Question:

Good morning brother,

I recently had a discussion with a brother in Christ who said that the book of Acts was addressed to the Jews because they killed Christ. He mentioned that the question asked after their hearts were pricked, "what shall we do" applied to those Jews that were assembled. He said that the message that was delivered to the Gentiles was that their belief was sufficient.

He believes that the blood cleanses us of our sin, but belief in that blood is sufficient. In my feeble attempt to help him understand that we must "come in contact" with the blood of Christ through baptism was ineffective because he kept asking, where is the scripture that supports "coming in contact"? In my opinion, it is common sense to understand that cleansing takes an agent to clean and he does also, but he said that believing the word cleans.

Today I plan to share Romans 3:10, 23; I Peter 3:20-21 and Hebrews 9:13-14. Am I on the right track or are there other scriptures that will bring the message clearer?

Thank you for your help in this matter, and I thank God that your teachings are available on the internet.

Answer:

I would first ask where in the Bible that it says that belief in the blood is sufficient by itself? Since he is demanding specific wording, I would turn it around to point out that his beliefs are not spelled out as he claims in the Scriptures.

First, was baptism only for the Jews? The book of Acts proves that to be false. Cornelius was a Gentile. After he and his household received the Holy Spirit, we read, "Then Peter answered, 'Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?' And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:46-48). Later, when a debate had broken out over the claim that Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses, Peter argued, "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they" (Acts 15:11). There is only one plan of salvation and it is applied equally between Jews and Gentiles.  The Philippian jailer was also baptized (Acts 16:33). Both Jews and Greeks were baptized in Corinth. "But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'  Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized" (I Corinthians 18:6-8).

Take a look at What Saves a Person? There is one thing that acts alone to save mankind from their sins. It has always been a combination of an offer to save, the ability to save, and an acceptance of salvation.

Peter stated that "... baptism now saves ... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). Paul stated, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7). This is why Ananias told Saul, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Notice that in all these passages that it is at the time of baptism that sins are removed.

His statement that the word cleans is an incomplete reference: "that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). The cleansing is not by the word alone but by the word accompanied by the washing of water (i.e. baptism).

John stated, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). The blood of Christ only cleanses those who walk in the light. How can anyone walk in truth when they ignore the commands of God? Baptism is commanded by God and we have no choice but to obey if we wish to be saved from our sins.

Response:

God bless your teaching, Brother Hamilton. I will continue to share the truth of the Gospel.

I feel confident that I will be writing to you again. I "discovered" La Vista several years and the website (after my search of the Scriptures) is my "go-to place" for questions and biblical answers.

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