Yogi, ok, a couple of quick thoughts, and then I'll get into it in more detali this afternoon.
I understand what THE FAITH is, however, let us not forget that we also have faith (personal faith). It is our faith which is displayed by believeing in Jesus which is our saving Grace. We are all saved by Grace, and that a gift from God, not by works. lest any man should boast. And because of our FAITH in Jesus, God imparts this gift unto us, that gift being His saving Grace.
It does not always mean "personal faith," however, it often does mean/referr to our personal faith. Certainly with regards to the Prophets and men of the First Testament, it was THEIR PERSONAL FAITH in God, and one could say the Faith, that secured their salvation through God's Grace. They were personally faithful, in that they did as God asked them to do, and they believed in Him to be faithful to do what He said He would do and that was to deliver them....................keep His covenant with them.
Salvaiton is first, last, and always a "personal" thingy! It is a personal relationship between God and man.
Two, I'm guessing here that when you say Jesus baptized people, you are not meaning that He personally water baptized people, for Jesus did not personally water baptize anyone. His baptism is of the Holy Ghost and Fire, and that through the blood He shed on Calvary's cross. I know you know this, but when one says Jesus "baptized," we gotta be sure we are not speaking of water baptizing. It is a Truth, that Jesus "baptizes" more people than all the people in the world have ever baptized, simply because all who are baptized in His blood for the forgiveness of their sins, are baptized by Him. So, it's kinda a given that He baptized more than John.
Romans 1:16-17 is a good Scripture, but I think you are intermingling the two "faiths" here. The just shall live by faith. We all live by faith and that is our personal faith. One might say our "personal faith" in THE FAITH. Our personal faith in Jesus, our personal faith in God, that He is who He said He is and that He will be faithful to us to do what He said He would do.
Your comment has a tinge of "legalism" to it, and seems to discount the "personal" relationship between man and God.
We may have gotton off track, but let me go back and look at my last comment.......................ok, I see it now:
1) Were the sins of the people John baptized with water forgiven them?
I agree that their sins were forgiven. This however is the sticking point. Why/how were their sins forgiven? IMO, their sins were forgiven because of their "faith." Just as their fathers before, the prophets, and all the men of God, it was their faith that saved them. The Apostle Paul wrote of this extensively and gave many examples. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Chapters of Romans discusses this "justification by faith." As well, the Apostle Peter speaks to this in the 15th Chapter of Acts, in versus 8 through 11.
If this is true, that as Peter said; "purifying their hearts by faith...," then what purpose was there for the water baptism?
Look at Romans 4:2; "for if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3)For what saith the scripture? Abraham BELIEVED (a personal belief) God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4)Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt, 5)But to him that worketh not, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness."
Versus 13 and 14 also speak to this "personal" faith...................
Now look at the following versus: 20)He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in FAITH (his personal faith), giving glory to God; 21)And being fully persuaded that, what He (God) had promised, He was able to perform. 22)And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23)Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed unto him; 24)But for US ALSO, to whom it shall be imputed, IF WE BELIEVE on Him (our personal faith) that raised up Jesus our Lord and Saviour. 25)Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Now Chapter 5, vs. 1: THEREFORE being justified BY FAITH (our personal faith), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2)By whom also we have access BY FAITH into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Chapters 4 and 5 weave a teaching of justification by our personal faith all through their versus, and they lead up to Chapter 6, serving as a "basis' for Chapter 6 IMO.
We do a grave disservice to ourselves, and yes, to God, when we try to remove the "PERSONAL" relationship from God's salvation plan. After all, God ESTABLISHED His Salvation Plan BECAUSE He desired a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with us.
ok, got a bit carried away there, but will continue.............
hope some of this made sense............
(continuing in prayers for your wife's speed recovery and healing................