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Was Paul saved by being baptized?
Thank you for your response to my question. I agree wholeheartedly with you that all of a person's sins are washed away when they are saved. I appreciate your firm stand on the inerrancy of the Bible and your high regard for the truth. I also am glad to see that you take a strong stand on the importance of obedience to God's commands, such as baptism. However... In Paul's account of this in Acts 22 he says that his sight is restored first (verse 13), but that he still had to have his sins washed away and that there was an urgency about the matter, for in verse 16 the Bible says, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and WASH AWAY THY SINS, calling on the name of the Lord" (emphasis mine). Yes, this truly does let us know that all of ones sins are washed away when we are saved because this phrase was never directed at Paul again. Paul had his sins washed away through the figurative reenactment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He reenacted Jesus' death on the cross and burial in the tomb when he went down into the water while being "baptized into Christ"... It was in this figurative tomb that he came in contact with precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross that washes away all sins....
As to the statement in Acts 22:16, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord," Ananias is not telling Saul that baptism washes away his sins, but that "calling on the name of the Lord" washes them away. Notice that there is an "and" between "baptized" and "wash away thy sins." But there is no "and" between "wash away thy sins" and "calling on the name of the Lord." Ananias was telling him, "be baptized," AND "wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." In other words, baptism is SEPARATE from getting your sins washed away. But getting your sins washed away is NOT SEPARATE from calling upon the name of the Lord they are one in the same. If you follow the simple rules of grammar, you will not be misled by this verse of Scripture.People make that same mistake in dealing with Mark 16:16, which says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." The first phrase mentions both "believing" and being "baptized," and says that those people are "saved." But the second phrase tells us the requirements for being "damned" or "not saved" is simply "not believing." That verse does not tell us, "He that believeth, but is not baptized shall be damned." You said in your statement, "I appreciate your firm stand on the inerrancy of the Bible and your high regard for the truth." The Bible never contradicts itself, and the Bible is very clear that baptism does not save us, but that we must FIRST be saved, before we are even eligible for baptism. Acts 8:26-39 says, "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; WHAT DOTH HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED? And Philip said, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST. And he answered and said, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; AND HE BAPTIZED HIM. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." That passage is very clear that you cannot be scripturally baptized until AFTER you are saved. To help you see that Paul was not saved by being baptized, you only need to consider what Paul himself later said. In I Corinthians 1:17 he said, "For Christ sent me NOT TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." Paul makes A CLEAR DISTINCTION between the "gospel" and "baptism." He clearly taught that it is "believing the gospel" that saves a person. I Corinthians 15:1-4 says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you THE GOSPEL WHICH I PREACHED unto you, WHICH ALSO YE HAVE RECEIVED, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." He clearly taught that a person is saved BY BELIEVING THE GOSPEL. In your statement you said, "Paul had his sins washed away through the figurative reenactment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He reenacted Jesus' death on the cross and burial in the tomb when he went down into the water while being "baptized into Christ" It was in this figurative tomb that he came in contact with precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross that washes away all sins. He then reenacted Jesus' resurrection by coming up out of the water, to walk in a new life and "put on Christ". You seem so very close to understanding the real significance of being baptized into Christ." Now why would you think that we have to "reenact" what Jesus has done for us, in order to be saved? The word "reenact" means, "to perform again." (Merriam Websters Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). That is totally contrary to what the Bible teaches. Hebrews 10:10 says, "By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL." Hebrews 10:12 says, "But this man, after he had OFFERED ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God." Does the blood of Jesus Christ not have the power to save you unless you reenact His sacrifice again (whether figuratively, or literally)? If your salvation depends upon your reenactment of Jesus sacrifice, then your salvation depends upon your own works (the reenacting out of His death). That is not true salvation, but a false gospel of works. Romans 11:6 says, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." The "gospel" is BELIEVING and personally RECEIVING that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS; that HE WAS BURIED; and that HE ROSE AGAIN from the grave. It is FAITH IN WHAT HE HAS DONE for us not a trust in our ability to faithfully reenact what He has done. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, "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." When Jesus died on the cross He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Is His sacrifice not powerful enough to save you without you "acting out" His sacrifice? Does the Bible say, "Whosoever shall figuratively reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ shall be saved"? No, it does not. What it does say in Romans 10:13 is, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." What did Paul tell the Philippian jailor? Did he tell him, "Figuratively reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?" No, that is not at all what he told him in Acts 16:30,31. "And brought them out, and said, SIRS, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, and thy house." It is FAITH in what the Lord has done for us NOT THE REENACTMENT of it that saves us. Once again, Pauls own testimony in I Corinthians 1:17 says, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel..." BAPTISM IS NOT A PART OF THE GOSPEL. BAPTISM IS NOT A PART OF SALVATION. Baptism is only AN OUTWARD PICTURE of what has taken place INWARDLY IN A PERSONS HEART. Salvation has ALWAYS BEEN THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST, and NEVER THROUGH BAPTISM OR ANY WORKS; religious, or otherwise. Acts 10:42-44 says, "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. TO HIM GIVE ALL THE PROPHETS WITNESS, THAT THROUGH HIS NAME WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." None of those people were yet baptized when the Holy Ghost fell upon them, but they were definitely saved. Cornelius and his family were not told to reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to be saved. They were told that, "TO HIM GIVE ALL THE PROPHETS WITNESS, THAT THROUGH HIS NAME WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS." Salvation has always been through faith, not "reenactment." You said in your statement, "It was in this figurative tomb that he came in contact with precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross that washes away all sins." That is never taught anywhere in the Bible (that in the figurative tomb of the baptismal waters you come in contact with Jesus blood, and are thereby saved). What you are teaching is simply another twist on the Catholic false doctrine of "transubstantiation," or the Lutheran false doctrine of "consubstantiation." They do the same thing that you are doing, only they teach the same false doctrine in regard to the Lords Supper. They teach that the sacrifice of Christ is reenacted when they observe the Lords Supper, (literally, with the Catholic false doctrine of transubstantiation, as they teach that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of the Lord; and, figuratively or symbolically with the Lutheran false doctrine of consubstantiation, as the elements figuratively or symbolically become the body and blood of the Lord). Baptism and the Lords Supper are both pictures of what the Lord has done for us. He suffered, and shed His blood for our sins. We are told to observe both of these ordinances of the local church. Baptism is the first command AFTER we are saved, and is only to be observed once (Ephesians 4:5, "One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM..."). The Lords Supper is to be observed "as often as we will" (I Corinthians 11:26, "For AS OFTEN AS ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come"). Jesus died on the cross once, and shed His blood for the sins of the world. To say that we need to reenact His sacrifice, literally, or figuratively; through baptism or the Lords Supper; is to teach a false gospel of works.
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