible is silent on babies that die, and the infirm on their deathbed. are they in heaven, and why or why not?

        3. the bible is silent on this Salvation issue even with the disciples. if they were baptized prior to jesus dying on the cross, then it was a washing only, but why is there no mention of their salvation act, if it truly a celebration after Jesus was crucified?

        4. what does jesus mean when he tells nicodemus that the spirit moves like the wind, and you don’t know how that is.

        5. in the old testament the blood covenant that was created by sacrifice involved two things, someone to bring the atonement for their sin and someone to ensure the lamb was perfect for the sacrifice. there was never any judgment on the sinner, only the lamb. if this is the case and in John we see jesus is called the lamb who came to take away the sin of the world, did he fail at doing so?
        6. by faith are you saved, you should be baptized because it is an ordinance set forth by god, and it should be immersion.

        • in the Old Testament the priest had to wash with waterif you study the tabernacle it was all type in shadow to Jesus Christthe layout of the tabernacle was in the shape of a cross. at the entrance of the tabernacle there was a brazen altar which represents repentance and thenthere was a brazen laver with water in where the priest would wash and this represents baptismand then came the altar of incense which now is Our praise in worship which is a sweet smelling saver to God and then the priest would apply the blood upon the Ark of the Covenant Jesus Christ now is our High Priest the Bible does not contradict agrees from front to back when you see the Bible repeat itself over and over it means that it is important I can show you more than one Scripture about water baptism and to answer your question about what Jesus was telling Nicodemus about the wind he was talking about receiving the Holy Ghost what the evidence of speaking with tongues

          • Tommy, I’ll let spruitt answer as he/she is led.

            But the problem as I see it is you are making this about man, and salvation is what GOD does to man.
            Ezekiel 36:26-27

            26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

            1 Corinthians 1:21

            For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

            While we may have antitypes and foreshadopwing things in the Old Testament, this does not mean they are necessarily exact representations of what God does in the New Testament.

            God can save during baptism, or before or after baptism.
            This is an example of the Holy Spirit coming upon people BEFORE baptism:
            Acts 10:44-48

            44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 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. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

            This is an example of the Holy Spirit coming upon people DURING baptism:
            Acts 19:1-7

            It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.

            This is an example of being baptized BEFORE the Holy Spirit comes upon people:
            Acts 8:12-17

            12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

            14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

            So I dont water baptism is required for salvation. I think it is something all Christians should do, in obedience to Christ. It is one way to call upon God.

            • I noticed you said that Christian should be baptized in obedience to Christ do you believe that baptism is being obedient to God’s Word

              • yes, I believe being baptized is being obedient to God.

                • so if you believe baptism is obedience the God’s Word then do you believe that disobedience will make it into heaven remember this obedience is why Adam and Eve what kicked out of the garden the Lord is not tolerate disobedience when we come before God he will judge according is written word

                  • The difference is, I belive we are saved by grace through faith. God causes us to obey Him. The obedience is evidence of our salvation – not the cause of it.

                  • adam and eve were kicked out of the garden for sinning, and God cannot be in the presence of sin. However if there is anything else to take away from that story is the first thing he did was cover them with clothes. throughout the bible we see the lord is always seeking a relationship with us, showing us his grace and love. (note he did not kill lucifer, cast him out, cared for adam and eve, put a mark on cain so no one would kill him…..God’s grace is bigger than any one of us, and he can do what HE wants…)

                    • I agree God can do what He wants, and He shows grace to the undeserving.

                      But where does it say God can not be in the presence of sin? God is omnipresent, so that kinds seems in conflict with that.

                    • look we need to believe the whole Bible or none of it all your closing your eyes At all the places that it says we need to be baptized I agree with faith 100 percent but the Bible cannot contradict a kingdom divided against itself shall fall faith without works is dead you said yourself that true faith causes you to obey the Word of God the Word of God is given to us to guide us unto salvation and a disobedient will not make heaven Sin cannot inherit The of heaven and to him that Knoweth to do good and doeth it did not to him it is sin

                    • If you continue to hold that people must be baptized to be saved, then you are not paying attention to the fact that we are saved through faith, not works.

                      Ephesians 2:8-9

                      8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

                      To accept that, one must realized we are saved by faith, not by what we do (and being baptized is something we do).
                      Yes, we are told in scripture to be baptized, but that is a sign of the faith we are given by God, not something that causes us to be saved.

                    • well brother I believe that we need 2 live by every word that is written in the Bible I see that we do not See Eye to eye on that my mind will not be changed about obeying every word in the Bible like I said if you do not believe every word don’t believe any of it at all you know if you’re baptized doesn’t mean you’re going to make it you can believe and be baptized and live like the world that doesn’t mean you’re saved it takes A Christian lifestyle as well we are not perfect but we need to try if you don’t believe works and faith go together then explain repentance because you have to come before God and ask for forgiveness is that not A work?

                    • Where does it say in Scripture we must ask for forgiveness?

                      Yes, we are to agree with God about our sins, but this does not mean we are asking for forgiveness. It means He forgives when we confess.
                      1 John 1:9

                      If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

                      I didnt say works and faith do not go together – I think both Paul (Acts 26:18-20) and James (James 2:14-24) taught we must have a living faith which will be exemplified by our lives. But this does not mean works is a requirement for salvation. Its that true faith has works that show that faith. Otherwise, its not a saving faith.

  24. which includes saving us….

  25. i call foul WB…you got me on a technicality…hahaha

  26. So are you saying, that as long as you have faith in Christ’s finshed work on the Cross; a beleiver can choose to be baptized or not: it dose’ent enterfear with there salvation?

    • I wrote, “[W]ater baptism does not save you and is not required to be saved. Faith in the finished work of Christ (his shed blood on the cross so people could have forgiveness of sins) is what saves you. Yes, if you are saved, then you should be baptized, as it shows you have faith. But baptism is something we DO, and so is a deed, a work, and so we are not saved through or because of it. Scripture is quite clear we are saved by God’s grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ. Baptism is merely one way to prove we are saved (which is what Paul said in Acts 26:20 we all have to do).”

      Water baptism does not save us. If we trust God, we will live lives which show our faith. This will include baptism.

    • yes baptism does affect your salvation.
      mark 16:16 he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved he but that believeth not shall be damned. John 3:5 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.

        1. Oldest manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20, which calls into question whether this was ever said at all
        2. If JESUS thought baptism was so important, you would think HE would have baptized. But we see in John 4:1-2 that He did not baptize.

          1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

        3. If PAUL thought baptism was all that important, he would have focused on it, but he barely baptized anyone.
          1 Corinthians 1:14-17

          14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

        4. As for John 3:5, Jesus was not speaking of water baptism, but was saying someone must be born physically (of water) and spiritual (born spiritually).

        What Paul DID say is that people should repent, turn to God and prove their repentance. Paul never said people needed to be baptized to be saved. Acts 26:20

        “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. “

        What is needed is that our minds change (concerning God and Christ) and we turn to God – that turning to God will engender change, will cause us to do which give evidence that our salvation is real – that we have a saving faith instead of a saying faith. That change of mind, our belief, comes from God, not us. And it will cause us to show the faith God gifts us with.
        If we don’t have evidence of our faith, then our faith is dead and worthless.
        James 2:14-17

        14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

        Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

  27. one day my life was changed by a miracle and I was maid fully awere that my sins were forgiven at that time I wasn’t water baptised and that moment I resived the holy ghost now it was an argument that should I be water baptised or not.

    • And what did you decide about whether to be water baptized?

      • One thing I have learned over the 45 yrs of Christianity, “EVERYBODY believes they are right”. Is everyone right, no. So this will answer the question concerning baptism. Confess sin, be baptized and move on. Arguing scripture between two believers serves no purpose and usually causes division. In these many years I have learned never to argue even if I believe I am correct. Neither person will convince the other in an argument, so move on and enjoy the abundance Jesus has given. Argument usually comes from a religious point in wanting to convince that I am right and you are wrong. Jesus said it best when his disciples were upset that a group of believers did not interpret the scriptures like they did, Lk 9:50 “if they are not against us, they are for us”

        • It may be you are right, that we should let people believe as they will.

          But I understand God told us to be able to defend the truth.

          We are told to defend the hope we have.
          1 Peter 3:15

          15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

          We are to destroy speculation that is raised against the knowledge of God.
          2 Corinthians 10:5

          5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

          Paul defended the gospel – this includes whether we must be baptized in water to be saved.
          Philippians 1:7-9

          7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment

          Elders are to be able to teach sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine.
          Titus 1:9

          9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

          We must teach truth so people will not be led away by diverse and strange teachings.
          Hebrews 13:9

          Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

          Teachers must rightly handle the word of truth.
          2 Timothy 2:15

          Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

          Those who are not teachers are to avoid those who teach error.
          Romans 16:17

          I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

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