FRIEND, IT IS ONLY THROUGH GOD'S WORD, the Bible, that a person learns how
to get saved and go to Heaven when they die. Therefore, it is important that God's
Word be clear and concise, free of ambiguities. We can't very well trust our eternity-
bound souls to a Bible whose uncertainties can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Of course, the devil would love for us to misinterpret God's Word. The Bible, referring
to Satan, says, "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field
which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman [EVE], Yea, hath God
said[?]" (Gen. 3:1). From the beginning, the devil has always tried to cast doubt on
God's Word; often, in a very subtle way. That's why the devil loves the confusion
created by all the different Bible versions on the market today. The most popular among
them is the New International Version, also known as the NIV.
If you use an NIV, perhaps you bought it because it is advertised as a translation that
strives for "the fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers." Perhaps you first tried to
read the King James Version (KJV), with its emphasis on "word-for-word translation,"
and felt it was difficult to understand. However, it's more important to know God's
exact words than the writer's "thoughts or intent." The NIV's attempt to provide the
thought-behind-the-words has lead to verses whose wording is ambiguous and
misleading to the reader. As you will learn, such ambiguities subtly work in Satan's
For example . . .
Many denominations will baptize an infant, believing that baptism makes one a child
of God--the common assumption being that baptism saves. However, God's Word
states otherwise. In Acts 13:24, the KJV says that John the Baptist preached, and thus
baptized with, the "baptism of repentance[.]" Meaning, he only baptized those who had
previously repented of their sins--those already saved. (see Matt. 3:8 and Luke 3:8).
In fact, if you study God's Word, you will find that repentance and faith were always
PREREQUISITE to baptism. People in the Bible were saved BEFORE getting baptized;
their baptism was a public testimony "of" their "repentance toward God, and faith
toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
Now, the devil knows that most man-made religions insist on teaching that baptism
saves. So along comes Acts 13:24 in the NIV and instead of stating, "baptism of
repentance" it states, "Repentance AND baptism." By stating "AND," the NIV implies
that baptism is as much of a requirement as repentance. Thus, in the reader's mind,
baptism plays a vital role in his/her salvation. To those already assuming that baptism
saves, the NIV's wording subtly re-enforces their misconception rather than challenging
it--and the devil knows it!
LET'S LOOK AT MORE EXAMPLES as we compare the NIV against the less ambiguous
King James Version (KJV). You will see how clearly defined, and "black and white" the
KJV is compared to the NIV. And as we examine these two Bibles, ask yourself:
Who benefits from the NIV's subtle and ambiguous wording, God or Satan? If it were YOUR SOUL on the line, which version would you rather trust, considering
the fact that God will judge you according to His exact Words (John 12:48)?
As a professing Christian, if you were leading someone to Christ, which Bible is more
likely to give the impression that baptism saves?
Judge for yourself . . .
1 PETER 3:21 IS OFTEN QUOTED whenever someone is trying to prove that baptism saves:
KJV - "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"
NIV - "And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of DIRT FROM THE BODY but THE PLEDGE of a good conscience toward God. IT SAVES YOU by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
In context, this verse is referring to how Noah was saved during the flood. Noah's ark is a picture--"a like figure"--of Jesus Christ. The Ark bore the storm of judgment, just as Christ bares the judgment of our sins in His body. Noah was delivered from death unto a new life--a picture of the resurrection.
To baptize means to dip, or to immerse, therefore, it pictures the death, burial, and "the resurrection of Jesus Christ[.]" (See also 1 Cor. 15:1-3). When a born-again Christian is baptized, he/she is picturing the burial of the old life (as they are immersed into the water), and the resurrection of a new life in Christ (as they come back out of the water). (See also Rom. 6:4-5; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:1-3).
Baptism is a public confession that one has ALREADY BEEN SAVED through repentance and faith. After all, if baptism saves, then why did Jesus Christ, Himself, get baptized? Did He need to get saved? No! He did it as "the answer of a good conscience toward God," as we read in 1 Peter 3:21.
Furthermore, God wants to make sure that no one walks away with the misunderstanding that getting baptized will save him. That is why, in 1 Peter 3:21, GOD STRESSED:
"(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)[.]"
"filth" is another word for sin (we will prove that later).
Baptism can't save our soul; it can't wash away sins (Rev. 1:5). But baptism does save our conscience. A true born-again Christian can't live in good conscience with his Lord and Saviour until he/she has followed Christ's example in the first act of obedience toward God--getting baptized!
Having said all this, the NIV's choice of words makes no sense whatsoever. Why would God mention "the removal of DIRT FROM THE BODY," as if that is the first misunderstanding that would pop into someone's head? No one is likely to assume that a person get baptized in order to get cleaned. So why doesn't the NIV use the term: "the filth of the flesh[?]" Many might ask "What's the difference between filth and dirt?" But the answer is A LOT, according to the Bible's ability to define its own terms. Notice what Psalm 14:3 says in the KJV . . .
KJV - "They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Obviously this last verse is saying that we have all become sinners i.e. filthy. (Not dirty, as in needing a bath!) The KJV defines itself. The word filth is defined here as meaning SIN.
When God says that baptism is not, "the putting away of the filth of the flesh," He is saying that baptism doesn't wash away sins. Meanwhile, the NIV has eliminated the fact that filth means sin. Notice the NIV's version of Psalm 14:3:
NIV - "All have turned aside, THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME CORRUPT; there is no one who does good, not even one." The NIV avoids the word "filth" in other verses as well.
Look at Job 15:16:
KJV - "How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?"
NIV - "How much less man, who is VILE AND CORRUPT, who drinks up evil like water!"
Revelation 22:11 . . .
KJV - "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
NIV - "Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is VILE continue to be VILE; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
Now, keep in mind everything you have just learned as you read Romans 6:4-5 . . .
KJV - "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" Baptism pictures Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. It does not put away the filth (sin) of the flesh.
Yet, once again, the NIV's version of this verse is vague, not clearly emphasizing the fact that baptism merely pictures salvation. Instead, the NIV subtly gives the impression that baptism itself saves:
NIV - "We were therefore buried with him THROUGH baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him LIKE THIS IN HIS DEATH, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."
We have already touched upon the fact that baptism, being a public testimony of having been saved, comes AFTER salvation. We see this fact emphasized in Matthew 3:6-8:
KJV - "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:"
NIV - "Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees COMING TO WHERE HE WAS BAPTIZING, he said to them: "You brood of viper! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
In the KJV, we find the Pharisees, the religious leaders at that time, coming to get baptized. John the Baptist knew perfectly well that they were not saved (they had never repented and believed on the coming Christ), so he tells them to get saved first: "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:"
However, because of the NIV's wording we are lead to believe that the Pharisees didn't come to get baptized. They merely came "To where he was baptizing." Therefore, their need of repentance is not stated as a prerequisite to getting baptized. Actually, this doesn't make sense within the narrative, because if the Pharisees had no intention of getting baptized, if they were just spectators, then why would John confront them, commanding them to repent?
The next passage clearly states that salvation precedes baptism. Acts 8:36-38:
KJV - "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? 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. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."
NIV - "As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. WHY SHOULDN'T I BE BAPTIZED? Then both Philip and the chariot.
Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him." [Verse 37 is missing from the NIV]
In the KJV we find the eunuch asking, "what doth hinder me to be baptized?" In response, Philip states that unless the eunuch "believest with all thine heart," he MAY NOT get baptized. Why? Because "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9) Salvation precedes baptism.
How does the NIV treat the same passage? It rips Verse 37 right out, to where there is no prerequisite of salvation placed upon the eunuch. The NIV implies that there is nothing preventing the eunuch from being baptized. That's why he asks, "WHY SHOULDN'T I BE BAPTIZED?"
The bottom line is . . .The Bible simply states: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. Repent], and shalt believe in thine heart [i.e. Faith] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9) Adding baptism or any other act of righteousness to God's simple plan of salvation is exactly what you would expect of the devil--and God knows it. That's why His Word says: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3).
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "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." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because, "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a hell-deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
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