Mailbag Page 8
Must a person be baptized in order to obtain salvation from his or her sins?
What is the meaning of "selah?"
Who were the Nicolaitans?
Explain Matthew 16.19 - the key to heaven
|Rodney writes: Doesn't the Bible tell us that
in order to be saved one must be baptized?
In the Book of Acts we find that Peter says you must repent and be baptized. Let us not forget that Peter was one who was taught by Jesus Himself.
My answer to Rodney's question is in FIVE parts. Be sure and read all five parts in order to have an understanding of the Bible verses and analyses that apply to this important doctrinal issue.
As I understand it the question you have asked is as follows,,,
If a Christian asks me whether water baptism is necessary for salvation
I never answer until I first ask that Christian whether or not he or she IS baptized. If they should answer "No,"
I always tell them, "Stop fooling around with theological ping-pong and OBEY YOUR LORD & SAVIOR!"
The Bible clearly states that all Christians receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12.13). It also states that a person is NOT a Christian unless he or she has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8.9).
As to whether water baptism is equally essential, I offer the following verses for your prayerful consideration.
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. Acts 2.38
(Jesus said...) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Mt 28.19
Part 2- Concerning the preaching by Peter in Acts 2.38, as quoted above...
|(Peter said...) "To Him (Jesus) all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.'' Acts 10.43|
|Part 3- Note that in Acts 10.43, quoted above, this same Peter states only one requirement for salvation, "...whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will receive remission of sins.''|
|Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for (eis)
the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2.38
(Jesus said...) "The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. Mt 12.41
In Acts 2.38, quoted above, Peter said, "...be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for (eis) the remission of sins" The word "for" translates the Greek word eis.
Mt 12.41 says, "they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonah." They repented BECAUSE of Jonah's preaching, not IN ORDER to receive Jonah's preaching. Obviously, therefore, the Greek word eis carries the multiple meanings/nuances of "for; at; because."
Accordingly, it is my OPINION that, in Acts 2.38, Peter is saying "be baptized BECAUSE (eis) of the remission of sins," NOT "be baptized IN ORDER to receive the remission of sins."
|Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3.1|
Part 5- In closing, may I say that questions such as Rodney's are not mere *theological exercises* to me.
I think of an elderly lady who came to me with this same question as Rodney has asked. Her name was Betty.
|A visitor writes: Psalm 3 verse 2 uses the word "selah" which is a Hebrew word. What does it mean?|
|Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God.'' Selah (Psalm 3.2, NKJ)|
|"Selah" is used about 70 times in the Psalms. Its first use is in Psalm 3.2.|
Evening Prayer for Deliverance
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
|Be aware that the Psalms were hymns to be sung. As such they were often
accompanied by music. For example, notice the introduction to Psalm 4 where it is stated that this Psalm is to
be accompanied by stringed instruments. Many other Psalms have similar musical instructions.
Accordingly, many scholars think that "selah" was an instruction which called for singing to be momentarily stopped while the instruments played a brief musical interlude. Perhaps this was done so that, while the musicians played, the singers could silently meditate upon the words they had sung.
In the Septuagint (a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek), "selah" is translated as "diapsalmos" which either means a musical interlude or (possibly) "play louder."
|A visitor writes: Revelation 2 verse 6 says that Jesus hates the Nicolaitans. Who were they?|
|(Jesus said...) "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." (Rev 2.6, NKJ)|
"Nicolaitans" comes from two Greek words...
Thus, "Nicolaitans" carries the meaning of "rulership over the people."
Accordingly it is possible (NOT absolutely certain) that the Nicolaitans were the folks who first introduced the idea that "laity" are somehow less important, less holy, or less close to God than is true for the "clergy."
A person with the gift and calling of pastor has an awesome responsibility, and God will hold him strictly accountable for his ministry (James 3.1).
The Bible commands us to honor, respect, love, obey, and support (both financially and spiritually) our pastors and teachers.
However, a member of "the clergy" is not "higher ranking" than any other Christian.
|Nessa writes: I would like to know the full meaning of the following scripture...
Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Good question! Matthew 16.19 has puzzled many Christians. I hope the following information meets your need.
The keys of the kingdom of heaven symbolize authority to open. In Matthew 16.19, Lord Jesus authorized Peter to "officially" open the kingdom of heaven as manifested in the church. Peter did what Jesus authorized him to do. Namely...
Concerning "binding and loosing," you need to understand that, to the Jews, Jesus was a Rabbi (John 1.38, 1.49, et al). Jewish rabbis had the authority to "bind and loose." This denoted the rabbinic responsibility for teaching and interpreting the word of God with respect to rules of conduct (halaka) for the synagogue and daily living. As a Jew, Peter would have understood Jesus to be giving him the authority to teach and interpret God's word in matters of church discipline and conduct. And Peter used this authority, as is illustrated by the following examples...