Acts 2:38 and Baptism

There has been endless debate between those who believe that you must be water baptized in order to be saved and those who say that you are saved by faith alone. The first group says that the Bible is crystal clear; they cite …

Acts 2:38 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.”

This belief states that your sins are not forgiven unless you are baptized. Those who disagree cite the many verses which speak only of faith in Jesus Christ as the requirement for salvation. Some claim that the Greek word “eis,” which means “for,” is saying that you should be baptized “because of” the forgiveness of sins, not “in order” to get forgiveness. The only certainty is that these debates will never end even though they are unnecessary.

So, the question is: Must you be baptized in order to be saved? The answer is an emphatic “yes”; but not in the way you might think.

Every person in Jerusalem at that time was living under the Mosaic Law. There was no understanding yet, even among the Apostles, that the Law was passing away; Jesus fulfilled the Law and ended it but this was not yet known.

Hebrews 8:13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

The Law was based on works (human self-effort) and symbolic ritual. Peter told the people to repent and be baptized. Their baptism symbolized the “joining to” or “identifying with” the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ commissioned Saul (he later used his Roman name Paul) to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. Jesus gave revelation directly to Paul. Paul taught that God did not put the Gentiles under the Law of Moses. By not being under the Law, God never charged the Gentiles with their transgressions of the Law.

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (KJV)

Romans 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

This is probably the least taught truth in the entire New Testament and its omission has tragically led to religion’s false obsession with sin and trying to get forgiveness for sin.

When people argue back and forth about whether you must be baptized in order to get your sins forgiven, they have missed the truth that your sins have already been forgiven and forgotten because of what Jesus Christ did, not what you might do.

But, it is critical to understand that the Cross did not forgive one single sin – the sin of unbelief (John 16:8-9). When you repent by turning from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, God removes your old sinful spirit and replaces it with a brand new heart filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus comes to live in you born again heart.

In this, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ. This is a spiritual baptism in which you are literally joined as one to Jesus Christ in your new, born again heart (1 Corinthians 6:17). This is the baptism that saves you. When God literally joins you to Christ, it replaces symbolic ritual. Water baptism is for the purpose of teaching you about your spiritual death, burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ unto new life.

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These additional verses will be helpful in understanding this blog.
All Sins Forgiven: Mark 3: 28; John 1:29; Acts 13:38; Romans 5:10a; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:13; Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 9:22,26; Hebrews 10:12,17,18; Hebrew 2:9; Hebrews 7:27; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2,12.
Law Ended; Gentiles Never Under Mosaic Law: John 1:17; Romans 2:12, 14a; Romans 3:20a; Romans 9:4; Romans 10:4; 1 Corinthians 9:20b; Galatians 3:12; Hebrews 8:6-10,13; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:1,9b.

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