Tag: salvation (Page 3 of 4)

Does Galatians 3:27 Teach Salvation By Water Baptism?

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

As you might have already gathered by the question presented in the title there are many who use Galatians 3:27 as a proof text to support their belief that water baptism is a necessary instrument of the salvation process, without which a person cannot be saved. While we want to hold up the importance of baptism as an ordinance instituted by the Lord Himself, we do not want to confuse its importance with saving faith. Not just because “we don’t want to” or because it doesn’t fit with a certain system of theology but because the Scripture does not teach such a doctrine. Galatians 3:27 is a great example of how people can do great injustice to the meaning of a text by avoiding a number of incredibly important hermeneutical principles.

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Does Acts 22:16 Teach That Baptism Is Necessary For Salvation?

Does this text teach that baptism is necessary for salvation? Was Ananias telling Paul that the act of being baptized, and being immersed in water, washes away sins? I think both of those assumptions are seriously erroneous. Let’s consider why.

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Sustaining Grace (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

“who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)


Who will confirm the believer till the day of Christ? A quick glance back to verse four reminds us of that answer. Paul had addressed his thanksgiving to God (vs.4a), the one who bestows grace (vs.4b). God is the one who calls believers into fellowship with His Son (vs.9b). And part of what makes that grace so amazing is that it is completely sustaining; it confirms believers till the end.

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Noah Found Grace And Was Justified By Faith

From an outside perspective it might have seemed as though Satan was going to be successful in his attempt to frustrate God’s plan to have the seed of the woman crush his seed (Gen. 3:15). However one splices the relationship between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” of Genesis 6:2, it clearly was not a good thing and it did not produce worshippers (see also 2 Pet. 2:4-5; Jd. 6). Brutal men (i.e. the nephilim) had become the “men of renown” (cf. vs.4); every thought of men’s hearts were continually wicked (vs.5); and so, not surprisingly, the earth was corrupt and filled with violence (vs.11). It was indeed a world made well-rotten by sin and Satan.

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The Tragedy of Procrastination (Acts 24:25)

There are times in Scripture where we receive unique insight into the tragedy of procrastination. There’s the parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-13), five of whom prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival, and five that did not, but instead procrastinated and were shut out of the wedding. In Luke 9:57-62 we see instances of people who, instead of heeding Jesus’ call to follow Him, offered “but first” excuses. We don’t know what they decided to do after Jesus addressed their attempts to procrastinate but if they did put off following Him we understand what a foolish and dangerous decision that was. That’s the kind of procrastination that is the most tragic of all. Although procrastination in any form of life can be problematic, i.e. letting the sun go down on your wrath because you didn’t address it sooner (Eph. 4:26-27), this kind of procrastination is the pinnacle of folly.

The governor Felix was such a man. He had heard Paul’s defense after the Jews accused Paul of sedition and heresy. Felix postponed making a decision about the apostle, and then, after some days, he and his wife Drusilla sent for him and heard him concerning faith in Christ (Acts 24:24).

What happens next is startling.

Paul reasoned with Felix about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (vs.25). While we’re not told the exact details of the conversation we could imagine that when Paul spoke of righteousness that he spoke about the merit of Christ and our need to have a righteousness that was not of the law but one that only comes through faith in the person and work of Christ. Such is a theme addressed by Paul quite a few times in his epistles. When he spoke of self-control, he most likely described to Felix what the Christian life looks like. In the midst of a pagan world given to sensual pleasure and satisfaction, the Christian was to find contentment in the One who said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5). And, as any good Gospel presentation will do, Paul spoke about the judgment to come. This Gospel wasn’t simply an option that Felix had presented to him whereby he could make this life better. The backdrop of the Gospel is the inevitability of death and judgment in light of a lifetime of rebellion against God. The Gospel is not simply an option, it’s the only way for a sinner to be made righteous, escape the torments of the lake of fire, and enjoy glorifying God forever.

What’s startling is – Felix’s response. The rest of verse says, “Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'” (vs.25b)

As far as we know… that ‘convenient time’ never came…

When Felix heard Paul speak concerning faith in Christ and righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, he was afraid. It would be fair to assume he intellectually understood the Gospel and that he was afraid because he knew, at some level, that he was a sinner that was not right before God. Yet, like many of us have tried to do when we’ve been afraid, he suppressed it, and pushed it to the side. It’s one thing to push aside fears that the Lord tells us not to have, like worrying about tomorrow, or about food and clothing. It’s another thing to push away the fear that we’re supposed to have. The kind that the Scripture calls the beginning of wisdom: “the fear of the LORD”.

Whatever the case was with Felix, and whatever the internal workings of his mind were, he joined the foolishness of the Athenians who told Paul, “We will hear you again on this matter” (Acts 17:32).

That moment that the Athenians presumed would be there appears to have never happened.

The convenient time Felix appeased his mind by thinking about looks to have never occurred either.

If today, you hear the voice of the Lord saying, as it were, ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Believe the Gospel’, do not join the ranks of Felix and the Athenians, or those in Luke 9:57-62 who said, “I will…. But first….” As it is written, “Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and avoid the foolish tragedy of procrastination.

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