Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Update and Post on Acts 2:38

Here is an update on events this past month.

The past month I have led three people to the Lord. Two of whom were a mother and daughter. The daughter was round 25 and the mother in her 40's, I would guess. It is always nice to see family coming to know the Lord together. Mariann and I were out visiting in the village when we talked with both of them and they made a decision to put their faith Christ. The daughter has been attending church for several months now, and her mom was in the village visiting her. The mom lives on another island about three hours away. The other person was also in the village visiting family. She had not been back in her home village for several years. She works in the capitol city on the main island. While she was away, both her Mom and Dad received Christ, and come to church. She attended church faithfully with her family during her few weeks here with them. The Sunday before she left, she put her faith in Christ.

We also had two weeks where are water tanks went empty. This happens from time to time in dry season. (Last year we did not have one day without water in our tanks!) When the tanks are empty we head to the river for washing. Once you are used to it, it really is not all the bad. We have a river about 1 mile from the house that has fresh springs coming into from under ground. Very clean water! This past Saturday we had a big rain arrive and both are tanks are now about 3/4 full.

I have also received a new opportunity to put an article once a week in the main news paper for Papua New Guinea. It is called the Post Courier. My first article was published this last Saturday. I pray the Lord will use each article. My articles will deal with Biblical issues. I think it is a great opportunity, I hope it helps many! From time to time I will post on here the same article. The first one dealt with Acts 2:38 and Baptism. I will post below the article.

Acts 2:38 and Baptism
Baptism has been a divisive issue for centuries in the history of Christianity. One verse we hear a lot about in Papua New Guinea is Acts 2:38. I would like to examine a portion of this verse as it relates to baptism.
(Act 2:38) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 2:38 is a verse that is widely misinterpreted by well meaning people. The misinterpretations are leading to a false gospel destructive to true Christianity. Many groups today use Acts 2:38 to teach that in order to go to heaven one must be baptized in water. I am a Baptist preacher, and place great emphasis on baptism. I was baptized shortly after my conversion, and I have baptized many here in PNG. However, baptism is not the entrance into heaven, nor does Acts 2:38 teach any such doctrine. Those trusting in water to wash away their sins have missed the true gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Does Acts 2:38 say one must be baptized in order to have their sins removed? No, it does not! Acts 2:38 does not say “Repent and be baptized to receive remission of sins.” It says, “…for the remission of sins”. Many think the word “for” in the verse means to receive. That is incorrect. “For” in this verse means as a result. You could see this by studying the meaning of the word and in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as well. There are many different ways to use the preposition “for”. I think we should allow the Bible to determine the meaning. Let’s look at Revelation 16:10 to understand the English word “for” better:

(Rev 16:10) “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,”

Notice the last two words “for pain”. Read the verse again and ask yourself, did they gnaw their tongues to receive pain or because they were already in pain? The answer is they gnawed their tongues because they were already in pain, or as a result of pain. Now, if you interpret “for” in the verse the way many interpret “for” in Acts 2:38, you would have to say they gnawed their tongues, because they wanted to receive pain. That is clearly wrong. Let me give another example from the common English saying, “He jumped for joy!” Does the person jump to receive joy or as a result of joy? The answer is as a result of joy!

When you understand the meaning of “for” correctly in Acts 2:38, you see it is teaching us as a result of the remission of sins, we need to be baptized. After a person has his sins removed by faith in Jesus Christ, he should be baptized. It is not the water that washes away your sin. It is the blood of Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace thought faith (Eph 2:8, 9). If you add anything to that, it is no longer by grace through faith. My friend if you are trusting in water to save you, you have been deceived.

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