Baptism Is For, Not “Because Of” Remission Of Sins

Charles Pogue

 

When the Pentecost crowd called out to Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Luke records the following words as the answer. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

For many years, there have been men who attempt to deny the necessity of baptism for salvation. One of the attempts has been to change the word “for” in Acts 2:38 to the word “because.” That does not work, as the three following facts show.

First, the words repent and baptized are connected by the coordinating conjunction, and. A coordinating conjunction ties together things of equal value. Whatever the consequence of baptism is, so is the one for repentance. Because that is true, if baptism is because of the remission of sins, so is repentance. If that is what Peter meant, he contradicted the words of the Lord Himself, who said, “I tell you nay, Nay: but except you repent ye shall all likewise perish.” If baptism is because of the remission of sins so is repentance, thus Peter was affirming the people had remission of their sins before they repented. Not so! Nor was baptism because of, but for, the remission of their sins.

 

Second, after the apostle Peter relayed the fact that Noah and his family were saved from the flood by being in the ark, he wrote, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21). If baptism is because of rather than for the remission of sins, then one is saved before baptism as so many vainly argue. To be consistent, those who deny baptism is for the remission of sins must also argue Noah and his family were saved from the flood before they went into the ark. Their entering into the ark may as well have been after the flood was already passed, not before it came. When Jesus sent the apostles on the great commission He was very clear, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16). Baptism is for the remission of sins and salvation, not because of them!

 

Third, it is evident Saul of Tarsus repented when the Lord appeared unto him on the road to Damascus. We know that because of his question to Christ, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). The Lord instructed him to go into Damascus and there it would be told him what he must do. After three days of Saul (later Paul) praying, Ananias came to him restored his sight unto him and instructed him, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” So much for the ‘sinner’s prayer’ some falsely teach for salvation. The point is if baptism is because of the remission of sins, Saul had his sins forgiven before they were washed away, no one in his right mind would argue for that being the case as washing means cleansing or removing the filth, in this case, from the garment

of human flesh.

The false idea that Peter meant for the Pentecost questioners to be baptized “because of” the remission of sins is inconsistent with the need to repent because of the remission of sins. It is also contradictory to every other statement the New Testament

makes concerning baptism. The errors men teach regarding baptism make light of the the beautiful language penned by Paul in Romans six, beginning with verse four: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Baptism is for, not because of, the remission of sins.

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