Category: Questions and Answers

English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hal Lindsey,  in his weekly report, reran an episode from 2008, where he explained how it is that Christ was crucified on Thursday, not Friday, as conventional thinking assumes. He gave scriptural evidence and explained the 3 Jewish festivals that occurred that week: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits (which, by the way, occurred on Sunday), and how all these combined in the person, life, death and resurrection of Christ.

I wanted to post a link to it, but cannot find it on his site. However, here are a couple of links I found on the web, that do a good job of explaining exactly how events happened that Holy Week, how, with 2 not just 1 Sabbath that occurred back to back, have caused confusion especially in Western thinking.

Please read these carefully; get out your Bibles, if necessary (though the scripture references are linked), shoot, get your Bible out anyway and do some studying on your own!

Good Thursday by Ted Montgomery

Good Friday Should Probably be Good Thursday by Charlie Campbell

I hope this helps you to understand better how and when events occurred in the days before Christ’s crucifixion.

Baptism Christ immersion

Baptism Christ immersion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After returning home from church today, I  was watching a sermon by the late Adrian Rogers. Right in the middle of the sermon, he told the congregation he was taking a detour from the main message to explain something about baptism: That some believe you don’t receive salvation until you are baptized. He explained the wording in the passage of Acts 2:38

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.

He explained that in the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’, the word ‘for’ in both the Greek and in English has more than one meaning. One meaning is ‘to get, or obtain’ (the meaning inferred by those who say salvation only comes after baptism); and the other meaning is ‘because of’ or ‘as a result of’ . Eis is the Greek word translated in English as ‘for’ and carries the same meanings as the English. Dr. Rogers showed that they were to be baptized ‘as the result of’ the remission of their sins through God’s grace and Christ’s blood.

Why add another step to salvation? Christ suffered mightily that ALL would be saved through His death and resurrection. Why make it even more complicated for an unbeliever to come to Christ? The Greek translated as repent means ‘a change of mind’. It is a turning aside from one’s sinful life to one that serves the Lord. Why would someone tell the new believer, once they have taken that step, that they have to wait until a baptism is arranged ‘somewhere’ at ‘some’ church, to receive their forgiveness? In all likelihood, the new believer hasn’t been to church in a long time, if ever! Why put restrictions on it?

Before some get uptight about this, I must state that baptism IS important! Once one repents (and is saved), the regeneration is begun and one will have the desire to make it public. Therefore, they will want to find a church, pastor and congregation to attend and get baptized. Baptism is the ‘ultimate’ public confession and demonstration of one’s newfound belief in the saving grace of Christ’s death. If salvation wasn’t given until after one was baptized, the new believer might have quite a while until a baptism is arranged. Admittedly, in NT times, it likely was easier to speedily baptize soon after accepting Christ, as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch encountered by Philip. In that passage, after presenting Christ to the eunuch, they traveled along until they happened upon some water. Philip hadn’t stressed that the Ethiopian wasn’t saved yet; it was the eunuch himself who proposed that he could be baptized there and Philip agreed. Indeed, John the Baptist practised his ministry near the Jordan. Nowadays, one must find a clergyman who can do it. I think even some churches want you to become a member first. (I could be wrong about that, but I wouldn’t be surprised.)

I’m afraid this may have become somewhat of an obsession with me, this ‘teaching’ that one isn’t saved until after baptism. As I stated in the other post, it smacks too much of legalism and ritual. One should be baptized and having received Christ shouldn’t have any objections to it. But there are many places in the New Testament that don’t give that order of salvation and having listed some in the earlier post, I won’t add to this one.

The forgiveness of one’s sins is a FREE GIFT! Through God’s unlimited Grace and the redemptive work of Christ’s crucifixion, the world’s sins have been forgiven! Christ is not going to stop you at the pearly gates and refuse your admittance because you weren’t baptized!

Recently, I chanced upon a teaching I’d never heard of before. One that really got me to thinking.

This teaching says that one doesn’t actually receive salvation (the forgiveness of one’s sins), until AFTER you have been baptized. Scripture was given as proof, as well. This disturbed me, so I challenged this, saying that this teaching was effectively saying that Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection was not enough, that a new believer has another step to take before forgiveness is granted, giving the example of the thief on the cross, who, obviously, would not get an opportunity to be baptized.

The reply shot this down, saying that those who refute this teaching always uses the thief on the cross beside Christ as an example. Their reasoning is that the Old Covenant was still in effect and that the New Covenant didn’t apply at that time. (Hummmm…) The first scripture given as proof was Acts 2:38

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.

It is the combination of the act of repenting and being baptized, a sequence that those who promote this teaching seems to say that salvation comes only after being baptized.  I will even go further and say that in the Gospel of Mark, Christ, Himself says:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Note, however, the last part of the saying: ‘he that believeth not shall be damned.’

So, I ask, why would God want to make it harder to be saved? Why put in that extra step before granting salvation? The most famous, and likely the most quoted verse of the bible says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Simple as that. Yes, it is important to be baptized; it’s the public confession that one believes in Christ and the finished work of the cross.

There are many verses in the New Testament that can be called up as proof of salvation when one asks for forgiveness:

John 5:24

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you , He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 6:47

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 3:14-15

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Acts 2:21

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

1 Peter 1:3

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercyhe has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Ephesians 2:8

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Acts 4:12

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Romans 10:9-10

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Then there is this:

Acts 8: 8-24

 8 And there was great joy in that city. 9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of longtime he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

It shows in this passage that Simon (who was also called Magus because he was a sorcerer) had obviously not believed, though he professed to, and so was baptized.

According to Gill’s commentary:

Acts 8:13
Then Simon himself believed also,…. With an historical and temporary faith, as that Jesus was the Messiah, &c. or at least he pretended, to believe this, and professed that he did believe, what others did, and Philip preached:

and when he was baptized; upon profession of his faith, which he so artfully made, that Philip could not discover his hypocrisy: but taking him to be a sincere believer, admitted him to baptism: after which,

he continued with Philip; kept close to him, and got into a familiar acquaintance with him; and constantly attended on his ministry, as if he had been a sincere disciple and follower of Christ:

and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done; he was as much amazed at the miraculous performances of Philip, as the inhabitants of Samaria had been at his, which he could observe were real things; and this increased his wonder, and threw him into an ecstasy, that he was scarce himself: whereas he knew that what he did were only sham performances, and legerdemain tricks.

Barnes agrees:

Acts 8:13

Then Simon himself believed also – That is, he believed that Jesus had performed miracles, and was raised from the dead, etc. All this he could believe in entire consistency with his own notions of the power of magic; and all that the connection requires us to suppose is that he believed this Jesus had the power of working miracles; and as he purposed to turn this to his own account, he was willing to profess himself to be his follower. It might have injured his popularity, moreover, if he had taken a stand in opposition when so many were professing to become Christians. People often profess religion because, if they do not, they fear that they will lose their influence, and be left with the ungodly. That Simon was not a real Christian is apparent from the whole narrative, Act_8:18, Act_8:21-23.
And when he was baptized – He was admitted to a “profession” of religion in the same way as others. Philip did not pretend to know the heart; and Simon was admitted because he “professed” his belief. This is all the evidence that ministers of the gospel can now have, and it is no wonder that they, as well Philip, are often deceived. The reasons which influenced Simon to make a profession of religion seem to have been these:
(1) An impression that Christianity was “true.” He seems to have been convinced of this by the miracles of Philip.
(2) the fact that many others were becoming Christians; and “he” went in with the multitude. This is often the case in revivals of religion.
(3) he was willing to make use of Christianity to advance his own power, influence, and popularity – a thing which multitudes of men of the same mind with Simon Magus have been willing since to do.
He continued … – It was customary and natural for the disciples to remain with their teachers.
And wondered – This is the same word that is translated “bewitched” in Act_8:9, Act_8:11. It means that he was amazed that Philip could “really” perform so much greater miracles than “he” had even pretended to. Hypocrites will sometimes be greatly attentive to the external duties of religion, and will be greatly surprised at what is done by God for the salvation of sinners.
Miracles and signs – Greek: signs and great powers, or great miracles. That is, so much greater than he pretended to be able to perform.

The Geneva commentary states:

The wicked and the highly reprobate are often forced to taste the good gift of God, but they immediately spit it out again.

Simon had been baptized, but obviously was not saved; he didn’t believe in the first place, therefore, he didn’t receive salvation, even though he had been baptized. Nothing more is said of him in the New Testament; however, outside sources attest to his behavior after this:

From Gill:

Acts 8:24
Then answered Simon, and said,…. Whose conscience might be touched, and smote with what Peter had said; and he might be terrified with the wrath of God, and filled with fear of his judgment coming upon him for his wickedness, and might now stand trembling before the apostles: and if this was not his case, he was a most hardened and audacious wretch; and his following words must be understood in a different sense, from what they might seem to have, when they came out of his mouth:

pray ye to the Lord for me; the Arabic version reads, “pray ye two”; the words are addressed both to Peter and John; for though Peter only spake to him, yet John joined with him, and assented to what he said, and approved of it; and which he might signify either by word or gesture; wherefore Simon desires both of them, that they would pray to the Lord for him; but whether he was serious, and in good earnest in this, is a question; since there is no reason to believe he truly repented, from the accounts given of him by ancient writers; who always represent him as an opposer of the apostles and their doctrine, as the father of all heresies, as a blasphemous wretch; who gave out that he was the Father in Samaria, the Son in Judea, and the Holy Ghost in other places; and as a very lewd and wicked man, who carried about with him a whore, whose name was Helena; whom he called the mother of the universe, and gave out the angels were made by her, and the world by them; with many other errors, blasphemies, and impieties: so that it should rather seem, that though Peter was serious in his advice to Simon, yet he was not so in his request to him; but in a sarcastic sneering way, desired his prayers for him; suggesting, that he was not in any pain about what he had said: and if he was in earnest, he did not take Peter’s advice to pray for himself; nor did he declare any repentance for his sin; and his desire that the apostles would pray for him, might not be from any sense he had of the evil of his sin, but from a slavish fear of the evil, or mischief, that was like to come upon him for his sin, as appears by what follows:

that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me; as that his money should perish with him, and he with that; or that he should go into destruction; that everlasting destruction and ruin would be his portion; and that he should have no part nor lot in eternal life, unless he repented, and his sin was pardoned: and this confirms what has been before observed, that John assented to what Peter spoke, or said the same, or such like things to Simon as he did.

God knows the human heart and the desire to repent (turn away) of one’s sins must be present to gain His forgiveness.  Why would He want to make it more complicated to come to Him and receive salvation? I believe there is more evidence for salvation upon belief than there is for it’s granting only after baptism.  The more I read, the more passages I found to support that. In my opinion, this is a false teaching and those who aren’t sure should read the New Testament thoroughly.

Also, this teaching that one doesn’t receive salvation until one is baptized sounds too much like legalism. Just as the Jewish Christians tried to force the Gentiles to be circumcised when they received Christ. This is recorded in Acts 15:1-31. It was decided not to burden new uncircumcized believers with a ‘yoke’ that neither they nor their ancestors could bear.

Salvation is a FREE GIFT from God! All that is absolutely required is belief that Christ willingly and lovingly died on the cross to pay our sin debt and accept Him into our hearts as our Lord and Savior. Period.

What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?.

I thought this would be a pertinent post to add since this so-called prophecy is on the mind of many nowadays, especially now that there is a movie out on this subject.

How do I get the image of God as imposing and angry out of my mind?.

Got is a wealth of resources for answering questions one may have about the Bible, God, Christ, etc. You can also submit your own questions.

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