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In Need of a Savior

  1. Who is Jesus?
    3  Digging Deeper
  2. Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
    3  Digging Deeper
  3. What is the Covenant Jesus Offers?
    3  Digging Deeper
  4. Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?
    3  Digging Deeper
  5. What does Jesus' Resurrection Mean to Me?
    3  Digging Deeper
  6. Why Should I Be Like Jesus?
    3  Digging Deeper
  7. How Can I Find Life Through Death?
    3  Digging Deeper
  8. What Change Does God Expect of Me?
    3  Digging Deeper
  9. What Does it Mean to Repent?
    3  Digging Deeper
  10. How Can I Be Born Again?
    4  Digging Deeper
Lesson 10, Digging Deeper 4
In Progress

Understanding Baptism from Acts 2:38

According to Acts 2:38, when a penitent believer is baptized in the name of Jesus, God gives remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In the New Testament, baptism is preceded by belief in Christ and repentance of sins.  This constitutes Biblical faith.  Without faith in Jesus and repentance of sins, immersion in water has no spiritual significance.  We are saved by the blood of Jesus in his sacrificial death for us because we believe and repent when we are baptized into Christ.  Faith in Jesus changes our mindrepentance of sins changes our will, and baptism into Christ changes our state.  When people obey God in baptism, God changes their spiritual state from “outside Christ” to “inside Christ” (Romans 6:3-4).  He transfers them from the “dominion of darkness” to “the kingdom of God’s dear son” (Colossians 1:13).   Through the Spirit’s work they are “born again” and placed in God’s kingdom (John 3:5).   

The Apostle Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia that they are [present tense] sons of God through faith” because they “were [past tense] baptized into Christ and have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).   We are saved by faith (“why are we savedin the death and resurrection of Jesus (“how are we saved) when we are baptized (“when” are we saved).  A candidate’s trust is not in the administrator of baptism, the water of baptism, or the act of baptism.  person submitting to baptism is not earning salvation but expressing trust and reliance in “the working of God who cuts off the sinful flesh and gives new life in Christ” (Colossians 2:9-12).    

A person yielding to God in baptism is obeying a command of God.  The physical act of immersion expresses the penitent belief of a surrendered heart.   Baptism “in the name of Jesus” trusts Jesus for forgiveness.  People being baptized are not trusting in their performance but in God who will create them anew because they are trusting Christ and his death and resurrection.  The Apostle Peter wrote that “baptism does now save you . . .by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:21).   He meant the same as when he told the convicted sinners on Pentecost to “save yourselves from this wicked generation” (Acts 2:40).  Hwas not urging sinners to save themselves by good works.  He was urging them to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord by obeying God in repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus.  When they did that, God would forgive their sins and give them the Holy Spirit.   

In baptism, we surrender to Jesus and express trust and reliance in him and in his death and resurrection to save us from our sins.  Baptism is spiritually meaningful because that is the time that (1) people being baptized express their faith in Jesus accompanied by repentance of sins, (2the Holy Spirit regenerates and renews them (3) they enter into a saving relationship with Jesus because of his death, burial and resurrection, and (4) God places them in his kingdom.