Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 3

Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 3

From Douglas Jacoby

In this article I am replying to a memo emailed to me…

“I recently read an article on baptism and its purpose. I fully believe baptism is necessary, but some of what I read makes me wonder if why one is baptized (for the forgiveness of sins) is the true purpose indicated by the Bible. The writer of the article said the Greek word for “for” was eis. Apparently, there are multiple meanings — and which one is correct? The writer said, “With so many meanings for eis, it is clear that Acts 2:38 does not necessarily mean that baptism is ‘for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins.'”

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41 NASB)

“Let’s consider one parallel use of eis: “I baptize you with water for eis repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry…” (Matthew 3:11) Using this verse for comparison to Acts 2:38, Leiter writes: “Baptism in the name of Christ ‘for’ the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) no more means that baptism effects forgiveness than that John’s baptism in water ‘for’ repentance (Mt 3:11) caused those who were baptized to repent – John’s baptism was rather a baptism that signified repentance on the part of those baptized.” Using Leiter’s argument, one could speculate that baptism in Acts 2:38 is actually a result of forgiveness rather than a precondition for it. For example, if someone says, “I was dunked for stealing Bill’s towel,” it does not mean he or she was dunked for the purpose of stealing Bill’s towel, but rather as a result of it. So, I was a bit confused as to whether baptism is a result of forgiveness or just a prerequisite for it. I don’t believe God is confusing, nor would he give us a confusing Word. — Sandy”

Douglas’ response (Douglas is a Greek scholar):

“The phrase in Acts 2:38 is universally rendered “for the forgiveness of sins,” or “so that your sins may be forgiven.” This is the translation even in Bibles produced by teams of evangelical scholars (such as the NIV), a number of whom do not agree that baptism today is for the purpose of forgiveness. This fact alone should make us extremely cautious about tampering with the translation, or playing games with prepositions in order to justify our theological biases.

It is true that some prepositions can have more than one meaning. Consider the sentence, “For lack of organization, the project failed.” Here for does not mean “for the purpose of,” but “owing to,” or “on account of.” Yet even in English this is a somewhat rare use of for. (Perhaps it’s even rare in Greek.)

Let me make a few further comments about “eis”:

* John’s baptism is not only for repentance, but also for forgiveness (Mark 1:4). Someone who was baptized by John repented and received forgiveness. Beware of artificially separating the two.
* Prepositions in Greek have just as many senses or possible meanings as prepositions in English. Think back to your English grammar. In a single passage, a single word cannot mean everything it could possibly mean in other contexts! You are right, the confusion lies not with God, but with those who are playing fast and loose with his word.
* Paraphrases (such as the Living Bible), which are not true translations, may suggest other understandings of the passages on baptism. But since they are only paraphrases, they have no authority, nor any bearing on the discussion.
* In Greek, if one were being “dunked” for theft, the word would be dia (on account of), not eis (into, for, etc).
* While God is the final judge, the Bible makes it very clear that he will hold us accountable for the revelation we have. Since Bibles render Acts 2:38 so as to suggest baptism is required for forgiveness, surely this will be the standard — not uninspired articles written by uninspired persons. I would not want to stake my salvation on a possibility — the possibility that Bible translators worldwide have missed the mark.

Accordingly, Acts 2:38 has indeed been properly translated “for the forgiveness of sins.” You can take that to the bank.”

End of article.

* I don’t like all the tone and slights about other people’s opinion on the matter in the above article but I think the Greek part is helpful. Here are some other translations of the verses:

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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38, 39 NIV)

When the day of Pentecost had arrived, “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:1, 38, 39 HCSB)

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. 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. (Acts 2:38, 39 KJV)

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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:38, 39 ESV)

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” (Acts 2:38, 39 NET)

* There are currently no translations that say “Repent and be baptized because of the forgiveness of your sins” even though many of the scholars who translated the Bibles hold that theology!

Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 4

Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 4

Tough Baptism Questions

* What does the Bible teach regarding:

1. How old (mature) does does one need to be in order to get baptized “for it to take”?
2. What does one need to know when getting baptized “for it to take”?

* I will attempt to look at Scriptures that are relevant to these questions, but I say beforehand that these questions my be “above my pay grade”. I can explain what I was taught about these questions, my current opinions on these matters, and possible relevant Scriptures regarding these matters, but that is about all I can do.

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41 NASB)

* In the above verses it says, “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” What does “and your children” mean in this passage? I have always taken that to mean “your offspring”, and not as “your literal children” and “for all who are far off” seems to support the view of children meaning offspring. It sounds to me like Peter was saying this promise is for you, your offspring, your offspring’s offspring, and on and on and on and on, and for all who are far off in time to where you are now. So I point that out because I don’t know if “and your children” is very helpful in determining the maturity level one should have before getting baptized.

* As far as what someone needs to know and understand before getting baptized “for it to take”, I’m afraid this passage is also not extremely helpful. What I mean is that Peter does tell everyone, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”, and so if that was all he said before everyone got baptized in this situation, we may would be able to at least make a compelling argument that that all one needs to know when getting baptized “for it to take” is that it is or the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (and that still could be the case) but unfortunately for us sticklers, the text then says, “***And with many other words*** he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” and all these words were spoken to these folks before “those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” So we don’t know what else Peter said about baptism. 

How Do We Find God’s Will For Our Lives? Part 1

How Do We Find God’s Will For Our Lives?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NASB)

* There are somethings that the Bible makes pretty clear as to what to do or not to do in order to do God’s will. For instance, I am pretty clear on murdering people not being something God wants me to do. I am also pretty solid on the idea that God doesn’t want me to beat the crap out of other people. There are other things that I am less solid on but still feel pretty good about God wanting me to do or not do. Then there are things I am even less solid on and then there are things I am clueless about (in regards to what God wants me to do or not do). The purpose of this study is to seek ways of finding God’s will in these seemingly ever increasing gray areas.

* Paul says to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can prove God’s will for our lives. How exactly does he mean that we do that? How do we get transformed by the renewing of our minds?

* The last part of that verse nicely describes what our goal is: to do what is good, acceptable, as perfect in God’s site.

* Think about how many decisions each one of us has to make on a daily basis! There are many. How do we determine what God wants us to do in these many decisions we have to make and how do we determine which ones God doesn’t care either way about, etc.? On one hand, we don’t want to do things God doesn’t want us to do but we also don’t want to toss away gifts from God that we mistake as “bad”, etc.

How Do We Find God’s Will For Our Lives? Part 2

How Do We Find God’s Will For Our Lives? Part 2

* Context of the Romans 12 passage from yesterday:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

* That describes what I believe many of us desire to do, that is, to live in a way that is acceptable to God. How to do that (at least in my experience) is seldom simple. What to do to accomplish living an acceptable life to God is not always even a simple thing to figure out, let alone carry out! Like I said yesterday, some things I am confident that I should not do if my goal is to please God, i.e, I should definitely not bash elderly people over the head with a pan, for instance. But then there are many other things that fall somewhere else on the line of clarity of what pleases God, all the way to the “I have no idea what God thinks about this ” position on that line. The purpose of this study is to try to gain any insights whatsoever into the subject of determining what pleases God. Any thing gained from this, even if only one new insight, I believe is well worth the effort.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

* God does not want us to think more highly about ourselves than we ought to think. The world does not revolve around us.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

* How we interact with each other in God’s church, should be different than the way people interact with each other outside God’s church. Sadly, it often is not.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. *Be devoted to one another in brotherly love*; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

* One thing that can possibly show that we are wise in our own estimation is how much help we think we need (and therefore get) in certain situations.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:1-21 NASB)

Pin It on Pinterest