Archive for June, 2021

The Freedom Spoken Of In Galatians

June 23, 2021

The freedom spoken of in the book of Galatians is not a freedom from obeying any law but a freedom from obeying the law of Moses. Notice the law being talked about came 430 years after the promise to Abraham (3:17). That would be the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Allegory in 4:21-31 shows we are to “cast out” the “mount Sinai …. Covenant” (represented by Hagar), but now we are under the new covenant (the one represented by Sarah). So there is a new covenant/agreement, meaning God will bless us with salvation if we obey His new law.

You can tell this from Gal 5:19-21 which states those guilty of the “works of the flesh … shall not not inherit the kingdom of God.” So God expects our obedience to His NT laws just as much as he expected obedience to His OT laws back then. Gal 5:6 underscores this point when it says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” So OT requirements like circumcision no longer avail, but a faith which WORKS by love does avail. Working, i.e. obeying NT instructions, still avails – if based upon faith and motivated by love.

We see this same idea in I Cor 7:19 “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” It is not that being careful in keeping God’s commandments is no longer important; instead it is that keeping God’s OT commandments is no longer important; that is the point of the book of Galatians. It is true God’s NT law provides less detailed requirements than His OT law, but we must be diligent to submit to the details that do exist in our law for today (Heb 11:6c). As a matter of fact, in many ways the NT requires a stricter adherence than the OT law (Matt 5:20-48).

Heb 5:9 is a NT passage and it reads “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Obey what? NT instructions, not OT instructions. The book of Hebrews tells us the NT is a much better law. But that doesn’t mean we needn’t be as careful to obey it as Israel was supposed to be careful to obey their law. Not in the least. Rev 22:14 reads “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

The book of Galatians is dealing with the same problem the debate in Acts 15 dealt with. Jewish converts were saying to Gentile converts “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1). Verse 5 puts it this way – “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” So the false teaching was not that God must be obeyed; the false teaching was that the law of Moses must be obeyed. Obedience was still considered very important (verse 29), just obedience to the “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

Are Faith And Repentance Two Sides Of The Same Coin?

June 17, 2021

In the debate about whether water baptism is necessary to salvation, many quote passages like John 3:16 that mention faith as being necessary without mentioning baptism. They say that proves one is saved at the point of faith before and without water baptism. But if that argument were true, wouldn’t that mean repenting of sins is not necessary to salvation, as repentance is not mentioned in John 3:16 either? And what about a number of passages like Acts 11:18 that teach repentance as being necessary to salvation without mentioning faith? Wouldn’t they by the same logic prove faith is not necessary to salvation?

One Baptist answer to this dilemma is they say “faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.” If that is true, why then are the two listed separately many times, such as in Heb 6:1 “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”? And if faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin, please consider Acts 3:19a (“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”). That view would mean one’s sins are blotted out at the point of repentance/faith without even being converted, but the verse very clearly makes conversion after repentance necessary to one’s sins being blotted out; am I right?

Must Baptism Be Done “For The Remission Of Sins” To Be Scriptural?

June 10, 2021

We see from many passages that baptism is essential to salvation, for example Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Gal 3:26-27, and I Pet 3:20-21. Look those up and see for yourself.

And when you look up Acts 2:38, you will see it states “for the remission of sins” as the reason to be baptized. Sometimes the Bible (God) tells us to do things without telling us why. In those cases we must be willing to trust God and obey Him even if we don’t understand why or even agree with the why. But if God tells us why (the reason) we should do something, then we should do it for that reason. Let me illustrate: If one can see from Matt 19:9 that a divorce is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for fornication”), then by the same logic one ought to be able to see from Acts 2:38 that a baptism is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for the remission of sins”). See the parallel? If one can see the former, why not the latter?

Just a cursory reading of I Cor 13:3 and Matt 6:1,5,16 would tell us that if we are doing what God said, but for the wrong reason or motive, then we are not really obeying God. Doing something that just happens to coincide with God’s command, but for our own reasons, is not really submitting to God’s will, is it? That would be going about to establish our own righteousness, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:3), right?

Now let’s move back to the topic of water baptism and the reason the Bible gives for why we should do it. The wording of Acts 2:38 (“Repent and be baptized … for the remission of sins”) not only proves baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins, but it also specifies the reason a person should be baptized. Baptizing as “an outward sign of an inward grace” (meaning, to show you are already saved) is no more scriptural baptism than young children playing baptism while they are out swimming.

I was immersed/baptized when I was 10 years old, but when I learned baptism must be “for the remission of sins,” I was baptized again at the age of 20 – this time for the right reason. So even though I thought I was saved between 10 and 20, I really wasn’t. I had never really obeyed Acts 2:38 for the reason given. Have you ever been baptized for the remission of sins?

Baptism is to be done “for the remission of sins,” at least according to God it is. If you’ve been baptized, but not “for the remission of sins,” then you’ve never really received the remission of sins. You need to be rebaptized, just like the disciples in Acts 19:1-5 were rebaptized, just for a different reason. You have to be baptized for the right reason to achieve God’s intended results. Peter would exhort you to “be baptized … for the remission of sins.”

Water Baptism Is Essential To Salvation

June 3, 2021

On Bible Crossfire on April 17, 2016 we were discussing the fact that Doctrine is important and a listener called in to question the Bible truth that we have to be baptized to be saved.

The Bible does teach a person must be baptized in water to be saved. To see this is so, let’s simply look at what the passages that tell us the purpose of baptism actually say. Doesn’t that seem fair?

Mark 16:16

Mark 16:16 reads, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” This verse teaches baptism is necessary to salvation just like the sentence, “He that eateth and digesteth his food shall live, but he that does not eat shall die” teaches one must digest his food in order to live physically. The little word “and” shows it takes both belief and baptism to receive salvation from sin. Some say the second part of Mark 16:16 doesn’t mention baptism, and therefore baptism must not be necessary. But there was no need to mention baptism in the second part; if a person doesn’t believe, he is not qualified to be baptized anyway.

John 3:5

John 3:5 says “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Water baptism is the only thing of spiritual significance in the New Testament that involves water. Rom 6:4,6 shows we begin our “walk in newness of life” and “our old man is crucified” (phrases analogous to the new birth) at the point of our baptism in water. So John 3:5 must be talking about water baptism, and therefore teaches unless one is baptized in water “he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

Acts 2:38

Acts 2:38 reads, “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.” So both the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon repentance and baptism. The primary meaning of the Greek word translated “for” in this verse (“eis”) is “into.” A quick glance at a Greek concordance will demonstrate that this word is translated the vast majority of time into words such as “into,” “unto,” and “to,” indicating direction towards something. So this passage teaches baptism is in the direction toward the remission (forgiveness) of sins. That then proves baptism is necessary to the forgiveness of one’s sins.

Acts 22:16

In Acts 22:16, we read, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” So Acts 22:16 shows the washing away of sins (by the blood of Christ, Rev 1:5) is dependent upon baptism. Another thing it shows is that Paul’s sins were not forgiven at the point of his initial faith on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9:5-6, but instead they were forgiven at the time of his baptism. Salvation by “faith only” is therefore disproven.

I Peter 3:21

I Peter 3:21 reads, “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.” This verse argues that the physical salvation of eight souls through water prefigures our spiritual salvation by water baptism. It does not teach baptism is the earning basis for our salvation (the death of Christ is the basis), but it does teach our salvation is conditioned upon baptism. The verse plainly says “baptism doth also now save us.” What do we have to gain by arguing against it?

Galatians 3:26-27

Gal 3:26-27 reads “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The word “For” that begins verse 27 means “to introduce the reason.” Therefore Gal 3:27 shows the reason the Galatians were “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” is that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” So you can’t become a child of God by faith without being baptized.

Colossians 2:11-13

In Col 2:11-13 we can read the phrases, “in putting off … the sins … Buried with him in baptism … having forgiven you all trespasses.” So both verses 11 and 13 are talking about the forgiveness of sins, and right in the middle of that, verse 12 then is obviously telling us when that forgiveness of sins takes place (at baptism), or else Paul changed the subject from verse 11 to verse 12, and then back again in verse 13. So Col 2:11-13 taken in context is another passage proving the forgiveness of sins occurs when one is baptized.

I Corinthians 1:12-13

Another passage that proves baptism is necessary for salvation is I Cor 1:12-13. Paul teaches here that for a person to be “of Paul,” Paul would have had to have been crucified for him, and that person would have had to have been baptized in the name of Paul. This implies that for a person to be “of Christ” (that is, to be a Christian), Christ would have had to have been crucified for him, and that person would have had to have been baptized in the name of Christ. There is simply no way around this. I Cor 1:12-13 proves that to be of Christ, to be a Christian, one must be baptized in the name of Christ.

Conclusion

We understand that Jesus died for all, but not all are going to be saved. Most recognize those that are going to be saved are those that qualify themselves by meeting the conditions of salvation laid down by Christ. We have just proven submitting to water baptism is one of those essential conditions to be met, just like faith and repentance are.