Week­end Bi­ble Re­flec­tions With Jon

Calhoun Times - - RELIGION -

hav­ing al­ready been saved? Is bap­tism done in or­der to have sins for­given, or be­cause sins have al­ready been for­given? These and many other ques­tions are of­ten asked about bap­tism. All are le­git­i­mate and de­serve a bib­li­cal an­swer, es­pe­cially since Je­sus com­manded bap­tism to be done (Matthew 28:1820; Mark 16:15-16). To­day’s Bi­ble Re­flec­tion will go to the Bi­ble to find the an­swer of the in­quiry about whether bap­tism is done in or­der to have sins for­given or be­cause sins have al­ready been for­given.

As men­tioned ear­lier, Christ Him­self af­ter His death and res­ur­rec­tion com­manded His apos­tles to preach the gospel and bap­tize believ­ers in their ef­forts to make dis­ci­ples ev­ery­where (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). A short time later, the apos­tle Peter preached the gospel in Jerusalem on the Jewish hol­i­day of Pen­te­cost, and com­manded peo­ple to re­pent and be bap­tized “for the for­give­ness of sins” (Acts 2:38). Af­ter ex­hort­ing his au­di­ence to be saved, many re­sponded by be­ing bap­tized (Acts 2:40-41).

Some be­lieve that the “for” in Acts 2:38’s “for for­give­ness of sins” means “be­cause your sins have been for­given” rather than “in or­der for your sins to be for­given.” This is be­cause the Greek word trans­lated “for” (eis) some­times means “be­cause of;” how­ever, in most cases eis means “in or­der to.” Which is the proper mean­ing in Acts 2:38?

Je­sus’ thoughts about the cup when He in­sti­tuted the Lord’s Sup­per shed light onto this co­nun­drum. He said, “Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the for­give­ness of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28). When defin­ing the fruit of the vine as “my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many...”, Christ used the iden­ti­cal gram­mat­i­cal con­struc­tion in the Greek as is used in Acts 2:38: “...for for­give­ness of sins.” When He said this – sev­eral hours be­fore He died on the cross to pro­vide for­give­ness for the sins of mankind – did He in­tend his phrase “for for­give­ness of sins” to mean that his blood had AL­READY pro­vided for­give­ness of sins? Ob­vi­ously not, for He had not yet died and thus made Him­self the sac­ri­fice that would pro­vide for­give­ness of our sins. So it is clear that Je­sus in­tended to con­vey that His blood would be shed for many IN OR­DER TO pro­vide for­give­ness of sins. Since Acts 2:38 con­tains the same iden­ti­cal phrase, we can con­fi­dently con­clude that Peter was telling the Jews on Pen­te­cost that they needed to be bap­tized IN OR­DER TO have their sins for­given (Acts 2:38), and they re­sponded ac­cord­ingly (Acts 2:41).

This makes even more sense when one sees that Peter also com­manded re­pen­tance in ad­di­tion to bap­tism in or­der to have sins for­given. The idea that sins could be for­given BE­FORE one re­pented of them is for­eign to Scrip­ture (2 Cor. 7:9-11; Acts 3:19; Luke 24:47). To give just one ex­am­ple, Je­sus told His fol­low­ers on one oc­ca­sion, “…but un­less you re­pent, you will all like­wise per­ish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Thus, it is clear that Peter was telling them to re­pent and be bap­tized IN OR­DER TO have their sins for­given, not be­cause their sins had AL­READY been for­given.

Do you want your sins for­given by God? If so, then God’s prom­ise and com­mand through Peter to re­pent and be bap­tized in the name of Je­sus Christ for for­give­ness of sins ap­plies to you just as it did to Peter’s hear­ers on Pen­te­cost. We know this be­cause Peter then said, “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 2:39; cf. 2 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:15-16). Why de­lay? Re­pent of your sins, and be bap­tized to wash them away (Acts 22:16). I would love to talk with you more about this and as­sist you in reach­ing this needed goal. E-mail me at cal­hounchur­[email protected] gmail.com.

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