Denominations and Bible printers distort the Word of God. The following is a perfect example why not to trust them. The following commentary for Acts 2:38 was found in a NKJV study Bible at the Lifeway Bible book store.
“‘for the remission of sins’: is Peter saying that we must be baptized to receive forgiveness of our sins? Scripture clearly teaches that we are justified by faith alone, not by works (see Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8,9). The critical word in this phrase is the word FOR, which may also be translated ‘with a view to.’ A comparison of Peter’s message in 10:34-43 makes it clear that ‘remission of sins’ comes to ‘whoever believes.’ Believers are baptized in view of God’s work of forgiveness, not in order to receive that forgiveness. God’s forgiveness in Christ gives baptism its significance. Baptism is a public declaration that a person’s sins have been forgiven because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross. (bold added by me for emphasis)”
Let’s examine this bit of sophistry.
1. Contradicts Acts 2:38: Clearly Peter is saying that the crowd is not saved, not yet, despite the “finished work of Christ on the Cross”, not until the crowd “repents and is baptized”.
2. Contradicts James 2:17-26: The commentary uses other passages of Scripture to disprove Scripture, which are distorted and interpreted falsely. It says, “Scripture clearly teaches that we are justified by faith alone, not by works”. The assertion of salvation by “faith alone” is a contradiction to James 2:17-26 which says we are not justified by “faith alone”. The passages cited in the commentary says we are saved by faith, but not faith “alone”.
3. Confuses general and specific principles. Cherry picking passages from Romans and Ephesians which say we are justified by grace through faith DOESN’T answer the question “what kind of faith?” 1. The commentary might say “faith alone” if the discussion is baptism, but if it then calls for confession, or repentance, or a “sinner’s prayer”, the “faith alone” doctrine based on “the finished work of Christ on the Cross” is contradicted. The author in the commentary isn’t only contradicting the 21st century churches of Christ, he is contradicting Peter. Without Scriptural support, saying that salvation is by “faith alone” ignores that pricked sinners weren’t saved and Peter told them they must repent and be baptized. Now should we believe and say what Peter said, or should we accept erroneous reformation theology? Peter’s specific answer calling for repentance and baptism doesn’t contradict the general principle that salvation is by faith. This is common sense which reformation theology ignores.
4. Defines Greek word EIS and then changes the definition: The commentary correctly says that the Greek EIS can be translated “with a view to” but then it fails to explain the peculiarity of the preposition that it is always used “prospectively” (looking forward, future, “with a view to”), not “retrospectively” (looking backward, past, “in view of”). “With a view to” is prospective, so that repentance and baptism commanded by Peter are done in anticipation of forgiveness – not because (retrospective) their sins are already forgiven. So the commentary doesn’t accurately portray this peculiarity of the preposition EIS. Additionally, it redefines the preposition in mid course saying, “Believers are baptized IN VIEW OF GOD’S WORK OF FORGIVENESS,… (emphasis added by author)” and therein we see the trick used by the false teacher. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to redefine the terms. The Sophists use the correct terms but they mean and he teach something entirely different. “IN VIEW OF” is retrospective, looking back, which the preposition, which was initially defined correctly “with a view to” doesn’t do. The word isn’t accurately translated “in view of“; it is “with a view to“, or towards. It’s a subtle trick the commentary employs to get around Peter’s command to repent and be baptized.
The more we study denominational doctrines, the more we see how upside down is their theology and interpretation of Scripture. The commentary in question seems more interested in defending denominational doctrine than in defending the truth. Countless millions may be led astray by this suppression of truth.
James says, “1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” Jas. 3:1.
Dan Mayfield with an M.A. in Bible has preached the Gospel for the past 20 years in the same congregation in southern Minnesota while enjoying the support of a good woman for the past 31 years, who together have raised their five children, and have added a few sons-in-law and six grandchildren.