“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). The preceding verse, are at least a portion of it, is arguably the most disbelieved verse in the entire Bible. Earlier today, I spent some time on a Bible helps website which contains numerous versions of the Bible, commentaries, original languages, Strong’s Concordance, and a list of sermons. Out of curiosity, I went down the list of sermons on the above verse. Out of approximately 60 sermons, only one was on the subject of baptism. The author of this sermon which included false teaching on the subject, called baptism a Christian rite and denied it was then or is now unto the forgiveness of sins.
Why do men reject what this verse so clearly, plainly, and explicitly says about the command to be baptized for the remission of sins? The simple answer is the overwhelming majority of religious people have embraced the false idea that man can do absolutely nothing toward salvation which he regards as a human work. With this idea, men contradict their own doctrine because they affirm that faith is required for salvation yet both 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Timothy 1:11 define faith as a work. Men both deny what Acts 2:38 says and their false doctrine that man contributes not one whit to his salvation. As an additional thought, baptism is not a work of man but of God!
After reading the error respecting Acts 2:38 in the hosts of sermons on the verse, I wondered what such men would say if the site included some sermons on 1 Peter 3:21. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” There were only three sermons listed as those which dealt with the passage. One dismissed it altogether. One claimed it is the water which saves one in baptism. No, it is the blood of Christ which washes away sin, baptism is the point when it does (Acts 22:18). The third man hem-hawed around on the verse and attempted to deny the efficacy of baptism by stating in an unclear fashion that baptism cleanses the conscience while the Savior cleanses the soul of sin. Certainly, the Savior cleanses the soul of sin, but in the Acts 22:16 verse we mentioned above we learn when the cleansing takes place. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
In Paul’s later to the Romans, he wrote these inspired words:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen (Rom. 16:25-27).
The only faith which will save is obedient faith. To have an obedient faith one must keep the commands of God. One of those commands is to be baptized. “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” Why will men not lay aside the false doctrine of man that you are saved by faith only then can join the church of your choice instead of being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins and thereby added to the one church which the Lord gave His life to purchase with His own blood? (Acts 20:28).