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«Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Even though baptism is one of the fundamental building blocks of ...»

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First, Jerome was just repeating what Eusibius said. Second, Eusebius did not say that he believed the long ending should not be there, but that some might not think that it belongs there. The reason for this assessment was that during his time there were some copies of Mark that did not have the long ending. However, the evidence I have presented, especially from Irenaeus who wrote 150 years before Eusebius, proves that the long ending should be there.

It would be strange for Mark to end his Gospel at verse eight with the women being afraid. Those who argue against the long ending recognize this point, and they offer various reasons why the book ended abruptly. Some suggest Mark may have died before he was able to finish his book, or maybe he intended to write another volume like Luke did. Many other speculations have been made, but they are just that, speculations. For a more in-depth look at this topic, I recommend B.J. Clarke’s article, “Does Mark 16:9-20 Belong in the Bible” (615-660).

In conclusion, it amazes me how far some will go to disprove the necessity of baptism. We have examined two of the most common arguments used against Mark 16:16, and I have shown these arguments are just a desperate attempt to avoid the simple message that a person must believe and be baptized to be saved.

Questions

1. How does the grammar from the English and Greek prove we must believe and be baptized to be saved?

2. Since Jesus taught that those who do not believe will be condemned, does this mean baptism is not necessary? Why or why not?

3. Discuss the internal and external evidence that proves the long ending of Mark belongs in the Bible.

THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH

Acts 2:38

Acts 2 records one of the most important events in human history because it marks the birth of church, and it proves that Jesus is the Messiah. Before we look at verse 38, let us briefly consider the significance of this chapter. God has always had a master plan to save humankind from their sins, and that plan involved the coming of the Messiah. We get our first glimpse of this plan in Genesis 3:15. There are over 300 prophecies throughout the Old Testament about the coming Messiah, which describe where He would be born, how He would live His life, and how He would die. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies written about His work on the earth (Lk.

24:44; Jn. 17:4). Since He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, which included many things He would have no control over, such as where He was born (Mic. 5:2), the casting of lots for His clothing (Ps. 22:18), and none of His bones being broken (Ps. 34:20) offers overwhelming proof that He is the Messiah.

The fulfillment of these prophecies would be meaningless if Jesus had not been raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:12-19) or if He did not keep His promise of sending the Holy Spirit to His apostles (Lk. 24:49; Jn. 16:5-15; Acts 1:8). Acts 2 shows the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise (Acts 2:1-4), which proves that He was sitting at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33).

Further proof that the apostles had received the promise of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was raised from the dead can be found in their attitude change. When Jesus’ apostles were with Him, they were unorganized, divided, and concerned about who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Mk. 10:41;

Lk. 22:24). After Jesus was crucified His apostles were scared, and they were hiding from the Jews (Jn. 20:19). However, when the day of Pentecost came, the apostles were no longer fearful, and they boldly proclaimed Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to thousands of Jews. From that point forward, these men were united, and they knew exactly what to do (Acts 4:13). They were no longer worried about their life, which can be seen in their bold statements such as: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). Their sudden attitude change and ability to know what to say and do proves Jesus was the Messiah, and it proves He sent the Holy Spirit of promise to them.

Acts 2 also records the birth of the church and the beginning of God’s kingdom. First, we need to realize that the church and the kingdom are referring to the same thing. There is a lot of confusion in the religious world on this simple concept because many teach that instead of receiving the kingdom like we should have, we were given the church instead. When people say this, whether they realize it our not, they are saying that Jesus failed His mission, and the Old Testament prophecies were wrong.

To show that the kingdom and the church are the same, con-sider the following:

The kingdom and the church are entered the same • way (Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 2:38, 41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13).

The word church and kingdom are used interchangeably • (Mt. 16:18-19; Heb. 12:22-24, 28).

Daniel prophesied that the kingdom would begin dur ing the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:31-45).

Isaiah said the kingdom would begin in the last days • at Jerusalem (Isa. 2:1-3), which is what we see happening in Acts 2 because Peter said this event was happening in the last days (Acts 2:14-21).

While Jesus was on the earth, both John and Jesus • spoke of the kingdom as being at hand (Mt. 3:1-3;





4:17; 6:9; 10:7). However, after the day of Pentecost, the kingdom is spoken of as a present reality (Col.

1:13; Acts 8:12; Rev. 1:9).

Jesus said the kingdom would come with power (Mk.

• 9:1), and the Spirit and the power would come together (Lk. 24:44-49). So, when the spirit came on the day of Pentecost, the kingdom came with power.

All these points prove that the church and the kingdom are interchangeable terms, and Acts 2 marks the beginning of the church/kingdom.

These events occurred on the day of Pentecost, which means fiftieth. Pentecost or Feast of Weeks (Num. 18:26; Lev.

23:17) was a Jewish festival to give thanks for the harvest and a time to offer their first fruits to God (Ex. 23:16; Num.

28:26). Pentecost happened 50 days after the Sabbath of the Passover week, which always occurred on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15-16). So, the birth of the church happened on the first day of the week. This became a special day to the Christian because Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week (Mk. 16:9), the church began that day, and we are commanded to give (1 Cor. 16:2) and partake of the Lord’s Supper that day (Acts 20:7). This is the reason we assemble to worship God on the first day of every week.

After the apostles finished boldly preaching Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection many of the Jews were pricked in their heart, which caused them to ask one of the most important questions that any human could ask, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). When we learn about the love of God, what He did for us, and how we are nothing without Him, we should all want to know what we must do to be

saved. Notice Peter’s response:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:38-42).

I am confident that if a person would read what Peter has said without any preconceived ideas, he would understand that a person must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Peter clearly teaches that we must repent and be baptized before we will receive the forgiveness of our sin or the gift of the Holy Spirit. However, those who teach we are saved by faith alone, or that baptism is not necessary, have to find a way to make this passage teach something different, which is sad, but true.

Before we examine the objections that some have invented to take baptism out of the plan of salvation, let’s examine our text in more detail. The Jews who asked this question were believers in Jesus because they had heard the truth, and it convicted them. However, their belief was not enough or else Peter would have told them they had nothing else to do if they were already saved. This fact alone proves we are not saved by faith alone (also see James 2:14-26). Peter told them they needed to repent. Repent means: “To change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins” (Thayer). Repenting does not mean that a person is just sorry for getting caught at his sin. Instead, it means a person is convicted by his sin, and he is going to make a change in his life and do his best not to engage in that sin again.

Peter does not stop there; he adds another step with the word and. Not only are they to repent, they must also be baptized in the name of Jesus, which was a command they could follow. They could repent, and they could be baptized, which refers to water baptism. When Peter said, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” he was not giving a word formula that must be said when we are baptized. Instead, he is saying that we must be baptized by the authority of Christ. If it is not done by His authority, then we are just getting wet because we do not understand the reason we are being baptized. As I pointed out in the chapter on The Great Commission, when we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into the possession or care of the Godhead, which is why we need to understand the reason we are being baptized.

Some religious groups believe we are supposed to say some specific words at a person’s baptism, but the Bible does not give one example of what anyone said as someone was being baptized. Therefore, as long as a person knows he is being baptized by the authority of Jesus, no words have to be spoken. When I assist someone in their baptism, I will usually say: “You are being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins.” However, I do not say this as a word formula. I only say it for the benefit of the people that are observing the baptism so they will know the reason that person is being baptized and by whose authority.

Peter said that baptism is for the remission of sins. Remember, repentance is linked with baptism by the conjunction and, which means both of these must occur before remission of sins will happen. Remission means: “Forgiveness or pardon, of sins” (Thayer). Obviously, we cannot be saved or even hope to enter heaven unless our sins have been forgiven. Therefore, if we just believe in Jesus, we are not saved because our sins have not been forgiven. If we just believe and repent, our sins are still with us. However, if we believe, repent, and are baptized, then our sins will be removed as the apostle Paul found out (Acts 22:16). Although not mentioned in this text, we also know that we must confess Jesus as our Lord to be saved as well (Rom. 10:9-10). However, baptism is the point at which our sins are removed (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and we contact the blood of Jesus (Rev. 1:5).

Finally, Peter used the conjunction and to show that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we receive the remission of our sins, which means we have been sealed by Him (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22). For more information on the gift of the Holy Spirit, see my chapter on John 3:3-5. So, without repentance and baptism, we cannot have the forgiveness of our sins or the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter continued preaching and exhorting these Jews, telling them to be saved from this perverse generation. Many of those listening that day were ready to be saved, and they were saved when they gladly received his message and were baptized for the remission of their sins. About 3000 souls were added to the church/kingdom that day by God (Acts 2:47; Jn.

3:3-5).

Peter’s message is easy to understand. If people would read Peter’s message with an open unbiased heart, they would all realize that repentance and baptism are necessary for salvation.

In this last section, I will deal with all the objections of Acts 2:38 that some use to teach that baptism has nothing to do with our salvation. The first objection comes from the Greek word eis, which means “into, unto, to, towards, for, among” (Thayer). Some teach that this word could mean because of in certain instances. So they have Peter saying that we should repent and be baptized because of the remission of sins, which makes baptism something we do after our sins have already been forgiven. However, they want us to believe that repentance must be done before the remission of sins, which cannot be because whatever repentance is for, so is baptism. We cannot separate these two because they are joined by the coordinating conjunction and. So, if baptism is something we do because we have already obtained the forgiveness of sin, then repentance is also something we do after the forgiveness of our sins.

The Greek word eis is used over 2000 times in the New Testament and it is never translated as because of. Let’s examine a verse that is worded similar to Acts 2:38.

"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28).

Notice, Jesus shed His blood for eis the remission of sins. If we render eis as because of, then Jesus shed His blood because the remission of sins was already in place. No one would dream of changing the meaning of this verse, but they have no problem changing the meaning of Acts 2:38. For instance,

A.T. Robertson, a Baptist scholar, had no problem understanding what eis meant in Mt. 26:28:

He had the definite conception of his death on the cross as the basis of forgiveness of sin.

The purpose of the shedding of his blood of the New Covenant was precisely to remove (forgive) sins (Robertson).

However when it came to Acts 2:38, notice what he said:



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