HOME

Table of Contents

p_18-19

wash_away_sins

“Why . . . Delay? . . .
Be Baptized . . . and
Wash Away Your Sins”
ACTS 22:16

The Holy Spirit records the conversion of St. Paul, the greatest missionary in history. By documenting this event in the Book of Acts, God gives you a crystal-clear definition of the power and result of His miracle of Baptism.
In His record of this key event, the Holy Spirit says that Saul, later called St. Paul, traveled to Damascus to persecute Christians (Acts 22:4–5). On his way to Damascus, “a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around” him (Acts 22:6). Saul “fell to the ground and heard a voice saying . . . ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” Saul answered, “Who art Thou, Lord?” The Lord answered him and said: “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.” Saul then said, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:7–10). Then Jesus gave Saul very specific directions that would culminate not only in God’s miracle of Baptism but also in the Spirit’s precise and clear definition of what Baptism accomplishes: the forgiveness of sins!

Cling to God’s Promise in Your Baptism

After confronting Saul in a blinding light, Jesus said to Saul: “Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do” (Act 22:10). When Saul arrived in Damascus, Jesus’ appointed representative told him: “Arise, and BE BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). Again, in His divine record in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit defines the power and blessing that God’s miracle of Baptism has for you.
Why do so many Protestant scholars avoid this section of God’s revelation? And, when portraying Paul’s conversion, why do most artists show Paul’s conversion happening when he fell off his horse, rather than at Paul’s Baptism? Because these artists merely mimic scholars who don’t want to hear the Holy Spirit speak so clearly and unequivocally about the power of God’s miracle of Baptism: GOD’S BAPTISM FORGIVES YOUR SINS!

If you are confronted by those who try to deny the power and necessity of God’s miracle of Baptism, simply and graciously confess: “I listen to God and not to man.” Instead of listening to the arguments men pit against God’s definition of His miracle of Baptism, cling only to the Words your heavenly Father spoke at Jesus’ transfiguration: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well- pleased; LISTEN TO HIM” (Matthew 17:5).

Paul’s Baptismal Conversion—For the Forgiveness of Sins—Is Only the First Step

After his conversion, Paul was used by the Holy Spirit to further define the special blessings God wants to give you through His miracle of Baptism. For example, in Romans 6:3–5 the Holy Spirit uses Paul to give you His most specific description, or definition, of what happens during and after God’s miracle of Baptism. In Baptism you are “united” to Christ (Romans 6:3–5), not just symbolically, but actually. Many Bible scholars liken this “uni­ting” of yourself to Christ as a type of “grafting.” You then become as closely united to Jesus Christ as a branch connected to a vine (John 15:1, 5).

Baptism is not only God’s miracle to wash away your Sins, but it brings other blessings into your life. As the life-giving “sap” flows from the root and stem into the branch, so also you—the branch—daily receive from Christ—the Vine—additional and ongoing blessings from Baptism. As the Spirit says in 1 Corinthians 6:11: “But you were washed [baptized], but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” After translating the entire Bible and reflecting on this Scripture verse, Martin Luther concluded this about life: “Our journey begins in Baptism” (Luther’s Works, vol. 24, p. 43).

On the basis of the Spirit’s clear definition of God’s miracle of Baptism, Martin Luther then asked and answered this key question for you:
QUESTION: “What does Baptism give or profit?”
ANSWER: “It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare” (Luther’s Small Catechism, Part VI).
Dear Lord Jesus, when You returned to the Father, You said that He would send the Holy Spirit to teach me. I now say with Job: “[Lord] instruct me” (Job 42:4) about all the blessings You give me each day through Your miracle of Baptism, especially Your forgiveness of my sins. Amen.…

For further study on how God blesses you through His miracle of Baptism, turn to the Bible Study beginning on page 38.

To continue reading, click here.