SPECIAL TOPIC: BAPTISM
Curtis Vaughan, Acts, has an interesting footnote on p. 28 related to Acts 2:38.
"The Greek word for 'baptized' is a third person imperative; the word for 'repent,' a second person imperative. This change from the more direct second person command to the less direct third person of 'baptized' implies that Peter's basic primary demand is for repentance."
This follows the preaching emphasis of John the Baptist (cf. Matt. 3:2) and Jesus (cf. Matt. 4:17). Repentance seems to be a spiritual key and baptism is an outward expression of this spiritual change. The New Testament knew nothing of unbaptized believers! To the early church baptism was the public profession of faith. It is the occasion for the public confession of faith in Christ, not the mechanism for salvation! It needs to be remembered that baptism is not mentioned in Peter's second sermon, though repentance is (cf. Acts 3:19; Luke 24:17). Baptism was an example set by Jesus (cf. Matt. 3:13-18). Baptism was commanded by Jesus (cf. Matt. 28:19). The modern question of the necessity of baptism for salvation is not addressed in the New Testament; all believers are expected to be baptized. However, one must also guard against a sacramental mechanicalism! Salvation is a faith issue, not a right-place, right-words, right-ritual act issue!
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