I Peter 3:21 – Baptism is Not the Figure

August 4, 2017

I Pet 3:21 says baptism saves us, referring to water baptism. Some say it only saves figuratively since the word “figure” is in the KJV version of the verse. However if you read the text carefully, you see that the word “figure” is not referring to baptism, but to the eight souls being physically saved by water in Noah’s day which prefigures our spiritual salvation via water baptism.

So to be clear, the passage does not say that baptism is a figure. The figure is Noah and his family’s salvation by water. Baptism is the real or antitype (defined by The Random House College Dictionary as “something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol, as a NT event prefigured in the OT”).

Notice these translations and definitions that make that fact abundantly clear:

· NKJV – There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism

· New Testament in Modern Speech – And, corresponding to that figure, baptism now saves you

· The Good News Translation – Which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you

· The New Living Translation – And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you

· Thayer defines the word as, “a thing resembling another, its counterpart; something in the Messianic times which answers to the type prefiguring it in the Old Testament, as baptism corresponds to the deluge.

· Vincent’s Word Studies says that it is to be read as “which, the antitype or as an antitype; i.e., which water, being the antitype of that water of the flood, doth now save you, even baptism.”

· Arndt and Gingrich’s Lexicon – Thus in I Peter 3:21 … means baptism, which is a fulfillment (of the type), now saves you, i.e., the saving of Noah from the flood is a …, or ‘foreshadowing’ …, and baptism corresponds to it.

· NIV – “and this water symbolized baptism that now saves you also” (notice that baptism is not the symbol, but is what is being symbolized, the real).

· The King James translators indicated this with the word “whereunto,” which according to The Random House College Dictionary means “whereto” or “to what or what place or end.” So the passage is saying the figure (Noah’s family’s salvation by water) is to the place or end of water baptism. The figure points to baptism, not that the figure is baptism. See the difference?

Notice also, that if baptism is the type here, then the eight souls being saved by water is the antitype. Water baptism symbolized the flood – who believes that?

The NASV translates it, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.” That’s easy to understand, isn’t it?

Conclusion: We are saved by the death of Christ when we are baptized in water, and not before.


God’s Favor Upon A Nation Is Conditional

July 28, 2017

Jeremiah 18:7-10 reads “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”

This passage shows God’s favor upon a nation is conditioned upon its attitude and actions. And it couldn’t be unchangeably set beforehand (like the Calvinists say), else it makes no sense to say God repented of his intentions regarding them. Unchangeably set would mean that God could never change His mind.

Calvinism says everything that happens is unchangeably set by God, but the Bible teaches God’s promises and favors are sometimes conditioned upon how we behave.

Is Bragging About Our Unrighteousness Showing Humility?

July 21, 2017

It seems many (including some Christians) feel it is more humble and Godly to brag about their unrighteousness instead of coveting righteousness. Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze seemed to glorify unrighteousness in this way with his recent tweet – “Because of Him, you don’t need to fear unrighteousness. It’s our delusion of righteousness that we should fear.”

Instead of glorifying unrighteousness we should apologize (primarily to God) for our unrighteousness and diligently seek righteousness – which is defined by I John 3:7 as “… he that doeth righteousness is righteous ….” Never be ashamed of following God’s commands (John 14:15) and asking that out of others.

Make no mistake about it, obedience is required for God’s salvation. Heb 5:9 drives that point home well – Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” I Pet 1:22 also – “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth ….”

This attitude of glorifying unrighteousness is specifically condemned in Rom 6:1-2 – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” And “because of Him” we should certainly “fear unrighteousness” because passages like I Cor 6:9 state “… the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ….”

Could Jesus Have Sinned? – I Peter 2:21-22

July 14, 2017

Some say it was impossible for Jesus to sin, but consider I Pet 2:21-22 – “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”

Our text says Jesus’ perfect life is an example for us to try to follow. But how could He be our example in avoiding sin if it were impossible for Him to sin in the first place? To be our perfect example, Jesus must have faced real temptation to sin like we do (Heb 4:15), and overcome it. That should be our goal – to do the same thing as He did – face temptation and overcome it.

Some People Never Say They’re Sorry

July 8, 2017

James 5:16 reads “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Unfortunately, some Christians obey that verse next to nothing. It is not that they never do anything wrong to hurt another person. It is more that they are insensitive to their own faults (Prov 16:12) and/or are not humble enough to admit wrong (Luke 18:14, Col 3:12, James 4:6, I Pet 5:5, etc.).

Similarly, some Christians never say “thank you” to others, but they ought to (Acts 24:3, Col 3:15).

Admitting wrong to others is very important (Matt 5:23-24), but confessing wrong to God is even more important. I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

What About The Gay Church Argument That Old Testament Censures Against Homosexuality Are Not Binding Today?

June 30, 2017

First, I agree 100% that none of the Old Testament laws are binding today, including the prohibitions against homosexuality. But I would ask – does that mean sex with animals (condemned in the very next breath in the Lev 18:22-23 and 20:13-16) is not wrong?

With their argument, the Gay Church is admitting homosexuality was wrong under the Old Testament for Israelites. This then admits:

• Saying “I was born this way” is not a valid excuse. If any Israelites were “born homosexuals,” they would still have had to abstain. Of course Rom 1:26-27 proves nobody is born that way.

• God would have required Israelites with a homosexual “orientation” to go against their “nature.” This contradicts the Gay Church view that as long as you go with “your nature,” you are okay.

So really the Gay Church’s admission on the Leviticus passages proves wrong its position on the New Testament passages that do prohibit homosexuality today:

· Rom 1:24,26-27 – Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves … For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

· I Cor 6:9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers. Neither homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

· I Tim 1:9-10 – We also know this: The law was not made for a good man, but for people who are lawless, rebels, ungodly, sinners, unholy, not religious, father-killers, mother-killers, murderers, sexual sinners, homosexuals, slave traders, liars, and those who break promises. These and other things are against the healthy teaching as found in the glorious gospel of the blessed God which He trusted to me. (Simple English New Testament)

The Little Word “If” Proves Salvation Is Conditional

June 23, 2017

The word “if” means – “on condition that … a condition, requirement, or stipulation” (Random House College Dictionary)


Bobby, if you eat your carrots, Mommy will let you have some ice cream.

If you finish your homework, you may go out and play.

If you take this medicine, it should make you feel better.

Now notice some verses that use the word “if” to show our salvation is conditional:

Matt 6:14-15 if ye forgive men their trespasses, your … Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rom 10:9 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I Cor 15:1-2 … the gospel … By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you

II Peter 1:10 … for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall

Conclusion: Salvation/Election is “if” (conditional)

II Cor 5:21a – For He Hath Made Him To Be Sin For Us

June 16, 2017

II Corinthians 5:21a (“For he hath made him to be sin for us”) is saying the same thing as Isaiah 53:6c. God “made him to be sin for us” is the same as God “hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Suppose a Mob boss ordered a small potatoes underling to take the rap for a crime some more important mobsters did. The mobsters let off the hook could accurately say – “For the Boss hath made him to be dirty for us.” Wouldn’t that mean the low man on the totem-pole substituted for the big wigs, he took their penalty for them?

In a similar way, Jesus was “made … to be sin” means he was literally treated like a sinner by God:

· not in the sense that Jesus sinned or was made guilty of sin – not in any shape, form, or fashion – He was the most innocent lamb that ever lived

· we see this in Isaiah 53:5 – Jesus took our chastisement so we could have peace with God

· I like the way David Lipscomb put it on page 81 of his Gospel Advocate commentary on II Corinthians – “God had made Jesus who committed no sin to suffer as though he had sinned.”

Jesus made to be sin for us = took our sins in our place = Substitute

Where Were People Being Baptized Ever Told To Get Out Of Their Unscriptural Marriage?

June 9, 2017

Several times in debate I have been asked where the Bible ever tells those being baptized to get out of an unscriptural marriage? My response (in part) has gone something like this …

· Where were homosexuals ever told specifically to get out of that relationship when they were baptized (Rom 1:26-27)? Does that mean God allows them to continue to be a practicing homosexual even after they become a Christian?

· Where were thieves ever told specifically to quit stealing when they were baptized (Eph 4:28)?

· Where were polygamists ever told specifically to get out of their extra marriages when they were baptized (I Cor 7:2)?

It’s all right there in the important command to “repent” in Acts 2:38. When a person repents before he is baptized to become a Christian, he will quit being a homosexual, thief, polygamist, … and adulterer (Matt 19:9) – as the case may be.

I Cor 6:9-11 does show people got out of adulterous marriages when they were converted – “adulterers … and such were (past tense) some of you” – meaning they had quit being an adulterer when they obeyed the gospel. And Mark 6:17-18 shows in principle it is unlawful to stay in an unscriptural marriage. Read it in your Bible.

Salvation Passages – Taking Them From Where They Are

June 3, 2017

In answer to the question, “How do you get to Atlanta from here?,” someone from Birmingham would answer differently from his house than I would from my house in north Alabama. The question is correctly answered based upon where you are.

It sometimes happens this way in the Bible when a person is told what to do to be saved:

· In Acts 16:31, unbelievers were told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved. (they were baptized 2 verses later)

· In Acts 2:38, believers were told to “repent, and be baptized” for the remission of sins.

· In Acts 22:16, a penitent believer was told to “be baptized” to get his sins washed away.

What should we conclude? That all conditions stated as necessary by God for salvation should be obeyed. They don’t all have to be in one verse.