Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
Is baptism required for the forgiveness of sins and salvation?
This question is asked of many, and here is an answer from a grace perspective.
Acts 2:37 after hearing that Jesus was the Messiah whom they had crucified, the people were quickened to the heart and they said, “What shall we do?”
And Peter said
This text at face value presents several conflicting theological viewpoints- no doubt!
1. Peter said for them to repent - Greek word, metanoesate. Aorist Active Imperative 2nd per. plural. The aorist tense means do this at once. It is not a process, it is a decision. Repent means to have a change of mind with a change of action. You change your mind about the issue of your sin and Christ’ suffering and payment for your sin and you receive him as your Savior and you live for him, not sin.
2. Be baptized - Aorist Passive Imperative 3rd per. sing. Since salvation is instantaneous it is all of faith, baptism is not a part of the salvation transaction. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done..” Eph.2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Baptism is a work of obedience following salvation, it is not an act which enables one to receive salvation.
Repentance toward Jesus Christ means you turn from the life of sin. This salvation does not mean sinlessness, but it does mean you yield the reigns of your soul to the Lord. You may still sin though, and then confession of sin is necessary to maintain fellowship with God.
There is also a significance in the 2nd person plural of repent and the 3rd person singular of be baptized.
Everyone needs to repent, and then individually be baptized. The baptism takes place only once the confession to receive Christ has taken place.
3. The baptism is performed “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Please remember that according to his commandment in Matt.28:19 this baptism is performed in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Peter would not disobey his Lord and ignore the Father and the Holy Spirit. Being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ would be to follow the command of Matt.28:19, a command given in the name of Jesus Christ.
4. For the remission of sins. Remission of sins. The Greed word for remission is aphesin from aphiemi, and it means to pardon or forgive.
Forgiveness of sins results from acceptance of Christ as Savior plus nothing. The outward act that one has received personal forgiveness is public baptism. To think someone has a part in the removal of ones sins is absurd. Only Christ can absolve us of our sins. The sins of mankind were only poured out on Christ and him alone. Baptism plays no part in one receiving forgiveness of sin.
5. And ye shall receive the Holy Spirit. No one has to wait until water baptism to receive the Holy Spirit. The dispensation of the church age is distinct from the Old Testament saints.
N.T. believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, Eph.1:13 “ In whom ye also trusted [ believed] after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also when you believed ye were sealed [Aorist Passive Indicative] with that Holy Spirit of promise,” Once For All.
You are automatically sealed the moment you receive the gospel which accepts the person of Jesus Christ along with his death, burial and bodily resurrection. You are not sealed or filled with the Holy Spirit later after you have been baptized in water.
Peter states here that those wishing to be baptized had already been saved and had subsequently received the Holy Spirit.
Water baptism is not necessary for one to receive salvation or the forgiveness of sins, or to receive the Holy Spirit. It is the public demonstration of the believer telling God, and others that they are dead to this world, and they are alive unto Christ. They give their body soul and spirit to his will. We must never add to salvation.