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John 3:16, Perhaps The Most Commonly Quoted
And Misunderstood Verse In The Bible

~~~ A Reader's Response ~~~

The following is a reader's response to the original page John 3:16, The Most Commonly Mis-Understood Verse In The Bible defending the position that belief and belief alone in Jesus' redeeming work is all that is required for salvation. He offers many comments and they are placed through out the original article where they appeared in his response. I have included both the original text in black, his comments in red and my responses to his comments in blue where they appear. Hopefully, I have accurately located and identified them.

John 3:16 is most used when people are encouraging others to "get saved." This verse is often used to encourage people to "make Christ your personal Savior." Those who use this verse to encourage people to accept Christ say that all you have to is "Believe on Christ and ask him to come into your heart wherever you are, at any time, and you will (shall) be "saved" (have everlasting life).

Responder: The Bible does teach that all you have to do to be saved (have everlasting life) is BELIEVE (trust, rely) on/in Christ as the only means of your salvation. John 3:36 clearly states: He that BELIEVETH on the Son HATH (HAS) everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son SHALL NOT see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Acts 10:43 clearly states: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL receive remission of sins. Romans 1:16 clearly states: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. These are just a few verses which prove this point. To BELIEVE on Christ/the gospel is more than just simply believing that Jesus Christ exists, is the Son of God and that His death, burial and resurrection "happened." You must also TRUST SOLELY IN WHAT HAPPENED to receive eternal life. So those who BELIEVE trust/rely in Christ's finished work of redemption as the only means of their salvation will receive eternal life. This is what it truly means to BELIEVE on/in Him for salvation. This is not hard to understand, just hard for many people to ACCEPT. Are you ready to BELIEVE?

Marv Walker: There is no question believing in, or on, Christ results in salvation. The difference between the responder's position and the scripture's position is the type of belief. The responder maintains salvational belief is simple acknowledgement and reliance (dependence) on Christ's work alone i.e. faith only. There are numerous salvation examples in New Testament scripture of salvation. No where in scripture is there one example of anyone being saved after the death of Christ by simple belief alone. There are numerous conditional scriptures that point out mandatory components of salvation beyond simple belief. Revelation 2:10, Romans 8:1 Galatians 6:1, Mark 16:16, Philippians 2:12, etc.

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Responder: AMEN!

Almost every time I hear John 3:16 quoted I hear, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Many times I actually hear it read this way as well.

Responder: The NIV and the NASB translate it SHALL not perish. The NET translation says WILL not perish.

Marv Walker: Regardless of what the various translations say as to the certainty of belief in John 3:16, the question is, what type of belief does the Bible say saves beyond doubt. We must let the Bible interpret itself and take all the related verses into consideration.

In case you are having a hard time finding the difference, the Bible says "should not" not "shall not." The word should has a totally different meaning than shall. When one uses the word should one is saying that something is likely. When one uses the word shall one is saying that something is certain.

Responder: That's strange. Why would God use should in John 3:16 to imply that those who BELIEVE in Him will only "likely" receive eternal life but still might not when just a couple of verses later He clearly said, He that BELIEVETH on Him IS NOT condemned in John 3:18? IS NOT is clearly saying that something is certain. Why didn't God say "should not" be condemned in John 3:18? In John 3:36, God clearly said: He that BELIEVETH on the Son HATH (HAS) everlasting life... HATH (HAS) is clearly saying that something is certain. Why didn't God say "should" have everlasting life in John 3:36? In Acts 10:43, God clearly said: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH in Him SHALL receive remission of sins. SHALL is clearly saying that something is certain. Why didn't God say "should" receive remission of sins in Acts 10:43? These are just a few examples that clearly refute your argument. The Roman Catholic church went one step further in their efforts to make salvation uncertain for those who BELIEVE. Their translation of the Bible (NAB) says ...might not perish but might have eternal life. Salvation through FAITH/BELIEF is not hard to understand, it's just hard for many people to ACCEPT.

Marv Walker: I long ago stopped worrying about why God didn't say or do something. I have all I can handle with what He did say and do. What the Catholic Church did has no bearing on the discussion either. Again, there is no question belief saves. The question is whether or not it is a simply accepting and relying faith or an obedient faith that is required. And there is a major difference between the two which is the apparent basis for your response. In Mark 16:16 it plainly says he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. In Acts 2:38 it plainly says repent (turn away from aka change your mind toward sin) and be baptized for the remission of sins. In Acts 22:16 Paul, certainly already a believer according to your definition (he believed and relied - Acts 9:6 "So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”) directly quotes Ananias' words to him, 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ These passages and others clearly show there is more involved in salvation than simple believing and accepting. Actually, God very bluntly tells us in John 3:16 that is possible to believe (James 2:14-20) and still be lost by telling us in other scriptures what makes up true belief.

Proper study of scripture is to take all the verses that apply to a subject and harmonize them to each other using the word of God and what it says and not what we think it says. For instance, in the beginning of the very same book and chapter we find John 3:16 in, Jesus is quoted in John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Now when I ask those who rely on faith only what that means they tell me that born of water applies to our earthly flesh. Everywhere in scripture where the same original Greek word is used it is translated literal water. Almost without exception every "faith only" proponent tells me that that word doesn't actually mean water like it does everywhere else it appears. (John 3:3-7)

Many people have put their trust in that understanding of John 3:16.

Responder: Those who truly BELIEVE put their trust in Christ alone for salvation. Why do you put your trust in your uncertain understanding of John 3:16 when John 3:18, John 3:36 and Acts 10:43 clearly state no uncertainty for those who BELIEVE? Did God contradict Himself? Why are you so uncertain about the all sufficient saving work of Christ?

Marv Walker: Again, I have no uncertainty of the all sufficient saving work of Christ. That is not the discussion. The discussion is how one must believe on the all sufficient saving work of Christ. Again, you maintain it is simply a matter of believing, accepting and relying on it. I maintain it is an obedient active faith that saves the believer. You say, "not of works lest any man should boast." I say, true. If it were man's works he would deserve the grace but it's a moot point anyway because man cannot redeem himself by his works. He redeems himself by God's works. You seem to overlook such passages as Philippians 2:12 "work out your own salvation," James 2:17 "faith (active, relying belief) without works is dead"

What John 3:16 says is belief in Christ is necessary for everlasting life. The verse is also saying that there is evidently more to everlasting life than just belief because it says "should not perish." The Bible wording is leaving the door to perishing open even with belief.

Responder: That's obviously what you want to believe, but is it true? Does the Bible wording in John 3:18, John 3:36 and Acts 10:43 leave the door to perishing open with BELIEF? IS NOT condemned? HATH (HAS) everlasting life? SHALL receive remission of sins? There is no open door to perishing for those who BELIEVE (Luke 8:12; John 3:16,18,36; 6:40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16; 4:4-6; 1 Corinthians 1:21 etc...). You need to reconsider your logic and quit fighting the truth.

Marv Walker: Again, it is not a question of whether or not belief saves. It absolutely does. The question is what kind of belief saves. You say a simple trusting relying faith is all one needs. The Bible says a trusting relying faith is an obedient faith involving absolutely critical ingredients such as baptism. Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21

So we conclude from that there is more involved in obtaining everlasting life than simply believing Christ is God's only begotten son. Does one have to believe that in order to have everlasting life? Absolutely, the verse plainly says that. But there is more involved than believing Christ is the only begotten son of God.

Responder: There is more involved with BELIEVING in/on Him than merely believing "mental assent" that Christ is the only begotton Son of God. We must also BELIEVE (trust, rely) in Him as the only means of our salvation. You don't seem to grasp that aspect of BELIEVING in Him. Your understanding of believing seems to fall short of "trust and reliance in Christ alone for salvation" and merely equates to mental assent belief to certain facts about Christ.

Marv Walker: I believe there is salvation in no other name (work, authority) than Jesus. Belief in the actions of Jesus is not really what we're at odds with. We are at odds over what kind of belief is required to be saved from our sins and to reconciled back to God. You say, all that is required is simply believing, accepting and relying. the scriptures say one must have a believing, accepting, relying and obedient faith.

In Luke 13:2-5 it says... "And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."

Responder: Amen!

Marv Walker: So you agree repentance is a requirement for salvation. If repentance is required for salvation, and Jesus clearly says it is, then more than simply believing, accepting and reliance is required for salvation. You even insist repentance is required for salvation even while saying all that is necessary is a trusting, relying belief.

Do sinners have to repent, to turn away from their sins? If they don't, what happens? Jesus, the only begotten son of God, says they perish.

Responder: If sinners have to turn away from their sins as an additional requirement to become saved after they BELIEVE, then how many sins do they need to turn away from? I have heard certain preachers say, "If you want to be saved, repent of your sins, turn from your sins." If turning from your sins means to stop sinning, then people can only be saved if they stop sinning. And it is unlikely that anyone has ever been saved, since we don't know anyone who has ever stopped sinning. Many people misunderstand the term “repentance” to mean “turning away from sin.” This is not the Biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word “repent” means to "change your mind." Now the Greek word for "repent" is "metanoia" (noun) and "matanoeo" (verb) you see as defined in the Strongs #3340, 3341: to think differently or afterwards, reconsider. After thought, change of mind. Repentance in salvation involves a change of mind about our sinful position and need for Christ to save us and the new direction of this change of mind is faith in Christ alone for salvation. Two sides to the same experience.

Marv Walker: Again, I'm not the least bit concerned about what preachers, religious entities or organizations such as the Catholic Church say. I'm only concerned with what the scriptures say. Whether you turn away or change your mind about sinning really makes little difference. An obedient believer shuns sin, all sin. Does that mean one will never sin again, no, it only means we must look in another direction. (I John 2:1) You maintain faith only, a trusting, relying belief on Christ, is all one needs to be saved. The scriptures say, one MUST repent to be saved. (Luke 13:3,5) Here in addition to belief we find a directed action, or a work. Not a work directed by man but a work directed by the Word of God. If we walk in the light as he is in the light the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. And part of the "walk in the light" is a command to turn away from, or change our mind toward sin.

In order to keep from perishing sinners must believe AND repent. It is not enough to simply believe according to John 3:16, Luke 3:2-5 says one must also turn away from sin.

Responder: It's not believe AND repent as you put it. It's repent and BELIEVE the gospel. You have it backwards. You place repentance after faith. You would have to admit then that you have a faith that is no different from the faith of devils, and others who believed the facts about Christ "intellectually." The only difference is you "add your works." You have not experienced a DEEPER faith which actually "trusts in Christ alone for salvation." Your theory gives rise to the reversal of the scriptural order of repentance and faith in salvation. To the contrary we find the following verses: Matthew 21:32 - "You, when you had seen it, repented not afterward, that you might believe him." Mark 1:15 - "Repent and believe the gospel." Acts 20:21 - "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Timothy 2:25 - "If God will perhaps give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." A person cannot BELIEVE (trust) in Christ alone for salvation without repenting (changing his mind) in the process. It is enough to simply BELIEVE according to John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16). Once we BELIEVE, we already repented in the process of coming to BELIEVE. Are you ready to repent "change your mind" and BELIEVE the gospel?

Marv Walker: What reason would one have to repent before one believes? One does not act on something until he believes it to be true or until he at least hears it. Before one can believe, one has to hear. Once one has heard, then one believes, then one repents. Without believing there is no repentance. In Acts 2 Peter preaches Christ to the disbelievers. He convinces them that they crucified the Messiah, the Christ. At that point they were believers. It was then they asked, "What shall we do?" Peter told them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." You see the order; hearing, believing, repentance, obedience (Acts 2:40-42).

Now let's look at Romans 10:10-11... "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Responder: AMEN!

Now we have yet another condition of salvation or saving from perishing: confession. In addition to belief and repentance we now have confession as a required salvation component.

Responder: That is not what Romans 10:9-10 is teaching. If confession was another condition for receiving salvation, then it would be stated in John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; 16:31; Romans 1:16 etc...). The word "confess" means to acknowledge or agree. It often involves what is expressed with the mouth or at least with the mind (not everyone can speak). A belief that is genuine is marked by confession. A confession that is true reflects saving faith. This confession is not just a simple acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, but is a deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person's Lord and Savior. Romans 10:8-13 reads: But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart" —that is, the word of faith which we are preaching... For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME." Confession with the mouth and belief in the heart refer to the believer's outward and inward responses. Inward conviction finds outward expression, not as an additional requirement to receive salvation but as an expression of saving faith. *Notice in 1 Corinthians 12:3, "...no one can say that JESUS IS LORD except BY the Holy Spirit (not in order to receive the Holy Spirit and become saved after faith). We are not still lost at the point of placing our faith in Christ alone for salvation until some time later, after we publicly confess that Jesus is Lord. The reason that we will be saved "if" we confess is because we have faith and we have the Holy Spirit. That is the whole point. What about someone who is unable to speak? How can they "confess with their MOUTH?" Such a person would remain lost according to your interpretation of Romans 10:9,10. It's not the confession "in of itself" that saves you as an additional requirement after faith, it's the faith behind the confession. Faith and confession are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Remember, we confess that Jesus is Lord BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) because we are already saved through faith. That's why we will be saved "if" we confess.

Marv Walker: Isn't "if" conditional? That is what you are saying. So salvation now has another condition beyond simple relying belief. Romans 10 talks about the heart (your belief) and the mouth (action). It does not follow that all parts of anything must be together in the same passage to be complete, valid or binding. If God says something once, it ought to be enough. It does not say in John 3:16 how long one must believe. It does, however say it in Revelation 2:10 - until death. You are saying that the Bible ought to say everything about a subject in a fully detailed manner when it appears. That is inconsistent with scripture. (2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:16)

What about the speechless? The context is communicating. There are speechless people around the world who communicate.

When we read Mark 16:16 it says...

Responder: What does John 3:15,16,18,36; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11;25,26 say? What happened to baptism?

Marv Walker: Nothing happened to it. The verses say obedient believers receive the reward. Believers are baptized. Included in obedient belief is baptism. Mark 16:16. Matthew 28:18, Acts 2:38

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Responder: In Mark 16:16, if we look at this verse closely, we see that it is composed of two basic statements. 1—He who believes and is baptized will be saved. 2—He who does not believe will be condemned. Clearly, the determining factor regarding whether one is saved or condemned is whether or not he BELIEVES. In interpreting this passage correctly, it is important to realize that while it tells us something about believers who have been baptized (they shall be saved), it does not say anything about believers who have not been baptized. In order for this verse to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, a third statement would have had to be included, that statement being: “He who believes and is not baptized will be condemned” or “He who is not baptized will be condemned.” But, of course, neither of these statements is found in the verse. While Jesus does give the positive condition of baptism (whoever is baptized) in Mark 16:16, NOWHERE in the Bible do we find the negative condition of baptism being taught (such as whoever is not baptized will be condemned). Therefore, we cannot say that baptism is necessary for salvation based on Mark 16:16 (or any other similar verse). Those that do so are basing their argument on faulty logic.

Marv Walker: No, it's one basic statement. It says who is saved and who isn't. He that believeth and is baptized is saved, he that doesn't believe, and therefore would not be baptized, is not saved. Anyone who says they are two different statements is overlooking the word "and" which connects two parts of equal importance. They apply a different standard to plain scripture than they apply to plain English. Not a one of them would accept ham and chili peppers if they ordered ham and eggs. They certainly wouldn't accept the server saying, "You didn't say you didn't want ham and chili peppers."

Here is an exact quote from you on Mark 16:16, "it is important to realize that while it tells us something about believers who have been baptized (they shall be saved), it does not say anything about believers who have not been baptized." Baptized believers are saved. Everyone else is not. Two parts of equal importance. There is no third category in the verse.

This is another condition attached to John 3:16's belief and not perishing (saved). So far, in just three passages we have repentance, confession, and baptism directly and plainly added to belief as conditions for salvation.

Responder: These are not additional conditions attached to John 3:16. Repentance is a change of mind which precedes BELIEVING. Those who believe are not still in need of repenting to become saved. Once you believe and are saved, repentance already took place in the process of coming to BELIEVE. Confession is an expression of saving faith (1 Corinthians 12:3), not an additional requirement to become saved after faith. Water baptism is an ordinance which follows saving faith and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48). Those who hold to the fourfold formula of "Faith + Repentance + Confession + Baptism" suppose that each passage which states what is needed for salvation leaves out certain necessary elements, and that we must pool all such statements together, if we wish to find out what God truly requires for salvation. However, this jig saw puzzle approach does not really accept any of the statements which God has made about salvation through BELIEVING. These passages say that everyone who BELIEVES in Christ will be saved (John 3:16,18,36; 6:40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16 etc...). They do not say merely that believing is one of many things required in order to be saved. It does not leave open such an interpretation of the passages. They say that whoever BELIEVES (trusts) in Jesus Christ (alone for salvation) will not perish, is not condemned, receives the remission of sins, has eternal life. Those who claim that they believe just what the passages clearly say need to acknowledge that none of these passages leave room for additional conditions.

Marv Walker: No one acts upon something they do not believe in. No one repents without reason. You have to hear (Romans 10:17), then you have to believe what you hear and then you have to conform your actions to your beliefs (repentance).

Let us also look at another passage referring to everlasting life, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9...

"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

Responder: AMEN!

This passage says if you do not obey the Gospel of Christ you will be punished with everlasting destruction. Nothing is mentioned about obeying the gospel in John 3:16. In John 3:16 the only necessity is belief yet 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says we must obey the gospel. It is not enough to believe, we must also obey the gospel.

Responder: In Romans 10:16, we see: *But they have not all OBEYED the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has BELIEVED our report?" We can clearly see that we OBEY the gospel by choosing to BELIEVE the gospel (Romans 1:16). Refusing to OBEY the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8) is refusing to BELIEVE the gospel (Romans 10:16). John 3:16 says that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM. Why are we believing in Him to become saved? Because Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day to provide for us eternal life. It is enough to BELIEVE because by believing, we have obeyed the gospel by choosing to believe the gospel. You have turned "obeying the gospel" into "something different" than believing the gospel and have "added works" to the gospel of grace.

Marv Walker: You admit works are involved in salvation. You state you must believe to be saved. Belief is a work. That is not me saying it, that is Jesus saying it. John 6:28-29. There are "man added" works and there are God ordained works. James 2

In order to see how to obey the gospel we have know what the gospel is. We can find that in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4...

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Responder: AMEN!

The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ according to the scriptures. The underlined section of the quote says the gospel is what saves.

Responder: AMEN!

Marv Walker: Apparently you overlooked the conditional word "if" and the phrase "believed in vain. So you see here yet again the scriptures teach more than mere relying trust."

This is clearly spelled out in Romans 1:16...

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

God saves with the gospel. The "good news" about the death burial and resurrection of Christ according to the scriptures.

Responder: The gospel is the "good news" of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVES. Believes plus what? Simply BELIEVES. Christ's finished work of redemption is the means of our salvation and BELIEVING the gospel by trusting in His finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation is the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. Are you ready to BELIEVE?

The question arises: if God saves with the gospel and those who obey not the gospel will not receive everlasting life, how does one obey the death, burial and resurrection of Christ?

Responder: We OBEY the gospel by choosing to BELIEVE the gospel by trusting in Christ's finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation. This act of obedience brings salvation.

Marv Walker: Obey means to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of: to obey one's parents. 2. to comply with or follow (a command, restriction, wish, instruction, etc.). You don't obey a command by believing it, you obey a command by doing it. One is saved both by believing the gospel (Romans 1:16) and by obeying it. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) Again, we come back to Mark 16:16, which you say doesn't mean what it says, and we have the same two parts, believing AND baptism.

Let's come back to that question with a answer in a moment.

Responder: I see below that you believe in a "different" gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

Marv Walker: It is not the gospel we are discussing, it is the type of belief one must have to be saved - a simple trusting relying faith or an active obedient faith.

In Romans 8:1 we find...

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Responder: AMEN!

No condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit! No condemnation! No vengeance! No perishing!

Responder: AMEN!

Are you in Christ? If so, how did you get there?

Responder: Yes. I was Spirit baptized into Christ when I BELIEVED the gospel. How did this happen? For by one SPIRIT we were all baptized into one body... (1 Corinthians 12:13). IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also BELIEVED, you were SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE... (Ephesians 1:13).

Marv Walker: (1.) In John 16 beginning with verse 12 Jesus tells his disciples he will send the Helper/Comforter/Spirit of truth. (2.) His work was to guide into all truth (Verse 13) God provides the Grace, Jesus provides the redemption work, and the Holy Spirit provides the teaching or guiding into the truth of God's grace and Jesus redeeming work. (3.) Part of that truth is a continuation of Christ's words in Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (4.) He who obeys the teaching is to be baptized. Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38. (5.) It is obedience to the Holy Spirit's teaching that causes one to be baptized. Therefore by him we're baptized into one body. (6.) Since the body is the church we are baptized, or added, to the church. Acts 2, I Timothy 3:15.

Ephesians 4:4-5 says there is one baptism. If as you say it is Spirit baptism then it must follow scripture concerning Holy Spirit baptism complete with undisputable manifestation of the Holy Spirit and visible to those around and must come upon every believer. Acts 2, Acts 10.

When I ask those who rest solely in John 3:16 how they got into Christ I'm usually told, "I asked Jesus to come into into my heart and I was saved in Christ."

Notice that the answer to "how did you get into Christ?" is usually answered with how Christ got into them - "I asked Jesus to come into my heart..."

Responder: I don't know who you have been talking to but people don't tell me that. Nobody has ever told me that's how they got into Christ. Believers tell me they were Spirit baptized into Christ when they BELIEVED the gospel and unbelievers tell me they were water baptized into the body of Christ.

Marv Walker: Because of your belief you are unlikely to even ask the question. Therefore you are unlikely to receive the answer.

Romans 6:3-6 answers both the question of how do we obey the gospel and the question of how we get into Christ...

Responder: We obey the gospel by choosing to BELIEVE the gospel and we are Spirit baptized into Christ before we get water baptized (Acts 10:43-48; 11:17; 15:8-9).

Marv Walker: The Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius to show God's acceptance of the Gentiles. You are reading something into that passage that is not there. Where in the passage does it say EVERY believer receives this baptism? It does say that this instance was the same as that which came upon Peter and the other eleven in Acts 1-2 when they were imbued with power from on high. In one case it was fulfillment of prophecy, in the other it was to show God's acceptance of the Gentiles. To read a universal all encompassing Holy Spirit baptism into these two events completely over looks the context of the passages.

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Responder: We literally get into Christ through Spirit baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13), not water baptism. How does this happen? *Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation --having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise... In what sense are we (water) baptized "into Christ?" In the same sense that the Israelites were baptized "into Moses" (metaphorically) indicating their oneness, or solidarity, with him as their leader (1 Corinthians 10:2) just as through water baptism we indicate our oneness, or solidarity with Christ as our Savior. Does 1 Corinthians 10:2 teach that the Israelites were literally water baptized into the body of Moses? Absolutely not.

We literally get into Christ through Spirit baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13), not water baptism. How does this happen? *Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise... In what sense are we (water) baptized “into Christ?” In the same sense that the Israelites were baptized “into Moses” (metaphorically) indicating their oneness, or solidarity, with him as their leader (1 Corinthians 10:2) just as through water baptism we indicate our oneness, or solidarity with Christ as our Savior. Does 1 Corinthians 10:2 teach that the Israelites were literally water baptized into the body of Moses? Absolutely not.

Marv Walker: Spirit baptism? Holy Spirit baptism? Even the most cursory reading of John 14-16 will show the following: (1.) After his return to heaven and before the New Testament writings, Jesus said he would send a Helper (Comforter) to help them keep his commandments in his place. (2.) This Helper or Comforter is referred to as “the Spirit of Truth,” or the Holy Ghost. (3.) He would testify of (prove) Christ. (4.) He would bring all things Jesus said to them to their remembrance and guide them into all truth. (5.) Since God’s word is true or truth (John 17:17), the Spirit guides, or testifies, through the word or truth.

Now then, having established that by the word of God and not by what we think seems right or makes man sense, the Holy Spirit’s work is to testify (prove) and guide into truth, let us continue...

(6.) The truth, set forth by the Holy Spirit, (words) sets you free. John 8:32. (7.) The Holy Spirit teaches we are spiritually dead and separated from God by sin. Romans 6:23 (8.) The Holy Spirit quotes Jesus’ and Peter’s words for spiritual life. Mark 16:16. Acts 2:38. (9.) Obedient believers are baptized for the remission of sin as a direct result of the words, or truth of the Holy Spirit. (10.) Conclusion: by one Spirit (words of truth teaching and guiding) all obedient believers are baptized. I Corinthians 12:13

Actual Holy Spirit baptism was to prove God’s approval. The disciples in Acts 2 and Cornelius in Acts 10. This Holy Spirit baptism was so unusual that Peter forgot it even existed. Acts 11:16

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Responder: Water baptism pictures a person being buried with Christ (submersion under water) and being raised to new life with Christ (emergence from water). This symbolizes the person's union with, and incorporation into Christ by the action of the Holy Spirit which previously took place at FAITH. Water baptism is an outward, physical symbol of the inward, spiritual conversion of Christians. In regards to verses 3-5, the allusion is to the SYMBOLISM of baptism which was the OUTWARD SIGN of the separation. Baptized into water is not the same as being baptized into the body of Christ. Christ is not the water. Water baptism as a picture of death, burial and resurrection symbolizes our likeness to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. One is the picture or likeness of the other. Water baptism is not the reality but only a picture of the reality. We are mystically placed into Christ when we BELIEVE the gospel, and this is when we are placed into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13). Thus, water baptism symbolizes this mystical placement into Christ that takes place when one BELIEVES the gospel.

Marv Walker: I Peter 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also 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:" (KJV) "There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (NKJV) says you are correct it - baptism, the figure - saves. Christ is not the water. It is not a bath. Naaman the leper was not cleansed by the water or he would have been cleansed the first time he dipped. He was cleansed by complete, or perfect (seven) obedience. 2 Kings 5. Thus, water baptism symbolizes this mystical placement into Christ that takes place when one obeys the gospel. Mark 16:16

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Responder: The condition "if" only strengthens the conditional connection between being planted in the likeness of His death with also being in the likeness of His resurrection. Baptism as a picture of death, burial and resurrection symbolizes our likeness to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. The symbol (water baptism) is not the reality (Spirit baptism) but is only a picture of the reality.

Marv Walker: Again, you're using convoluted speaking. "If" is conditional as you admit. "If" one has had this happen, this, whatever *this* is, applies. If they have not, whatever this is, has not happened to them. If you are not baptized, you are not buried with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection, none of the blessings of it are yours. I Peter 3;21, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 1:8

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."

Responder: This took place not at baptism, but is only pictured there.

Marv Walker: This took place not at baptism, but is only pictured there? That our old man was crucified to sin is only pictured there? Here you are saying that there is some sort of crucifixion picture in baptism. Then it follows there is a burial and a resurrection pictured there as well. But I Peter 3:21 plainly says there is also a saving quality as well. And, we're back at Mark 16:16 again and every other verse where baptism is featured after the death of Christ.

We obey the gospel and get into Christ through baptism. That is where we obey the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is also where we contact Christ's sin remitting blood. His blood was shed on the cross, his death, and we are baptized into his death.

Responder: That is false. Water baptism is not even a part of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17; 15:3,4). Also, we do not literally contact the blood of Christ in the waters of baptism. "Through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14) is a reference not limited to the fluid as if the blood has saving properties in it's chemistry and we contact it in the waters of baptism, but is an expression pointing to the totality of Christ's atoning work as a sacrifice for sin. The word "cross" is used similarly to refer to the whole atoning work of Christ on the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 6:12,14; Ephesians 2:16). You seem to be obsessed with water baptism.

Marv Walker: And you seem to be obsessed with dismissing it. But then the "faith only" doctrine dismisses a lot. You believe, based on your comments, that water baptism is merely a public demonstration of faith. I say the Bible teaches water baptism as directed by scripture is for the "remission of sins." There are numerous scriptures pointing this out, the plainest being Acts 2:38. Show me ONE place in New Testament scripture where it says baptism is a public display of faith.

You might want to read all of I Corinthians 1 and grasp the context. It is about following after people who baptized them and not Christ. Verses 11-13. Then Paul says he was grateful he didn't baptize anyone. Verse 14. Then in verse 17 he says "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:" So, what you are saying is that Paul, an apostle directly imbued with the Holy Spirit, did exactly the opposite of what he was sent to do and baptized a number of people. Verses 14,16 When the gospel is preached, people obey and are then baptized. Not baptized for the sake of baptism. Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16

On this page you have a series of steps to salvation linked together.

Responder: Your false gospel seems to be the result of poor semantics and flawed hermeneutics guided by unbelief.

Marv Walker: I'll let the reader decide for himself about false gospels and unbelievers if he even reads this far.

Step one, Romans 10:17, is hearing... "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Responder: AMEN! Hearing the Word is a prerequisite to BELIEVING the gospel. If BELIEF does not result from hearing, then hearing "in of itself" profits nothing in salvation. Of course you must first hear the Word before you can BELIEVE the gospel and become saved (Romans 1:16).

Marv Walker: Earlier you said repentance comes before believing.

We hear the word of God from verses found in the Bible, verses such as John 3:16, Mark 16:16 and others.

Responder: Faith comes from hearing, not baptism. Those who get water baptized have already been saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8). We don't hear in Mark 16:16 that whoever is not baptized will not be saved. Jesus was simply talking about general cases without making a qualification for the unusual case of someone who believes but is not baptized. If water baptism is required for salvation, then why did Jesus Himself not mention it in the following verses? (3:15,16,18; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11:25,26). What is the ONE requirement that Jesus mentions in each of these complete statements? BELIEVES. *What happened to baptism?

Marv Walker: Where did I say faith comes by baptism? Again, as I said earlier, nothing happened to baptism. Again, I long ago stopped worrying about why God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit didn't do or say something. The only thing that matters is what they DID say. It is enough for me to have one clear connection of belief and baptism. Mark 16:16. I don't need the other mentioned each time either is mentioned. A truth once established is a truth established forever.

Step two, John 8:24, is believing what we hear... "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. "

Responder: Saving faith is more than just believing "mental assent" that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Saving faith is a complete trust in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ as the only means of our salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16). Faith is the final step in receiving salvation (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9). You have added additional steps (works) to the gospel of grace (Galatians 1:6-9).

Marv Walker: Faith is the only step. Faith is acting on one's belief. When one believes and becomes obedient, faithful, one is saved until one becomes unfaithful. (Revelation 2:10)

Step three and step four, Acts 2:38, is turning from your sins AND being baptized for the remission of sins.

Responder: If turning from your sins is an additional requirement to become saved after faith, then we can only be saved if we stop sinning and believers do not become sinless and perfect. There are actually only THREE steps to salvation, not five. Hearing the Word and Repentance are the first two steps (Romans 10:17; Luke 13:3). Faith is the final step in receiving salvation (Romans 5:1). The next step "after" faith is salvation by works (Ephesians 2:8,9). Once we BELIEVE and are saved (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; 16:31; Romans 1:16), Hearing the Word and Repentance already took place in the process of coming to BELIEVE. No further steps of obedience are necessary to receive salvation after faith (Romans 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:8,9). Faith is the culminating act in receiving the gift of eternal life.

Marv Walker: Turning from your sins is not an additional requirement. It is an essential ingredient of obedience. I have already agreed repentance is a changing of mind toward sin. If one embraces sin and then changes his mind toward it, he turns away from it, same difference. Faith is the obedience to belief. Belief is the result of hearing. (Romans 10:17) If we are obedient and sin the blood of Christ cleanses us. (Romans 8:1, I John 1:9)

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Responder: In Acts 2:38, "for the remission of sins" does not refer back to both clauses, "you all repent" and "each one of you be baptized," but refers only to the first. Peter is saying "repent unto the remission of your sins," the same as in Acts 3:19. The clause "each one of you be baptized" is parenthetical. In Acts 2:38, repentance is the means of receiving forgiveness, and baptism is only the sign (in reference to) true repentance and forgiveness. Indeed, a short time later the apostle Peter promised forgiveness on the basis of repentance without even mentioning baptism (Acts 3:19 – Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out). Faith in the Messiah (implied in genuine repentance) "rather than baptism" brings the actual forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:19; 10:43-47; 11:17,18; 15:8-9). In Matthew 3:11, we see: "I baptize you with water FOR repentance... (NAS). "I baptize you with water (in order to obtain) repentance?" OR "I baptize you with water (in reference to - concerning) repentance?" *Perfect Harmony*

Marv Walker: You apply totally different word construction, structure and meaning to scripture you, and the overwhelming majority of English speaking people, would never apply in your daily speaking. Once again, the word AND is a coordinating conjunction that connects two parts of equal importance. What you are essentially claiming is that ham and eggs aren't connected for breakfast - one is chicken, one is ham. It really takes help to misunderstand they are dependent actions.

That was Peter's answer to the question posed to the Apostles in Acts 2:37 by those who were convicted of crucifying Christ...

Responder: You misinterpreted the answer.

"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?" - In Acts 2:36-37, their belief at that point was only "mental assent" that Jesus was the Messiah and that they were guilty of crucifying Him. That is not saving belief yet. They still lacked "trust and reliance in Christ alone for salvation." That is why they still needed to repent "change their minds" and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Marv Walker: They realized they had crucified the Christ. They believed that whole heartily. They were looking for a way out. They ALREADY believed. Peter then told them in essence, "Repent and obey Mark 16:16." By your reasoning of repent and believe being required in that order they had to unbelieve so they could repent and then believe.

Again, we agree that one must rely totally on Jesus to be saved. What we are going back and forth about is HOW one must do that. The scriptures teach that reliance includes a balance of works of God and God directed works of man.

Step five, Romans 8:1, is walking after the Spirit (seeking God's will)...

Responder: Do believers perfectly walk after the Spirit? Are you turning this into an additional requirement to become saved as well? What is God's will for us in becoming saved? In John 6:40, we see "For my Father's WILL is that everyone who looks to the Son and BELIEVES IN HIM "SHALL" have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." What is God's will for us AFTER we are saved through faith? To do good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are saved FOR good works not by good works. Only those who are saved through faith walk after the Spirit though not perfectly.

Marv Walker: I have to believe that obedient believers do walk perfectly after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 - No condemnation, perfect! I John 1:7 Cleansed from ALL sin, perfect! Faith without works is dead, dead, dead. No life. James 2:20, 26 Therefore, works are required for salvation. God's directed works, not man's. Ephesians 2:9

" There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. "

Responder: Only those who are in Christ walk not after the flesh, that is, corrupt nature; who do not follow the dictates of it or go on and persist in a continued series of habitual sinning.

Marv Walker: True. But it is still a requirement for no condemnation. It is the work of an obedient faith.

John 3:16 is a powerful core verse of the Bible and is no less significant than any other. It is not a stand alone verse. It is an anchor holding God's plan of salvation; the gospel of Christ. - If these other verses add additional requirements to salvation through BELIEVING (according to your interpretation) then John 3:16 is a lie. These other verses that you quoted are significant, but they don't imply what you have misinterpreted, namely, salvation by works. You have perverted the gospel of Christ. My friend, our little study has shown it is not enough simply believe in Christ for everlasting life. One must believe in Christ, repent of one's sins, confess him, be buried with him in baptism for the remission of sins and walk after the Spirit.

Responder: The Bible makes it crystal clear that it is enough to simply BELIEVE (trust) in Christ (alone) for everlasting life (Luke 8:12; John 1:12; 3:15,16,18,36; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11;25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16; 4:4-6; 1 Corinthians 1:21; etc...). BELIEVING is enough because Christ's finished work of redemption is enough to save us and that is the object of our BELIEF in receiving eternal life. Repentance is a change of mind about our sinful position and need for Christ to save us and is what we do in the process of coming to BELIEVE. It's not an additional requirement to become saved after we BELIEVE. We confess Jesus BY the Holy Spirit because we are already saved through faith (1 Corinthians 12:3), not as an additional requirement to become saved after faith. Water baptism is an ordinance which follows saving faith and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48), not an additional requirement to become saved after faith. We walk after the Spirit because we are saved, not to become saved. Through poor semantics and flawed hermeneutics guided by unbelief, you are teaching salvation by works, not salvation through faith.

Marv Walker: I'll let the reader be the judge of that. If nothing else, James 2:20,26 plainly say faith MUST have works. Not, should have works, not, will eventually develop works, not as a natural consequence of our gratitude. Must. The only thing is, what works are required? Not man's. God's.

Are you in Christ?

Responder: Yes.

Romans 6:3"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Responder: Water baptism does not place us into the body of Christ. After we are saved through faith and Spirit baptized into the body of Christ, we are then (afterward) water baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4) just as the Israelites were baptized into Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2). Not literally water baptized into the body here, but "baptized into" in a "metaphorical sense" in regards to "identification." Before mentioning baptism in chapter 6, Paul had repeatedly emphasized that FAITH, not baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification (Romans 1:16, 17; 3:22-30; 4:4-6, 13; 5:1, 2). That is when the old man was put to death and united in the likeness of His death, which water baptism symbolizes and pictures. You confuse the picture with the reality. You need to rightly divide the word of truth.

Marv Walker: I've said it before and I'll say it again here; there are numerous examples of baptism connected with remission of sins (salvation) in scripture, show me ONE example where baptism is connected with public symbolism or image. Just one.

Have you put on Christ?

Responder: Yes.

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)

Responder: Now for the word "enduo" (put on). This word also appears in Romans 13:14 where we read, "But PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it's lusts." This exhortation is not to a sinner, telling him to be baptized to "put on" Christ, but it is written to Christians. Evidently then, baptism is not the only way to "put on" Christ. To "put on" Christ is to conform to Him, imitate Him. So it is in baptism; we "put on" Christ, conforming to Him in the ordinance that declares Him to be our Savior. So if we must "put on" Christ to be saved through water baptism, apparently we are not saved yet. We must also "put on" Christ by making no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Romans 13:14). Right? Let's be consistent. “Put off," wrote Paul, "the old man,” and “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22,24); And, “put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) The allusion is to putting off old clothes and putting on new ones, to enclosing oneself in armor, etc. When a soldier puts on armor he is imitating his superiors and trainers, is revealing himself to be a soldier. One does not put on a uniform in order to become a soldier. Simply putting on a soldier's uniform does not make one a soldier. Once he is made a soldier he is then able to wear the uniform that distinguishes or marks him as a soldier. So too with being baptized, the Christian puts on robes for which he has previously been qualified to wear. The putting on of Christian attire, spiritually speaking, is not what makes one a Christian, but one which becomes a token of it. If one puts on the clothes of a Christian, in water baptism, without first becoming a Christian, then he becomes an imposter, and is declaring, in baptism, to be what he is not.

Marv Walker: Regardless of what the phrase "put on" means in Galatians 3:27, the text plainly and clearly says the "putting on" occurs at baptism.

Are your sins washed away?

Responder: Yes. It's the blood of Christ that has the power to remove sins, not water. Now if you can only come to understand that our sins are forgiven when we BELIEVE (Acts 10:43; Romans 3:24-26) BEFORE we are water baptized. The Bible teaches that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and justified by faith (Romans 5:1). People who are saved and justified are not lost and still in need of having their sins literally washed away. Also, faith precedes water baptism. If we are saved and justified at the point of faith, then we don't need to comply with any further conditions to have our sins forgiven and literally washed away. *In Acts 10:43 we see that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall receive REMISSION OF SINS. What happened to baptism? *In Romans 3:24-26, we see that: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare His righteousness for the REMISSION OF SINS that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVES IN JESUS. What happened to baptism?

Marv Walker: Again, nothing happened to baptism. You seem to have difficulty with the concept obedient believers, those who have faith, are baptized. Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:16. Acts 2:38 At that point they are then saved. I Peter 3:21. You referred to the original Greek for "put on." In John 3:5 we find the essence of "Spirit baptism." Jesus said that unless one is born of water AND the Spirit one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Get out your lexicon and notice the word translated "water" in John 3:5. In EVERY other place that word appears in the original Greek, it is translated as literal water. Your understanding of assenting belief, reliance on belief in the redemptive work of Jesus alone requires a totally different meaning in John 3:5. Again, nothing happened to baptism. It still is a part of obedient belief and true faith, faith brought to life by actions otherwise known as "works." James 2.

Here's what Ananias said to Saul the former persecutor of the Christ's church...

Responder: Why did Ananias say this to Paul? Well, WHO WAS Ananias? According to Acts 22:12, he was a Jewish proselyte who still followed the Old Testament law. Being a "devout man according to the law," Ananias associated the CEREMONIAL aspect of water baptism (John 3:25-26 NIV) with the CEREMONIAL aspect of the Old Testament laws of PURIFICATION (John. 2:6; 11:55; Num. 19:7-22; Acts 21:24-25), which were for washing the FLESH, not the soul.

Marv Walker: So, what you are saying is that when Jesus told Saul to go into Damascus and there it would be told to him what he MUST he was also going to be told what he didn't have to do. Commit adultery one time and you are forever an adulterer. Sual was a persecutor of the Lord's church and will always be known for that. However, he believed, repented (changed his mind) and was baptized, therefore that was no longer spiritually held against him. All the narration says is that Ananias was a devout Jew under the law. The law was already done away with at the cross. Colossians 2:14 Therfore he could not have been devout AND under the law of Moses.

"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)

Responder: How did baptism "wash away" Paul's sins? Well, it couldn't do this literally, for Christ literally "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). The language in Acts 22:16 is similar to the statement of Christ when He took the bread and said, "This is my body" (Matthew 26:26). The bread was only the emblem of His body. Baptism is the emblem of the washing away of sins by the death of Christ. Every time a believer is immersed he washes away his sins in the same sense Paul did: not literally, but ceremonially, pointing to the death of Christ by which sins were actually washed away.

Marv Walker: Neither I nor any other man knows how or why it washes away sins. Neither you or any other man knows how or why it doesn't work. I can only go by what the scripture says and scripture plainly says it DOES wash away sin and obedient trusting faith accepts it at face value. When we read the story of Naaman the leper in 2 Kings nothing about it makes any sense which he originally thought. He wasn't cured on the first, second, third, even the sixth dip. It was only when he did exactly what he was told that he was cleansed. 2 Kings 5:13-15. None of that makes any sense by human reasoning but it still worked the way he was told it would.

Here are the plain words of Jesus... "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. " (John 3:5)

Responder: John 3:5 has often been misused as if being born again is somehow the direct result of water baptism. It is assumed, without any proof whatsoever, that “water” signifies baptism. If “water” is arbitrarily defined as baptism, then we could just as justifiably say, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living baptism” in John 7:38. If this sounds foolish, it is no more so than the idea that baptism is the source or the means of being born again. Jesus referred not to baptismal remission here but to the need for "cleansing." Thus Jesus made reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23). Notice in John 7:38-39, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of LIVING WATER. But this He spoke concerning the SPIRIT. *Did you see that? We also see this LIVING WATER in John 4:10,14. Water baptism is not the only "water" mentioned in Scripture. There is a spiritual application to water in Scripture as well. Simply reading this verse in context would give one no reason to assume Jesus was speaking of baptism, unless one was looking to read into the passage a preconceived idea or theology. To automatically read baptism into this verse simply because it mentions “water” is unwarranted. We should also not lose sight of the fact that when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, the ordinance of Christian baptism was not yet in effect. This important inconsistency in interpreting Scripture is seen when one asks those who believe baptism is required for salvation why the thief on the cross did not need to be baptized to be saved. A common reply to that question is: “The thief on the cross was still under the Old Covenant and therefore not subject to this baptism. He was saved just like anyone else under the Old Covenant.” So, in essence, the same people who say the thief did not need to be baptized because he was “under the Old Covenant” will use John 3:5 as “proof” that baptism is necessary for salvation. They insist that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he must be baptized to be saved, even though he too was under the Old Covenant. If the thief on the cross was saved without being baptized (because he was under the Old Covenant), why would Jesus tell Nicodemus (who was also under the Old Covenant) that he needed to be baptized?

Marv Walker: Interesting. Nicodemus, a ruler and leader of the Jewsr had no idea what baptism was. Ananias, a devout Jew under the law, did.

I have had people tell me that the water mentioned in John 3:5 is not regular water but the water that makes up our bodies. The word translated water in John 3:5 from the original New Testament Greek is the same word translated water in every other place where water is mentioned in the New Testament.

Responder: Some would argue that the natural sense of the passage parallels "water" with being born out of a mother’s womb (3:4) and with "flesh" (3:6). Simply stated, Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God two births are necessary. The first is a physical, literal, "flesh" birth (which is, of course, accompanied by amniotic "water"); the second is a metaphorical, "Spirit" birth into God’s family. So because the word water is translated from the same Greek word every place in the New Testament means that the word "water" in every verse in the New Testament equates to water baptism? Rivers of LIVING WATER which flow from our inner being in John 7:38 is water baptism? Washing of WATER BY THE WORD in Ephesians 5:26 is water baptism? So according to you, there is no spiritual application to water in Scripture? What about the washing of regeneration in Titus 3:5? The word "washing" in the Strong's Greek Concordance with Vine's Number 3067 - (Loutron) "a bath, a laver" is used is used *metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing,* Ephesians 5:26; and Titus 3:5, of the "washing of regeneration." Did you see that? Is the WATER OF LIFE in Revelation 22:1 and Revelation 22:17 water baptism? You need to reconsider your logic and your theology.

Marv Walker: Again, what some would argue makes little difference. Their argument basically says you have to be born both of flesh (be human) and spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. As many young people would say, "Duh!" Even Nicodemus saw the flaw there.

My friend, if you have not put on Christ according to the New Testament pattern please do so, I fear for your eternity.

Responder: My friend, if you have not placed your FAITH in Christ alone for salvation, I fear for your eternity. We put on Christ positionally when we BELIEVE because we receive His imputed righteousness (Romans 4:4-6). In water baptism, we put on Christ practically (Galatians 3:27) just as we put on Christ practically as we make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it's lusts (Romans 13:14). If you have attempted to put on the clothes of a Christian, in water baptism, without first becoming a Christian, then you have become an imposter, and are declaring, in baptism, to be what you are not.

Marv Walker: Friend, baptism is the beginning of your Christian life. Romans 6:1-11. Baptism is for the remission of sins. Acts 2:38. Remission of sins brings you to Romans 6:1. Remission of sins brings you to I John 1:7-9. You cannot be a Christian and still be in your sins for one second. Romans 6:23. Yes, the blood of Christ is what remits sin. The scriptures also say baptism is involved in the remission of sins. Baptism is where obedience brings the blood of Christ (shed in his death, finalized in his burial and renewed in his resurrection) into contact with those sins.

If I can assist you in this matter please call on me if I can be of service or if you have any questions or comments or you would like to discuss this further

Responder: If I can assist you in this matter please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you would like to discuss further. Continue to seek for the truth and God Bless,

Marv Walker: There are two ways to read scripture. One is to prove and justify what you believe and you'll pretty much be able to do that. The other way is to study to see what the Bible actually says and the result will be dramatically different. There are the answers one wants and the answers one needs.

Marv Walker
706 468-6990

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For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 468-6990