THREE TEXTS ON BAPTISM TORTURED BY FALSE TEACHERS
A. 2 Pet. 3:16 speaks of those who twist (literally, place on the rack to torture) certain Scriptures. We will study three of these that are “tortured” because they teach that baptism is essential for salvation (the remission of sins).
B. This is error stacked on error. First, the error regarding baptism, and then the error of twisting Scripture to try to make it teach what the false teacher wants it to teach.
I. MARK 16:16, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.”
A. Jesus says that someone will be saved? According to this text WHO WILL BE SAVED?
B. Center reference of NKJV: “Verses 9-20 are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although nearly all other mss. of Mark contain them.”
1. Same is true of John 7:53- 8:11 and other texts that are omitted in these two manuscripts.
2. “Nearly all other mss.” – some 2000 others, some very ancient, DO CONTAIN MARK 16:9-20.
3. Also this text is in the earliest versions, very strong proof.
4. Vaticanus was written in three columns. In third column, last page, a blank space is left for verses 9-20. It is very obvious that for some unknown reason verses 9-20 were omitted by mistake from this manuscript.
5. Mark 16:9 would be a very abrupt ending for the book: “for they were afraid.”
C. “Doesn’t say that he that is not baptized shall be condemned.” If don’t believe, why mention baptism?
1. A mother tells her little boy: “Go to store and buy bread and I’ll give you some candy; if you don’t go to the store I will punish you.” Why say “if you don’t go to the store and buy bread I will punish you”? If he doesn’t go to the store, why mention bread?
2. Two requirements for salvation (faith + baptism), only one requirement for condemnation (no faith).
II. ACTS 2:38, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized …for the remission of sins”
A. A. T. Robertson, “Word Pictures in the N.T.” says: Repent – 2nd person, plural; let every one of you be baptized – 3rd person, singular.
1. Therefore Robertson concludes that the Greek implies an “interval” between repent and be baptized. But he evidently had not thought that through, because Baptist doctrine says that repentance comes before faith. So to be consistent he would have to put something else in that “interval”: “repent and believe” for the remission of sins and then be baptized as an outward sign of an inward grace, or as a symbol of salvation.
2. So, according to him, repent (plus assumption of faith) - for remission of sins but baptism is not “for” but on the basis of or because of the remission of sins already received.
3. According to Robertson there must be two groups of “you.” To those who asked “What shall we do?” Peter says, repent (you, 2nd person pl.), but then to another group, those who repent – and believe – and are now saved, he says “let every one of you be baptized” but not for the remission of sins because you have already received that.
4. Repent + be baptized = like two boxcars coupled together by coordinating conjunction “and”, obviously going in the same direction. So whatever repentance is “for” baptism is “for” also. Cannot be separated.
B. eis – for, unto, into, in order that – purpose (Spanish, not “por” but “para”). Eis appears 1750 times in N.T., 7 times in Acts 2 and IS NEVER TRANSLATED BECAUSE OF. I have a list of 50 translations, none says “because of .”
C. Clincher: Matt. 26:28, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” “For the reission of sins” identical in Acts 2:38, word for word.
III. ACTS 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.”
A. Using this text Calvinists are persuaded that since the Holy Spirit fell on them before being baptized, they were already Christians before being baptized (v. 48).
1. Those who teach this error think they have proof in John 14:17, “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.” But Jesus uses the word “world” in this gospel to describe those who persecuted Him and His disciples, John 15:18-21.
2. By no stretch of the imagination could Cornelius be classified with such. Acts 10:2, 22.
B. Observe carefully that in Acts 10:44 Luke does not specify exactly WHEN the Holy Spirit fell upon them, but Peter does in Acts 11:15.
1. Acts 11:1-4, Jerusalem brethren wanted an explanation of his associating and eating with Gentiles and Peter explained it to them “in order from the beginning.”
2. Acts 11:14, an angel had told Cornelius that Peter would “tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.”
3. Then Acts 11:15 Peter tells us precisely WHEN the Holy Spirit fell on them: “And as I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them …” As he BEGAN TO SPEAK!
4. This does NOT conflict with what Luke says in Acts 10:44 because Luke only said that it happened while Peter was speaking but he does NOT specify exactly WHEN, but Peter does.
5. Peter had definitely NOT spoken all the “words” by which they would be saved (Acts 11:14), so when the Holy Spirit fell on them they had not HEARD all the words whereby they could believe and obey in order to be saved.
C. What so many preachers and their followers ignore is that before Peter could preach the gospel to the Gentiles and baptize them, God had to place His stamp of approval on it – and that is exactly what He did when the Holy Spirit fell on them and they spoke in tongues, the same experience the apostles had on Pentecost. This convinced the Jewish brethren, Acts 11:18.
D. Finally, if Peter had taught Cornelius that by merely believing he would be saved, he would have contradicted what he preached on Pentecost (Acts 2:38) and what he wrote, 1 Pet. 3:21, that baptism now saves us.