What We Can Learn From The Cities of Refuge

Old Testament Israel did not have a criminal justice system comparable to ours.  If someone killed your loved one and you naturally desired justice, you would put together a posse and look to kill this person in return.  All you would care about is that your loved one was dead and you want immediate judgment.  God was concerned with ensuring the safety of the one who had committed accidental homicide, which is why He designed these cities of refuge into the Old Testament system.… Read More What We Can Learn From The Cities of Refuge

“…Because Water Was Plentiful There…”

A reader of the blog submitted a question about the piece I wrote recently on Jesus’ burial and its correlation to baptism.  Noticing that I had described baptism as “being submerged in water,” the reader asked about their own baptism from years ago in which a cup of water had been poured over their head and asked, “Does the Bible talk about anyone being baptized like that?”… Read More “…Because Water Was Plentiful There…”

Have You Been Buried With Christ In Water?

The Bible teaches that one becomes a Christian by repenting – turning away from – of their old, sinful way of life…dying to their old self.  Through baptism, being submerged in water, one is spiritually buried just as Christ was buried.  Upon coming out of that water, they “rise again” to a new life just as Christ was resurrected.  They are “born again.”… Read More Have You Been Buried With Christ In Water?

Baptism and Forgiveness of Sins

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 Thessalonians 2:14; Romans 1:16; Mark 16:15-16).… Read More Baptism and Forgiveness of Sins

Are Sins Forgiven Before Baptism?

When asked the specific question, “What shall we do?”, Peter did not tell his listeners on Pentecost to pray to Jesus and ask Him into their hearts.  He told them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), before stating that this promise is not only for them and their children but also “for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39).… Read More Are Sins Forgiven Before Baptism?

Baptism and a Good Conscience

When you’re submerged in water, the water might cleanse the dirt from your body, but the water won’t cleanse your soul from sin.  Only the blood of Jesus does that.  Jesus said that his blood was “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).  Christians “have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7).  With that in mind, remember that Paul was told that by being baptized he would “wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16).  Thus, it is in baptism that one spiritually comes into contact with the blood of Christ which cleanses us from our sins.  We are commanded to be baptized in water (Acts 10:47-48; cf. John 3:5), but the water itself doesn’t spiritually cleanse us.  Rather, it brings us into contact with the blood of Christ which does cleanse us.… Read More Baptism and a Good Conscience

Hebrews: How To Have Your Hearts Sprinkled Clean

What “sprinkles” our hearts “clean” is the blood of Christ, which the Hebrew writer would later bring out when he writes of “the sprinkled blood” of Jesus (12:24).  Peter would teach that Christians are “elect” (i.e., chosen) “for sprinkling with his blood” (1 Peter 1:1-2).  It is the blood of Christ that redeems us and forgives us of our trespasses (Ephesians 1:7).  In like manner, the mention of “our bodies washed with pure water” is a reference to baptism in water, which “washes away our sins” (Acts 22:16; cf. 8:38-39; 10:47).  One comes into contact with the cleansing blood of Christ which sprinkles one’s heart clean from an evil conscience and brings redemption and forgiveness through baptism. … Read More Hebrews: How To Have Your Hearts Sprinkled Clean