2 Timothy 2:24 says, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,“.
I must admit that this can be a very trying command for me at times. It’s not that I enjoy a fight when it comes to biblical topics. It’s not even that I’m looking for one. But there are times when I have an Acts 17:16 moment that’s nearly too hard to contain.
For example, when a person in the religious world of Christianity incessantly ignores the role of repentance, confession and baptism in an individual’s salvation by completely ignoring and even changing what’s being said so they can desperately hold on to such erroneous doctrines such as “grace only” or “faith only” salvation.
Take for instance 1 Peter 3:21 which says that water baptism plays a part in the removal of sin from our conscience. Despite the extreme clarity of the verse there are still some who attempt to make the verse say that baptism only washes away physical dirt despite the fact that the verse says that water baptism does not have anything to do with washing away the physical filth of our bodies!
Watch what I mean (I will place some words in bold for emphasis):
“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)
“And baptism, of which this is an image, now gives you salvation, not by washing clean the flesh, but by making you free from the sense of sin before God, through the coming again of Jesus Christ from the dead;” (BEB)
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (ESV)
“And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you–not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (NET)
“which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;” (ASV)
On and on and on a person could go. What part of “not” is so hard to understand? According to God’s word, water baptism has nothing to do with washing off the outside – rather it has everything to do with washing clean the inside! The only thing hard to understand is one’s refusal to simply let the Bible teach what the Bible teaches. But instead of listening to the Bible, people scratch and grasp for whatever manmade doctrine they hold to by digging into the commentaries of those who espouse the errors of whatever “only” of salvation you can think of. People such as John Calvin, Martin Luther, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley and many others who exchange the simple teachings of the Bible’s “not’s” for the knot filled lines of error.
If one desires to be saved they will have a desire to be baptized – not because they are saved, but because they desire to be saved by the word and the work of God. Because if the grace of God could use water through the agency of an ark to save Noah then the same grace from the same God can use water through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to save people today.
“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)