Uncommon Things We Believe #9 The Essential Nature of Baptism – Acts 2:36-39, Matthew 26:28, Romans 6:1-4

26 May

Acts 2:36-39 (NIV) “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  38  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.  39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

 Matthew 26:28 (NIV)  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Greek Word: εἰς  Transliteration: eis
Simply put, the religious world is divided over this one Greek word. Does it mean “because” or “in order to” be forgiven?

If it means “because” then someone is saved before they are baptized. If it means “in order to” it means that baptism is an act of faith that makes possible the forgiveness of sins.

The same word is used in the Acts 2 and Matthew 26 verses. IF one says we are baptized because we are already saved….does Jesus’ words also mean that we are already saved before He poured out His blood?

In baptism, one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, Lord, Savior, and Son of God (John 3:16; Acts 2:36) and has faith in His blood to forgive him of his sins (Romans 3:25) must commit himself to a new life (Romans 6:4) in order to be clothed with Jesus (Galatians 3:27) and be forgiven of his sins (Acts 2:38).

Thus, he is forgiven, is born again, and enters into the kingdom of God (John 3:5), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), which is His church (Ephesians 1:22, 23).

 (Romans 6:1-4)  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? {2} By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? {3} Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? {4} We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Does the water of baptism have the power to forgive sins? Is baptism only a symbol, an outward sign of an inward grace, that shows that one has been saved? Is it only a sign of dedication or an act that inducts people into a denomination?

Is baptism valid if the person being baptized neither knows the purpose and design of baptism nor understands the commitment expected of him? Is an empty ritual all that God requires of one who is seeking to be a child of God?

Has God ever required an act on the part of man involving His relationship with man devoid of a response from the heart and of an understanding of its purpose and meaning? Is one to commit himself to a new birth when he is being baptized? Must one accept baptism in the light of the meaning God has associated with it?

These questions should be answered if we are to understand what God requires of a person engaging in a physical act that has no meaning apart from the meaning God has associated with it. The only way to find the answers is to examine the Bible and let God speak for Himself.

We do not believe that baptism saves as a work that earns salvation. Romans 4:1-9 shows very clearly that we do not and cannot earn our salvation. Boasting is excluded in Christ (Rom. 3:27).

We do, however, believe that baptism saves as a work of faith that accesses salvation (Jas. 2:14-26). Naaman’s leprosy was cured by the power of God, but that power was accessed through dipping seven times in the Jordan River (II Kings 5:1-14). We believe baptism works in the same way. Belief does not earn, but it is a part of our accessing grace (Jn. 3:16).

Belief is a work (Jn. 6:28-29). Belief is part of a faithful response to God, as is repentance. The fact that God requires a response does not take away from grace.  If there were no human response required, all would be saved.

If baptism isn’t for the remission of sins…

Why did Simon Peter answer those looking to be forgiven by telling them to “… repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” (Acts 2:36-38)?

Why did the Eunuch request baptism after having Jesus preached to him, even though he was on a lonely road? Why did he rejoice after baptism rather than belief? (Acts 8:35-39)?

Why was the jailer “immediately” baptized at midnight with only his family present (Acts 16:32-33)?

Why do we never find baptism deliberately delayed in the New Testament as it often is by denominations today?

Why was the repentant, believer Paul told to “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sin calling on His name” (Acts 22:16).

Why were the Roman Christians asked to recall their baptism as the time when they had been raised to “… walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4)?

Why were those in the churches of Galatia told that they were sons of God through faith, “For as many of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27)?

Why is baptism never put after salvation in a verse, but always before?

Why is a “washing” or “water” often associated with salvation (Acts 22:16; Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5; Jn. 3:5; I Pet. 3:20-21; I Cor. 6:11)?

Why does Peter say “…baptism now saves you…” (I Pet. 3:21)?

Why do we not hear from denominational pulpits Peter’s response to those wanting to be Christians?

Why do almost all conversions in Acts mention baptism while many of those accounts do not mention belief?

Why does the Bible say that we are saved “… not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24).

Why are we never told to “believe in Christ”, but we are told to be “baptized into Christ” (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-4).

Why did Jesus say that “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved… ’’ (Mk. 16:16).

The Evidence Is Overwhelming.

Baptism is linked to salvation, forgiveness, newness of life, new birth, washing away sins, becoming a Christian, being clothed with Christ, being sons of God, being saved, being sanctified, regenerated, etc..

Baptism is never deliberately postponed. People are baptized in isolated circumstances and at unusual times. Belief alone is said not to save, while baptism is said to save in association with Jesus resurrection. Baptism is said to be the way “into” Christ.


Our “uncommon” belief is commonly found in the Scriptures. Baptism is for the remission of sins. Not in isolation, but in association with: the preaching of the Gospel, belief, repentance, confession, and most importantly the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.


1 Comment

Posted by on May 26, 2021 in Church, Doctrine


One response to “Uncommon Things We Believe #9 The Essential Nature of Baptism – Acts 2:36-39, Matthew 26:28, Romans 6:1-4

  1. Scott J Shifferd

    May 27, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Amen. Excellent post.



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