“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” -Acts 22:16
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We’re still journeying through the book of Acts and calling for a restoration of New Testament Christianity. We’re now in Acts 22 where Paul was arrested because of the uproar by the Jews in Jerusalem. We have to talk about Paul when we are talking about how the early church lived and worshiped. He did significant work in establishing order in and building up the church.
In Acts 22, we see Paul address the Jews in their Hebrew language. He recounted for them of how he was converted, starting on the road to Damascus. He told of how Ananias assisted him and told him, “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
It’s important to note here that baptism washes away sins. When we are talking about restoration of early New Testament Christianity, we have to talk about baptism. I know many people don’t like to hear it, but it’s essential for salvation. And so many don’t believe that that it divides us. We need to be on one accord when it comes to salvation. If everyone is saying something different, then everyone can’t have it right. We have to turn to the Bible and respect what it says about how to be saved and how to be made right with God.
Paul was made right with God when he called on Him by being baptized, washing away His sins. Baptism is what brings us into contact with the blood of Jesus that He shed for us on Calvary, so that we can have forgiveness of our sins (Rom. 6:3). Remember that Jesus purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). And if we want to be members of that church, we have to come into contact with the blood.
Some also say that all we have to do is call on the name of the Lord to be saved (Rom. 10:13). But we know that Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). So, it’s not just calling out “Lord, Lord” that saves someone, it’s not just believing, and it’s not saying a prayer.
I really, really want us all to understand this and believe it. There is no such thing as a Sinner’s Prayer for salvation. The Bible says, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” So it follows that calling on Jesus is not the same as believing in Him, because you can’t call on Him if you don’t believe. You have to believe first before you call on Him. As Acts 22:16 states, calling on the name of the Lord involves washing away your sins. That is only done through water baptism.
Some people won’t like me for saying it, but the Jews didn’t like Paul for saying it either. The text says that they said he wasn’t fit to live (Acts 22:22). He spoke the good news of Jesus Christ and people wanted him to die for it. He only wanted to help people get to heaven. Thankfully, Paul informed the Roman officers that he was a Roman citizen and was free from being subject to them, and he avoided a scourging (Acts 22:25-30). But the anger and the disdain that the Jews had for him was incomprehensible.
It is my hope that we might be one and all be restored to New Testament Christianity, just like Paul wanted those Jews in Jerusalem to become Christians, as well.
Will you arise and be baptized, washing away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord? Why are you waiting?
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