From Jim McGuiggan... Prayer "in the Spirit"

Prayer "in the Spirit"

What does it mean to "pray in the Spirit"? Christians are called to do various things "in" the Spirit. The Greek preposition en usually means either "in" or "by" and it’s only by looking closely at the context we can determine which rendering is best. But our grasp of the context doesn’t always help us sufficiently so serious students of scripture remind us that a given text could equally be translated "in the Spirit" or "by the Spirit". While the meaning of these two prepositions can overlap they can and sometimes do send us in two distinct directions. Then, again, there are times when there is no preposition, just a simple dative case (as in pneumati) but the question remains whether we should render it "in" or "by".

Occasionally there is a dispute whether the Greek word pneuma in such a context is the human spirit or the Holy Spirit but most of the time there’s agreement that the Holy Spirit is in view. Certainly it appears to be the Holy Spirit that Paul has in mind in Ephesians 6:18. Paul speaks of people "beginning" their life with God in Christ in/by the Spirit (Galatians 3:3) "walking" (living, says NIV) in/by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and "living" in/by the Spirit in 5:25. Christians, Jews and Gentiles in context, access the Father in/by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18) are made into God’s dwelling place in/by the Spirit (2:22). The Colossians "love" in/by the Spirit (1:8) and so forth.

When Paul says we live or love or walk (behave or conduct ourselves) in/by the Spirit what does he mean? Would it be the same if he said we live or love or walk in/by the Father? Would it be the same if he said we live or love or walk in/by the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, yes and no. We’re certainly told that it’s in/by Christ that we live and have access to God; but while the same work is accomplished by the triune God working in concert it’s clear that there are specific roles maintained by the Father, Son and Spirit (the "economic" Trinity as it’s sometimes called).

Yes, but what does it mean to do something "in/by" the Spirit? For us the word "by" is clear enough. We’d immediately think of the Spirit enabling or empowering us so that if Paul says, "we live by the Spirit" we can easily understand him to mean that the Spirit empowers us; that it’s because of what the Spirit does that we are able to live. We could just as easily understand him to mean we live by (the teaching, guidance or in accordance with) the Spirit. We might think of God's statement to Israel that humans live "by every word that comes from God". If Paul says we live "in" the Spirit we find that a little harder to grasp but the dative of sphere is common enough to us. There are people who live "in" fear and there are those who live "in" faith. This locates them in a particular realm or setting. Obviously they aren’t physically located "in" faith or fear the way people sleep "in" a room; faith or fear is the boundary within which they live. So it is with those who live or walk or pray "in (the) Spirit". The Spirit, so to speak, is the realm in which they move, the atmosphere in which they breathe, the parameter within which they think or shape their prayers or behaviour.

So what does it mean to "pray in the Spirit"? It means to allow the Spirit to be the shaper of our prayers, the guide and teacher on the things for which we should pray and the purifier of our motives in praying such prayers. It means we won't pray for something that is contrary to what the Holy Spirit aims for or nurtures.

But what does that mean? Does he mean we are to say nothing until the Spirit puts the specific words and subjects into our minds; as if he literally whispered into or minds something like, "Here’s what you are to pray for, here is how you will word the prayer and here is the motive from which you should pray it"?

I’m sure that’s not what Paul has in mind. He seems to think the Christians have more personal input into the matter than that. He isn’t asking the Holy Spirit to do the praying he calls on the Christians to do the praying. Yes, but if the Spirit shapes and enables us to pray what do we have to do with it? Look, we need to work with scripture and life and stop thinking as if lives were like already played chess games and that we’re mindless pawns or a limp rag flopping in the wind. This section in Ephesians is a call to war! Certainly it is God that enables, protects and sustains us but we are up to our necks in the battle, we are supposed to exert ourselves, we are to engage the enemy. Paul says "pray!" He tells them to pray not in terms of "the flesh" (in selfishness, self-reliance or with personal agendas) but in terms of the Spirit. We are to think of who and what he is, who and what he stands for, what his agenda and ultimate purposes are and within those parameters—pray! 

He calls them to pray for him and he calls them to pray all the time for all the saints. And how, by the grace of the Spirit, are we to get to know the Spirit? Well, whatever else we are to do we must in community with the saints wield the Spirit’s sword, wear the gospel on our feet and carry the shield of faith and pay attention to the armor he speaks of. Experience of the Spirit as we know him in and through Jesus Christ (for he is the Spirit of Christ!) will purify our conceptions of him and more and more we’ll pray "in the Spirit". This section is martial and prayer is part of the equipment of our warfare!

From Caleb Colley, Ph.D. ... The Omnipotence of God


The Omnipotence of God

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

God is the only being Who possesses omnipotence. In the Oxford English Dictionary, “omnipotence” is defined as “all-powerfulness,” or “almightiness.” In other words, when God wants something to be done, it is done. God has all power in heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:18), so unlike the limited power of humans, which is constrained by time, space, and force, God’s capabilities are limited only by His own character (see Miller, 2003). Paul wrote of God’s omnipotence in the sense that He is “above all, and through all, and in you all,” (Ephesians 4:6). God is preeminent for many reasons, not the least of which is His great power.
God has complete power over the Earth. The very first chapter of the Bible (Genesis 1) is full of references to God’s power. The words of His mouth brought the Universe into existence; He spoke the Cosmos into existence with only a word (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3). In order to create the Universe, God needed no pre-existing matter with which to work; rather, He Himself spoke the very first matter into existence (see Thompson, et al., 2003a, 2003b). After He created “the heavens and the Earth,” He spoke “light” into existence on Earth (Genesis 1:3). After creating light, He created the firmament, and much more, all by the power of His word.
God has complete power over the spiritual realm. Just as the first chapter in the Bible reveals that God created light on Earth, the last chapter in the Bible reminds us that God’s power will be responsible for the eternal light in heaven (Revelation 22:5). Christ repeatedly cast out devils during His earthly ministry (Matthew 8:16; 9:32-33; 12:22), and James revealed that the demons believe in the one God of the Bible, and that because they are aware of God’s omnipotence, they tremble (Luke 8:31; James 2:19). God now limits Satan himself, keeping him from directly inhabiting people or causing people physical pain (Zechariah 13:1-2).
Only God can perform “wonders,” and only God can furnish that capability to others (Job 5:9; Psalm 72:18; John 3:2). Christ again revealed His power over the spiritual realm when He brought Lazarus’ soul back from the realm of departed spirits, and returned it to Lazarus’ body (John 11:43). Similarly, God will resurrect all the dead one day, having already determined the fate of their souls (Mark 12:26-27; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:15,32; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
God has complete power over the affairs of men. John Waddey observed: “God was known to the patriarchs as El-Shaddai, God Almighty (Exodus 6:2-3). The term Shaddai, when connected with the Hebrew word El (God) means, ‘the mighty One to nourish, satisfy and supply.’ Thus we see His power to send forth blessings for He is the all-bountiful One” (1987, p. 1). It makes sense, then, that when Moses spoke to the entire assembly of the children of Israel the lyrics of a lengthy song, he included this line: “Nor is there any that can deliver out of My [God’s] hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39). Of course, just as God has the power to bless us and deliver the righteous from spiritual harm, He also has the uncontainable power to destroy the wicked, as can be seen in His utter destruction of the world through the global Flood of Noah’s time (except eight souls; see Thompson, 1999a).
The plural form of El, Elohim, brings to light the fullness of God’s power, in that it highlights the Trinity (Psalm 38:75). Still another Old Testament expression used to denote omnipotence is Abhir, or “strong One” (Genesis 49:24; see Vos, 1994, 3:2188-2190). Jesus said that God is Spirit, emphasizing that God is not limited by impotence of flesh, as are humans (Isaiah 2:22; 31:3; John 4:24).
God’s power over the nations of the Earth is evident. Though God used the children of Israel as His means for bringing Christ to Earth, God’s power over large groups of people has never been limited to Israel. God has authority over all nations, and frequently has used them to accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 10:5; Jeremiah 25:9; Amos 1). Job said: “He makes nations great and destroys them” (Job 12:23). Kings have their dominion only because God allows it (see Custance, 1977, p. 134). Vos observed: “The prophets ascribe to Jehovah not merely relatively greater power than to the gods of the nations, but His power extends into the sphere of the nations, and the heathen gods are ignored in the estimate put upon His might (Isaiah 31:3)” [1994, 3:2189]. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was warned:
This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men…. This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses (Daniel 4:17,24-25, emp. added).
God has complete power over the devil, whom He created (though the devil was not evil at the time of his creation; see Colley, 2004). While the devil has certain powers that humans do not possess (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; see Thompson, 1999b, pp. 11-12), Satan is not omnipotent. During his temptation of Christ, Satan admitted that whatever power he possessed had been “delivered to him” (Luke 4:6). Satan had to ask for God’s permission to harm Job (Job 1:7-12). Jesus said that Satan had desired to sift Peter as wheat; that is, Satan sought the express permission of God. Without it, Satan would be powerless to tempt Peter. While God never had a beginning, Satan was created (Colossians 1:16). For this, and other reasons, Satan is not omnipotent, and his power is far less potent than the power of God. John wrote: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
If we were to try to imagine someone whose power approached God’s might, we might think of Satan. Yet, the Bible reveals that nothing is too hard for the Lord—even defeating Satan (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17). In fact, Christ already conquered the devil, and eventually will punish him everlastingly in hell (Matthew 25:41; see Thompson, 1999b, pp. 12-13). Hebrews 2:14 reads: “He [Christ] Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Milton, in Paradise Lost, wrote of Satan: “Him the Almighty Power hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky…Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms” (1.49).
God’s complete power is unending. Because God would not be God if He were not omnipotent, and because we know that God will never end, we can know that God’s power will never cease or diminish (see Colley, 2004). Furthermore, Isaiah plainly stated: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable” (40:28).


God’s omnipotence reassures us, because it is through the Divine power that His servants know that “nothing will be impossible” to those who faithfully serve Him (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:23; Philippians 4:13). Those who are not faithful to the Lord should be terror-stricken by God’s omnipotence, because, in the Day of Judgment, the very force that created the Universe will condemn them to an everlasting punishment. Vos commented that omnipotence
evokes a specific religious response. This is true, not only of the Old Testament, where the element of the fear of God stands comparatively in the foreground, but remains true also in the New Testament. Even in our Lord’s teaching the prominence given to the fatherhood and love of God does not preclude that the transcendent majesty of the Divine nature, including omnipotence, is kept in full view and made a potent factor in the cultivation of the religious mind (Matthew 6:9). The beauty of Jesus’ teaching on the nature of God consists in this, that He keeps the exaltation of God above every creature and His loving condescension toward the creature in perfect equilibrium and makes them mutually fructified by each other. Religion is more than the inclusion of God in the general altruistic movement of the human mind; it is a devotion at every point colored by the consciousness of that Divine uniqueness in which God’s omnipotence occupies a foremost place (1994, 3:2190).
Little wonder that the multitude of Revelation 19:6 cried: “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” The fact that God so willingly uses His omnipotent capacity for the ultimate benefit of His servants should motivate everyone to obey the Gospel (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). We will not escape the vengeance of God if we neglect the great salvation offered us (Hebrews 2:3).


Colley, Caleb (2004), “The Eternality of God,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2565.
Custance, Arthur C. (1977), Time and Eternity and Other Biblical Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Things God Cannot Do,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2292.
Lockyer, Herbert (1997), All the 3s of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Thompson, Bert (1999a), The Global Flood of Noah (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition.
Thompson, Bert (1999b), Satan—His Origin and Mission (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press, 2001 reprint).
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003a), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part I],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/22.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003b), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part II],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/26.
Vos, Geerhardus (1994), “Omnipotence,” The International Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Waddey, John (1987), “The Omnipotence of God,” Firm Foundation, 104[18]:1,4, September 22.

From Mark Copeland... Baptism For The Remission Of Sins (Acts 2:38)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               Baptism For The Remission Of Sins (2:38)


1. In response to the first gospel sermon, many asked "What shall we
   do?" - Ac 2:37
   a. They were told to repent and to be baptized - Ac 2:38
   b. The reason?  "...for the remission of sins" - ibid.

2. Some argue that "for" eis in Acts 2:38 means "because of"...
   a. The "causal" sense of eis (because of) as opposed to the
      "purpose" sense of eis (in order to)
   b. That the Greek preposition eis is so understood elsewhere and
      should be here - cf. Mt 12:41
   c. That people were to be baptized because their sins were already
      forgiven (presumably upon repentance) - cf. A.T. Robertson, Word 
   d. Though Robertson admits this is a conclusion drawn as an
      interpreter, not as a grammarian - Robertson, A. T. (1919). A 
      Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical
      Research, p. 592
   e. And Robertson may have been biased in his interpretation, for he
      1) Founder of Baptist World Alliance in 1900 
      2) Professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist
         Theological Seminary
      3) Son-in-law of John Albert Broadus, co-founder of Southern
         Baptist Theological Seminary

[What reasons might there be to conclude that eis means "in order to" or
"for the purpose of" remission of sins, instead of "because of" as
Robertson does?  A good place to start is by comparing...]


      1. for the remission of sins (KJV, NKJV)
      2. for the forgiveness of your sins (ESV, HCSB, ISV, LEB, NAB,
      -- These skirt the issue, using for which can indicate either
         cause or purpose

      1. so that your sins may be forgiven (New Revised Standard
      2. unto the remission of your sins (American Standard Version)
      3. for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; (Amplified
      4. so that your sins will be forgiven (Contemporary English
         Version, God's Word Translation, Good News Translation)
      5. so that you may have your sins forgiven (JB Phillips New
      6. so your sins are forgiven (The Message)
      7. Then your sins will be forgiven (New International Readers
      8. and your sins will be forgiven (New Life Version)
      9. Your wrong ways will be forgiven you (Worldwide English NT)
     10. into remission of your sins (Wycliffe Bible 
     11. to remission of sins (Young's Literal Translation)
      -- These all translate eis as indicating purpose (so that, unto,
         then, etc.)

[Out of 27 translations, not one translates eis as causal (because of),
whereas 13 translate eis indicating purpose (so that, unto, into, etc.)! 
The reason for this becomes clearer when we consider Greek...]


   A. THAYER...
      1. Citing Ac 2:38 - eis aphesin hamartion, to obtain the
         forgiveness of sins - Thayer, J. H. (1889). 
      2. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm's
         Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti. New York: Harper & Brothers, p. 

      1. to denote purpose in order to - for forgiveness of sins, so that
         sins might be forgiven Mt 26:28; cp. Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3; Ac 2:38 
         - Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000)
      2. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early
         Christian literature (3rd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago 
         Press, p. 290

      1. to/for to indicate purpose... for the forgiveness of sins (Ac
         2:38) - Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-). 
      2. Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids:
         Eerdmans, Vol 1, p.399

      1. John baptizes, and Jesus sheds His blood, for the forgiveness
         of sins (Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3; Mt 26:28; cf. Ac 2:38) - G. Kittel, G. 
         W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed. (1964-)
      2. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids:
         Eerdmans, Vol. 2, p. 429

      1. Unto the remission of your sins [eis aphesin tn hamartin hmn) 
         ...In themselves the words can express aim or purpose...One will
         decide the use here according as he believes that baptism is 
         essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is decidedly
         against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New 
         Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins 
         or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter 
         to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned 
         (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on
         the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already 
         received. - Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New
         Testament. Oak Harbor
      2. baptistheto eis aphesin ton hamartion (Ac. 2:38)...only the
         context and the tenor of N. T. teaching can determine whether 
         'into,' 'unto' or merely 'in' or 'on' ('upon') is the right 
         translation, a task for the interpreter, not for the grammarian.
         - Robertson, A. T. (1919). A Grammar of the Greek New Testament
         in the Light of Historical Research. P. 592
      3. As noted earlier, Robertson may have let his religious
         affiliation influence his scholarship

   F. MANTEY...
      1. J. R. Mantey, Professor of New Testament, Northern Baptist
         Theological Seminary
      2. Mantey contended for the "causal" sense of eis in Ac 2:38,
         though he classified that use of the preposition as a "remote 
         meaning." - From an article by Wayne Jackson
      3. His discussion clearly indicated, however, that he yielded to
         that view because of his conviction that, if baptism was "for 
         the purpose of the remission of sins," then salvation would be 
         of works, and not by faith (a false conclusion, please see below
         ~ MAC) H.E. Dana & J.R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek 
         New Testament, New York: Macmillan, 1955, 103-04). - ibid.
      4. However, Daniel Wallace (associate professor of New Testament
         Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary) wrote that in a 
         discussion between J. R. Mantey and Ralph Marcus: "Marcus ably 
         demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal eis
         fell short of proof." - Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond
         the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand 
         Rapids: Zondervan), p. 370
[Baptists frequently appeal to Robertson and Mantey as authorities on
this matter.  Both were Baptists who may have let their theology trump
their scholarship.  Beside lexicographers, consider a few...]


      1. Peter calls on his hearers to "repent" (metanosate). This
         word implies a complete change of heart and the confession of 
         sin. With this he couples the call to "be baptized" (baptistht), 
         thus linking both repentance and baptism with the forgiveness of
      2. Gaebelein, F. E., Tenney, M. C., & Longenecker, R. N. (1981).
         The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts. Grand
         Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House

   B. STOTT ON ACTS 2:38...
      1. Peter replied that they must repent, completely changing their
         mind about Jesus and their attitude to him, and be baptized in 
         his name...Then they would receive two free gifts of God--the 
         forgiveness of their sins (even of the sin of rejecting God's 
         Christ) and the gift of the Holy Spirit (to regenerate, indwell,
         unite and transform them). 
      2. Stott, J. R. W. (1994). The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the
         church & the world. The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester, England; 
         Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

   C. LARKIN ON ACTS 2:38...
      1. By repentance and baptism we show that we have met the
         conditions for receiving forgiveness of sins and the gift of the
      2. Larkin, W. J., Jr. (1995). Vol. 5: Acts. The IVP New Testament
         Commentary Series. Downers, IL: InterVarsity Press
   D. NEWMAN & NIDA ON ACTS 2:38...
      1. So that your sins will be forgiven (literally "into a
         forgiveness of your sins") in the Greek may express either 
         purpose or result; but the large majority of translators 
         understand it as indicating purpose. 
      2. The phrase modifies both main verbs: turn away from your sins
         and be baptized. The clause your sins will be forgiven may be 
         restructured in an active form as "God will forgive your sins." 
      3. Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1972). A handbook on the Acts of
         the Apostles. UBS Handbook Series. New York: United Bible 

   E. MEYER ON ACTS 2:38...
      1. eis denotes the object of the baptism, which is the remission
         of the guilt contracted in the state before metanoia. Comp. Ac 
         22:16; 1Co 6:11
      2. Meyer, H. A. W. (1877). Critical and Exegetical Handbook to
         the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1 (W. P. Dickson, Ed.) (P. J. 
         Gloag, Trans.). Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New 
         Testament. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

[Note that these are not so-called "Church of Christ" scholars.  Even so,
some contend (as did Robertson and Mantey) that if baptism was "for the
purpose of the remission of sins," then salvation would be of works, and
not by faith.  This is a false conclusion!  For consider what has been
said by these...]


      1. Referring to the efficacy of baptism, he wrote that "the
         salvation of man is effected in baptism"; also, that a person 
         "is baptized for the express purpose of being with Christ."
         - as quoted by Jack W. Cottrell, Baptism And The Remission of
         Sins, College Press, 1990, p. 30
      2. In regards to the necessity of baptism, he refers to the
         "apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain 
         it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism...it is
         impossible for any man to attain to salvation and everlasting
         life." - ibid., p. 30

      1. "...Men are bound to that without which they cannot obtain
         salvation. Now it is manifest that no one can obtain salvation
         but through Christ..."
      2. "But for this end is baptism conferred on a man, that being
         regenerated thereby, he may be incorporated in Christ."
      3. "Consequently it is manifest that all are bound to be baptized:
         and that without baptism there is no salvation for men." 
         - ibid., p. 31

      1. In answer to the question, "What gifts or benefits does Baptism
         bestow?", Luther replied in his Small Catechism, "It effects 
         forgiveness of sins." - ibid., p. 32
      2. He also wrote concerning the sinner:  "Through Baptism he is
         bathed in the blood of Christ and is cleansed from sins." 
         - ibid., p. 32
      3. Again, he wrote: "To put it most simply, the power, effect,
         benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save." - ibid., p.
      4. In his commentary on Ro 6:3, he wrote:  "Baptism has been
         instituted that it should lead us to the blessings (of this 
         death) and through such death to eternal life.  Therefore it is
         necessary that we should be baptized into Jesus Christ and His
         death." - Commentary On Romans, Kregel Publications, p. 101
      5. In his commentary on Ga 3:27, he wrote:  "This is diligently
         to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, who go
         about to deface the majesty of baptism, and speak wickedly of
         it. Paul, contrariwise, commendeth it, and setteth it forth with
         honourable titles, calling it, 'the washing of regeneration, and
         renewing of the Holy Ghost'. And here also he saith, that 'all 
         ye that are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.' Wherefore
         baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy." - Commentary On
         Galatians, Kregel Publications, p.222
      6. In response to those who would call this a kind of
         works-salvation, he said "Yes, it is true that our works are of
         no use for salvation.  Baptism, however, is not our work but 
         God's." - as quoted by Jack W. Cottrell, Baptism And The 
         Remission of Sins, College Press, 1990, p. 33

      1. G.R. Beasley-Murray, Principal of Spurgeon's College in London,
         later Senior Professor at Southern Baptist Seminary in 
         Louisville, KY, wrote a modern classic, Baptism In The New 
      2. He gives chapters which thoroughly discuss baptism in the
         Gospels, in Acts, Paul's writings, and other apostolic writings
      3. In his introduction, Beasley-Murray wrote:
         a. "This book is intended to offer a Baptist contribution to
            the discussions on baptism that are taking place throughout 
            the Christian world."
         b. "But the indefinite article should be observed; the 
            impression must not be given that my interpretations are 
            characteristic of Baptist thought generally."
         c. At most it can be claimed that they represent a trend gaining
            momentum among Baptists in Europe."
         d. "I have striven to interpret the evidence of the New 
            Testament as a Christian scholar, rather than as a member of
            a particular Christian Confession." - G. R. Beasley-Murray, 
            Baptism In The New Testament, Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans
            Publishing Co., 1962, pp. v-vi.
      4. From his chapter on baptism in Acts, Beasley-Murray wrote:
         a. "Consequently, baptism is regarded in Acts as the occasion
            and means of receiving the blessings conferred by the Lord of
            the Kingdom. Admittedly, this way of reading the evidence is
            not characteristic of our thinking, but the intention of the
            author is tolerably clear." - ibid. p. 102
         b. "Whatever the relationship between baptism and the gift of
            the Spirit elsewhere in Acts, there appears to be no doubt as
            to the intention of Acts 2:38; the penitent believer baptized
            in the name of Jesus Christ may expect to receive at once the
            Holy Spirit, even as he is assured of the immediate 
            forgiveness of his sins." - ibid., p. 108
      5. Some concluding statements were:
         a. "In light of the foregoing exposition of the New Testament
            representations of baptism, the idea that baptism is a purely
            symbolic rite must be pronounced not alone unsatisfactory but
            out of harmony with the New Testament itself. Admittedly, 
            such a judgment runs counter to the popular tradition of the
            Denomination to which the writer belongs..."
         b. "The extent and nature of the grace which the New Testament
            writers declare to be present in baptism is astonishing for 
            any who come to the study freshly with an open mind."
         c. "...the 'grace' available to man in baptism is said by the
            New Testament writers to include the following elements:
            1) forgiveness of sin, Ac 2.38 and cleansing from sins, Ac 22.16, 1Co 6.11;
            2) union with Christ, Ga 3.27, and particularly union with
               Him in his death and resurrection, Ro. 6.3ff, Col 2.11f, 
               with all that implies of release from sin's power, as well
               as guilt, and the sharing of the risen life of the
               Redeemer, Ro 6.1-11;
            3) participation in Christ's sonship, Ga 3.26f;
            4) consecration to God, 1Co 6.11, hence membership in the
               Church, the Body of Christ, 1Co 12.13, Ga 3.27-29;
            5) possession of the Spirit, Ac 2.38, 1Co 6.11, 12.13, and
               therefore the new life in the Spirit, i.e., regeneration,
               Tit 3.5, Jn 3.5;
            6) grace to live according to the will of God, Ro 6.1ff,
               Col 3.1ff;
            7) deliverance from the evil powers that rule this world,
               Col 1.13;
            8) the inheritance of the Kingdom of God, Jn 3.5, and the
               pledge of the resurrection of the body, Ep 1.3f, 4.30.
            -- Ibid., pp. 263-264

[These theologians believed strongly in justification by grace through
faith, yet did not find that it precluded the role of baptism in
receiving the remission of sins.  Clearly, there are strong reasons to
consider eis in Ac 2:38 to indicate purpose ("in order to").  But in
anticipation of some objections, allow me to share some...]


      1. Nearly everyone I talk to who takes issue with baptism being
         necessary, or having any part of the gospel plan of salvation, 
         initially misunderstands this point
         a. They assume that if baptism is necessary, one is saved by
            meritorious works
         b. They assume that if one is baptized for the remission of
            sins, one has earned their salvation
      2. But again they need to listen carefully to Martin Luther...
         a. In response to those who would call this a kind of works-
            salvation, he said "Yes, it is true that our works are of no 
            use for salvation."  
         b. Baptism, however, is not our work but God's." - as quoted
            by Jack W. Cottrell, Baptism And The Remission of Sins, 
            College Press, 1990, p. 33
      1. Note that Peter clearly says that "baptism doth also now save
         us" (KJV) - 1Pe 3:21
      2. But as observed by Luther, it is God who saves us in baptism:
         a. He is the one at work in baptism - Col 2:11-13 (cf. "the
            working of God")
         b. Other than possessing faith in Christ and God, MAN IS PASSIVE
            in baptism
            1) In fact, baptism is a more passive act than "saying the
               sinner's prayer"!
            2) Like a patient submitting to the skill of a physician to
               remove cancer
            3) So we, seeking the removal of the cancer of sin, submit
               to the Great Physician to cut away our sins by the blood 
               of Christ, which He does in baptism
         c. It is God who makes us alive together with Christ, having
            forgiven all trespasses - Col 2:13
      3. As stated in ISBE:  "Baptism does not produce salutary effects
          ~ex~opere~operato~, i.e. by the mere external performance of 
         the baptismal action.  No instrument with which Divine grace 
         works does.  Even the preaching of the gospel is void of saving
         results if not 'mixed with faith' (He 4.2, AV)."
         a. It is not the "act" of immersion that saves, though
            salvation occurs at that time
         b. It is God who saves in baptism, by virtue of grace, when one
            believes in Christ!
         c. But because God commands baptism, and saves us in baptism,
            it is proper to say...
            1) With Peter:  "baptism doth also now save us" - 1Pe 3:21
            2) With Jesus:  "He who believes and is baptized shall be
               saved..." - Mk 16:16

   Before we close, let's return to our text and notice carefully...]

      1. The Jews' question
         a. They wanted to know what to do to remove their guilt - Ac 2:36-37
         b. Any instruction by Peter would be understood by them in
            this light, and must so be understood by us today
      2. Peter's answer
         a. He gave two commands:  1) repent and 2) be baptized - Ac 2:38
         b. That the first imperative (repent) was second person plural, 
            and the second imperative (be baptized) was third person 
            plural, and the phrase (for the remission of sins) reverts 
            back to second person plural, is a distinction without a
            1) "The phrase (for the remission of sins, MAC) modifies both
               main verbs: turn away from your sins and be baptized." 
               - Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1972). A handbook on the Acts
               of the Apostles. UBS Handbook Series. New York: United
               Bible Societies
            2) "In my view, the phrase eis aphesin hamartion in Acts
               2:38 applies in sense to both of the preceding verbs." 
               - Bruce Metzger, editor of the Textual Commentary on the
               Greek New Testament, a companion volume to the United
               Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.). 
               London; New York: United Bible Societies, and teacher at 
               Princeton Theological Seminary - Correspondence with David Padfield
            3) "Since the expression eis aphesin hamartion is a
               prepositional phrase with no verbal endings or singular or
               plural endings, I certainly agree that grammatically it 
               can go with both repentance and baptism.  In fact, I would
               think that it does go with both of them." - Arthur L. 
               Farstad, chairman of the New King James Executive Review 
               Committee and general editor of the NKJV New Testament 
               - ibid.
            4) "Whenever two verbs are connected by kai (and) and then
               followed by a modifier (such as a prepositional phrase, as
               in Acts 2:38), it is grammatically possible that modifier 
               modifies both the verbs, or only the latter one...It does 
               not matter that, here in Acts 2:38, one of the verbs is 
               second person plural...and the other is third person 
               singular...They are both imperative, and the fact that
               they are joined by kai ('and') is sufficient evidence that
               the author may have regarded them as a single unit to 
               which his modifier applied." - John R. Werner, 
               International Consultant in Translation to the Wycliffe 
               Bible Translators.  Also a consultant to Friberg and 
               Friberg with the Analytical Greek New Testament, and from
               1962 to 1972 professor of Greek at Trinity Christian 
               College - ibid. 
         c. Since the conjunction kai "and" joins the two commands
            together, what is said of one command applies to the other
            1) If they were to baptized "because of" remission of sins...
            2) ...then they were also to repent "because of" the
               remission of sins!
         d. This would present two problems
            1) Where else are people told to repent "because" their
               sins are already forgiven?
            2) Peter would have failed to tell them what to do to
               remove their guilt!
      3. Luke's summary
         a. Peter told them what to do repeatedly, and they responded 
            - Ac 2:40-41
         b. "Be saved (save yourselves, ESV, NLT, NET) from this
            perverse generation" 
         c. "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized"
      -- They saved themselves by being baptized, and thus the
         immediate context confirms baptism was "in order to" the 
         remission of sins, not "because of"!


1. Allow me to share these words that I believe summarizes both the
   issue and the solution to properly understanding "baptism for the 
   remission of sins": 

   A number of commentators seek to diminish the force of the phrase
   "for the forgiveness of sins" at this point, apparently seeking
   to safeguard the doctrine of salvation by grace. They take the 
   preposition "for" (eis) to mean "because of" rather than "in
   order to." Peter, they say, meant be aptized because of the 
   forgiveness of sins, implying that such forgiveness had already
   been granted by the time baptism was administered. 

   This position disregards the very common use of eis in the New
   Testament to mean "for the purpose of, in order to." In Matthew
   26:28 where this exact phrase appears, Jesus says his blood is
   poured out" for (eis) the forgiveness of sins. It would be absurd
   to argue that the phrase means "because of" and that Jesus' blood
   was poured out because sins had already been forgiven. 

   Beyond this, the command to be baptized is only one of the
   imperatives Peter gave. "Be baptized" is joined to "repent" with
   "and." Whatever Peter says about the forgiveness of sins follows
   from both imperatives. Just as repentance is needed "for the 
   purpose of" the forgiveness of sins, so is baptism. 

   This position need not rob the plan of salvation of its basis
   in the grace of God. Both imperatives expect action to be taken
   on the part of the sinner. Yet Peter considered neither to be a
   work which merits salvation, but merely the response of faith 
   dictated by the prophesy he had already cited--"everyone who 
   calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21).

   - Gaertner, D. (1995). Acts. The College Press NIV Commentary.
   Joplin, MO: College Press.

2. Salvation is truly by grace through faith, and not of works done to
   earn or merit salvation...
   a. It is not by faith alone, because we need the grace of God, the
      blood of Christ, along with the washing of renewal and regeneration
      of the Holy Spirit - cf. Tit 3:4-7
   b. So when the penitent believer submits to the command of Christ to
      be baptized, they can rest assured at that moment the blood of 
      Christ washes away all their sin! - cf. Ac 22:16

And so we say with Peter to all who are convicted of their sins, who seek
forgiveness by asking "What shall we do?":

   "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus 
   Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive 
   the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to 
   your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the 
   Lord our God calls to him." ~ Ac 2:38-29

Hopefully they will "save themselves" by gladly accepting the word of
Christ's apostle, by being baptized this very day...! - Ac 2:40-41

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 1

Bible Reading 

May 1

The World English Bible

May 1
Deuteronomy 17, 18

Deu 17:1 You shall not sacrifice to Yahweh your God an ox, or a sheep, in which is a blemish, or anything evil; for that is an abomination to Yahweh your God.
Deu 17:2 If there be found in the midst of you, within any of your gates which Yahweh your God gives you, man or woman, who does that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh your God, in transgressing his covenant,
Deu 17:3 and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the army of the sky, which I have not commanded;
Deu 17:4 and it be told you, and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire diligently; and behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in Israel,
Deu 17:5 then you shall bring forth that man or that woman, who has done this evil thing, to your gates, even the man or the woman; and you shall stone them to death with stones.
Deu 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he who is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deu 17:7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from the midst of you.
Deu 17:8 If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose;
Deu 17:9 and you shall come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days: and you shall inquire; and they shall show you the sentence of judgment.
Deu 17:10 You shall do according to the tenor of the sentence which they shall show you from that place which Yahweh shall choose; and you shall observe to do according to all that they shall teach you:
Deu 17:11 according to the tenor of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left.
Deu 17:12 The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before Yahweh your God, or to the judge, even that man shall die: and you shall put away the evil from Israel.
Deu 17:13 All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
Deu 17:14 When you are come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me;
Deu 17:15 you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom Yahweh your God shall choose: one from among your brothers you shall set king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
Deu 17:16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, You shall henceforth return no more that way.
Deu 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
Deu 17:18 It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
Deu 17:19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear Yahweh his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them;
Deu 17:20 that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Deu 18:1 The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and his inheritance.
Deu 18:2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers: Yahweh is their inheritance, as he has spoken to them.
Deu 18:3 This shall be the priests' due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give to the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
Deu 18:4 The first fruits of your grain, of your new wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
Deu 18:5 For Yahweh your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh, him and his sons for ever.
Deu 18:6 If a Levite comes from any of your gates out of all Israel, where he lives as a foreigner, and comes with all the desire of his soul to the place which Yahweh shall choose;
Deu 18:7 then he shall minister in the name of Yahweh his God, as all his brothers the Levites do, who stand there before Yahweh.
Deu 18:8 They shall have like portions to eat, besides that which comes of the sale of his patrimony.
Deu 18:9 When you are come into the land which Yahweh your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deu 18:10 There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer,
Deu 18:11 or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deu 18:12 For whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh your God does drive them out from before you.
Deu 18:13 You shall be perfect with Yahweh your God.
Deu 18:14 For these nations, that you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice sorcery, and to diviners; but as for you, Yahweh your God has not allowed you so to do.
Deu 18:15 Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him.
Deu 18:16 This is according to all that you desired of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die.
Deu 18:17 Yahweh said to me, They have well said that which they have spoken.
Deu 18:18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
Deu 18:19 It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Deu 18:20 But the prophet, who shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.
Deu 18:21 If you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which Yahweh has not spoken?
Deu 18:22 when a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh, if the thing doesn't follow, nor happen, that is the thing which Yahweh has not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him.

From Gary... I pledge allegiance...

The United States of America was founded on principles of freedom, with Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as its hallmarks!!!  From the beginning of this nation, there was an emphasis on the right of individuals to worship as they see fit and what a blessing this is!!!  However, today, politicians have twisted religious freedom to mean FREEDOM FROM GOD!!! We still remain a country of some freedoms, but almost daily they are being eroded by political corruption and executive orders.  This has to stop!!!  Begin by showing respect for its flag, its founding principles and those who defend it!!!  Take back The America of yesteryear at the ballot box; legally and respectfully be part of the political system!!!  Unify America, because if we do not, it will fall. Why? Because division is weakness and Satan will use that for his mission of hatred and our ultimate destruction.  Consider the following from the Gospel of Mark...

Mark, Chapter 3
Mar 3:22  The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."
Mar 3:23  And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24  "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25  "If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Mar 3:26  "If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!

Unite America, be one nation under God again!!! And lastly....