I mentioned in yesterday’s post a couple of helpful sermon outlines in the flyleaves of an old Bible. I wanted to share them because they are so helpful and practical. Unfortunately I did not date them, but they were from sermons by Dr. Mark Minnick, whose ministry we sat under and were blessed by from about 1979 to 1993 or so. These are just the “bare bones” of the messages. One explains why baptism does not save us, and the other is about confession of sin.
Neither of these is meant to be an exhaustive study of every verse on the topic. If anything doesn’t make sense or sound right, it is most likely due to my faulty note-taking.
Why We Know Baptism Does Not Save
1. Paul makes a distinction between baptism and the gospel:
I Corinthians 1:14-17: “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
2. Baptism isn’t included in the definition of the gospel:
I Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”
3. The condition for baptism is belief: belief comes first:
Acts 8:36: “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
4. I Peter 3: 20 says that baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” In itself it doesn’t cleanse us: it is usually just the first act of obedience after salvation.
5. Our salvation is by grace, through faith, not through any works of ours.
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Galatians 2:16: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Baptism is immensely important as a symbol of our identification with Christ, but it is symbolic. (For more on this subject, this is an excellent explanation).
Confession of Sin
What is sin?
1. Failure to glorify God
2. Failure to believe God
Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Romans 14:23b: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
— Making decisions out of a faithless heart.
— Acting apart from faith.
— Letting fears keep us from doing what we ought to do.
3. Failure to do good.
James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
4. Failure to do righteousness.
I John 5:17a: “All unrighteousness is sin.”
5. Acting against conscience.
–Offending the conscience of self or others.
— An act not done on good faith before God.
Romans 14:22-23: “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
I Corinthians 8:12: “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”
6. Offense against the law.
I John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
Consequences of sin and failure to confess
1. Broken fellowship.
2. Lost prosperity: Proverbs 28:13: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (See also Psalm 38, I Corinthians 11:23-32, James 5:14-20.) (My aside: this isn’t saying all trouble is a result of sin in the life of the person experiencing the trouble [e.g., Job] but all sin in the life will bring trouble.)
3. Irremedial chastisement: II Chronicles 36:16: “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
Why people do not confess sin
1. They reject God’s definitions.
2. They rationalize away their guilt.
— They don’t “feel convicted,” they think they’re a special case, they were born with the problem. The point is, what does God’s Word say about it?
— They’ve shut their ears from hearing Him for so long that they don’t hear Him any more.
— Romans 2:1-5: They have experienced His goodness and forbearance and therefore think they are all right instead of realizing He is being gracious.
— Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
— Luke 18:9-14: the publican and the Pharisee. “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
4. Fear of consequences
— Leviticus 26:40-42: “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”
Proverbs 28:13: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This isn’t in these notes, but I have heard many times over that to confess here means to say the same thing about our sin that God does: not to sugarcoat it, make excuses, downplay it, but to acknowledge that what we did was a sin against God.