ACTS 22:16

BE BAPTIZED, WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, CALLING ON HIS NAME

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I) INTRODUCTION

[Acts 22:16]:

"And now [Ananias says, (v. 12)] why do you [Paul] delay? Arise, and be [water] baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' "

"calling on His name" = Trusting in the Lord for His power to wash away one's sins relative to restoration of fellowship and favor with God and NOT relative to eternal life.

Many misinterpret this passage as a salvation passage which would then lead to the false doctrine that one must also be water baptized and/or call on the name of the Lord in some particular way such as public confession in order to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. But the Greek aorist participle, "epikalesamenos", translated "calling on His name" refers either to action which is simultaneous with or before that of the main verb ["be baptized"] most likely before, considering the context. Furthermore,examination of Scripture shows that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone and that Paul was already saved unto eternal life before this particular calling on the name of the Lord and his water baptism. Therefore the washing away of sins indicated here in Acts 22:16 must be the other kind of washing away of sins: A forgiveness or washing away of sins relative to restoration of fellowship and favor with God for a believer.

II) "CALLING UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD" = HAS A NUMBER OF POSSIBLE MEANINGS

A) CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

1) [Compare Ro 10:13-14]:

(v. 13) "for whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. [unto eternal life, v. 10]

(v. 14) How then shall they call upon Him in Whom they have not believed?"

Calling on the name of the Lord to receive eternal life is another way of saying that one has trusted alone in Him alone for salvation, (Ro 10:14).

So calling on the name of the Lord = relying on the name of the Lord - trusting in Him for something. When you call upon someone to help you it is that you trust in him to come to your aid. Inherent in your calling upon that someone is the essential faith that he can and will help you. So, in essence, to call on the name of the Lord unto salvation is to believe in Christ as Savior, that He alone will make provision for you to have eternal life with Him in heaven. Note that any kind of vocalizing is not in view here as a requirement in order to be saved, (cp Ro 10:14). Other passages eliminate any kind of contribution by an individual toward one's salvation, even public confession, (cp Eph 2:8-9).

B) CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD FOR OTHER REASONS

Note also that calling on the name of the Lord is not always for salvation. It may involve silent or vocal prayer, singing, vocalizing in some other manner - depending upon the individual and the situation. For example, Elijah calls on the name of the Lord to bring fire down from heaven:

1) CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BRING FIRE DOWN FROM HEAVEN & VERIFY THAT HE IS THE ONE TRUE GOD

a) [1 Kgs 18:24]:

"Then you call on the name of your god, and I [Elijah] will call on the name of the Lord. And the God Who answers by fire - He is God"

2) CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE HEALED

a) [2 Kgs 5:11]:

"But Naaman went away angry and said, 'I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy."

3) CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD IN ORDER TO GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE TO HIM

a) [1 Ch 16:8-11, cp Ps 105:1]:

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name, let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."

4) CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD FOR DELIVERANCE FROM PHYSICAL DEATH, TROUBLE OR GREAT NEED

a) [Ps 116:1-6]:

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me. I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords of [physical] death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: 'O Lord, save me!' The Lord is gracious and righteous: our God is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.' "

5) CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD THROUGH CONFESSION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND BE RESTORED TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

a) [1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we [believers, (v. 2:1)] confess our sins [i.e., call on the name of the Lord through confession], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us these sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

III) PAUL WAS SAVED BEFORE HE WAS BAPTIZED BY ANANIAS

And this is what the Apostle Paul as a believer was doing when he called upon the name of the Lord at the time of his water baptism: washing away his daily sins through confession unto fellowship with God:

A) INTRODUCTION

1) [Acts 22:16]:

" 'And now [Ananias says, (v. 12)] why do you [Paul] delay? Arise, and be [water] baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'"

As has been stated some falsely maintain, according to this verse, that Paul received forgiveness of sins unto salvation through water baptism considerably after he trusted in Christ as Savior. This then leads to some claiming that water baptism and/or calling on the name of the Lord through public confession are essential steps toward eternal life in addition to placing ones faith in Him.

But consider the possibility of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus:

B) PAUL EVIDENCES FAITH THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST AND BECOMES BORN OF GOD BEFORE HE WAS WATER BAPTIZED

1) [Acts 9:1-6]:

(v. 1) "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest.

(v. 2) and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, [i.e., believers = Christians] whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

(v. 3) As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

(v. 4) He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?'

(v. 5) 'Who are you, Lord? Saul asked.'

'I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting,' He replied.

(v. 6) 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' "

[Dr. Zane Hodges states, (Audio Tape #303, 'The Conversion of Saul (Acts 9:26) Baptism and Salvation, Part 2; Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx)]:

"And you can imagine the tremendous shock that Paul had as he stood before the figure [of Jesus] in that blazing light and heard the words, 'Saul, Saul why persecuteth thou Me?'

And when he said, 'Who art thou Lord?'

The answer, 'I am Jesus, Whom thou persecuteth' must have been a veritable revolution - a veritable earthquake in his soul....

Paul must have been born again right there on the Damascus road approximately the time that the voice said to him, 'I am Jesus Whom thou persecuteth.'

Once Paul believed that this One was Jesus the Christ Whom he was persecuting, then he became born again:

2) [1 Jn 5:1]:

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well."

After all the Bible says, 'Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God' [1 Jn 5:1]

3) [Compare Jn 20:31]:

And the gospel of John says,

"But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that bybelieving you might have life through His name"

[Hodges, cont.]:

"We have to keep in mind that the name Christ was more than a name in the days of the Bible. It was a title. It stood for the Messiah of God. It stood for the Savior that God had promised to send into the world. And for a man to recognize that Jesus was the Christ was to recognize that Jesus was God's Savior Who had come to bring God's salvation...

And don't forget that the Apostle Paul was a man who was persecuting Christians. He knew perfectly well that the Christians' claimed that Jesus was Christ.

[Scripture indicates that the Pharisees knew that our Lord claimed to be the Christ so this was widely known, (Jn 10:24-33)] And undoubtedly he [Paul] must have known that Christians based their hope for eternity upon this one named Jesus. And though he had thought that they were wrong, when he heard the words, 'I am Jesus Whom thou persecuteth,' he realized surely that they had been right after all and that Jesus was God's Christ. Not only that, according to Acts 26, there were some other words that Jesus spoke to him on the Damascus road, because when Paul recounts his conversion in that chapter he says that Jesus said to him."

1) [Acts 26:16-18]:

(v. 16) "[Jesus said] 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of Me and what I will show you,

(v. 17) I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them

(v. 18) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness off sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me."

Notice that the gospel of faith in Christ unto santification, i.e., eternal life is presented here:

C) PAUL IS APPOINTED BY OUR LORD TO WITNESS TO THE GENTILES THAT ONE RECEIVES FORGIVENESS OF SINS THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST. PAUL IS THUS IN VIEW HERE AS A BELIEVER

[Dr. Hodges goes on to say]

"All of those words Saul heard on the Damascus road.... when Saul left the road to Damascus he realized that Jesus was the Christ and... he realized that he belonged to Jesus from that time forward."

D) THE GOSPEL WAS PRESENTED DIRECTLY TO PAUL BY OUR LORD HIMSELF ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS NOT LATER ON BY ANANIAS

1) [Gal 1:11-12 NAS]:

(v. 11) "For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

(v. 12) for I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."

a) [Compare Acts 22:10]:

"And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.' "

Notice that Paul explained to the crowd in Jerusalem that during his time on the road to Damascus, which was before he was water baptized by Ananias, he submitted in obedience to Jesus Christ. This is a strong indicater that he trusted in Who He was, i.e., the Christ; thus he was saved at that moment, (cf 1 Jn 5:1).

Since no one is saved until they hear the gospel and believe in it, (Ro 10:14-17);

and since no one receives water baptism nor temporal forgiveness of sins until after they are saved, (Acts 22:16);

thus Paul was saved before his encounter and baptism with Ananias;

and since Paul said that our Lord Himself gave the gospel directly to him and not through anyone else;

and since Paul spoke directly with the Lord on the road to Damascus;

then Paul must have been saved during the encounter with the Lord on that road to Damascus.

E) NOTE THAT ONLY A BELIEVER CAN RECEIVE APPOINTED DUTIES FROM THE LORD AND OBEY THEM. SO EVIDENTLY PAUL WAS A BELIEVER BEFORE HE WAS WATER BAPTIZED

1) [Acts 22:10]:

"And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.' "

Note that Paul had to have been a believer so that God would appoint him to spread the gospel to the world. This appointment was announced to Ananias before Paul was water baptized:

2) [Compare Acts 9:5-6, 15, 19]:

(v. 5) " 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied.

(v. 6) 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' "

[So Paul had already received instructions to obey in order to serve the Lord, i.e., he was then a believer]

(v. 15) "But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel."

(v. 18) "Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,"

[So Paul had already received instructions to serve him as a believer before verse 18 above when he was water baptized. The doctrine that an unbeliever cannot serve the Lord for he cannot please God is stipulated below]:

3) [Compare Ro 8:8]:

"Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God"

So an unbeliever who is completely controlled by the sin nature, (Ro 6:17-20), who cannot please God would not be asked by God to perform special duties as Paul was - which included spreading the gospel to the Gentile world, (Acts 9:15) - until after he became a believer. Therefore Paul must have been a believer at that time he was directed by God to serve Him.

F) PAUL WAS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT BEFORE HIS WATER BAPTISM: ONLY A BELIEVER, I.E., ONE WHO IS ALREADY SAVED, CAN BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

Since all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit at the point of faith in Christ...

1) [Compare Eph 1:13]:

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit"

And since believers thereafter are commanded to be filled with the Spirit..

2) [Eph 5:18]:

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."

Then Paul must have been saved before he was filled with the Spirit and water baptized.

Being "filled with the Spirit", i.e., being controlled by the Spirit, (cp 2 Tim 1:4 + Eph 5:18) is concrete evidence that one has already been baptized with the Spirit which is exclusive to one who is already saved, (1 Cor 12:13)

3) [Acts 9:17-18]:

(v. 17) "And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

(v. 18) And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized"

Notice that the filling of the Spirit came before Paul was water baptized.

G) FORGIVENESS OF SINS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS RECEIVED ONLY AT THE POINT OF TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE AS SAVIOR

Finally, compare Acts 10:43 which states that forgiveness of sins unto eternal life is received at the point of trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior and not by any other action:

1) [Acts 10:43]:

" 'Of Him [Jesus Christ, (v. 38)] all the prophets bear witness that through His name every one who believes in Him has received forgiveness of sins.' "

2) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

IV) CONCLUSION: ACTS 22:16 REFERS TO PAUL'S TEMPORAL (NOT ETERNAL) FORGIVENESS OF SINS

A) INTRODUCTION

So, considering Acts 10:43 and Eph 2:8-9 and all of the foregoing since it is clear that the Apostle Paul was already saved - having believed in the gospel of salvation and thereby having already received forgiveness of his sins relative to eternal life, the washing away of Paul's sins at the time of his water baptism must be the other kind of washing away of sins: the cleansing, i.e., washing away of daily sins relative to temporal forgiveness:

A) [1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us these sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

1) WASHING AWAY OF TEMPORAL SINS BY CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD THROUGH CONFESSION IS A CONSTANT REQUIREMENT OF THE BELIEVER

If ....we confess our sins =

"Ean homologomen .................tas hamartias emon

"If ....we confess [pres. tense] .the sins ...........our =

If we believers confess.

The Greek text indicates a third class if-then situation, (maybe you will, maybe you won't): if we believers are confess.

This washing away of temporal sins by calling on the name of the Lord through confession is a constant requirement of the believer, especially before special events like water baptism or the Lord's supper. Recall that the Greek aorist participle, "epikalesamenos", translated "calling on His name" refers either to action which is simultaneous with or before that of the main verb ["be baptized"].

2) BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW IN FIRST JOHN 1:9 NOT UNBELIEVERS

And recall that First John 1:9 applies only to believers. It is a fellowship passage for believers, not a salvation passage for unbelievers, for author John's intended readership are called "My little children":

a) [1 Jn 2:1]:

"My little children, [John's affectionate term for fellow believers in Christ] I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.

Note that this must be directed to believers as unbelievers cannot help but sin in all that they do, (Ro 8:8)] And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

b) [1 Jn 1:1-3]:

And the first few verses establish that this chapter is indeed instructional about how to restore and stay in fellowship with God:

[1 Jn 1:1-3 NAS]:

(v. 1) "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life -

(v. 2) and the Life [Jesus Christ] was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the Eternal Life [Jesus Christ], Who was with the Father and was manifested to us -

(v. 3) Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

"We proclaim to you" = The purpose of First John chapter one is to "proclaim to", (i.e., to inform), believers about having fellowship with God, and not about salvation. Fellowship, i.e., having one's daily sins washed away, is established by calling on the name of the Lord to forgive one's daily sins through confession to Him.

So forgiveness of sins does not occur as a result of water baptism; and Paul's water baptism was preceded by his calling on the name of the Lord for a washing away of his daily sins through confession.

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