Tag Archives: Paul

Rise And Be Baptized And Wash Away Your Sins

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Acts 22:16 – Scripture of the Day (March 27, 2014)

It amazes me how people who say they follow the Bible can so blatantly deny the necessity of baptism (baptizo, immersion) for salvation and forgiveness of sins.  The truth is so plainly stated in so many verses (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:38), including today’s Scripture of the Day.

Just looking at this sentence by itself, without considering the context, makes it plain that one’s sins will not be forgiven unless one is baptized.  However, that fact is made even more plain when one takes into account the context.

The apostle Paul is recounting his conversion in Damascus as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1ff).  You will recall that he went to Damascus as an enemy of the Way, looking to arrest any followers of Christ (9:1-2).  As he approached Damascus, a light from heaven flashed around him and he heard a voice asking him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (9:3-4)  This voice belonged to Jesus, who told Saul to “rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do” (9:5-6).

A lot of people say that Saul was converted and forgiven on that road when Jesus talked to him and he “saw the light.”  However, that is not true.  The reason we know it is not true is by reading further into the text.  Blinded after the conversation with Jesus, Saul was led by his companions into Damascus and for the next three days he fasted (9:8-9).  Meanwhile, a disciple in Damascus named Ananias had a vision in which the Lord told him to visit Saul, lay his hands on him, and miraculously restore his sight (9:10-12).  Despite his misgivings, Ananias obeyed the Lord and restored Saul’s sight (9:13-18a).

Notice what happened next.  After Saul’s sight was given back to him, what did he do?  The text says, “Then he rose and was baptized…” (9:18b).  Why?

Years later in chapter 22, Paul tells us why he was baptized.  It is because Ananias told him, “And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (22:16).  This is significant for three reasons:

  1. The Lord had told Saul that he would “be told what you are to do” once he had gone into the city (9:6).  Ananias told him what to do: be baptized (22:16).
  2. Even though it was obvious that Saul believed in Jesus as Lord (9:4-6) and showed signs of repentance via his fasting (9:9), his sins were still not forgiven.  Otherwise, why would Ananias talk of them being washed away by his baptism (22:16)?  It was only after he was baptized that his sins were washed away.  This shows that faith, by itself, does not save, and neither does repentance.  Baptism is also necessary.
  3. Earlier in Acts, Peter quoted Joel as saying, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21; cf. Joel 2:32).  What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord?  Obviously more than simply calling him “Lord,” because Jesus said that alone would not be enough (Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:46).  Ananias tells us what calling on the name of the Lord means in Acts 22:16:  being baptized.  With this in mind, compare Acts 2:21 with Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21.

Have you called upon his name?  Have your sins been washed away?  Have you been baptized into Christ, into his body which is the church of Christ?  (Rom. 6:1-5; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4-5; 5:23)

I Urge That Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, And Thanksgivings Be Made For All People

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

1 Timothy 2:1 – Scripture Of The Day (January 14, 2014)

Everyone.  We are to pray for everyone.  Think about that for a minute.

We are to make supplications (requests for needs) for our next door neighbor to whom we barely speak.  We are to pray for his needs.

We are to make intercessions (pray on behalf of others) for our boss whom we don’t like that much.  He’s an unreasonable jerk, but we are to pray on his behalf.  We are to pray that God bless him.

We are to make thanksgivings (be grateful to God) for members of Congress!!

I mean, it does say everyone…right?

The very next verse specifies that we are to pray for people in positions of authority in the government, and even gives the reason as to why:  “…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  I think it’s safe to say that Christianity is coming under attack more and more in our society these days.  We’re getting closer and closer to the day when it will be very hard to lead a peaceful and quiet life as a faithful Christian in America.  Maybe God in this passage is giving us one reason as to why this is happening.  Come on, when was the last time you prayed from the heart for the well being of President Obama/Bush/Clinton, Governor _________________, Senator _______________, and Congressman ____________________?  When was the last time you gave a prayer of thanksgiving for them?  We American Christians value our freedom of speech and expression so much over what God actually told us to do about our governmental leaders that it may be costing us our freedom of religion.

In other words, we may be so much more focused on criticizing (justly and unjustly) and insulting the President personally (always unjustifiable, I don’t care what policies he’s put into place; see Titus 3:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13, Romans 13:1, 7, and 2 Peter 2:9-10) than praying, giving supplication, intercessions, and thanksgivings for him that God is up in heaven saying, “Hey, I told you that you would not have quiet, peaceful lives if you did not pray for your governmental leaders.  Looks like you’re going to have to learn that the hard way!”  Something to think about…

Bringing it back closer to home, let me stress again that God told us to pray these types of positive prayers for everyone.  That means that we are to pray for our enemies at work.  The cashier at the grocery store whose name we don’t even know.  The mailman.  Our mother-in-law.  The president of Iran.  The criminals whose faces we just saw on the evening news.  The teenager who egged our house last night.  Our brothers and sisters at church and at every other congregation on the planet.  Even the brethren whom we don’t like that much.  The atheists, even the militant ones like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins who blatantly mock and disparage our faith.  Everyone.

I know I need to do a lot better than I have been.  Maybe you do too.  Maybe we can start by praying for each other that we can do better in our prayer lives.  Maybe we can start right now…