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January 21, 2011PETER AND HIS PENTECOSTAL BAPTISTERY
by Russell S. Miller
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you... 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" (I Cor. 15:3,4).
Paul had not only "received" his Gospel, but he also "delivered" his Gospel, which was also "received" by the saints at Corinth. But a most interesting aspect about the gospel that Paul preached is found in the context of I Corinthians 15:3,4. Peter, the Apostle of the Circumcision, "Cephas" (I Cor. 15:5), had come to understand the Gospel that Paul preached, and he had also come to see that circumcision and the Law was no longer necessary for salvation.
In early Acts, Peter had preached the resurrection of Christ to sit upon the throne of David's prophesied kingdom (Acts 2:25-31). He did not know what the crucifixion of Jesus Christ had accomplished (Luke 18:34). In early Acts he only knew that "by wicked hands [Israel] had crucified and slain" the Son of God (Acts 2:22-24). Even as late as Peter's visit to see Cornelius in Acts 10, the Apostle Peter did not understand the preaching of the cross. It was through Paul's ministry, and the gospel of the grace of God, that Peter came to see what the finished work of Christ accomplished, and through this knowledge he became a stalwart for the truth.
In Acts 15:7-11 Peter declared that Jews are now saved exactly the same way Gentiles are saved today. No longer does the law, nor repentance and water baptism save. Would to God that all our Baptist friends would come to see the truth of the Mystery as Peter had. These are not the words of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:31, but Peter's own inspired words, to his own countrymen at that Jerusalem Council:
"BUT WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WE SHALL BE SAVED, EVEN AS THEY" (Acts 15:11).
It was no longer salvation through the Jews (John 4:22). And this is why he is called Cephas in Paul's epistles, a "PILLAR" for the truth of God's Word "rightly divided." Listen to Peter's words later written in his first epistle:
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied" (I Peter 1:2).
Thus the Apostle Peter forsakes his Pentecostal baptistery for "the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18,19).
Thus, the Apostle Peter came to understand the importance of the one divine baptism into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, 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. THE LIKE FIGURE WHEREUNTO EVEN BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh [water baptism], but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into Heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him" (I Peter 3:18-22).
Now hear the Apostle Paul's own inspired words concerning the so-called Great Commission and its water baptism:
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of [national] faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of the laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit" (Heb.6:1-3).
Thus Paul, in Hebrews 6:1,2, instructs all Jews to leave the so-called Great Commission with its repentance and water baptism, and come on to "perfection" through "the revelation of Jesus Christ" as revealed in his epistles. And having seen this, Peter gave to Paul and Barnabas "the right hand of fellowship" in Galatians 2:9.
And this, beloved, is consistent with the Apostle Paul's words in I Corinthians 15:3,4, and "the Gospel which [he] preached unto you" that "CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES."