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Biblically speaking, is the act of obedience truly necessary or is the intent to obey sufficient? I ask this question because of the many excuses that are thrown up as reasons why the act of baptism itself cannot be necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Are excuses such as:
a. Too weak to leave bed
b. In desert
c. Water too cold
d. Dies on way to be baptized
e. Astronaut in space
f. Afraid of water (aquaphobia)
g. Just got hair done
h. thinking its a work of merit
legitimate reasons against baptism being the point of the forgiveness of sins?
I have a cousin that his whole belief system is based on the one verse, it means to him that Jesus is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that they rae different manisfestation of the same person at different times in history. The Book of Hebrews does away with that idea, I post one for now Hebrews 9:13-14
“For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
With eternal meaning that the Spirit always was, is and will be the Spirit, He cannot be Jesus, plus how would Jesus offer Himself through Himself to Himself, it just really does not make any sense at all.
Back to baptism, first let me say that baptism is being obetient to the Gospel, it is not for the remisson of sins as in it takes them away, after we go throught some Scriptures I will explain what water baptism is for in relation to remission of sins.
The idea that Peter was teaching that one need to be baptised to recieve the remission of sin is again not taking the full context of Scripture. In the very next chapter Peter says in Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,” No mention of baptism, as there is no mention of baptism in Acts 4:32 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
Acts 5:14 “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,”
Acts 6:7 “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 8:4-5 “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.”
Notice no mention of baptism in any of the results of preaching or in the preaching to be baptised. Acts 9:18-22 “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.”
Wow the convertion of Saul soon to become apostle Paul and after being baptised he did not think that it was so important to salvation that he preached Christ with no mention of baptism, you would think if baptism is the focus of salvation that the soon to be apostle Paul would of brought up baptism, but he did no such think. And those that seen his convertion say that Saul is looking for those that call on this name, the name of Jesus, they did not say those that are baptized in His name. We are now into chapter 9 of the book of Acts with Peter not preaching baptism, Stephen not preaching baptism at his death. You would think that if a man is going to die and meet the Lord that he would preach the most important aspect of salvation, yet he did not even mention baptism. Then we have Philip who is moving in signs and wonders in demonstration of the Holy Spirit who was sent to teach us all truth, yet no mention of baptism. Lets move on in the book of Acts.
More of Acts 9:27-28 “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.” Wow again no mention of baptism in His name, only preaching in His name and we have seen that forgiveness comes in His name without baptism.
Acts 10 the Lord shows Peter a vision and Peter response to that vision by going down to Cornelius a Gentile that worships the Lord, now you would think that if baptism is the most important part of salvation that Peter would of preached baptism since that is what the baptismal regeneration people think he preached, here is the point of Peter's sermon, Acts 10:42-43. “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Peter just preached to the Gentiles that forgiveness of sins is through the name of Jesus, no mention of being baptism in His name, but everyone that believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins in His name, believing in His name, not being baptized in His name.
I would love to keep going, but I need to let you use the book of Acts to prove your point, because I will use the rest of it to prove mine. Then we will deal with Romans 6 and how it has nothing to do with water baptism and neither does I Peter 3:21. If you jump to Romans or I Peter you are admitting that Acts does not prove your point. In the espistles there is no mention of water baptism, they only speak of the baptism of the Spirit.
A look at the full councel of God and we can see that baptism is a sign of obedience towards God and we are baptize in the Spirit is an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it has nothing to do with water. Peter tells us that the baptism that saves us is not the removal of dirt from the flesh. so it's not water and it by the resurrection of Christ Jesus, which leads us to Romans 8:9-11 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
I have a cousin that his whole belief system is based on the one verse, it means to him that Jesus is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that they are different manifestations of the same person at different times in history.
Actually your example "saved by the Blood of Christ" is an abstraction without an event. A common one used by the Roman Catholic Church with its misuse of John 6:54. "Saved by the Blood of Christ" is a abstract thought used to convey the sacrifice of Jesus as the power behind salvation. Many other terms can be used for the same idea. The "love of God", "the power of the Cross" or "the grace of the Lord" among many others are abstractions without events. In other words, a general term used to convey the purpose or intent but not the means to a result.
In civics classes the Preamble of the Constitution is a classic example of an abstraction without an event. The Preamble declares the intent of the Founding Fathers but it is the Constitution and Bill of Rights that are the means to our rights. No one appeals to the Preamble but the written rights themselves.
It is these general statements that faith alone regeneration theology is based.