Lesson Two, Part 3 – The Forgiveness of Sins

The New Birth

Part 3:  Forgiveness Of Sins


Jesus came into the world to set all things in order, and on course, for “the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and things upon the earth.”  (Eph. 1:10).  He preached the kingdom of God and Himself as the final sin offering and He trained the apostles to preach the same message.  Just before His death, He told them:

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:12, 13

On the first Pentecost after Jesus returned to heaven, Peter was speaking, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Jews who were in Jerusalem to worship God according to the Law of Moses; however, that system, at that point, had fulfilled its usefulness.  Paul said, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”  (Gal. 3:24).

God had put the man dimension of His kingdom under the Law He gave to Moses at Sinai because He had not found faith.  Now He is working, according to our faith, with His church, which is the man dimension of His heavenly kingdom.  Please consider the following scriptures.

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.  Acts 13:38, 39

That the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.  Acts 26:23

The “door of faith” swung wide open when Jesus became king over God’s kingdom, even as wide as it was before God found it necessary to call Abraham.  Thus all nations are now being called by the gospel (Acts 14:27).  The faithless sinners have no program from God except the call of the gospel (II Thess. 2:14).

There are a variety of messages offered by preachers in the “Christian religions” on the new birth, but there is only one revealed in God’s word.  The apostle Peter got his sermon right the first time.  He preached it right because he was guided by the Holy Spirit.  This message was never changed throughout the Bible

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38


The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.  Matt. 13:44

Preachers must present the kingdom of heaven in all its glory, so the hearers can catch a view of the kingdom of God by faith.  When sinners see the life in the kingdom, they will understand they have a serious problem with sin.  If they do not believe they have a problem with sin, they have not understood the correct message of the kingdom, or they have not believed it.  When they change their minds about sin and when they want God’s law of life impressed upon their hearts and minds, God is ready to remove their sins (Heb. 8:10-12).  John the Baptist said,  “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29).  Jesus is willing to take care of all alien sinners’ problems, if they will receive Him.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:11-13

There is only one position open to mankind in God’s eternal kingdom.  It is the exalted and glorious position of a son of God, but first sinners in the world must pass out of death and into life by getting their sins removed (John 5:24).  It is one of the processes in a series of processes which accomplishes the new birth.  Jesus explained one reason why sin must be removed in the following scripture.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.  If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”  John 8:34-36

Slaves of sin can never hope to be His sons, because the proposition is, “You shall be holy, for I am Holy.”  (I Pet. 1:16).  The gospel call is clear,  “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”  (Mark 16:16).  Peter said, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you – not the removal of the dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  (I Pet. 3: 21).

In this lesson we will try to understand exactly what happens in baptism, as a process of the new birth, where God forgives the sins of an alien sinner.  Remember, to be born again means that God will beget him or her from above.  The point we want to understand is, what must happen in order for God to beget a sinner.

To properly appreciate what is being remitted in baptism, we want to be reminded that God is aware of the life of all people, even our secrets (Rom. 2:16).  He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27); even the very hairs of our head are all numbered (Matt. 10:30).  What God knows about a sinner is enough to make any one sick (Rom. 3:10ff).  When God forgives sins He removes that part of the sinner’s past life from His mind.  This is the only kind of forgiveness God offers today; consequently, it is always forgive and forget.  The Greek word APHESIS, which means a sending away, is translated forgiveness (NAS) and remission (KJV).  From God’s point of view in baptism, He will remember their sins no more (Heb. 10:17).  He will not count their trespasses against them (II Cor. 5:19; Phil. 1:7).  Their sins are wiped away (Acts 3:19).  His or her body of sin, or body of flesh, is taken away.

When God wipes that part of the repentant person’s past life away from His memory, then, and then only, does the baptized person have a clean conscience.  He or she now views themselves as God views them.  Since God is now looking upon them without any sin, it is said in the scriptures, that their body of sin is done away (Rom. 6:6).  Their body of flesh is removed (Col. 2:11).  They are healed (I Pet. 2:24).  They are new creatures because God has removed their sins, and now they can look at themselves without that body of sin.  Everything about their self is new because they no longer have the same appearance to God or themselves.  Remember, before they entered into baptism, they repented about the kind of life they wanted to live, the kind of persons they wanted to be, and now they have been baptized for the forgiveness, or remission, of their sins.  They are new creatures in God’s view and their own.  They have passed out of death and into life!

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  II Cor. 5:17

The above is the result of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:5).  Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, “And now why do you delay?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”  (Acts 22:16).

Now let us explore the spiritual mechanics in baptism for the remission of sins.  Just as there are certain persons and equipment in the hospital operating room in order to perform an operation for a malignant tumor, so it is in the forgiveness of sins.  If we visited an operating room at the time of surgery we would expect to see certain persons present every time, and so it is with the remission of sins.  God will always be there.  Jesus will always be present and so will the Holy Spirit.  So what else must be available in this operation to remove sin?

John said, “For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are in agreement.”  (I John 5:8).  Before any one had been born again Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:5).  While eating the Passover with His disciples the night before He died Jesus took a cup and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, “Drink from it all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant which is to be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matt. 26:27, 28).  We can now add the blood of Jesus and water to our list of necessary items.  All we need now is the repentant sinner, and perhaps someone to assist in the immersion of him or her in water.

If we had been on the road to Gaza from Jerusalem at a certain point in time we would have had it all put together before our eyes.  This is what we would have seen with our physical eyes.

And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look!  Water!  What prevents me from being baptized?”  (And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”  And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”)  And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.  Acts 8:36-39

 According to W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word used in this scripture which is translated “baptized” is from the Greek word BAPTIZO.  He said, “to baptize, primarily a frequentative form of BAPTO, to dip, was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another, etc.”  The mode of baptism used in the Bible is the dipping of people in water to the point of total immersion.  If we want to follow the Biblical form of baptism we will practice immersion.

Some “Christian churches” deny the need of this form.  They say literal baptism is salvation by works; however, the same churches may be careful to follow the Bible form in the Lord’s Supper and call it an act of faith.  The fact is that the Christian religious world has been distracted by the “doctrines of men” on baptism.  If we were trying to hold to the Bible form only in the act of baptism, then a “works accusation” might be valid, but it is what spiritually happens underneath the water that we must come to understand and appreciate.

The question of utmost importance is what happens underneath the water in baptism.  This can be seen by our study of the scriptures and through our “eye of faith.”  We must understand, although it is a spiritual activity, things still happen in an orderly manner.  It is not one of those cases where “now you see it, now you don’t.”  Each divine Person plays Their role just as the people do in surgery.

The Holy Spirit is the truth and He bears witness (I John 5:7).  This truth is revealed in God’s word and it produces faith.  Our faith in “what is happening in the water” is what causes this great work of God (Col. 2:12).  Baptism is a work, but it is a work of God, if everything happens according to the Bible.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  The truth about what is happening in the water is clearly revealed in Romans 6:3-11 and Col. 2:9-14.  Please read each of these scriptures carefully.  A re-enactment of the things that happened to Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection happens in the water.  This is the gospel for the alien sinner (I Cor. 15:1-5).

The blood of Jesus is the only item which will give a faithful repentant sinner the remission of sins (Heb. 9:22; 10:1-10).  This is Jesus’ role underneath the water.  The Holy Spirit revealed this truth which must be obeyed.  Faith in the blood of Jesus lets God forgive the sinner’s past sins, that is, remove his old man of sin.  This is God’s role and when this happens the old man is done away.  This is what happens while the repentant sinner is immersed in water in the baptismal process of the new birth.  Why try to separate the form from the process?  Let us simply be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s instructions in the word of God.

Some say that faith in the blood of Jesus is all that is necessary to have the remission of sins; but it should also be noted that Jesus said “the truth will make you free.”  (John 8:32).  The Holy Spirit’s record in the book of Acts of the Apostles reveals that every time the cross was preached, those who believed wanted to be baptized immediately in water.  This applied to the jailer who was told to believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved (Acts 16:30-34).  Why did they want to get into the water?  Because no one has received the freedom of sins until after they have died with Jesus, and no one has been made alive to God until they have remission of sins (Rom. 6:7).  Paul said, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  (Rom. 6:11).

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is the only position open to mankind in God’s eternal kingdom?
  2. How do we know the apostle Peter got his message right the first time?
  3. What was Peter’s message as it is recorded in Acts, chapter two?
  4. What word best sums up the only program of God for the faithless sinner?
  5. What happens in the mind of God as a faithful repentant sinner is baptized?
  6. What should happen in the way we regard ourselves as a result of the correct answer to question five?
  7. How much does God know about everyone?
  8. How is the activity in an operating room during surgery similar to baptism?
  9. Who are the persons who are always present in a baptism, and what do they do?
  10. Give the form and the process of baptism.

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