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SDG 09-06-2008 10:09 AM

The Remission is Different from Forgiveness Myth
 
Many of my Oneness Pentecostal brethren believe who believe in 3 steps to salvation/regeneration often explain their beliefs as expressed by the following poster:

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I do not have the scriptures handy, nor the time to look them all up right now......but I believe from the teachings I have had most of my life (since I was 12, and now I'm 46), that baptism is essential for salvation....although some receive the Holy Ghost prior to baptism, they still need their sins remitted and Jesus' blood applied. Acts 2:38 commands us to be baptized, and does not offer the PROMISE of the Holy Ghost until the 3rd step....Repent, be baptized, and ye SHALL receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Consider it is death, burial, and resurrection - death being repentance, dying out to the old life and sin - burial being submersion in water and simultaneous application of Jesus' blood, which is why we do this in His Name (not His titles) - and resurrection being the infilling of the Holy Ghost, whereby we rise to walk in newness of life.

We ae baptized to be saved, not only because Acts 2:38 commands it, but because it applies Jesus' blood, thereby remitting our sins. For without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins....

I can spill grape juice on your white shirt, and sincerely apologize to you for it - but that does not remove the stain on your shirt, even if you forgive me. The stain, or the visible evidence, is not removed until you wash the shirt. When we put our sins under the blood in baptism, then Jesus can no longer see them.


***News flash *****

There is no biblical distinction in the NT between the words remission and forgiveness.

These words are used interchangeably by the Apostles!!!

SDG 09-06-2008 10:11 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
Both remission and forgiveness are the English translation of the single Greek noun aphesis or verb aphiemi.

When we examine the words of the disciples, Peter included and those of Jesus ... they do not distinguish between the words forgiveness and remission. This idea is unique to some of my English speaking Oneness brethren of the last century.

The translation of the word “forgiveness” comes from a Greek word Aphesus,and means to bear up and bear away, to separate the sins from the sinner. Fifteen times it is found in the New Testament in the KJV.

Six times it is rendered “forgiveness,” and nine times it is rendered “remission;” but it always means the same thing, to bear up and to bear away.

The NAS and NIV simply translate aphesis as forgiveness ... 15 times.

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If APHESIS MEANS FORGIVENESS/REMISSION ... both are synonymous then why does baptism alone get equated with the WASHING OF SINS ????
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Peter, the preacher at Pentecost, and the holder of the "keys of salvation" as some presume, understood that our sins are wiped away at the point of faith/repentance unlike some of my OP brethren.

In Acts 3:19 he says, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. ** Note that he believes that when we turn to God through faith in the work of the Lamb our sins are wiped away.

At the house of Cornelius, his message to the Gentiles in that room does not attribute forgiveness/remission/sin washing to baptism but rather he says,

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." -- Acts 10:43

If one reads the bible in Spanish ... which we did growing up... there is no confusion ....

aphesis .... is translated in all verses in the Reina Valera w/ the same word "perdon".... The NIV does this also.

That is why I find this KJV inspired false doctrine of separating both words (forgiveness vs. remission) to mean two separate ideas as being extrabiblical.

Even Dr. Segraves acknowledges this in a 1980's symposium ... and how this relates to the contradictions not only found in presenting this as doctrine but in even in the wording found in the UPCI's Articles of Faith:

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The Articles of Faith of the United Pentecostal Church International, under the heading "Repentance and Conversion," presently reads: "Pardon and forgiveness of sins is obtained by genuine repentance, a confessing and forsaking of sins:1

The context concerns conversion, not the obtaining of forgiveness by a born-again believer, says nothing about water baptism, and would lead one to believe that repentance alone is sufficient to produce forgiveness of sins.2

A study of the Greek text would indicate that "forgiveness" and "remission" are synonyms, since in the King James Version both words are translated from the same Greek word, aphesis.3

Does the assertion that, on the one hand, forgiveness is obtained by repentance alone and, on the other hand, remission of sins is obtained by baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ present a contradiction in the Articles of Faith of the U.P.C.I.?

Should there be an examination of the somewhat popular teaching that sins are forgiven at repentance but are not remitted until water baptism?

The Articles of Faith offer no Scripture to support the statement that "pardon and forgiveness of sins is obtained by genuine repentance."

While the author (an 3 stepping Evangelist call Tim Landry) thoroughly examined the relationship of both repentance and water baptism as they relate to remission of sins in the text of Acts 2:38, he did not discuss the fact that the Fundamental Doctrine of the U.PC.I. does not necessarily endorse this idea.
What we find in the attempt to separate these concepts through semantical cunningness is what happens when we allow a 100 year old soteriological model to be framed by the lens of the King James Version phraseology only to fit a paradigm for salvation and unique revelation. This paradigm has become more exclusivistic and intolerant among many as we enter 4th and 5th generations of the movement.

Every expert on the matter will tell you the same thing ... aphesis means just that --aphesis ... forgiveness, pardon, bearing away of sin, remission .... no change in focus either.

mfblume 09-06-2008 10:12 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
I am three stepper and agree with your claim here about the definitions. Baptism does not forgive sins. Baptism is part of the church's position playing a role in taking one into the body. That is why God gave the vision to Peter to slay and eat unclean animals. Peter never would have baptized the gentiles otherwise, and God was insistent that he do it. So after the got the Holy Ghost, they had to come into the BODY of the Church.

Spirit baptism is God's seal or signature of the covenant contract, and water baptism is the person's seal or signature. Two seals are required for every contract.

mfblume 09-06-2008 10:13 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
It is wrong to exclude baptism from salvation as much as it is wrong to say baptism forgives sins. Y'all are on two different erring extremes.

SDG 09-06-2008 10:13 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
What we find in the attempt to separate these concepts through semantical cunningness is what happens when we allow a 100 year old soteriological model to be framed by the lens of the King James Version phraseology only to fit a paradigm for salvation and unique revelation. This paradigm has become more exclusivistic and intolerant among many as we enter 4th and 5th generations of the movement.

Every expert on the matter will tell you the same thing ... aphesis means just that aphesis ... forgiveness, pardon, bearing away of sin, remission .... no change in focus either.

Growing up we read the bible in Spanish ... there was no confusion in trying to play with word meanings between forgiveness and remission....

Aphesis is translated in all verses in the Reina Valera w/ the same word "perdon" ... or pardon.

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Some Examples - Example 1:
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KIV:

38Then 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.

NIV:
38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Reina Valera:
38 Pedro les dijo: Arrepentíos, y bautícese cada uno de vosotros en el nombre de Jesucristo para perdón de los pecados; y recibiréis el don del Espíritu Santo.

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Example 2:
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Mark 1:4

4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

NIV:
4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Reina Valera:
4 Bautizaba Juan en el desierto, y predicaba el bautismo de arrepentimiento para perdón de pecados.

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Example 3:
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Reina Valera:

Luke 24

47 y que se predicase en su nombre el arrepentimiento y el perdón de pecados en todas las naciones, comenzando desde Jerusalén.

KJV:

47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

NIV:
4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

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I could go on and on.... it applies to all verses with this root word. With one exception in Romans.

To say that repentance brings forgiveness and baptism brings remission only works in a KJV setting .... not in the original Greek ... other English versions ... NIV, NASB, ESV ... or in other languages that use the one word to mean the same as the Apostles expressed it.
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Baptism provides no " sin washing"
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The false premise that remission is a result of a washing that happens at baptism .... while forgiveness is the result of repentance ... is patently false ... and borders on the mysticism found in the doctrine of transubstantiation of the Eucharist.

As is the idea that the blood is only applied in a properly administered baptism in which salvation hangs on the words of the baptizer.

Why do go against the doctrine of the Apostles and their words?

The writer to the Hebrews (chapter 6) tells us blood remits/forgives/washes/ wipes away our sins. Peter, the preacher at Pentecost, tells us that when we repent and turn to God our sins are wiped/blotted away (Acts 3:19)

Inevitably ... some one will ask

What about Acts 2:38 ... ? "For the remission of sins".

Dr. Seagraves adds:

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It would be useful in any current discussion of the relationship between water baptism and the remission of sins to recognize and respond to an objection that is current among some scholars of our day. It is perhaps best expressed in The Bible Knowledge Commentary and suggests that the clause "and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ" is parenthetical, based on the following factors: "

(a) The verb makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb `repent' is plural and so is the pronoun `your' in the clause so that your sins maybe forgiven (lit., `unto the remission of your sins,' eis aphesin ton hamartion hymon).

Therefore the verb `repent' must go with the purpose and forgiveness of sins.

On the other hand the imperative `be baptized' is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence.

(b) This concept fits with Peter's proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression `sins may be forgiven' (aphesin harmation) occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone.

(c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance results in remission
of sins."
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Peter, "the holder of the keys", even tells us in his epistle tells us that it does not put away filth. (1 Peter 3)

Lastly,

The following quote holds true to any extrabiblical approach :

"Any doctrine which cannot be solidly supported by scripture must be laid aside, lest we be found to add to or take away from God’s holy Word."

SDG 09-06-2008 10:15 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
Even noted 3-stepper and UPCI theologian/apologist, David Bernard recognizes the fallacy of those who seek to separate these to terms.

In his book, The New Birth, the following statements are made:
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Forgiveness and Remission

Some people teach that forgiveness and remission are two distinct events, the former occurring at repentance and the latter at water baptism. According to this teaching, at repentance God accepts man's apology and restores him to a personal relationship, and at baptism God removes the record and penalty of past sins. This distinction has some basis in the definitions and KJV usage of the English words. For example, Webster's Dictionary defines forgive as "to cease to feel resentment against (an offender): Pardon" and it defines remit as "to release from the guilt or penalty of… to refrain from exacting… to cancel or refrain from inflicting." Forgiveness conveys the idea of personal reconciliation, while remission connotes a legal settlement.

However, even in English, forgive and remit are often used interchangeably. Webster's Dictionary defines pardon as "to free from penalty… to remit the penalty or forgive." More importantly, there is no distinction between forgiveness and remission in the Greek. There is only one Greek word, aphesis, which the KJV sometimes translates as "forgiveness" (Acts 5:31) and sometimes as "remission" (Acts 2:38). Most later translations, such as the RSV and NIV, use only forgiveness and not remission. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines aphesis as "freedom; (fig.) pardon." Vine's Expository Dictionary says it "denotes a dismissal, release" and defines the verb form, aphiemi, as "primarily, to send forth, send away… denotes besides its other meanings, to remit or forgive."
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He even offers the following chart in an attempt to prove this statement:

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The table demonstrates that the following elements are part of New Testament forgiveness: the blood of Jesus, faith, repentance, the name of Jesus, and water baptism. In the New Testament church we receive forgiveness by repentance and water baptism in the name of Jesus, both of which are made possible and effective by the blood of Jesus.
http://respiracreative.com/aphesischart.jpg


One glaring thing, however, is lacking in Brother Benard's fairly sound reasonings about the idea of aphesis ...

He cannot link aphesis/forgiveness/ to a properly administered water baptism ... unless we accept his interpretation of forgiveness is linked to water baptism based on his selective determination of the Greek preposition "eis" or "for".

In 16 of the 17 examples he cites ... repentance ... turning to Jesus and, ultimately, what He did at the Cross through faith results in remission/forgiveness ....

I include the two citations of regarding John's baptism because it was one unto repentance ...

and surely most 3 steppers would say this baptism was not regenerative, not done in His name, or even part of the New Covenant - if one subscribes to dispensationalism.

Also, those who were baptized under John did so in response and as a witness of heeding his call to repent. Keep in mind also, JB was the son of high priest and well versed in the practice of mikveh ritual washings.

It's pretty well agreed that Christian baptism is just an incorporation of the Jewish mikveh.

John the Baptist probably belonged to (or at least was greatly influenced by) the Essenes who practiced mikveh rituals. A couple of centuries before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish teaching incorporated mikveh/batpism into the process by which a gentile converted and became a Jew. When John the Baptist came upon the scene he just had folks immerse themselves to prepare for the Messiah's coming and the Messiah's reign.

Furthermore, JB never told his listeners that their sins would be washed away if they were baptized.

SDG 09-06-2008 10:17 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
You see scripture must harmonize, David ... its basic hermeneutics.

Notice Bernard tried to link his interpretation of Acts 2:38 to the other instances ... yet any fair examination points to the blood of Jesus and/or turning to God in repentance as resulting in forgiveness/remission.

This myopic faulty interpretation of Acts 2:38 has no historical or biblical witness.

Again ... adding to the Word has serious consequences.

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Did John the Baptist think his baptism was for "sin washing"?
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16 of the 17 verses Bernard sought to cite connect aphesis/forgiveness/remission of sin with repentence, turning to Christ/God ....

NOT A PROPERLY ADMINISTERED BAPTISM IN WHICH SALVATION and WASHING OF SINS HANGS ON THE WORDS OF THE BAPTIZER for the blood of Christ to be applied - or even for a dirty soul to be thoroughly cleaned.

Again what is at stake in this discussion is whether it is sound hermeneutics for those who claim that sins are forgiven at repentance while sins are remitted/blotted/washed/wiped away at baptism when the Apostles and Christ DID NOT MAKE THIS DISTINCTION when speaking of forgiveness of sins in their usage of the word APHESIS.

I think we'd all agree that John, son of the priest, Zacarias, made him a Levite with strong doctrine in regards to this practice. It would also be safe to say that his Jewish disciples and John saw these baptisms as part of the Jewish mikveh tradition in which it was used as a witness to a vow made or to show allegiance to a rabbi.

SDG 09-06-2008 10:17 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
Did John believe his baptism caused sin washing ... or did he believe that this could only happen looking at Christ through faith looking forward to his sacrifice?

According to Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3, John the Baptist preached "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (baptisma metanoias eis aphesin hamartiôn).

In other words, John preached the possibility of forgiveness of sins on the condition of repentance; the reception of this offer of forgiveness was expressed symbolically by submitting to being dipped in water (the Jordan River) by John. This accounts for why John received the epithet "the baptizer" or "the dipper." (For use of the metaphor of washing with water to convey the idea of eschatological cleansing from sin, see Ezek 36:25-29a; Isa 4:3-5; 1QS 4.19-22.)

So it is explained that Jews from Judea and Jerusalem submitted to being baptized by John while confessing their sins (Mark 1:5; Matt 3:6).
John did not believe sins were forgiven because of his followers were baptized but rather they were baptized because of their repentance.

John the Baptist even pointed to belief in Christ as linked to eternal life and not these ritual cleansings.

In John 3 we find this account:

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An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."
**** Notice that his disciples were discussing mikvehs and were also concerned about the baptisms of Jesus.

Of which part of John's response to his disciples is:

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34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
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It should be noted that there exists a reference to John the Baptist in Josephus' Antiquities (18.116-118).

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But to some Jews the destruction of Herod's army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance, for his treatment of John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had put him to death, though he was a good man and had exhorted (keleuonta) the Jews to lead righteous lives (areten epaskousin), to practice justice towards their fellows and piety towards God (ta pros allelous dikaiosune kai pros ton theon eusebeia chromenois), and so doing to join in baptism. In his view this was a necessary preliminary if baptism was to be acceptable to God. They must not employ it to gain pardon for whatever sins they committed, but as a consecration of the body (hagneia tou somatos) implying that the soul was already thoroughly cleansed by righteousness.
One commentary about Josephus remarks states:

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Although he often accommodates his language to Hellenistic thought in his description of Jewish theological beliefs, thereby causing some distortion of meaning, Josephus seems to give an accurate description of the content of John's message. Probably only John's alleged distinction between the cleansing of the "soul" and the "body" is so Hellenized as to need paraphrasing into more Semitic expression. Josephus makes four points about John's message.

* John exhorted Jews to begin to live righteous lives towards one another and towards God. In other words, John preached the necessity of what Jews referred to as repentance (teshuvah), the turning from sin to obedience to the Law.

* John required that those who responded to his exhortation to undergo an immersion in water (baptism).

* John insisted that the cleansing of the "soul" resulted from the repentance and not from baptism. As indicated, this manner of expression is Josephus' accommodation to his non-Jewish readership. What he means by the "cleansing of the soul" is the forgiveness of sins, which he insisted was conditional upon repentance and not baptism.

* John's interpretation of the baptism that he required Jews to undergo was that it was a "consecration of the body," seeing that the "soul" was already cleansed by means of repentance. Probably, by the "consecration of the body," Josephus is referring to ritual lustration. If so, John offered the possibility of both forgiveness and ritual purity.
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Source: abu.nb.ca/courses/NTIntro/LifeJ/JohnBaptist.htm
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Lastly ... we go back to the possible attempt to deflect the obvious - aphesis means aphesis.

The writer provides the meaning and context through his word usage ... it is not up to a translator and/or to pick and choose conveniently to separate their significance to fit paradigms thousands of years later.

One detractor stated:

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I agree with you that aphesis is the root word for both "forgiveness" and "remission". My question is: why did the KJV translators draw distinction in their translation of this, and were there any prior translations which did as well?
First this seems to be unique to the KJV and ....

Because language evolves ... these words could have been very much been used as SYNONYMS ... with no intent in making distinctions ... Who was to know that a small few in Christianity would try to make this distinction between forgiveness and remission hundreds of years later?

There is plenty of biblical precedence, evidence and witness that the reception of sin remission at the conversion of man's heart in repentance prior to water baptism (Will post later)

I believe when we agree on the meaning of aphesis... which is conclusively agree upon by Trinitarian and Oneness scholars like Bernard and Segraves that trying to separate forgiveness and remission is unsound even contextually ...

and the fact that forgiveness/remission is linked to repentance ...

that we can give a more bible based examination at what meaning to give to the preposotion "eis" ... in Acts 2:38

Let's keep the horse in front of the cart.

SDG 09-06-2008 10:20 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
The following is a post from our friend, Shelby Smith (Adino) ...

I think it merits examination in light of this thread ....

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A post exploring the reception of sin remission at the conversion of man's heart in repentance prior to water baptism:

The idea that forgiveness of sins is received at repentance permeates the NT. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each make the point that forgiveness is received at repentance by quoting from Isaiah 6:10.

Isaiah 6:10

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

To understand with the heart and “convert” in Isaiah 6:10 meant to “return to God in faith” or to “repent”. To “be healed” meant to be “made whole” or to be “made free from error or sin.” It meant to be forgiven.

Isaiah 6:10

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert (i.e., repent), and be healed (i.e., forgiven).

Those who repented would be forgiven.

Matthew 13:15

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal (i.e., forgive) them.

See also Mark 4:11-12 (which uses “forgiven”); John 12:37-40; and Acts 28:23-29.

To authors Matthew, Mark, Luke (in Acts), and John, “the heart” turning back to God in repentance brought healing / forgiveness.

Acts 3:19

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Forgiveness is received when the repenting heart converts to faith in Christ.

Luke 24:47

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

The phrase “repentance and remission of sins” in the Nestle Aland Greek version of Luke 24:47 is “metanoia eis aphesis” which is everywhere else interpreted “repentance FOR (EIS) the remission of sins.”

Mark 1:4

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for (eis) the remission of sins.

Luke 3:3

And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for (eis) the remission of sins;

John’s baptism pointed to repentance which was FOR the remission of sins.

There is strong evidence to suggest that Luke 24:47 teaches that “repentance FOR (EIS) the remission of sins” was to be preached through faith in the name of Jesus!

Acts 10:43

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

The repenting heart returning to God via faith in Jesus Christ absolutely SHALL receive the remission / forgiveness of sins.


Acts 2:38 supports this conclusion when you realize that the word “repent” is written in the 2nd person plural, the phrase “be baptized” in the 3rd person singular, and the phrase “for the remission of sins” again in the 2nd person plural.

It is grammatically sound to realize that the 2nd person plural phrases are connected while the insertion of a 3rd person singular phrase is parenthetical. Meaning, sin remission is to be connected to repentance and not to water baptism. Baptism becomes a parenthetical insertion as that which points to the forgiveness received when the repenting heart converts to faith in God through Jesus Christ.

SDG 09-06-2008 10:23 AM

Re: The Remission is Different from Forgiveness My
 
The following video delves into the ramifications of apheisis along with the grammatical structure and intent of Peter's words in Acts 2:38:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8Urzmrq8zw


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