Baptism for the Remission of Sins

(Acts 2:37-38)  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? {38} Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(Mark 1:4-5)  {4} John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. {5} And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea , and they of Jerusalem , and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan , confessing their sins.

We notice that Acts 2:28 teaches how the Apostles of the Lord admonished those who had been pricked in their heart upon hearing the Gospel.  The admonition being: “(1) Repent, (2) and be baptized for the remission of sins….”.  We also notice that John the Baptist conducted himself in the same manner.  In Mark 1:4 we learn that John also baptized for the remission of sins.  If we can learn nothing else from this, we should be able to learn that the Church the Lord established practiced exactly what John the Baptist practiced.  Acts 2:38 records what the Church practiced and Mark 1:4-5 records what John practiced.  It is obvious that they taught the identical doctrine concerning how repentance must yield fruit before true baptism can be administered.  The verses mentioned here from Acts and Mark harmonize perfectly.

These verses are clearly interpreted by the description of John the Baptist’s actions as he taught the doctrine which the true Church continues to teach even today.  We learn of John’s practice in Matthew chapter 3.  (Mat 3:7-9)  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

We see that John would NOT baptize for the remission of sins until the subjects could produce “fruits meet for (or worthy of) repentance”.  If God has placed any virtue for a lost person in baptism, John was a hindrance to the cause of God in delivering men from sin.  On the other hand, if virtue is found in repentance, John was pointing out that unforgiven sinners must find this virtue before they could be the proper candidate for baptism.  According to the scriptures, the unforgiven must receive the benefits of true repentance before they are scriptural candidates for New Testament baptism.

Let’s be careful to rightly divide the word of truth.