We receive a monthly publication entitled “House to House Heart to Heart.” Every one of these issues contains a listing of the steps necessary for salvation entitled “God’s Plan for Saving Man.” Vol. 28, No. 7 of this publication is no different. On page 3, this issue sets forth “God’s Plan for Saving Man” comprising the following steps: (1) Divine (John 3:16); (2) God’s Grace (Ephesians 2:8); Christ’s Blood (Romans 5:9); (4) Holy Spirit’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:12-13); (5) Sinner’s Faith (Acts 16:31); (6) Sinner’s Confession (Romans 10:10); (7) Sinner’s Baptism (Acts 22:16); (8) Christian’s Love (Matthew 22:37); (9) Christian’s Work (James 2:24); (10) Christian’s Hope (Romans 8:24); and (11) Christian’s Endurance (Revelation 2:10).
Notice that after water baptism, the description changes from “Sinner’s” to “Christian’s.” This change signals that water baptism is a necessary step for salvation. In other words, the sequence in “God’s Plan for Saving Man” teaches baptismal regeneration.
Being a person who believes correctly that water baptism is a post-conversion event, and hence, a “Believer’s Baptism,” the use of the expression “Sinner’s Baptism” has always raised a bright red flag. If you receive this publication, please know that in God’s EFFECTUAL plan of salvation, there is no such thing as a “Sinner’s Baptism.” Water baptism ALWAYS occurs after conversion, so it is a “Believer’s Baptism.”
If you are interested in looking at this issue more, please note that I have discussed Acts 22:16 in detail in two earlier posts: “Is the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration the Road to Hell? – Post 27 (Exegesis of Acts 22:16) – Part 1” [link: Is the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration the Road to Hell? – Post 27 (Exegesis of Acts 22:16 – Part 1) | Steve Belsheim] and “Is the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration the Road to Hell? – Post 28 (Exegesis of Acts 22:16) – Part 2” [link: Is the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration the Road to Hell? – Post 28 (Exegesis of Acts 22:16 – Part 2) | Steve Belsheim]. In this post, I set out my relevant takeaways from these two earlier posts.
The relevant takeaways from Post 27 are:
(1) Saul was on a mission to single-handedly eradicate Christianity. Therefore, it makes sense that only the strongest, most persuasive evidence imaginable would deter him from his goal.
(2) When Saul first encountered Jesus, he did not know who He was and addressed Him as “Sir.” Yet, after Saul learned he had been persecuting Jesus, Saul called Jesus “Lord.”
(3) Only Saul, and not his travelling companions, encountered the message of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
(4) The fact that Saul, who had been bound and determined to eradicate Christianity, was willing to follow the instructions of Jesus the Nazarene is strong evidence persuasive of the fact that he was saved during his “Damascus road experience.”
(5) The interaction between Saul and Ananias, especially the use of the word ἀδελφέ, shows that Saul was saved when he first met Ananias.
(6) The grammar of Acts 22:16 shows that Saul called on the name on the Lord and was saved prior to being baptized.
(7) In Acts 22:16, baptism was a post-conversion action symbolic of the washing away of sins by the blood of Christ.
Referring to Post 28, the correct interpretation of Acts 22:16 is:
Now Saul, why are you delaying with carrying out your God-ordained mission? You previously called upon the Name of Jesus and were saved. Therefore, get up and submit to being baptized as a symbol of the washing away of your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is apparent that the Plan of Salvation set forth in the House to House Heart to Heart” is wrong! Beware of false teaching!
VERY IMPORTANT IF YOU BELIEVE IN BAPTISMAL REGENERATION
Finally, let me quote gotquestions.org (link: https://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-Mark-16-16.html ):
If you believe in baptismal regeneration, you would do well to prayerfully consider whom or what you are really putting your trust in. Is your faith in a physical act (being baptized) or in the finished work of Christ on the cross? Whom or what are you trusting for salvation? Is it the shadow (baptism) or the substance (Jesus Christ)? Our faith must rest in Christ alone. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Please read and take to heart what I write in the section entitled “IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.”
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR SALVATION
If you are unsure about your salvation, you need to check out my book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth (book link at Xulon Press: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781662828638 ). At Amazon the book link is https://www.amazon.com/Salavation-Meter-Biblical-Self-Diagnostic-Spiritual/dp/1662828632 . I also have a website in which I am updating the content in the book. The link to my website for the book is https://thesalvationmeter.com .
IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN
… please (1) read through “God’s Plan of Salvation” so you can understand what God did for you through His only unique Son, Jesus Christ, and (2), from the bottom of your heart, pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” meaning every word. If you do, you will be reconciled to God – saved – through Jesus Christ.
God’s Plan of Salvation
In the beginning, God, who is holy, created the entire universe. As a part of His creative actions, He made humans in His image to know Him. For a while, everything was right between God and our ancestors, Adam and Eve. But Adam sinned, and his sin was passed down to all of humankind whereby we became separated from God. Nothing we could do on our own could bridge that separation so that without God’s intervention, hell would be our eternal destination.
Fortunately for us, in His great love and mercy God provided humankind with the only means of salvation, which is through Jesus Christ who is God’s only unique Son. While retaining His deity, God the Son became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever repent and trust in Him for their salvation. Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust alone in what Christ did to save us.
If we repent of our sins and completely trust in Christ alone that He died for our sins and rose to life from the dead, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, 27, 31; Habakkuk 1:13; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-25; Genesis 3:1-7, 23-24; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:19-20, 23; 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 4:10; John 3:16-18; Mark 1:15; Romans 1:4; 4:25; John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3.
Lord, Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner who cannot save myself no matter what I do, and I deserve to spend eternity in hell. But, I know that because You loved me so much, You voluntarily died on the cross for me taking my sins upon Yourself, and You physically bodily rose from the grave showing that Your sacrificial death was sufficient payment to give me eternal life in Heaven. I now repent of my sins and trust alone in what You did for my eternal salvation. Please take control of my life as I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You so much for saving me. I am now Yours forever! (Scripture references: John 1:1-4, 11-14; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 10:27-29).
Upon your salvation, you must find a spiritually solid Bible-believing church that (1) teaches that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, (2) believes in the doctrine of the Trinity, which means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and each Person is fully God, and (3) teaches that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works (e.g., water baptism by immersion).
ONE CAUTIONARY POINT. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that once you become a Christian, your life will become easy. Most likely, it will become more difficult. God’s blessing of salvation and life’s difficulties are not mutually exclusive. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15:18 (NLT). Always keep in mind that you have an eternal home in heaven waiting for you per John 14:2–4 (NLT):
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
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