People Cut to the Heart Part 3 of 5
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
People came great distances to see John the Baptist, “And they were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” The very fact that they submitted to John’s baptism was an indication that they were leaving their old lives and turning to new lives. The instruction that Christ gave to his apostles was, that they should baptize all who believed “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt 28:19; KJV). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16; KJV). The Jews had not been baptized; and a baptism now would be a profession of the religion of Christ, or a declaration made before the world that they embraced Jesus as their Messiah. It was equivalent to publicly embracing Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The gospel requires such a profession; and no one is at liberty to withhold it. And a similar declaration is to be made by all who are born again. They are to repent; and then, without any unnecessary delay, to demonstrate it in the ordinance of baptism. If men are UNWILLING to profess their religion, they have none. If they will not, in the proper way, show that they are truly attached to Christ, it is proof that they have no such attachment. Baptism is the application of water to express the need of purification, and it is illustrative of the special effects from God that can cleanse the soul. It is a form of dedication to the service of God, and it is also symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Peter says to them, “Be baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. This will be evidence that you have trusted Him for the remission of your sins—rather than bringing a sacrifice to be offered in the temple.” You see, their baptism would be a testimony to the fact that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Every one of you.
Baptism is strongly urged upon everyone that is born again: "Even those of you that have been the greatest sinners, if you repent and believe, are welcome to be baptized; and even those who think they have been the greatest saints need to repent, and believe, and be baptized. There is grace enough in Christ for “every one of you,” no matter how many, and there is grace that is appropriate for the situation of everyone. The ancient Hebrews were baptized unto Moses in the camp, the entire body of the Israelites together, when they passed through the cloud and the sea “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (See 1 Co. 10:1, 2) The people were immersed in Moses’ authority. Therefore, the expression speaks of divine leadership (See Ex 14:31). Therefore, they came under the influence of his authority., because the covenant was national; but now every one of you must be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus INDIVIDUALLY.’’ If you are born again, but have never been baptized, I urge you to do so as your public profession of the religion of Christ, by being baptized in His name; and thereby acknowledge yourselves to be his disciples and servants.
in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Revised Version renders it, “Upon the name.” Other renderings are “Upon the ground of the name,” and “In submission to the authority of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, by complying with the conditions just mentioned, they shall receive remission of sins. No one can receive pardon for their sins unless they first have faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and submit to the will of Christ. By the authority of Jesus Christ means to be baptized for Him and his service; to be consecrated in this way, and by this public profession, to Him, and to His cause. The name of Jesus Christ means the same as Jesus Christ himself. To be baptized in His name means to be devoted to Him. The word name is often used in this way. And the profession which they were to make amounted to this: A confession of sins; a wholehearted desire to turn from them; a reception of Jesus as the Messiah, and as their Saviour; and a determination to become His followers, and to be devoted to His service. Similarly, in the Old Testament, Israel was said to have been baptized into Moses “They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10.2; NIV). The people were led to believe in Moses as God's servant by the miracle of the cloud protecting them, and by their being conducted under him safely through the Red Sea; therefore they are said to be "baptized unto" him ( Exodus 14:31 ).. To be "baptized unto Moses," means to take him as the leader and guide.
In the early church, it is not likely that in administering the ordinance of baptism they used only the name of Jesus Christ. It is much more probable that they used the method prescribed by the Savior himself “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19; NIV). Converts were to be baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is a positive affirmation of the Old Testament that where the name of the Lord is recorded there will He meet His disciples, or there will be His presence. (See Exod. 20:24)., although it is the distinctive characteristic of a Christian that he receives and honors Jesus Christ—His name is used here as implying the whole; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The same thing occurs in Acts 19:5 “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”. They must be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.” They did believe in the Father and the Holy Ghost speaking by the prophets; but they must also believe in the name of Jesus, that He is the Christ, the Messiah promised to the fathers. "Take Jesus for your king, and by baptism swear allegiance to him; take him for your prophet, and hear him; take him for your priest, to make atonement for you,’’ which seems peculiarly intended here; for they must be baptized in his name for the remission of sins upon the merit of his righteousness.
For the remission of sins.
Not only for the sin of crucifying the Messiah, but for all sins, for all time, and no matter how many or how great they may be. There is nothing in baptism itself that can wash away sin. That can only be done by the pardoning mercy of God through the atonement of Christ. If you do not have that, you might as well take a bar of soap with you, because all you are going to get from it is a bath. Baptism must occur after one is saved, because it is expressive of a previous willingness to be pardoned in that way; and a solemn declaration of our conviction that there is no other way to be saved. He who comes to be baptized, comes with a professed conviction that he is a sinner, that there is no other way of attaining mercy except through faith in Christ, and with a professed willingness to comply with the terms of salvation, and receive it as it is offered through the gospel.
Peter encourages them to take this path: “Baptism is for the remission of sins. Repent of your sin, and it cannot be your downfall; be baptized into the faith of Christ, and you shall be justified, which is something that was impossible while you were under the Law of Moses. Aim at this, and depend upon Christ for it, and this you shall have. As the cup in the Lord’s Supper is the New Testament in the blood of Christ for the remission of sins, so baptism is in the name of Christ for the remission of sins. Be washed, and you shall be clean indeed.’’
Baptism itself does not purify the conscience; it only points out the grace by which this is to be done.
and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Anyone who believes, who puts his trust in Jesus Christ, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“The gift of the Holy Ghost,” as it is used here, does not mean his extraordinary gifts, or the power of working miracles; but it simply means, you shall partake of the influences of the Holy Ghost as far as they may be adapted to your circumstance, as far as may be needed for your comfort, peace, and sanctification. There is no evidence that they were all endowed with the power of working miracles. All true conviction comes from Him, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (John 16:8-10; KJV). But it is also the role of the Spirit to comfort, to enlighten, to give peace, and in this way to give evidence that the soul is born again. This is probably what Peter is talking about; and all who are born again, and profess faith in Christ, possess this as a gift from God. There is peace, calmness, joy; there is evidence of godliness, and that evidence is the result of the influences of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts’ (Gal. 5.22-24; KJV). Love is the root of all the rest. Gentleness is toward all men; ignorant and wicked men in particular. Goodness means all that is kind, forgiving, endearing, and gentle, either in disposition or behavior. Meekness is having all the affections and passions in balance. And they that are Christ's are faithful believers in Him, and have crucified the flesh—Nailed it, in a manner of speaking, to a cross where it has no power to break loose, but is continually weaker and weaker, along with its likes and desires—All its evil passions, appetites, and inclinations.