Part 2 of 4, continued from here.
So I have a question….whose report do you believe?
Let’s begin with what we do know from the Gospels. First of all we know that Jesus forgave the sins of many. Mary Magdalene, “”Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” (Luke 7:48 NKJV). The paralytic man, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.””(Mark 2:5 NKJV) The crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.'”(John 5:14 NKJV).
We also know the thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved without repentance or baptism, just faith, “Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” (Luke 23:42-43 NKJV). Even disciples had their sins forgiven by Jesus and received the Holy Spirit when he breathed on them (John 20:22-23 NKJV).
But one thing I noticed was Jesus didn’t baptize anyone during his 3 1/2 years of his earthy ministry. It could have been because John the Baptist was busy baptizing unto repentance and getting them ready for Jesus. Again, just a thought as I searched the Gospels.
Now we come to the book of Acts, also referred to as the Acts of the Apostles, and this book was written by Luke the physician. Luke writes in great detail about the men and women who took the great commission seriously and began to spread the news of a risen savior to the most remote corners of the known world.
In the first chapter of Acts, we find the apostles, along with other believers both men and women including the mother of Jesus, in an upper room in Jerusalem waiting and praying for the power from on high as commanded by Jesus before he ascended into heaven.
When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, suddenly a mighty wind filled the place and they all began to speak in other tongues as the fire set upon each of them. The power of the Holy Spirit was so strong that they spilled out into the streets and everyone could hear them magnifying God in their own languages (Acts 2:1). I counted about 12 different languages being recognized by the Jews that were there for the holiday.
When other people saw this, they were amazed but skeptical and mocked it saying these were drunk, although it was only about 9:00 in the morning, a little early in the day to be drunk. Then Peter stood up and boldly preached to the Jews who were gathered there, Jesus Christ whom they crucified. He quoted the prophet Joel and the psalmist David, whom the Jews would know about.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36 NKJV). In other words he was letting the “whole house of Israel” know what they did and how that God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ and how he had ascended to heaven and was sitting at the right hand of God.
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.'” (Acts 2:37-39 NKJV)
Please note this was being said to the house of Israel. First they were to repent, acknowledging their guilt and taking sides with God against themselves. Then they were to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins. “At first glance, this verse seems to teach salvation by baptism, and many people insist that it does…” (MacDonald, William p. 1586).
If you came out of the United Pentecostal Church or another Oneness organization, this is how we were told to be saved. That it was the only way to be saved. This was “The Truth” that they’ve been preaching for many years as the only way to be saved. They’ve proclaimed it as truth and condemned others for not obeying it. They caused disunity with other believers and centered a whole doctrine around it.
Part 3 coming soon