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12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ 

 

Verses 12-16 give the role of Ananias in Paul’s conversion. Paul did not relate the vision that came to Ananias (Acts 9:10-16) but rather Ananias’s visiting him.  

22:12 

“Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,  

Paul asserted his credibility by referencing Ananias, who had a good testimony with all the Jews in Damascus. This man adhered strictly to the “law” (Torah). The apostle did not tell his Jewish audience that Ananias became a Christian (Acts 9:10).  

22:13 

came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 

Paul told of an encounter with Ananias in Damascus, who had a good reputation among Jews there. This man restored Paul’s blindness.  

22:14 

Then he [Ananias] said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.  

Ananias told Paul that God chose him and the apostle would know “His will,” and that he would see the “Just One” and hear His voice (Acts 9:15). It was the historical God of the Jews who made this promise to the apostle.  

The Just One is a title used in the Old Testament of the suffering servant passages. Only One who is just can justify people.  

22:15 

For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 

Ananias continued to tell Saul that he would be a “witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” The apostle would become a witness to the world about his experience on the Damascus Road.  

22:16 

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ 

Ananias challenged Paul to be baptized without delay. If Paul called on the Lord’s name, his sins would be forgiven. It should be noted that the Greek word for “calling on” refers either to an action simultaneous with or before that of the main verb (aorist participle). God wiped away Paul’s sin by “calling on the name of the Lord,” not by baptism. Both imperatives “arise” and “be baptized” follow “calling” in Greek grammar. 

Thus, there are two commands, each associated with a participle taken as a command. The command “be baptized” relates to “arise.” “Wash away your sins” relates to the words “calling on the name of the Lord.” Therefore, baptism does not cleanse a believer from sin, but calling on the Lord by faith does. We could translate this sentence as “having gotten up, be baptized; having called on the name of the Lord, be cleansed from your sins.”  

PRINCIPLE: 

No one is saved by water baptism.  

APPLICATION: 

The question is whether this passage affirms baptismal regeneration: Is one saved by water baptism? Water baptism did not save Paul because he was already a Christian (Acts 22:10). Also, he was filled with the Spirit before his baptism with water (Acts 9:17-18). Again, the Greek for “calling on” indicates that his calling preceded his water baptism (aorist participle). We could translate the Greek phrase “having called on His name.” Since Paul was already cleansed, baptism symbolized salvation, which pictures what God had done to save the soul. The believer died with Christ, was buried with Him, and raised in Him. “Calling on the name of the Lord” is the basis for baptism.  

Put another way, we can translate this sentence as “Having arisen [aorist participle], be baptized.” Then, “Wash away your sins, having called [aorist participle] on the name of the Lord.” Thus, the arising precedes baptism, and calling on the name of the Lord precedes forgiveness.  

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