One Blogger’s View on Acts 2:38 – Baptism & Salvation

I came across a blog by a Baptist blogger dealing with the Church of Christ position on baptism.  I’m interested to know if you folks think his arguments are sound.

Acts 2:38 is a verse commonly misunderstood by most people. A lot of people, like the Church of Christ, believe this verse teaches baptism is required for salvation but that is not what this verse is saying.

Acts 2:38

“38Then 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.”

A large reason why this verse is misunderstood is because of our lack of knowledge of basic grammar. The part in italics is set off by commas so this makes it a separate statement. A similar example would be Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley, is a preacher. The commas could also be thought of as parenthesis. 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 the statement in parenthesis or part set off by commas can be taken out and it will not affect the rest of the sentence. Repent and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. So the first thing we notice is when a person repents they receive the Holy Ghost. What about the part in italics?

The statement inside the commas says and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. The natural reaction people have is “See, when a person is baptized their sins are forgiven.” Let’s look at 2 other sentences. Take 2 Tylenol for a headache. He is on trial for murder. In the first example the person is taking Tylenol because they have a headache. They are not taking Tylenol to get a headache. In the 2nd example a person is on trial because they committed murder. They are not on trial to get murder. Likewise, a person gets baptized because of the remission of sins and not to get the remission of sins. Therefore, when a person’s sins have already been forgiven they get baptized. They do not get baptized to get their sins forgiven.

One may argue “Well I understand the word for can mean because of, but how do you know it means that in this case. Well if baptism did forgive sins which it doesn’t then Acts 2:38 is teaching us repenting gives us the Holy Ghost and water baptism forgives our sins. That would not make the slightest bit of sense. To my knowledge every person who teaches baptismal salvation believes repenting forgives sins and baptism gives us the Holy Ghost or both repentance and baptism are required to get either one. Repenting does give a person the Holy Ghost because once a person repents their sins are washed away and they receive the Holy Ghost.

Note: If you have a Bible that has a comma after baptized(Repent and be baptized,) instead of after (Repent,) then you have a serious heretical error. In this verse your Bible is teaching repent and be baptized is what results in receiving the Holy Ghost as opposed to repenting being what results in receiving the Holy Ghost. If that’s the case I’d suggest reading the King James because God doesn’t want you reading a book that teaches Jesus + baptism. It’s Jesus alone not Jesus + anything.


25 thoughts on “One Blogger’s View on Acts 2:38 – Baptism & Salvation

  1. I would have to agree with John. I spent two years going back and forth on this with the TV guys here and then 6 months straight on my own trying to find ways around Acts 2:38-I only ended up seeing a connection between faith and baptism. I just differ with those who say one must understand the purpose or the baptism is invalid-but this is another debate.

  2. You are not “answering the Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity”; You are “answering Johnny Robertson, Norm Fields, and James Oldfield”. Those guys are not the “official spokesmen” of the Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity. Al Maxey is more like the “official spokesman” of the Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity(faith-hertiage)

    Johnny Robertson’s, Norm Fields’s, James Oldfield’s plan of salvations is not from the Bible. It is Walter Scott’s five finger exercise for the plan of salvation.

    I am a “Church of Christer”. I am a member of the Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity (What a joke) Movement and I believe that you are saved first at the point of faith, not at the point of baptism. The reason that I believe that is that the Bible teaches that.

    Check out the following websites if you would like to know what is the “official position of the Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity Movement position of baptism”:

    Click to access Are_unbaptized_believers_lost.pdf

    God’s position of Baptism:
    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
    Ephesians 2:8-9 (King James Version)

    Quote from Al Maxey
    “If a repentant, confessing believer in Jesus Christ
    has fully committed himself/herself to being obedient to
    Christ Jesus in baptism, but dies unexpectedly prior to
    actually complying with that command (due to circumstances
    beyond his/her control), God’s grace will cover that person,
    and they will receive the gift of eternal salvation, based on
    the genuine intent of their heart at the time of their death.”

    To the other members of the “Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity (What a joke! rtsp:// – Rick Atchley’s “UNITED KINGDOM #3 – Learning Division”) Movement” who disagrees with God’s plan of salvation. I am not a coward. I would be happy to explain the Word of God to you more accurately (Acts 18:26)

  3. Good points, John and Randy! But isn’t it interesting how the different translators put the comma in different places? For example:

    “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.” KJV

    “Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” NLT

    “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” NIV

    “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ESV

    “And Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptised, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Darby

    And the winner…

    “Petrus vero ad illos paenitentiam inquit agite et baptizetur unusquisque vestrum in nomine Iesu Christi in remissionem peccatorum vestrorum et accipietis donum Sancti Spiritus” Vulgate

  4. I agree, each version is diff. But they honestly have this one covered. At what point did the men have faith in the message Peter preached in Acts 2? Was it prior to asking ” what shall we do” or after?? It’s clear they believed the message Peter preached prior to asking “what shall we do” they were hurt in their hearts, which showed they had faith in what Peter said and believed it, but were they saved then?? If so, why would they ask Peter “what shall we DO?? It seems that it wasnt a faith only salvation, but a faith that wanted to know what to do about what they just believed…Repent and be baptized. Was Peter repeating the words of Jesus “He who believes and is batiized shall be saved”? This is just a taste of what these guys will say about this verse…believe me, there is much more.

  5. As much as I love and admire Al Maxey, I doubt that he represents the mainstream Churches of Christ on several issues.

    Tom, it’s obvious you have a chip on your shoulder toward your own faith family…all that hoo-hah just serves to distract from the point.

  6. Not to further distract from the point, but what Tom says wouldn’t faze the local TV hosts – they often distance themselves from Campbell & Company – saying that they don’t follow any man, but only the Bible.

    Of course, my take on it is that the folks that attend their churches follow the Biblical interpretations of Johnny, Norm and James. Which could also mean that they follow these men.

    What apparently occurred with Jason Hairston (a former CofC TV host who might have left his position of leadership due to doctrinal differences – or perhaps personality differences – nobody will set the record straight) goes to show what can happen when someone develops a different understanding of the Bible than these men.

    Further, they would ask where the “Campbellite Church of Christ denomination of the Stone – Campbell American Unity” is found in Scripture – like they do with Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, etc. And they would quote Romans 16:16 (not the “holy kiss” command, from which they are apparently exempt) as proof that their church is found in Scripture.

  7. very true Nathan. They say Campbell-Stone has nothing to do with what they do nor teach. Matter of fact, they consider Stone-Christian churches to be lost.

  8. People just to let you know you can talk live to me or email me . I will be with Johnny Robertson on the 13 of december . I dont know if they are going to be live. but, i have offered them to come to california and video our services and debate us i have no problems . False teachers are False teachers . I am not just a pentecostal preacher. I beleive in the word of God and its authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    562 607-6815

  9. The discussion often times misses the cultural context of the statement and what it would mean to those listening. We are either/or, they understood the idea of both well. I think we would be wise to learn it ourselves.

  10. For those who do not believe that baptism is required for salvation, I’m curious: What could Jesus and/or the apostles have said if they WANTED to require baptism for salvation (that is was something one “must do”)? How might that text read?

  11. Darin, please explain how the text should read to our culture. Since they believed prior to asking Peter the question “what shall we do” ask yourself….do about what?? What were they asking Peter?? Were they asking something that only related to their culture or was it related to sin? If you keep reading, its says God added to the church within the context of Acts 2:38…..culture???–I dont think so. Before you feel you should explain, I know this argument and it just doesnt fly. But you are welcome to try.

  12. Talk about misunderstanding basic grammar…how about placing the boldened print on the word “AND” between “repent” and “be baptized”. Its really quite so simple. The Word of God does not say, “Repent for the forgiveness of your sins…” Nor does it say, “Be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…” The Word of God says, at least all the versions I have read, “Repent AND be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…” James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

    How would you “do what is says” in regards to Acts 2:38?

    Remember, this is not just for the people at Pentecost 2000 years ago, “this promise is to you and to your children and to ALL that are far off, EVERYONE whom the Lord our God calls to him.” (Acts 2:39)

    “What about the word “eis” in verse 38?”

    Meaning of “eis” in Acts 2:38

    Some, in wishing to deny the importance and purpose of baptism, claim that the original Greek word eis in Acts 2:38 means “be baptized because you already have remission of sins.” But such a translation and interpretation cannot be supported with a responsible study of Scripture and the Greek language.

    In Acts 2:38 (KJV), Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ FOR (Greek eis) the remission of sins.” According to one source, eis is translated in this way in the King James Version:

    Into – 571 times
    To — 282 times
    Unto — 208 times
    In — 131 times
    For — 91 times
    On — 57 times
    Toward — 32 times
    That — 30 times
    Against — 25 times
    Upon — 25 times
    At — 20 times
    Among — 16 times
    Concerning — 5 times
    “because of” – 0 times

    According to Thayer’s lexigon, eis means “entrance into, or direction and limit: into, to, towards, for, among.” The majority of the words listed above are consistent with that meaning. Many wish to believe/teach that Peter said repent and be baptized “because of” the remission of sins. There is, however, not a single instance of the Greek word eis in the KJV ever translated as “because of.” Nor is there apparently any version of the Bible that translates Acts 2:38, “Repent, and be baptized . . . because of the remission of sins.”

    To better understand the meaning, consider the entire phrase “for the remission of sins.” In the original Greek it reads: eis aphesin ton hamartion humon. That phrase is also found in Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3 where John preached “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Did John preach and baptize because they already had forgiveness, or was it leading up to that time of forgiveness through Christ?

    The real test, though, is found in Matthew 26:28. There Jesus said His blood “is shed for many for the remission of sins.” What did He mean by that? Would He shed His blood because people already had forgiveness or in order that they might obtain it?

    If Jesus used the word/phrase to mean “in order to receive remission of sins,” then is it not reasonable to conclude that Peter, by inspiration of the Spirit sent by Jesus, would mean the exact same thing when he used the exact same phrase? Surely Peter’s command to be baptized in Acts 2:38 means what it clearly says: baptism is for/in order to obtain the forgiveness of sins.

    Furthermore, if their sins were already forgiven, why in the world would Peter tell them to repent? Repentance is for those who still have their sins counted against them. If their sins were already forgiven, (and they were therefore already saved) why would Peter (in verse 40) tell them to “save yourselves…”?

    The argument that we are saved before baptism is a lie! It originates from the father of lies who was a murderer from the beginning and in whom is no truth.

    Additional note:

    When Peter replied to the crowd in Acts 2, he specified to be baptized “for the forgiveness of your sins”, not just “be baptized”. Both Mark and Luke record that when John the Baptist came preaching baptism, it was not just baptism he preached, but a baptism for the forgiveness of sins:

    And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    The following is an selection from J.W. McGarvey’s commentary on Acts 2:37-38

    37. It has already been observed, that up to the moment in which Peter arose to address the audience, although the immersion in the Holy Spirit had occurred, and its effects had been fully witnessed by the people, no change had taken place in their minds in reference to Jesus Christ, neither did they experience any emotion, except confusion and amazement at a phenomenon which they could not comprehend. This fact proves, conclusively, that there was no power in the [37] miraculous manifestation of the Spirit, which they witnesses, in itself alone, to produce in them the desired change. All the power which belonged to this event must have come short of the desired effect, but for a medium distinct from itself, through which it reached the minds and hearts of the people. The medium was the words of Peter. He spoke; and when he had announced the conclusion of his argument, Luke says: (37) “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?” In this exclamation there is a manifest confession that they believe what Peter has preached to them; and Luke’s declaration that they were pierced to the heart shows that they felt intensely the power of the facts which they now believed. Since Peter began to speak, therefore, a change has taken place both in their convictions and their feelings. They are convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and they are pierced to the heart with anguish at the thought of having murdered him. In the mean time, not a word is said of any influence at work upon them, except that of the words spoken by Peter; hence we conclude that the change in their minds and hearts has been effected through those words. This conclusion was also drawn by Luke himself; for in saying, “when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and cried out,” he evidently attributes their emotion and their outcry to what they heard, as the cause of both.

    If Luke had regarded the change effected as one which could be produced only by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, he could not have expressed himself in these words, for his language not only entirely ignores such an influence, but attributes the effect to a different instrumentality. We understand him, therefore, to teach that the whole change thus far effected in these men was produced through the word of truth which they heard from Peter.

    Let it be observed, however, that what they had heard concerning Christ, they had heard not as the words of the mere man Peter; for, previous to introducing the name of Jesus, he had clearly demonstrated the inspiration of himself and the other apostles. This being established beyond the possibility of rational doubt, from the moment that he began to speak of Jesus they were listening to him as an inspired man. But the Jews had long since learned to ascribe to the words of inspired men all the authority of the Spirit who spoke through them; hence this audience realized that all the power to convince and to move, that the authority of God himself could impart to words, belonged to the words of Peter. If they could believe God, they must believe the oracles of God which find utterance through Peter’s lips. They do believe, and they believe because the words they hear are recognized as the words of God. Faith, then, comes by hearing the word of God; and he who hears the admitted word of God, must believe, or deny that God speaks the truth. This is true, whether the word is heard from the lips of the inspired men who originally gave it utterance, or is received through other authentic channels. The power by which the word of God produces faith is all derived from the fact that it is the word of God.

    No words, whether of men or of God, can effect moral changes in the feelings of the hearer, unless they are believed; nor can they when [38] believed, unless they announce truths or facts calculated to produce such change. In the present instance, the facts announced placed the hearers in the awful attitude of the murderers of the Son of God, who was now not only alive again, but seated on the throne of God, with all power in his hands, both on earth and in heaven. The belief of these facts necessarily filled them with the most intense realization of guilt, and the most fearful anticipation of punishment. The former of these emotions is expressed by the words of Luke, “They were pierced to the heart;” the latter, in their own words, “Brethren, what shall we do?” They had just heard Peter, in the language of Joel, speak of a possible salvation; and the question, What shall we do? unquestionably means, What shall we do to be saved?

    38. This is the first time, under the reign of Jesus Christ, that this most important of all questions was ever propounded; and the first time, of course, that it was every answered. Whatever may have been the true answer under any previous dispensation, or on any previous day in the world’s history, the answer given by Peter on this day of Pentecost, in which the reign of Christ on earth began, is the true and infallible answer for all the subjects of his authority in all subsequent time. It deserves our most profound attention; for it announces the conditions of pardon for all men who may be found in the same state of mind with these inquiries. It is expressed as follows: (38) “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be immersed, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    That the offer of pardon, made to the world through Jesus Christ, is conditional, is denied only by the fatalist. We will not argue this point, expect as it is involved in the inquiry as to what the conditions of pardon are. When we ascertain the prescribed conditions of pardon, both questions will be settled in settling one.

    Pardon is the chief want of the human soul, in its most favorable earthly circumstances. The rebel against God’s government, though he lay down his arms and becomes a loyal subject, can have no hope of happiness without pardon for the past; while the pardoned penitent, humbly struggling in the service of God, knows himself still guilty of shortcomings, by which he must fail of the final reward, unless pardoned again and again. The question as to what are the conditions of pardon, therefore, necessarily divides itself into two; one having reference to the hitherto-unpardoned sinner, the other to the saint who may have fallen into sin. It is the former class who propounded the question to Peter, and it is to them alone that the answer under consideration was given. We will confine ourselves, in our present remarks, to this branch of the subject, and discuss it only in the light of the passage before us.

    If we regard the question of the multitude, What shall we do? as simply a question of duty under their peculiar circumstances, without special reference to final results, we learn from the answer that there were two things for them to do–Repent, and be immersed. If Peter had stopped with these two words, his answer would have been satisfactory, in this view of the subject, and it would have been the [39] conclusion of the world, that the duty of a sinner, “pierced to the heart” by a sense of guilt, is to repent and be immersed.

    But if we regard their question as having definite reference to the salvation of which Peter had already spoken, (verse 21,) and their meaning, What shall we do to be saved? then the answer is equally definite: it teaches that what a sinner thus affected is to do to be saved, is to repent and be immersed.

    From these two observations, the reader perceives, that so far as the conditions of salvation from past sins are concerned, the duty of the sinner is most definitely taught by the first two words of the answer, taken in connection with their question, without entering upon the controversy concerning the remainder of the answer. If it had been Peter’s design merely to give an answer in concise terms, without explanation, no doubt he would have confined it to these two words, for they contain the only commands which he gives.

    But he saw fit to accompany the two commands with suitable explanations. He qualifies the command to be immersed by the clause, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” to show that it is under his authority that they were to be immersed, and not merely under that of the Father, whose authority alone was recognized in John’s immersion. That we are right in referring to this limiting clause, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” to the command to be immersed, and not to the command repent, is evident from the fact that it would be incongruous to say, “Repent in the name of Jesus Christ.”

    Peter further explains the two commands, by stating their specific design; by which term we mean the specific blessing which was to be expected as the consequence of obedience. It is “for the remission of sins.” To convince an unbiased mind that this clause depends upon both the preceding commands, and express their design, it would only be necessary to repeat the words, “Repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” But, inasmuch as it has suited the purpose of some controversialists to dispute this proposition, we here give the opinions of two recent representative commentators, who can not be suspected of undue bias in its favor.

    Dr. Alexander (Presbyterian) says, “The whole phrase, to (or toward) remission of sins, describes this as the end to which the multitude had reference, and which, therefore, must be contemplated in the answer.” Again: “The beneficial end to which all this led was the remission of sins.”

    Dr. Hackett (Baptist) expresses himself still more satisfactorily: “eis aphesin hamartion, in order to the forgiveness of sins, (Matt. 26:28 Luke iii: 3,) we connect, naturally, with the both the preceding verbs. This clause states the motive or object which should induce them to repent and be baptized. It enforces the entire exhortation, not one part of it to the exclusion of the other.”

    The connection contended for can not be made more apparent by argument; it needs only that attention be called to it, in order to be perceived by every unbiased mind. It is possible that some doubt might arise in reference to the connection of the clause with the term [40] repent, but one would imagine that its connection with the command be immersed could not be doubted, but for the fact that it has been disputed. Indeed, some controversialists have felt so great necessity for denying the last-named connection, as to assume that the clause, “for the remission of sins” depends largely upon the term repent, and that the connection of thought is this: “Repent for the remission of sins, and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ.” It is a sufficient refutation of this assumption to remark, that, if Peter had intended to say this, he would most certainly have done so; but he has said something entirely different; and this shows that he meant something entirely different. If men are permitted, after this style, to entirely reconstruct the sentences of inspired apostles, then there is no statement in the Word of God which may not be perverted. We dismiss this baseless assumption with the remark, that it has not been dignified by the indorsement of any writer of respectable attainments, known to the author, and it would not be noticed here, but for the frequency of its appearance in the pulpit, in the columns of denominational newspapers, and on the pages of partisan tracts.

    The dependence of the clause, “for the remission of sins,” upon both the verbs repent and be immersed, being established, it would seem undeniable that remission of sins is the blessing in order to the enjoyment of which they were commanded to repent and be immersed. This is universally admitted so far as the term repent is concerned, but by many denied in reference to the command be immersed; hence the proposition that immersion is for the remission of sins is rejected by the Protestant sects in general. Assuming that remission of sins precedes immersion, and that, so far as adults are concerned, the only proper subjects for this ordinance are those whose sins are already pardoned, it is urged that for in this clause means “on account of” or “because of.” Hence, Peter is understood to command, “Repent and be immersed on account of remission of sins already enjoyed.” But this interpretation is subject to two insuperable objections. 1st. To command men to repent and be immersed because their sins were already remitted, is to require them not only to be immersed on this account, but to repent because they were already pardoned. There is no possibility of extricating the interpretation from this absurdity. 2d. It contradicts an obvious fact of the case. It makes Peter command the inquirers to be immersed because their sins were already remitted, whereas it is an indisputable fact that their sins were not yet remitted. On the contrary, they were still pierced to the heart with a sense of guilt, and by the question they propounded were seeking how they might obtain the very pardon which this interpretation assumes that they already enjoyed. Certainly no sane man would assume a position involving such absurdity, and so contradictory to an obvious fact, were he not driven to it by the inexorable demands of a theory which could not be otherwise sustained.

    We observe, further, in reference to this interpretation, that even if we admit the propriety of supplanting the preposition for by the phrase on account of, the substitute will not answer the purpose for [41] which it is employed. The meaning of this phrase varies, according as its object is past or future. “On account of” some past event may mean because it has taken place; but on account of an event yet in the future, would, in the same connection, mean in order that it might take place. The same is true of the equivalent phrase, “because of.” If, then, the parties addressed by Peter were already pardoned, “on account of the remission of sins” would mean, because their sins had been remitted. But as this is an indisputable fact that the parties addressed were yet unpardoned, what they are commanded to do on account of remission of sins must mean, in order that their sins may be remitted. Such a rendering, therefore, would not even render the obvious meaning of the passage less perspicuous than it already is.

    It will be found that any other substitute for the preposition for, designed to force upon the passage a meaning different from that which it obviously bears, will as signally fail to suit the purpose of its author. If, with Dr. Alexander, we render, Repent and be immersed “to (or toward) remission of sins,” we still have remission both beyond repentance and immersion, and depending upon them as preparatory conditions. Indeed, this rendering would leave it uncertain whether repentance and immersion would bring them to remission of sins, or only toward it, leaving an indefinite space yet to pass before obtaining it.

    If, with others still–for every effort that ingenuity could suggest has been made to find another meaning for this passage–we render it, Repent and be immersed unto or into remission of sins, the attempt is fruitless; for remission of sins is still the blessing unto which or into which repentance and immersion are to lead the inquirers.

    Sometimes the advocates of these various renderings, when disheartened by the failure of their attempts at argument and criticism, resort to raillery, and assert that the whole doctrine of immersion for the remission of sins depends upon the one little word for in the command, “be immersed for the remission of sins.” If this were true, it would be no humiliation; for a doctrine based upon a word of God, however small, has an eternal and immutable foundation. But it is not true. On the contrary, you may draw a pencil-mark over the whole clause, “for the remission of sins,” erasing it, with all the remainder of Peter’s answer, and still the meaning will remain unchanged. The connection would then read thus: “Brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be immersed every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Remembering now that these parties were pierced to the heart with a sense of guilt, and that their question means, What shall we do to be saved from our sins? The answer must be understood as the answer to that question. But the answer is, Repent and be immersed; therefore, to repent and to be immersed are the two things which they must do in order to be saved from their sins.

    The reader now perceives, that, in this first announcement to sinners of the terms of pardon, so guardedly has Peter expressed himself, and so skillfully has Luke interwoven with his words the historic facts, that whatever rendering men have forced upon the leading [42] term, the meaning of the whole remains unchanged; and even when you strike this term and its dependent words out of the text, that same meaning still stares you in the face. The fact is suggestive of more than human wisdom. It reminds us that Peter spoke, and Luke wrote, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. That infinite wisdom which was dictating a record for all time to come is displayed here, providing for future controversies which no human being could anticipate. Like the sun in the heavens, which may be temporarily obscured by clouds, but will still break forth again, and shine upon all but those who hide from his beams, the light of truth which God has suspended in this passage may be dimmed for a moment by the mists of partisan criticism, but to those who are willing to see it, it will still send out its beams, and guide the trembling sinner unerringly to pardon and peace.

    If there were any real ground for doubt as to the proper translation and real meaning of the words eis aphesin hamartion, for the remission of sins, when connected with the term immersion, a candid inquirer would resort to its usage when disconnected from this term, and seek thus to determine its exact import. It happens to occur only once in connection suitable to this purpose, but no number of occurrences could more definitely fix its meaning. When instituting the supper, Jesus says, “This is my blood of the new covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins,” eis aphesin hamartion. It is impossible to doubt that the clause here means in order to the remission of sins. In this case it expresses the object for which something is to be done; in the passage we are discussing, it expresses the object for which something is commanded to be done: the grammatical and logical construction is the same in both cases, and, therefore, the meaning is the same. Men are to repent and be immersed in order to the attainment of the same blessing for which the blood of Jesus was shed. The propitiation through his blood was in order to the offer of pardon, while repentance and immersion are enjoined by Peter upon his hearers, in order to the attainment of pardon.

    The work of the cross is GOD’S OFFER of life…
    Baptism is OUR ACCEPTANCE.

    9 questions for those that still want to insist salvation occurs before baptism:

    ACTS 2:36-41

    1.) When the crowd asked what they must do, did Peter say, “Repent and BELIEVE!” or did he say, “Repent and be BAPTIZED!”?

    2.) When the crowd asked what they must do, did Peter say, “Ask Jesus to come into your heart! Pray and ask God to forgive you!” or did he say, “Repent and be BAPTIZED!”?

    3.) When the crowd asked what they must do, did Peter lead them in the “sinner’s prayer” or did he tell them to “Repent and be BAPTIZED!”?

    4.) If they were already saved before they were baptized, then why did Peter tell them to “Repent!”? (Verse 38)

    5.) If they were already saved before they were baptized, why did Peter tell them, “SAVE yourselves…!”? (Verse 40)

    6.) If “eis” means “because of”, where is there even one single credible version of the Bible where the translators translated this phrase “because of” and not “for”, or “so that”?

    7.) Forgiveness only comes after repentance (Luke 13:3,5). So if “eis” means “because of”, why would Peter tell them to “Repent because your sins have already been forgiven!”?

    8.) If baptism is not when our souls become saved, then why does it say, in verse 41, “Then they that gladly received his word were BAPTIZED: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand SOULS.”?

    9.) If baptism is not for today, then why did Peter tell them, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.”? (Verse 39)

    And lastly, read this page:

    then prove this statement wrong ►“The first Christians taught and believed water baptism was required for salvation.”

    The historical quotes on:
    give us a clear look at exactly what the doctrine of baptism was from the earliest writings. Although these writings are not scripture (and therefore not inspired), they do nevertheless, clearly demonstrate that baptism was and is for the purpose of salvation and the remission of sins and has been around from the very beginning of Christianity. It is not a new teaching. Anyone who does not understand that the first Christians clearly taught and believed baptism was always an essential part of God’s plan of salvation, has not done their homework. To state that baptism was never required for salvation is to be blindingly ignorant of the facts and testimonies of Christians from the earliest times. To the contrary of modern critics, who claim the doctrine of baptism for the forgiveness of sins is outside the realm of traditional Christianity, it can be clearly proven that it is not baptism for the remission of sins that is outside the doctrines of traditional Christianity, but their false teaching that baptism is not a required component of God’s salvation plan that lies outside historical Christian doctrine!

    Galatians 1:6-10

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  13. Jeff – thanks for the post. The incredibly long post.

    However, it seems like you basically just cut and pasted material from another website. Instead of just cluttering up this page with 4,682 words from another site, can you just give us the link? Or, just give us the gist of it and a link, like I did when I started this particular blog subject.

    However, if this material was original from you, and it’s not on another site, just let me know and I’ll go ahead and post it with my apologies. But for future reference, let’s try and keep things a bit more pithy, if we can. (By “pithy” I mean less than a 4,682 words)


  14. FYI- The first editions of the NIV translate Acts 2:38 this way: “Repent and be baptized. . . so that your sins may be forgiven” It wasn’t until the man who directed the translation committee died that it was changed to its present form.

    ***moderator note – Mitchell, could you provide a link for this information? Thank you.***

  15. I have read each and every site you probably have on baptism including this one and agree with most of it. This is where Nathan and I may not see eye-to-eye, but I do NOT go as far as saying if one fails to understand everything baptism consist as I see it–that he is lost. We are saved by Christ-His finished work and when one repents, does he undertand the doctrine of repentance totally, or does he by faith in Christ turn from sin to Christ and when he is baptized does he understand the doctrine of baptism totally, or does he do so out of faith?? My point is we are saved by grace through faith…faith produces action…just as it did when Peter preached to them in Acts 2.

  16. acts 2:38 is a part of salvation

    Mark 16:16
    “He that believeth and is BAPTIZED shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned”.

    Now see it say baptized what does that mean? Well if your smart you whould think “wow I have to be baptized and belive in order to be saved.

    If you repley to this comment dont try to bring up “all you have to do his confess jesus as your lord and saver ”

    You where that came from ……….hippies in the 60s

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