Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is faith a work, like baptism and is baptism faith?

Faith in greek = pistis
Believe in greek = pisteuo
Baptism in greek = baptizo

So the word faith is obviously not related to baptism. It is derived from belief.
see vines for more.

Romans 4 - differentiates between faith and works. Abraham believing wasnt considered a work. But his circumcision was. Same thing should hold for baptism. Baptism hence is a work.
Eph 2:8-10 - Clearly differentiates between faith and works.
James 2 - 'show me your works without faith and i will show you my faith by my works'. Doesnt say my works are my faith. He says i will show you my faith by my works.

What then is faith. See my other posts on 'justification by faith'. And 'can works save us?'

If you still want to maintain that baptism is faith, then a simple question for you. Do you believe that the earth is round? If yes, show me your belief. Can you? No. You can show me many things that may prove your belief system to be true but that isnt your belief, is it?
In the same way one cant see ones faith except through external works such as baptism and other good works.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Some thoughts on religion - why religions that are inclusive in nature cannot be true

The main assumption i make here is that any religion that is a true religion has the entire truth with it. Religions that are exclusive in nature, cannot all be true. There can exist, however, one that is true and all the remaining hence must be false. What about religions that are inclusive in nature. If the included religions are exclusive in their claims,we have an inherent contradiction. If they arent, then each religion by itself is not self contained hence they cannot be individually true. On the other hand, an inclusive religion if true, should contain the truth that it is a religion that has the entire truth. But then any true inclusive religion, that makes no such claim, must make such a claim, resulting in a contradiction. It starts out by saying that no one religion has the truth but all religions have the truth with them, but ends up saying it has the truth with it. Hence any religion that is inclusive in nature cannot be true. Because we know that truth exists, it is only to be found in a religion that is exclusive in its claims.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Did Christs disciples baptize only disciples?

Jhn 4:1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
Jhn 4:2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

Mat 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

What do ye gather from the above verses?

1) Christs disciples baptized disciples.
2) Therefore baptism did not make one a disciple, but believing in Christs message did.
3) It wasnt for the forgiveness of sins, because only Christ could forgive sins (when he was on the earth, as coc'rs say. I dont disagree with them, but it doesnt preclude Christ to forgive sins in the same way now).
4) It wasnt to show his disciples how to baptize, as they already know it from Johns baptism. Also in Jn 6:66, many of his disciples left him.
5) Johns baptism is similar to Christs baptism (Jn 3:22 - 4:2). So the baptism of John couldnt have forgiven sins.
6) The purpose of baptism therefore must be to publicly announce that they have accepted Christs message. As it did not forgive sins, neither did it make one a disciple.
7) Did the purpose of baptism change after Christ died, from baptizing disciples to the "washing away sins" and making disciples? Where in the bible does it explicitly say so?
8) If Johns baptism was for the forgivness of sins, then during Christ's and John the baptist's time, there were three different ways for sins to be forgiven. a) by the law b)by John the baptist c)by Christ. ?????

Verses that show justification by faith

1. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

2. Rom. 3:22, "even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction."

3. Rom. 3:24, "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;"

4. Rom. 3:26, "for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

5. Rom. 3:28-30, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one."

6. Rom. 4:3, "For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

7. Rom. 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,"

8. Rom. 4:11, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,"

9. Rom. 4:16, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all."

10. Rom. 5:1, "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"

11. Rom. 5:9, "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."

12. Rom. 9:30, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue
righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith."

13. Rom. 9:33, "just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

14. Rom. 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

15. Rom. 10:9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

16. Rom. 11:6, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."

17. Gal. 2:16, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

18. Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

19. Gal.3:5-6, "Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

20. Gal. 3:8, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you."

21. Gal. 3:14, "in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

22. Gal. 3:22, "But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

23. Gal. 3:24, "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith."

24. Eph. 1:13, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."

25. Eph. 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

26. Phil. 3:9, "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."

27. 1 Tim. 1:16, "And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life."

28. 1 Jn 5:1, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God"

29. 1 Jn 5:5, "Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

30. 1 Jn 5:13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God"

31 Habakuk 2:4, "The just shall live by faith"

Verses that show justification by faith

Peter, Cornelius and justification by faith

Act 10:34-48

Act 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand {now} that God is not one to show partiality,
Act 10:35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
Act 10:36 "The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)--
Act 10:37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
Act 10:38 "{You know of} Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and {how} He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Act 10:39 "We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
Act 10:40 "God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
Act 10:41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, {that is,} to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Act 10:42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
Act 10:43 "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."
Act 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
Act 10:45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
Act 10:46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered,
Act 10:47 "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we {did,} can he?"
Act 10:48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

Acts 11:12-18

Act 11:12 "The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man's house.
Act 11:13 "And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, 'Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here;
Act 11:14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'
Act 11:15 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as {He did} upon us at the beginning.
Act 11:16 "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
Act 11:17 "Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as {He gave} to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"

Act 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance {that leads} to life."

Act 15:1-11

Act 15:1 Some men came down from Judea and {began} teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
Act 15:2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, {the brethren} determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.
Act 15:3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.
Act 15:4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.
Act 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
Act 15:6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
Act 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.
Act 15:8 "And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;
Act 15:9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 "Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
Act 15:11 "But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."

Comments on Cornelius, his salvation and how it relates to us:

1) Acts 10:43 - tells us that all who believe in his name receive forgiveness of sins. It is consistent with Luke 24:47, Eph 1:13, Gal 2:16, 1 Jn 1:5, and all those verses that says that one is justified by faith.
2) Acts 10:47 - The fact that Peter would baptize Cornelius, a gentile, only after he received the Spirit, tells us that receiving the Spirit is a sign of God accepting him as his child. Cornelius is no longer a gentile but a Jew now(Roman 2:28-29).
3) Cornelius received the Spirit before he was baptized, so he was already saved before being baptized. Also see my post on " Baptism of the Spirit and indwelling of the Spirit, are they the same?"
4) Acts 11:17 - tells us that Cornelius received the Spirit by the hearing of faith (Gal 3:2,5-6), just as the apostles. Peter says that because God accepted them, he ate with the gentiles.
5) Acts 15:7 - Peter was sent to preach the gospel, so that Cornelius would believe the gospel. Note that Peters gospel doesnt include baptism for salvation. It was only after Cornelius received the Spirit of Christ, that he was baptized.
6) Acts 15:,9 - God accepted Cornelius by giving him the Holy Spirit, just as he did to the apostles. He did not make any distinction between Jew or Gentile. If Cornelius was required to be baptized to receive the Spirit, HE would have made a distinction between the apostles and the gentiles. Also tell us that God looks at the heart and gives the Holy Spirit. Cornelius heart was purified by faith. Note that the greek word for faith - pistis is related to believe - pisteuo. Faith is not baptism, to have faith is to trust God completely. Peter says that Cornelius was saved by faith and just as we are.
7) Acts 15:11 - all of us are now saved in the same manner as Cornelius. Cornelius believed and received the Spirit. We believe and receive the Spirit. Consistent with Pauls gospel in Rom 3:21-5:10, Gal 3, 1Jn 5:1,4,5,10,13, etc. Also see my post on 'verses that show justification by faith'
8) The fact that Peter uses the example of Cornelius to say that everyone else is going to be saved in the same way, tells us that Cornelius case was not a special case. With God there are no exceptions.
9) If circumcision was the issue here, wouldnt it have been much easier for Peter to say that baptism has now replaced circumcision. Instead he takes great pain to explain that God looks at the heart and justifies a person. He says that it is by faith that ones heart is prified.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Baptism and salvation - 2

Is baptism the seal of the new covenant just as circumcision is the seal of Abrahamic covenant?

Can children be baptized into the new covenant, just as children were circumcized into the Abrahamic covenant?

Why not? Those who use covenants to prove that baptism as required for salvation should allow children to be baptized?

Circumcision was a rite only for the people of God (Jews) just as it is now only for those who are in Christ. So one should be saved before he is baptized.

Did circumcision save Abraham? No. (Romans 4). So can baptism save us now, if a parallel exists?

Children didnt know what their circumcision was for, so does that mean those who are being baptized need not know that it is for "the remission of sins" ?

Some Jews thought that it was their circumcison that saved them (Acts 15:1), do some "Christians" now think that it is their baptism that saved them?

"One last thought: If someone maintains that baptism is necessary for salvation, is he adding a work, his own, to the finished work of Christ? If the answer is yes, then that person would be in terrible risk of not being saved. If the answer is no, then why is baptism maintained as being necessary the same way as the Jews maintained that works were necessary?"

Is baptism required for salvation?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Excerpt from - Christ the End of the Law, a sermon by C.H.Spurgeon

"And now, secondly, he is the law's fulfillment. It is impossible for any of us to be saved without righteousness. The God of heaven and earth by immutable necessity demands righteousness of all his creatures. Now, Christ has come to give to us the righteousness which the law demands, but which it never bestows. In the chapter before us we read of "the righteousness which is of faith," which is also called "God's righteousness"; and we read of those who "shall not be ashamed" because they are righteous by believing unto righteousness." What the law could not do Jesus has done. He provides the righteousness which the law asks for but cannot produce. What an amazing righteousness it must be which is as broad and deep and long and high as the law itself. The commandment is exceeding broad, but the righteousness of Christ is as broad as the commandment, and goes to the end of it. Christ did not come to make the law milder, or to render it possible for our cracked and battered obedience to be accepted as a sort of compromise. The law is not compelled to lower its terms, as though it had originally asked too much; it is holy and just and good, and ought not to be altered in one jot or tittle, nor can it be. Our Lord gives the law all it requires, not a part, for that would be an admission that it might justly have been content with less at first. The law claims complete obedience without one spot or speck, failure, or flaw, and Christ has brought in such a righteousness as that, and gives it to his people. The law demands that the righteousness should be without omission of duty and without commission of sin, and the righteousness which Christ has brought is just such an one that for its sake the great God accepts his people and counts them to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. The law will not be content without spiritual obedience, mere outward compliances will not satisfy. But our Lord's obedience was as deep as it was broad, for his zeal to do the will of him that sent him consumed him. He says himself, "I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea thy law is within my heart." Such righteousness he puts upon all believers. "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous"; righteous to the full, perfect in Christ. We rejoice to wear the costly robe of fair white linen which Jesus has prepared, and we feel that we may stand arrayed in it before the majesty of heaven without a trembling thought. This is something to dwell upon, dear friends. Only as righteous ones can we be saved, but Jesus Christ makes us righteous, and therefore we are saved. He is righteous who believeth on him, even as Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. "There is therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," because they are made righteous in Christ. Yea, the Holy Spirit by the mouth of Paul challengeth all men, angels, and devils, to lay anything to the charge of God's elect, since Christ hath died. O law, when thou demandest of me a perfect righteousness, I, being a believer, present it to thee; for through Christ Jesus faith is accounted unto me for righteousness. The righteousness of Christ is mine, for I am one with him by faith, and this is the name wherewith he shall be called—"The Lord our righteousness."
Jesus has thus fulfilled the original demands of the law, but you know, brethren, that since we have broken the law there are other demands. For the remission of past sins something more is asked now than present and future obedience. Upon us, on account of our sins, the curse has been pronounced, and a penalty has been incurred. It is written that he "will by no means clear the guilty," but every transgression and iniquity shall have its just punishment and reward. Here, then, let us admire that the Lord Jesus Christ is the end of the law as to penalty. That curse and penalty are awful things to think upon, but Christ has ended all their evil, and thus discharged us from all the consequences of sin. As far as every believer is concerned the law demands no penalty and utters no curse. The believer can point to the Great Surety on the tree of Calvary, and say, "See there,oh law, there is the vindication of divine justice which I offer to thee. Jesus pouring out his heart's blood from his wounds and dying on my behalf is my answer to thy claims, and I know that I shall be delivered from wrath through him." The claims of the law both as broken and unbroken Christ has met: both the positive and the penal demands are satisfied in him. This was a labour worthy of a God, and lo, the incarnate God has achieved it. He has finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. All glory be to his name."

Excerpt from Spurgeons sermon on faith

"faith is the stooping grace, and nothing can make a man stoop without faith. Now, unless man does stoop, his sacrifice cannot be accepted. The angels know this. When they praise God, they do it veiling their faces with their wings. The redeemed know it. When they praise God, they cast their crowns before his feet. Now, a man who has not faith proves that he cannot stoop; for he has not faith for this reason, because he is too proud to believe. He declares he will not yield his intellect, he will not become a child and believe meekly what God tells him to believe. He is too proud, and he cannot enter heaven, because the door of heaven is so low that no one can enter in by it unless they will bow their heads. There never was a man who could walk into salvation erect. We must go to Christ on our bended knees; for though he is a door big enough for the greatest sinner to come in, he is a door so low that men must stoop if they would be saved. Therefore it is that faith is necessary, because a want of faith is certain evidence of absence of humility."


The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man [or woman] who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.

for the complete sermon

Psalm 23 - my favorite psalm

The LORD Is My Shepherd

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.(what more can we want?)
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Naaman and baptism

2 Kings 5
1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.
2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
3 She said to her mistress, "I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy."
4 Naaman went in and told his master, saying, "Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel."
5 Then the king of Aram said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel." He departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes.
6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy."
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me."
8 It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, "Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."
9 So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha.
10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean."
11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, "Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.'
12 "Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.
13 Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, "My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"
14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.
Gehazi's Greed
15 When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, "Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now."

vs 15 - Naaman wasnt even a believer in the God of Israel before he washed himself. Doesnt one have to believe before one is immersed? So how can one draw a parallel to Naaman and a believer. Besides O.T. examples dont count according to the church of Christ members, do they? Or do they count if it serves their purpose?

Psalm 32, The Blessedness of Forgiveness - imputed righteousness by faith

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity,-Rom. 4.7, 8
and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me:my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee,and mine iniquity have I not hid.I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD;and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found:surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
7 Thou art my hiding place;thou shalt preserve me from trouble;thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:I will guide thee with mine eye.
9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule,which have no understanding:whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle,lest they come near unto thee.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked:but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous:and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Gods promise to Abraham - 'in you all the nations will be blessed' - refering to the same blessedness David was talking about, which is imputed righteousness by faith.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Baptism and salvation

Is baptism required for salvation? Why is it important to know? Afterall those who are baptized have faith. So whats the point of fighting over it?

If baptism is required for salvation, then those who say it isnt remove from the gospel. They believe in a false gospel and hence they are not saved. If, however, baptism isnt required for salvation, people who say it is required, add to the gospel and hence they arent saved. There can never be a win-win situation for both parties. Its either one party that wins or the other party that wins but not both.

The entire bible talks about salvation by grace through faith, not of works lest we should boast - Eph 2:8-10. And faith is equated to belief in Christ. Baptism is never equated to faith. It is an act of faith, but it isnt faith. Acts of faith are classified as works - see Eph 2:10 and hence can never save. People in O.T were saved by grace through faith, people during time of Christ were saved by grace through faith, so why would people after Christs death be saved by another plan of salvation, other than by grace through faith? Salvation by grace through faith applies perfectly to everyone ever since Adam.

Just because Paul said that Christ has a will in Heb 9 (do a word study on covenant, will) doesnt mean that Christ had a different plan of salvation after his death. People falsely conclude from examples that He changed the plan. But this is a human inference, never explicitly stated in the bible. And where humans enter, perfection ceases to exist. Hence i would be wary. Do not read too much into what is written. It is called eisegesis.

1 Jn 3:23 says the only commandments we received are to 'believe in Christ' and 'to love one another'. And this was written after the supposed plan of salvation was revealed to the apostles at pentecost. No command of baptism or rules of worship. If baptism is required for salvation, why did John forget to mention something as important as it? Yes, it is a command given by Christ, but it is not essential for salvation, otherwise Christ would have said so. And no, Jn 3:5 isnt it. If so, John would have mentioned it in 1Jn 3:23.

Also see Is Baptism required for salvation?

1 Corinthians 13:10 - has that which is perfect come?

When did that which is perfect come? Did it come or is it yet to come?
vs 12: - we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now i know in part, but then I shall know just as i also am known.

If that which is perfect is the 'canonisation of the scriptures' then how can Paul know, if he had already passed away before it occurred. Also Paul says 'he sees in a mirror dimly'. The mirror here is the 'word of God'. How can Paul see in a mirror dimly when the mirror wasnt formed till the books were canonised?

1 Jn 3:2 - beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Tells us that by the word, we know we are going to be like Christ. But when we see Him at his second coming, we shall be like Him. So when that which is perfect has come (the second coming of Christ), we will have no more need for any spiritual gifts. We shall know just as we are known.

Also see Phil 3:21

1 Ptr 3:21 and baptism

1 Peter 3:20-21
vs 20 says that eight souls were saved through water.
vs 21 - says that baptism now saves us

If Peter was using the word 'save' with the same meaning, then the 'save' here has nothing to do with salvation. Noah was already a preacher of righteousness and found grace in Gods sight before the flood. The flood in no way changed Noahs relationship with God. So the same parallel should hold for baptism. Baptism should not change ones relationship with God. One must be saved like Noah before baptism/flood.

The book of 1 Ptr talks about Christians suffering. So i have a feeling the baptism that Peter is talking about is a baptism of suffering and death as mentioned by Christ in Mathew 20:23 - see vines for baptism. I believe that Peter was saying that the 'baptism of death' saves us from this wicked world and brings us into a new world through the resurrection of Christ. Because Christ lives, even though we die we shall be resurrected. And that those who hurt them will eventually be judged by Christ. 1 Ptr 3:16 tells us that those who suffer for Christ have a good conscience. I never came across this kind of interpretation for 1 Ptr 3:21. Would surely like comments on this.

Romans 6:17 - obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine

Romans 6:16 - whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slaves whom you obey.

One has to ask is baptism the gospel, or figure of the gospel. Is baptism the real thing or figure of the real thing. Any honest man would says it is not the gospel but it depicts the gospel.

Romans 6:17 says that we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine, if 'that form of doctrine' is translated as 'baptism' then the literal translation would be - obeyed from the heart baptism. But that would mean by verse 16, we become slaves of baptism, not the real thing but a depiction. In other words we become slaves of a depiction. Doesnt make sense.

If however, 'that form of doctrine' meant the gospel, by vs 16 we become salves of the gospel aka. word of truth, hence we become slaves of truth. The second translation i think makes more sense. Because we become slaves of the real thing rather than the depiction.

Also see my post on what 'obey the gospel' means.

Galatians 3:27 and baptism

Galatians 3:26 - For you are all sons of God (Christ like) through faith in Christ Jesus
Galatians 3:27 - For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:2,5-6,11,14,22,24,26 all says that one is justified and receives the Spirit by faith. And faith is equated to belief, in context. So how can vs 27 be interpreted as baptism being required for salvation?

Romans 13:14 - But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Here Paul tells those who are already christians to 'put on Christ'. 'To put on Christ' is to imitate Christ.

Therefore all who are 'baptized into' Christ - imitate Christ. Also see my post on 'baptized into' Moses and 'baptism and indwelling of Spirit are same'. We identify with Christ by faith. Because of our faith, we receive the Holy Spirit and we imitate Christ by walking in the Spirit. Hence we are like Christ in Gods sight.

Galatians 3:27 doesnt says baptism is required for salvation.

1 Cor. 12:13 - we are baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6 and baptism

In this post, we will try to find out if Romans 6 says that baptism is required for salvation.
Romans 1,2,3:20 - tells us that everyone has fallen short of the glory of God
Romans 3:20-26 - tells us what Christ has done for us and how his righteousness is imputed to us

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:26-31 - tells us that we have nothing to boast about and that our faith establishes the law rather than void it
Romans 4-5:10 - gives us examples of Abraham, David and how everyone now is saved by faith in Christ, like Abraham
Romans 5:10 - 21 - tells us that where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.

Then we come to Romans 6. Previous chapters already tells us how one is saved, that is by grace through faith. Any man who can think for himself, should naturally ask two questions after reading chapters 1-5.
1)If grace abounded more, when sin abounded, then why not sin even more that grace might abound even much more.
2)If we are saved by grace, then we have right now all the liberty to sin as we are under grace.
These two questions are what Paul addresses in chapter 6. He uses baptism as a figure of the burial of our old man(since all who believe in Christ are going to get baptized - it is a must command, but that doesnt mean it saves) to explain that we have died to sin with Christ. So we must not live in our filthy ways of the past but are to present ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God. Those who sin are slaves of sin and those who obey Christ are slaves of righteousness. So those under grace have nothing to do with wilfully sinning against God. Romans 6 in no ways says that baptism is required for salvation. The plan of salvation has already been discussed in Romans 3:21-5:1.

Paul talks figuratively in chapter 6. Consider the word 'likeness'. 'death of our old man' - literal or figurative? 'I was crucified with Christ' - literal or figurative?

Excerpt from Charles Spurgeon aka. prince of preachers, on law and grace

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."—Romans 5:20.

There is no point upon which men make greater mistakes than upon the relation which exists between the law and the gospel. Some men put the law instead of the gospel: others put the gospel instead of the law; some modify the law and the gospel, and preach neither law nor gospel: and others entirely abrogate the law, by bringing in the gospel. Many there are who think that the law is the gospel, and who teach that men by good works of benevolence, honesty, righteousness, and sobriety, may be saved. Such men do err. On the other hand, many teach that the gospel is a law; that it has certain commands in it, by obedience to which, men are meritoriously saved; such men err from the truth, and understand it not. A certain class maintain that the law and the gospel are mixed, and that partly by observance of the law, and partly by God's grace, men are saved. These men understand not the truth, and are false teachers. This morning I shall attempt—God helping me to show you what is the design of the law, and then what is the end of the gospel. The coming of the law is explained in regard to its objects: "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound." Then comes the mission of the gospel: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

Gods part and mans part in salvation?

If God thought that man could, even in a small way, do something to gain salvation, He would have empowered man enough to save himself rather than allow his only begotten son, our Lord Jesus Christ, die the gruesome death he died for all of us. To say that man has a part to do in Gods plans of salvation other than to completely trust Christ, is heretically wrong. Mans part is to believe in Christ completely for salvation. Anything else we do for salvation is to add to Christs work on the cross and to the gospel. People who say we have to do something else other than to believe are like the Jews. They thought that they can keep the law and attain salvation. Hence Christ became a stumbling block to them. In the same way, people who add to Christs work on the cross, stumble.
Habakkuk 2:4 - 'the just shall by faith'. In whose sight are they just? In Gods sight. It says that those who are considered righteous in Gods sight, live by faith in Him. They trust God completely to save them, like Abraham. The very nature of faith looks toward God for salvation. It never looks to itself. Therefore it is the humble who have faith rather than the proud.And this is how every human,ever since the begining of time has been saved. By grace through faith.