A Study Of Baptism As It Relates To The Thief On The Cross ( Luke 23:32-43 ) Can You Trust A Thief?
Religious Confusion Faith Only Confess belief in Christ and pray “sinner’s prayer” Accept Jesus into heart as personal savior Grace Only (“Unconditional Election”) Belief that God’s grace is only available to a select, predetermined favored few (“the elect”), chosen before the foundations of the world ( impossible for individual to change his/her destiny ). Faith Only Grace Only Morality No religious belief / affiliation necessary Just live a good, honest moral life Do lots of good works
Religious Confusion Faith Only Grace Only Morality BUT... No disputing that in our religiously diverse society, the biblical doctrine of baptism is a major “stumbling block” to many.
Can You Trust A Thief? When discussing baptism, you will (sooner or later) come face to face with the thief on the cross Integral part of the doctrine of many religious fellowships Many place their hope of salvation in the conversion experience of the thief Even “non-religious” people object to baptism by drawing reference to the thief Question is worthy of consideration Can You Trust A Thief?
Other Religious Groups Churches Of Christ Saved AfterSaved Before Cannot Be Saved Without Can Be Saved Without EssentialNon-Essential Thief On The Cross Is A Major Factor In This Division B A P T I S M
The Text (12 of 31,102 verses KJV) “ the other on the left. 34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. ” (Luke 23:32-43) “ 32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and
( Grievous Error To Look To The Thief ) Look To The Christ Of The Cross anynone other name No Other Name But CHRIST “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) All authorityme No Other Authority But CHRIST “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18, ASV) thethethe but by me No Other Way But CHRIST “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6)
Is The Thief A Valid Example Of New Testament Conversion? “But the thief on the cross was saved without being baptized ” Argument Against Baptism
How Do We Answer The Objection? try the spirits “ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world ” (1 John 4:1) If in “trying the spirits” we find just ONE reason why the thief is not a valid example of NT conversion, that answers the objection (will offer FOUR reasons)
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #1 To say thief was saved without being baptized is to make a statement of conjecture and/or opinion (no “book-chapter-verse”) One can just as easily assume that the thief was baptized, as to assume he was not baptized all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him“ 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.” ( Mark 1:4-5 ) Fact - we simply do not know the baptismal state of the thief, for the bible is silent on the matter! No Man Lives Who Can Prove The Thief Was Not Baptized
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #2 “ 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” ( 2 Tim 3:16-17 ) Since the Bible is “ inspired of God - ASV, 1901 ” (lit. God Breathed), it can not (and does not) contradict itself! To deny the necessity of baptism for the sinner under the new covenant of Christ puts one in direct opposition to numerous inspired passages of scripture (to be noted momentarily) Fact - conclusion drawn based on the thief is false because it contradicts clear Bible teaching! Argument Is In Clear Contradiction To Numerous Other Bible Passages
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #3 Jesus, while upon earth, had power to forgive sin, and to do so on whatever terms he so desired hath power upon earth to forgive sins“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house” (Luke 5:24) Instruction to the thief, “ Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise ” ( Luke 23:43 ) Thief not commanded to be baptized, but for every person who has lived following the DBR of Christ - baptism has been commanded Jesus Did Not Command The Thief To Be Baptized
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #3 (Cont.) Bible pictures baptism as being unified with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection ( Rom 6:3-6 ) Christ still alive when the thief was told he would be with Christ in paradise Christ not dead, Christ not buried, Christ not risen, great commission to yet given, Christ not ascended back to Heaven Baptism in the name of (i.e. by the authority of) Christ for remission of sins was instituted as part of the NT law following the DBR of Jesus Fact - had Jesus commanded thief to be baptized, thief could have been saved no other way! Jesus Did Not Command The Thief To Be Baptized
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #4 Thief Lived & Died Under OT Law Of Moses, Not NT Law Of Christ Patriarchal (Adam To Moses), represented by “Abraham” Mosacial (Moses To DBR Of Christ) - “Old Covenant” Christian (DBR of Christ To Judgement) - “New Covenant” Thief Lived/Died Prior To New Covenant NT Baptism Instituted in giving of commission (Matt 28:18-20) First application - Pentecost (Acts 2) 40 Days Prior To Ascension (showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs - Acts 1:3)
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #4 (Cont.) Thief Lived & Died Under OT Law Of Moses, Not NT Law Of Christ At what point was the OT law fulfilled? “ Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross ” ( Col 2:14 ) How do we know that the OT was still in effect when Christ told the thief he would be with Him in paradise? “ 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. ” ( Heb 9:16-17 )
Thief Not Valid Example of NT Conversion Reason #4 (Cont.) Thief Lived & Died Under OT Law Of Moses, Not NT Law Of Christ Christ - in death, took away OT / established NT, “ Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second ” ( Heb 10:9 ) Christians today are “Married” to Christ, Not Moses, “ 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another,even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. ” (Rom 7:4) Fact - Thief lived and died being subject to the OT law of Moses, not the NT law of Christ!
Is The Thief A Valid Example Of New Testament Conversion? Absolutely Not! No man can prove the thief was not baptized (bible silent) Argumentation is in clear contradiction / opposition to numerous bible passages Thief not instructed to be baptized (as all have been following DBR of Christ) Lived / Died subject to OT law of Moses, not NT law of Christ
What JESUS Says About Baptism baptizing them all thingsI have commanded “ 18 … All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. ” (Matt 28:18-20) andis baptized “ 15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. ” (Mark 16:15-16) Great(Unlimited)CommissionGreat(Unlimited)Commission
What Inspired Writers (Holy Spirit Of God) Said About Baptism teachbaptizing What Jesus Said To Do “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost… ” (Matt 28:18-19) be baptized in the name of Jesus Christremission of sins First Application Of Commission “ 37 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. ” (Acts 2:37-38) Remission = Forgiveness / Pardon Strongs / Thayer were baptized Crowd’s Response “they that gladly received his word were baptized: ” (Acts 2:41) Did Not Argue Over The Baptismal Status Of The Theif!
What Inspired Writers (Holy Spirit Of God) Said About Baptism be baptizedwash away thy sins Purpose - Washing Away Of Sin “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us Purpose - Salvation “ 20... when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:20-21)
What Inspired Writers (Holy Spirit Of God) Said About Baptism baptized intoput on Getting INTO and PUTTING on Christ “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27) In every case, baptism precedes salvation
What Inspired Writers (Holy Spirit Of God) Said About Baptism baptism faith operation of God Water Salvation? “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12) not the putting away of the filth of the fleshanswer of a good conscience toward God “(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21) baptized into one body Final Act Of Obedience That Places Us In The Church “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13) Body is the Church (Col 1:18) Church is the Body (Eph 1:22-23) One Body (Eph 4:4)
What God’s Word Says About Baptism Jesus commandedJesus commanded (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16) For remission of sinFor remission of sin (Acts 2:38) How sins are washed awayHow sins are washed away (Acts 22:16) Saves usSaves us (1 Pet 3:21) Puts one into ChristPuts one into Christ (Gal 3:27) How one puts on ChristHow one puts on Christ (Gal 3:27) Entrance to the Churchadded by GodEntrance to the Church (1 Cor 12:13), added by God (Acts 2:47) Salvation by faith in the operation of Godnot the element of water itselfSalvation by faith in the operation of God (Col 2:12), not the element of water itself (answer of a good conscience toward God - 1 Pet 3:21)
New Testament Conversions After DBR Of Christ / Great Commission 1. Pentecost, Baptism (Acts 2) 2. Samaria, Baptism (Acts 8) 3. Eunuch, Baptism (Acts 8) 4. Paul, Baptism (Acts 9,22,26) 5. Cornelius, Baptism (Acts 10) 6. Lydia, Baptism (Acts 16) 7. Jailer, Baptism (Acts 16) 8. Crispus/Corinthians, Baptism (Acts 18) 9. Disciples at Ephesus, Baptism (Acts 19) Rom 10:10 Righteousness Acts 11:18 Life Rom 10:10 Salvation UNTO INTO