Tag Archives: Acts 2:38

Apostate = the wrong way

In junior high I had a good Catholic friend at a time when the Roman church taught that Protestants were going to hell because they were “apostates.”  (The church gave up those notions in time.)  What the Pope meant was this – you have rejected the standards and teaching of this denomination.

Apostate comes from two Greek words – “apo,” which means away from, and “stat” the root for state, or standard from which we get words like Pakistan, and station.    Martin Luther entitled his opposition to church doctrine, Here I Stand, a new theological position.  In brief Luther’s stand was this – faith is not a body of man-made laws, or even the words and works of the finest historical minds of the Western Church.  By faith alone in God’s word we are saved – period.

So much for theology.  What does this mean in real life?  Last year a friend told me about an elderly woman who was sorry, even guilty for the shabby way she had treated her brother’s wife; she felt she had contributed to their divorce.  So now she supports the new wife as her way of compensating for her previous mistakes.

This is an example of apostate behavior.  Not doing it God’s way. (PS It is not a denominational thing at all.)

The Bible says if you have sinned against someone you go to that person and ask for forgiveness. (Matt 5:23) It is not a complicated process.  You don’t substitute kind and generous behavior to a totally different and unrelated person as a way of dealing with your own sin.  Simply put – the apostate substitutes his word for God’s and since we only have the Bible to know God’s way, we must go back to it for our standards.

There is a way that seems right to man but the way thereof is death.  (Prov 14:12) Without God’s way there are no God-results.  It doesn’t affect heaven and hell but it does improve life here and places you in line for His blessings.

Galatians says we are no longer under the law if we walk in the spirit, but we are to observe “ordinances.” There is a specific order in which things are done in a Godly manner.   A friend once said she was baptized as a child; I reminded her that the Bible says, “repent and be baptized,” (Acts 2:38) NOT `”be baptized and repent.”  She laughed and was baptized along with 100 other people in a giant swimming pool that afternoon.  Was she required to do this to be saved?  Of course not, but there are benefits in the spirit for doing things “decently and in order.”  (1 Corinthians 14:40)

2 Corinthians 13:5 says examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.  Here is a chance to read the Bible looking for Divine Order.  There may be a problem in the way things have been done in your past.  How simple to find the clues and redo it once again in the proper order.  If so, you will grow.

You will find this as a chapter in an e-book on apologetics at Amazon, Book Baby, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other vendors.

The Man who made a Cake Mix using both Eggs and Shells

eggs-mixerIn China I found some locals would eat quail eggs, shells and all, but I never saw that in the USA.  Housewives will chuckle over a young bachelor making his cake with the shells and eggs, but we applaud him for following the directions.  The box did say to add two eggs to the mix, didn’t it?

We could certainly use the same attention to details for Christians.  Built into the Bible in addition to promises, history, poetry and prophecy is Process.  There are in most cases a right way to do something.  The Bible has been called the Manufacturer’s Handbook which we pull out only after we have a crack up of some sort.  Then we learn we did things backwards or ignored the correct process entirely.

Speaking to a group of Bible study women a few years ago I told them of a young man who was surprised to learn that now that he was saved he could not have sex with anyone except a legal wife.  The ladies were in shock – but so was I, that they didn’t know this.  It’s in the Bible and it is quite clear.

The moral law is in effect no matter who you are, or your age or background.  If you are ignorant of the law, you are not spared its results.  And wishy-washy ministers who say the Law is no more are quite wrong. In Romans 3 we read “The straight edge of the Law shows us how crooked we are.” (Phillips translation)  God keeps the law around to remind us of how much we need Him to change our hearts.

Laws continue no matter.  When the policeman stops you for running a stop sign and you say “I didn’t see it” do you get out of the ticket?  Probably not.  The law is applied regardless of your knowledge or ignorance.  The $200 fine should impress on your mind the value of knowing the rules.

No one is saved by being baptized, and no one is not saved if they failed to be baptized. But more often than not, the process is ignored.  This scripture says,

Acts 2:38 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.”
I was dressed in my swimsuit and preparing to be baptized with 50 other people in a giant swimming pool in Georgia.  My friend said she had already been baptized.  Then I quoted this scripture. It says to repent first.  Did you repent as a baby?
Without a word she turned around and went to put on her bathing suit. That was fast.  She saw immediately that process is important. How many people have joined a church and never repented, or been baptized and say they are saved.  Baptism comes after salvation not before. Baptism is a verification of what God has already done in your heart.
The most famous person to not be baptized is the thief on the cross.  Jesus said “today you will be in the Kingdom with me.”  Of course the thief could not leave his cross to find water?
God looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
People ask, how does God save people who never hear about Him? do they all go to hell?  That scripture is your answer.  God looks at the heart, and He alone is the judge of the whole earth.
You however are responsible for what you know. When you learn to follow the process you will be drawn into a greater level of holiness. and with that comes understanding.  You may need to eat a few nasty egg shells before you learn your lessons, but you can still learn.