SOURCE: I fear that many members in the church of Christ are trusting in repentance and baptism, rather than Christ. We repent on the account of Jesus and his work and a hate for our sin; we are baptized on the account of Jesus work on the cross, the place He remitted sins. If we are looking unto water baptism as the agency whereby we are remitted of sin, we grossly fail to comprehend the work of Jesus on the cross. Doing so, we have turned the grace of God into a system or works whereby our obedience to baptism is efficacious and thus we preach another Gospel.
Remission of sins was a ONCE AND FOR ALL event. The book of Hebrews spells this out clearly. Jesus Blood is not like bull and goats which could NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS. We do not appropriate the work of Christ in Baptism. We are justified “by faith in Hs blood.”
In Acts 2, Peter declared to them the Gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection. They was cut to their hearts and ask what they needed to do about their obvious faith in Christ as their sacrifice for sin. They clearly understood that Jesus remitted sin though His death and was raised that they might live. They knew sin was remitted on the cross, they knew Jesus shed blood not covered their sin, but took it away. Rom. 5:8-10, says: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him: for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” This verse is very deep and clearly states that we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son (when we were enemies) and it says how we are justified – by His blood. Jesus removed the wall between man and God, now we are justified by faith in the Blood which reconciled us to God when we were yet sinners. The church of Christ are so hung up on Baptism, that they do not even know when we were reconciled to God. By Jesus death we were reconciled while we were enemies while we were yet sinners.
Peter seeing that they had saving faith in the shed blood of Jesus, said; repent and be baptized on the account of remission of sins. The Greek word EIS points like a finger in a particular direction, and in this case, it pointed back to the sacrifice of Jesus – the One who shed His blood for remission of sins. They responded in faith towards the work of Christ. They were not responding as one seeking Jesus blood in baptism, but responding in faith TOWARDS the Gospel.
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Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
There are a myriad of reasons why this verse cannot be used to teach baptism is required for salvation.
(1.) This text does not deal specifically with the fate of someone who believes and is not baptized.
(2.) The obvious emphasis is on unbelief = damnation.
(3.) The oldest New Testament Greek manuscripts do not contain Mark 9-20 and therefore cannot be used as a certainty to establish a doctrine of salvation.
(4.) Most who claim baptism is required say baptism is “for the remission of sins”. This verse predates Acts 2:38, so this verse is talking rather about Johns baptism which was a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). Repentance correctly understood as a change of mind from unbelief to personal faith in Christ (Matt. 21:32, Acts 19:4, Acts 20:21, Mark 1:15) is what provides remission of sin (Acts 10:43).
(5.) Most baptismal regenerationist are cessationist, not Charismatic, and do not follow Mark 17-18 by casting out devils, speaking in tongues, laying hands on the sick, taking up serpents and drinking deadly things. So while they say they believe the passage, they do not practice it.
(6.) It is said “these signs shall follow those who believe”, not “those who believe and are baptized”.
(7.) Verse 20 says the Lord works with then who believe, not them that believe and are baptized.