Re: The gospel
Parhelion22: Thanks for your response. You appear to be a passionate brother in Christ, and I appreciate that. Praise God that he allows us to exhort each other as brothers in Christ. My thoughts as they come:
If you believe the bible 100% then you must take into consideration that it says to be baptised (amongst other things) to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Atcs 2:38). Baptism is a MUST! Your straddling the line of being a false prophate when you say that “baptism absolutely isn’t necessary.” :-/
You’re right- believers are certainly called to be baptised. I should not have phrased that in that manner.
If baptism is “absolutely” not needed, then I would think that Peter would not have told these men to “repent, BE BAPTIZED EVERYONE OF YOU for the remissions of sins.”
What I meant was that a physical baptism with water, by a man, is *not* absolutely necessary for salvation. This is where we appear to differ:
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Jesus says it so straight forward in John 3:5. You CANNOT enter into Heaven unless you are born of water (baptising in water) and of the Spirit (Spirit is capitalized because it’s God’s Holy Spirit).
I believe this is about being born again (regeneration). Being quickened, made alive, regenerated, born again, or whatever you like to call it *IS* absolutely necessary for salvation. I don’t argue that whatsoever. Nor do I argue that we are certainly CALLED to be baptised, and I do acknowledge my wording was in clearly in error.
However, I do not believe that 3:5 “born of water” refers to a physical earthly baptism from a man as a requisite to enter the Kingdom. I believe that it refers to a cleansing by a washing of the water of the Word of God. Why do I believe this?
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;
That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word
As far as I know the only things God purposes to be absolutely necessary to occur in one of His saints for their salvation are
1) God regenerates you (quickens you)
2) God gives you faith in Christ Jesus
We are deaf and dead before God quickens us (Isaiah 29:18, Ephesians 2:1)
Faith comes by hearing, hearing comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
Notice both of these passages refer to the importance of the preaching of the Gospel- the hearing of the Word of God. I posit the Word as the means Jesus was referring to in being “born of water.” We must be born again – born of the Spirit. We must be born of water – the water of the Word.
I absolutely do NOT believe ANY sinners justification comes through the physical earthly baptism by a man. That does not save anyone. That is a humanistic, man-exalting Gospel. I believe those God sovereignly purposes to quicken are justified only by the effectual washing in the blood of Christ, through faith.
Revelation 1:5 “washed us from our sins in His own blood”
This is the true, Christ exalting Gospel
we must always be careful to avoid our innate tendency toward humanistic, man-exalting views
it is Jesus Christ that saves, He alone.
Our salvation is by grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone.
Romans Chapter 3:
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.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.