And readings Acts 2:38 says to be BAPTIZED (WITH WATER) in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS of Sins and you will receive the GIFT of HOLY SPIRIT. Does this mean that WATER BAPTISM does forgive SINS
Dan, context is king
, it IS what drives the interpretation for us. Let us read some of the contexts from Peter's sermon on the first Pentecost after Jesus' death and resurrection.
Acts 2:14-38~"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
A lot here and much could be said, but to be short I will only say a few things for now.
Many of us are like Peter, quoting scriptures yet not understanding every word of the scriptures we use from time to time.
Peter quoted Joel and said:
Acts 2:21~"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved"
Peter did not know when quoting this scripture from Joel that the prophet was speaking of GENTILES being saved. It was not until after his visit to Cornelius' house did he fully understood Joel's words!
Acts 10:34,35~"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
Peter perceives the same concerning those at Pentecost when we read these words:
Acts 2:37~"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Peter, the man of God who understood the SIGNS of folks who have BEEN QUICKEN to life, by the very fact they were pricked in their hearts, said the following words:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
The keyword is "for"
, meaning "because of" not
order to obtain! For is used in the sense over and over again in the scriptures.
Mark 1:39-44~"And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
This leper was not sent to the priest to get cleansed, but because he WAS clean he was sent to offer FOR A TESTIMONY of being made clean by the power of God. The same language is used in Acts 2:38,39. Peter understood that their heart had been ALREADY changed so, he commanded them to be baptized so that they would receive the Spirit~and truly the only thing they could benefit from at this point was the salvation a fuller knowledge of the great salvation Christ secured for his elect including the ever-present abiding of the Spirit of God as their comforter on their journey to the city that hath foundation whose Builder and Maker is God.
More could be said but enough for now.