“Washing” In Titus 3:5 Is Not Referring To Water Baptism Per Se

November 14, 2019

Titus 3:5 reads “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

I heard a preacher say recently the only thing in the New Testament that involves “washing” is water baptism, therefore the “washing” of Tit 3:5 must refer to water baptism. Through the years I’ve heard many gospel preachers make a similar assertion.

But I think they are accidently overlooking a very important washing in the New Testament and that is the washing away of sins by the blood of Christ – like in Rev 1:5b “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” And I am confident this is what the washing of Tit 3:5 is referring to – the washing away / forgiveness of our sins.

Tit 3:5 is saying we are saved by the washing away of sins that occurs when we are regenerated. Now we know from John 3:3,5 that regeneration involves water baptism, and we know that water baptism is when we receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16, 2:38). But baptism and forgiveness of sins are not the same thing, and the “washing” in Tit 3:5 is referring to the later.

Eph 2:8-9, Tit 3:5, and II Tim 1:9 are all three discussing the earning basis for our salvation, not the conditionality of it – that is why they don’t contradict James 2:24. All three state our salvation is not by our works (like water baptism) but it is by grace. Specifically Tit 3:5 says salvation is not by “works of righteousness which we have done” and water baptism is most definitely a work of righteousness which we have done. This should also help us to see that the “washing” there is not talking about water baptism, because if that were the case, the verse would be saying we are saved not by baptism, but by baptism.

There are plenty of verses that conclusively teach water baptism is necessary to salvation. We don’t need to force a round peg into a square hole to find another.

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Isaiah 53:6c Means Jesus Took The RESPONSIBILITY For Our Sin

November 8, 2019

In prophesying about Jesus, Isaiah 53:6c says “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” A lot of gospel preachers don’t believe that is true. For example, Maurice Barnett wrote in Gospel Truths (July 2010) “It is said that Jesus took every sin of mankind into Himself on the cross … I deny that any … scripture says such a thing but to the contrary the scriptures deny it.” But obviously it is true that God laid every sin of mankind on Jesus; our text says that very thing.

But what does it mean when the Bible says “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”? As usual, the context should decide. Both verse 11 and verse 13 of the same chapter say Jesus would “bear their iniquities.” The same analogy is being used in verse 6 as in 11 and 13. God laying our sins on Jesus would be the same as saying Jesus “bare our sins” (I Pet 2:24) – when something is laid on someone, then they bear it. Heb 9:28 puts the same truth this way “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.”

But what does it mean that Jesus bore our sins? Well it doesn’t mean Jesus bore the guilt for our sins; that would be rewriting history. If John Doe commits a sin, it wouldn’t be accurate to say Jane Doe did it.  Instead the phrase Jesus “bare our sins” means Jesus “bore” the responsibility for our sins. Notice this meaning for the word in Lev 24:15-16 – “… Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.”

This is exactly what Ezek 18:20 says will not be done by one man for another – “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Jesus was obviously the exception to that rule.

And going back to Isaiah 53, we see that is exactly what is under consideration. The verse just previous to our text (verse 5) says “the punishment that brought us peace was on him” (NIV). So Isaiah 53:6c is saying our sins were laid on Jesus in the sense he bore the responsibility for them, he suffered the “punishment”/penalty for them – so we wouldn’t have to.

We should be so thankful the responsibility for our sins was laid on Jesus at his crucifixion (our sins were “laid on Him”). Else we would have no hope of salvation whatsoever.

Calvinism Says Salvation Is Unconditonal, But The Scriptures Say …

October 31, 2019

Salvation is Conditional. Want proof? …

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Rom 2:6-9 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who … in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation, and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil …

James 5:20 … he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins

Mat 10:22 he that endureth to the end shall be saved

Rev 2:10 be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life

Many, many other like verses could be cited. Conditional Salvation is taught all through the Bible

Preaching What Is Needed versus Preaching What Is REALLY Needed

October 24, 2019

If one has an opportunity to preach at a Baptist church, he might choose to preach on how Belief in Christ is necessary to salvation. That would be needed there since it is the truth (John 3:16), but might not be as needed as preaching on something that demands a change in that audience’s life (like how baptism should be done “for the remission of sins” Acts 2:38). Similarly if one has an opportunity to preach at a church of Christ, he might choose to preach on how Baptism is necessary to salvation. That would be needed there since it is the truth (Mark 16:16), but might not be as needed as preaching on something that demands a change in that audience’s life.

As just one of many examples of what I am talking about, suppose one gets an opportunity to preach at a “conservative” church of Christ where the women are allowed to speak up from their seat to help with the announcements in the assembly. One could choose to preach on Hope there, and that would be needed there since it is the truth (Rom 8:24), but that wouldn’t be preaching on what is really needed there. On the other hand, discussing I Cor 14:34-35 and how verse 35a proves even speaking up in a submissive / non-leading way (like asking a question to learn) is condemned, would be one thing that is really needed at that particular congregation.

See the difference? Preaching truth that demands a change from your audience takes a lot more courage than preaching truth the audience already agrees with and/or is already practicing. The latter will usually get you accolades (Luke 6:26), while the former will usually get you not invited back (II Tim 4:3). But truth that demands a change is what is REALLY needed (Acts 20:26-27,20,31, Ezek 3:18) – in any Bible teaching situation.

One Thing The Spirit Does Separate and Apart From the Word

October 17, 2019

A lot of gospel preachers make the claim that everything the Holy Spirit is said to do in the scriptures, that the word of God is said to do the same thing, so their conclusion is the Holy Spirit only operates through the word today. But this is a false claim.

Romans 8:26-27 reads “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

So the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The word (the Bible) does NOT do that.

In Spite Of What Paul Thought?

October 10, 2019

In the Birmingham News editorial page several years ago a Ms. Hurst wrote: “I think Baptist leaders need to rethink this issue of women ‘graciously submitting to their husbands.’ As a woman, I will not submit “graciously” or otherwise to any man. These beliefs and teachings are archaic and are the reason we cannot attract people to our church. Jesus … made us all equal – yes, even women, in spite of what Paul thought.”  Did you get that; this so called Christian believes what she believes about the woman’s role “in spite of what Paul” taught.

Obviously some believers think only what Jesus said (what’s in the red letters) matters, but actually all of the Bible was inspired (revealed) by God.  We see this from a number of passages …

John 16:13 reads “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

I Cor 2:13 says “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

And Paul said in I Cor 14:37 “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

So when Paul taught wives should submit to their husbands, that was actually God speaking …

Eph 5:22-24 teaches exactly that “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ms. Hurst also wrote: “What about the issue of women being allowed to be pastors? Almost every other Protestant church lets women be pastors.”

The passages previously quoted would also mean what Paul said forbidding “women preachers” was inspired (revealed) by God …

I Cor 14:34-35 is clear on the issue “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

I Tim 2:11-12 confirms the Bible teaching on this question “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

For some reason, most churches allow women to preach from the pulpit. Why? Do they not recognize the Bible is the guidebook for Christians and congregations to follow (II Tim 3:16-17)?  Don’t you think we ought to worship with a church that still uses the Bible as its guidebook?

The Southern Baptist Church Says Gay Marriages Must Be Terminated But Not Adulterous Marriages

October 3, 2019

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently wrote in a blog post – “It is not inconsistent for a church to accept divorced and remarried members with ‘mercy and grace’ but require homosexuals to leave their gay lifestyle before joining the congregation.” (http://www.bpnews.net/43583/sbc-not-third-way-on-divorce )

Why is that not inconsistent? Why is it wrong to continue in a homosexual relationship, but not wrong to continue in an adulterous relationship?

Vineyard Church Of Ann Arbor “pastor” Ken Wilson could see the inconsistency, so he took the consistent but wrong position.  Here is his justification for accepting gay marriages in his congregation – “I have proposed a path for these pastors that allows them to embrace people who are gay, lesbian, and transgender and to accept them fully — welcome and wanted — into the company of Jesus. I wrote A Letter To My Congregation when I realized my views had changed and I needed to communicate the intense theological, biblical, pastoral, and spiritual process that I had been through to get to this new place. It began with a burr beneath the saddle of my conscience: why was I willing to let so many divorced and remarried couples know that they are welcome and wanted while refusing that same welcome to gay and lesbian couples? How could I say to the remarried couples, whose second marriage was clearly condemned by the plain meaning of scripture, ‘You are welcome and wanted,’ while saying to the two mothers raising their adopted child together, ‘I love you, but I hate your sin’?”

But Jesus said in Matt 19:9 “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”  That would mean every time a man sleeps with the second wife, he commits adultery. How can a man repent of adultery while planning to continue in such? That’s just “reporting, not repenting.”

Mark 6:17-18 reads “For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.”  This passage is talking about a situation that occurred during Old Testament times, but still illustrates what is required if a couple finds themselves in an adulterous marriage. The text doesn’t just say “It was not lawful for you to marry her”; instead it says “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matt 14:4). If it is not lawful for you to have something, don’t you have to give that something up?

Back to the Southern Baptist Church.  Just why have they changed over the last several decades and are now accepting adulterous marriage?  I think this quote from Anthony Dunnavant in the Orange County (California) Register sums up the reason well – “Some conservative groups believe that divorced people who marry another spouse are living in sin.  However, the number of divorces in the United States has led most denominations away from that teaching.”  So the scriptures never justified such a compromise on divorce and remarriage; instead it was the increase in the number of divorces in our land which caused the Southern Baptists to cave in.

What Separates From God – Sin Or The Failure To Repent?

September 26, 2019

Does our sin separate us from God, or is it the lack of repentance that separates (causes our spiritual death) Let’s consider some relevant passages …

How about in the very beginning with the very first sin? What did God say in Gen 2:17? – “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” So spiritual death results from (occurs at the time of) sin, not later when a person fails to repent.

What about the Israelites according to Isaiah 59:2? – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” It is not the failure to repent per se that separates us from God, but our sin in the first place.

And lastly in the New Testament notice Rom 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death.” Spiritual death occurs when we commit sin, any sin, even one sin. The failure to repent only compounds the problem by blocking the avenue we have to obtain forgiveness and restore our fellowship with God.

It is the same for belief. Unbelief is not what originally separates us from God; our sins does. Believing is part of accepting the solution for our separation from God due to our sin – John 3:16.

I challenge the reader to find even one passage in the Bible where a person sinned, but was not separated from God at the moment he committed the sin.

What Words Were Said By The Preacher When He Baptized A Believer?

September 19, 2019

Actually it is never recorded for us in the Bible what the baptizer said as he baptizes the candidate …

In Acts 2:14-40, what Peter said is recorded in:

v.14 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them

v.38 Then Peter said unto them

v.40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying

But it is not recorded what is said by Peter when the actual baptizing took place:

v.41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

In Acts 19:2-5, what Paul said is recorded in:

v.2 He said unto them

v.3 And he said unto them

v.4 Then said Paul

Notice the quotation marks in the NKJV in verses 2, 3, and 4, but none in verse 5.

But there is no record of what is said by Paul when he baptized the Ephesians:

v.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

What about other conversion accounts in the book of Acts? What words were spoken over those who were baptized in such cases? (that is, according to the record)

Acts 8:12-13 the Samaritans? it doesn’t say

Acts 8:36-38 the Ethiopian eunuch? it doesn’t say

Acts 9:18, 22:16 Saul (Paul)? it doesn’t say

Acts 10:47-48 Cornelius and his friends? it doesn’t say

Acts 16:14-15 Lydia’s household? it doesn’t say

Acts 16:33 the Jailer’s household? it doesn’t say

Acts 18:8 the Corinthians? it doesn’t say

Conclusion: It is never recorded for us what words were spoken over those that were baptized, anywhere in the Bible.

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Does I Cor 14:34-35 Apply Today?

September 12, 2019

Some gospel preachers argue I Corinthians 14:34-35 is only talking about prophets’ wives, and since we don’t have prophets today, therefore the passage’s prohibition against women preachers does not apply today.

But as a general rule in this book, the second person refers to the church (1:2) or brethren (14:6,20,26,39) as a whole, while the third person is used when referring to the tongue speakers or prophets specifically (e.g., “him” in verse 28). Just as we do when we are writing a letter, Paul uses the second person to address who he is talking to (the Corinthians as a whole). Paul uses the third person to talk about (not to) a select group of the Corinthians, like the tongue speakers and the prophets. And since I Cor 14:34-35 is addressing “your women” (in the second person), then it naturally follows the passage is addressing the Corinthian women as a whole.

But let me emphasize that even if I am wrong about who the “your women” of verse 34 are, that is, if “your women” does refer only to the prophet’s wives, I Cor 14:34-35 would still apply to women today because verse 35 generalizes the passage to all women, then and now. Whoever the “your women” of verse 34 are, whether they are the Corinthian women as a whole or just the prophets’ wives, verse 35 says they should be silent because “it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” In other words, the Corinthian women (or the prophets’ wives) are not permitted to speak in the assembly, because it is wrong for women in general (all women everywhere) to speak in the church.

And so this passage certainly applies to all women everywhere, then and today!