Theology

Baptism in Acts Chapter 10

As Peter starts his sermon it is important to remember the context. In context, this occurs immediately after Peter’s vision of the unclean animal’s being lowered down on the sheet, and God telling him to kill and eat. This was God instructing Peter that the gentiles are included in the New Covenant.

9 And on the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat. And while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance 11 and *saw heaven opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the sky. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise up, Peter, slaughter and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider defiled.” 16 And this happened three times and immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
Acts 10:9-16

Peter begins to preach the gospel of Jesus for the gentiles in vv. 34-36. “34 And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most truly comprehend now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the one who fears Him and does righteousness is welcome to Him. 36 As for the word which He sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– ”

He calls the Jews who were there to recall the first baptism mentioned in Acts chapter 10. It was John’s baptism of Jews for repentance. This is the baptism that Jesus participated in to fulfill all righteousness as as Jew. Even though He was not guilty of sin, nor did He need to repent of anything. He did it to fulfill all righteousness. This baptism of Jesus is not the baptism of New Covenant believers. We see later in Acts 10 which is the gentile believers being baptized as New Covenant believers. “37 you yourselves know the thing which happened throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He appear, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and solemnly to bear witness that this is the One who has been designated by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.””

While Peter was preaching the gospel of Jesus to them, God poured out the Holy Spirit on them. This anointing was much like the anointing of the Apostles, and their disciples, who were with them at Pentecost. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We know it is the means He has ordained for the elect to come to the Faith. These gentiles who were there in this mixed crowd were born again by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. Otherwise the Holy Spirit would not have been poured out on them in the fashion it was. They were speaking in tongues and magnifying God. In the next moment Peter addresses the mixed crowd. His question is an imperative in the form of an interrogative. 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for a few days.”

As you can see, saving faith and repentance are the preconditions for believer’s baptism. Over time, I will continue to post these articles on believer’s baptism until I have went through the entire New Testament. It is important for people to realize that baptism does not expiate sin. It does not regenerate the sinner to new life in Christ. It certainly does not justify the sinner to God. It is one of two sacraments of the New Testament Church. It is a symbolic death, burial, and resurrection of the believer where they are identified with their risen Savior, and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Poured out on the Gentiles

34 And opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most truly comprehend now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the one who fears Him and does righteousness is welcome to Him. 36 As for the word which He sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– 37 you yourselves know the thing which happened throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He appear, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and solemnly to bear witness that this is the One who has been designated by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the word. 45 And all the circumcised believers who came with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for a few days.”
Acts 10:34-48 Legacy Standard Bible

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