Ask Your Preacher
If Jesus paid for our sins, why do we have to pay for them again? And where can I find it at in the Bible?
Dear Second Chances,
Sin has both spiritual and physical consequences. The spiritual consequence of sin is eternal death unless we are forgiven in Christ (Rom 6:23). The physical consequences of sin still remain after forgiveness. God says that we reap what we sow (Gal 6:7). When we behave immorally toward a woman, lose our temper, mistreat others, are bad examples for our children, etc. – there are consequences to those choices. God does offer forgiveness if we place our faith in Him (read “What Must I Do To Be Saved” for more details), but that forgiveness doesn’t remove the consequences of sin in this life. David sinned when he committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:2-4); God forgave David of the sin when David repented (2 Sam 12:13), but David’s child still died as a consequence of that sin (2 Sam 12:14).
In Christ, we don’t have to pay for the eternal consequences of our sins, but we do still have to pay for the physical ones.
Why do some churches baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost when everyone in the Bible was baptized in Jesus’ name?
Get It Right
Dear Get It Right,
There is no difference between being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; both phrases are used in the New Testament (Acts 2:38, Matt 28:19).
If baptism is essential for salvation, what about the thief on the cross ?
Dear Confession Only,
There are four explanations for Christ’s pardon of the crucified thief in Lk 23:39-43. All of them fit in perfect harmony with the necessity of baptism and the New Testament teachings that salvation begins at baptism (1 Pet 3:21, Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Rom 6:3-4).
- This thief may very well have been baptized by John the Baptist (Mk 1:4) or one of Jesus’ disciples (Jhn 4:1-2). We simply don’t know enough about this thief to say whether he was or wasn’t baptized. It is always faulty to build a doctrine off an assumption. To say that we don’t need to be baptized because that thief wasn’t baptized is an assumption.
- The thief was physically unable to be baptized. 2 Cor 8:12 tells us that God only holds us accountable for what we are physically able to do. That thief didn’t have the capability to get off that cross and be baptized. The argument could be made that he was excused from the law of baptism the same way that a mute man would be excused from the command to “confess Christ with your tongue” (Rom 14:11). This isn’t the best argument of the four, but it is a valid point worth considering.
- While Jesus was here on earth, He had the authority to forgive sins as He saw fit (Matt 9:6). This thief was no different than any of the other people whose sins were verbally forgiven by Christ as He walked this earth (Lk 7:48-49, Lk 5:20). Since Jesus is no longer on this earth… baptism is the only other way to have your sins removed.
- The command to be baptized for salvation is a New Testament command. Those who are baptized become a part of the church (Acts 2:41). If we are being technical (and there is a time for technicalities), the church and the New Testament law didn’t come into effect until after Jesus died and rose from the grave. Until Jesus’ death and resurrection, the laws of the Old Testament would have still been in effect. That thief wasn’t bound to the law of baptism (a New Testament law) because Jesus hadn’t yet died.
No matter which argument seems the sturdiest to you (they all have merit), the thief on the cross example doesn’t negate the necessity of baptism today.
Does Acts 2:38 describe the right method of baptism?
Dear Water Works,
Yes, it definitely does. Acts chapter two tells us what happened on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus’ crucifixion, ten days after Jesus had ascended into heaven. On that day, the twelve apostles began to miraculously speak in many languages (Acts 2:4), and Peter preached the very first recorded sermon after Christ’s ascension (Acts 2:14). At the end of that sermon, Peter concluded by teaching the Jews that they had killed the Son of God and sinned greatly (Acts 2:36). The crowd was cut to the heart by Peter’s message and asked the apostles what they needed to do to be forgiven (Acts 2:37). Peter told them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
That day, three thousand were baptized and had their sins removed (Acts 2:41). Baptism saved them by burying their sins with Christ (Rom 6:4).
After you get saved, what happens to you if you still commit the same sins? Will I still be allowed into heaven? And how can I know that I am truly saved? A friend told me that when I got saved, it could have been just “a dose of feel-good”.
Dear Feeling Bad,
You can know you are saved if you do the five things that the Bible tells you that you must do to be saved. Read our post “Five Steps To Salvation” for exactly what it takes to be saved. Furthermore, if you don’t know what it takes to be saved, it is likely that you haven’t found a faithful church yet. Heb 10:24-25 teaches that we must assemble with a faithful church to please God; we would be happy to help you find one in your area; just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you are saved, God says that all future sins are dealt with by asking for forgiveness (1 Jn 1:9) and repentance (Acts 3:19). ‘Repentance’ means to ‘change your mind’… literally to make a change in how you think and act. God doesn’t expect us to live perfect lives, but He does expect us to try and turn from sin.