Acts 21,22

"And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."  Acts 22:16, RSV 

This topic is a tricky one because a lot of people do not agree with what I am going to say on it. As a matter of fact, some, when they find this article going in a direction that contradicts long-held beliefs, won't even finish it. So before you continue, determine this: Are you really seeking to find out God's will as you study, or are you really just trying to prove what you already believe?

Think back to the Bereans and what made them so noble: They examined the Scriptures every day to see if what was being taught to them was true. Why did they study? Because they wanted to know the truth!

Now, back to Saul's situation. From Acts 9:1-19 we know that Saul saw the Lord along the road to Damascus. We know that he spent three days praying before Ananias came to him to heal him of his blindness. In other words, he had a personal encounter with Jesus and he was praying. Yet, something was still amiss: He still had his sins. We know this because Ananias commanded him to get up and be baptized in order to wash away his sins.

Think about that again: Paul had a personal experience with Jesus, yet he still had his sins. Paul prayed to God, yet he still had his sins. It was not until after Paul was baptized that his sins were removed. I know that many think that we can pray and invite Jesus into our hearts and have our sins forgiven... but do you know of a single passage of Scripture that even hints that this belief is true?

Now let me ask you this: Do you think that if Paul had decided that a personal experience with Jesus and a lot of prayer was enough - that baptism was just asking to much - that God would have removed his sins on those terms?

Do you think, from your examination of the Scriptures, that it will be any different for you?

Now, don't get me wrong. We still need the grace of God and the blood of Christ to be saved. We still need to hear the word, believe it (faith), confess our belief that Jesus is Lord, and repent from our sins. There is no question in that! But, from your personal study of the Scripture, can you not also see that baptism was required to wash away sins? 

 

This is why we study: We want to know the whole will of God!

"Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?"

Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"  Acts 2:37-38, RSV