For the Remission of Sins

The Plan of Salvation (John H. Hundley)

Again, on the day of Pentecost, when the three thousand believed, and requested what they should do to be saved, Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.

Now, if a man can repent because his sins have been forgiven, then our Baptist brothers are right in their interpretation of this passage, viz: that a man should be baptized because his sins have been remitted. No man in his senses, however, is willing to believe that a remission of sins ever causes sorrow. It is too absurd a proposition to be entertained for a moment. Of course, then, repentance and baptism are for one and the same thing—to-wit, remission or pardon of past sins. Paul’s conversion proves this. For three days he was a firm believer in Jesus Christ, and most bitterly all that time did he repent him of his iniquities. If faith brings salvation, Paul surely ought to have been pardoned long before Ananias visited him. Or, if repentance alone secured remission of sins, Paul ought to have been pardoned before Ananias visited him. But what did Ananias say to him so soon as he came into his presence? Did he ask after his experience? Did he say, “Brother Paul, you have been most signally visited by our gracious Lord, for I understand you have seen a great light and heard a mighty voice, by which means God has informed you that you are an accepted son and child of glory?” Oh, no. But Ananias said to him on this wise: “Why tarriest thou, brother Paul? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Can any man doubt now that baptism is for the remission of sins? If he can, he doubts God’s Word, and is at heart a scoffer and an infidel. Here we have a man who has believed and repented, and who is yet told to arise and wash away his sins by immersion. If he had been saved by faith, as I remarked a while ago, there would have been no sins to wash away. So neither would there have been had he been saved by repentance. But God’s plan is the more perfect one, and here we see it exemplified. Paul is told to wash away his sins by baptism—not that the virtue is in the water, but simply because God has chosen to make that His ordinance. Under the Mosaic Law it was customary for the priest to take a goat, and laying hands on him to send him forth into the wilderness, and God promised that thus the sins of Israel should be carried away, and hence this was called the scape-goat. Does any man think the virtue to bear off sins was in a goat? Of course not. It was God’s command, and there lay all the merit. So in the case of water baptism. God has commanded us to perform the ordinance in order to remission, and it is obedience to God’s Word that ensures salvation and cleanses us from all sin, and not the mere washing of water. Or, as Peter has expressed it, for doubtless the same objections were urged against this institution then as now, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

This much will suffice on the subject of immersion, for if a man will not believe the Apostle Peter, he will not even listen to anything which I might feel inclined to write.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Plan of Salvation: Made Plain to the Sinner by John H. Hundley. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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