Acts 22:16
And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
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(16) Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.—Here, again, we have words which are not in the narrative of Acts 9. They show that for the Apostle that baptism was no formal or ceremonial act, but was joined with repentance, and, faith being presupposed, brought with it the assurance of a real forgiveness. In St. Paul’s language as to the “washing” (or, bath) of regeneration (Titus 3:5) we may trace his continued adherence to the idea which he had thus been taught to embrace on his first admission to the Church of Christ.

Calling on the name of the Lord.—The better MSS. give simply, “calling upon His name,” i.e., the name of the Just One whom St. Paul had seen. The reading in the Received text probably arose from a wish to adapt the phrase to the language of Acts 2:21.

22:12-21 The apostle goes on to relate how he was confirmed in the change he had made. The Lord having chosen the sinner, that he should know his will, he is humbled, enlightened, and brought to the knowledge of Christ and his blessed gospel. Christ is here called that Just One; for he is Jesus Christ the righteous. Those whom God has chosen to know his will, must look to Jesus, for by him God has made known his good-will to us. The great gospel privilege, sealed to us by baptism, is the pardon of sins. Be baptized, and wash away thy sins; that is, receive the comfort of the pardon of thy sins in and through Jesus Christ, and lay hold on his righteousness for that purpose; and receive power against sin, for the mortifying of thy corruptions. Be baptized, and rest not in the sign, but make sure of the thing signified, the putting away of the filth of sin. The great gospel duty, to which by our baptism we are bound, is, to seek for the pardon of our sins in Christ's name, and in dependence on him and his righteousness. God appoints his labourers their day and their place, and it is fit they should follow his appointment, though it may cross their own will. Providence contrives better for us than we do for ourselves; we must refer ourselves to God's guidance. If Christ send any one, his Spirit shall go along with him, and give him to see the fruit of his labours. But nothing can reconcile man's heart to the gospel, except the special grace of God.And now why tarriest thou? - Why dost thou delay, or wait any longer? These words are not recorded by Luke in Acts 9, where he has given an account of the conversion of Paul; but there is nothing here contradictory to his statement.

And wash away thy sins - Receive baptism as emblematic of the washing away of sins. It cannot be intended that the external rite of baptism was sufficient to make the soul pure, but that it was an ordinance divinely appointed as expressive of the washing away of sins, or of purifying the heart. Compare Hebrews 10:22. Sinners are represented in the Scriptures as defiled or polluted by sin. "To wash away the sins" denotes "the purifying of the soul from this polluted influence," 1 Corinthians 6:11; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 7:14; Isaiah 1:16; Psalm 51:2, Psalm 51:7.

Calling on the name of the Lord - For pardon and sanctification, Romans 10:13, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It was proper that this calling on the name of the Lord should be connected with the ordinance of baptism. That ordinance was emblematic of a purifying which the Lord only could produce. It is proper that the rite of baptism should be attended with extraordinary prayer; that he who is to be baptized should make it the occasion of special and very solemn religious exercises. The external rite will avail nothing without the pardoning mercy of God.

16. be baptized and wash away thy sins—This way of speaking arises from baptism being the visible seal of remission.

calling on the name of the Lord—rather, "having called," that is, after having done so; referring to the confession of Christ which preceded baptism, as Ac 8:37.

Wash away thy sins; as washing causeth the spots to disappear, and to be as if they had not been, Isaiah 1:18; so does pardoning mercy, or remission of sins, which accompanieth baptism, as in the due receiver, Matthew 3:11 1 Peter 3:21,22. Where true faith is, together with the profession of it by baptism, there is salvation promised, Mark 16:16. In the mean while it is not the water, (for that only signifies), but it is the blood of Christ, which is thereby signified, that cleanseth us from our sins, as 1Jo 1:7. Yet sacraments are not empty and deceitful signs; but God accompanieth his own ordinances with his power from on high, and makes them effectual for those great things for which he instituted and appointed them.

Calling on the name of the Lord; Christ, to whom by baptism he was to be dedicated. And now why tarriest thou?.... Though it might not be the apostle's case, yet it is often the case of many, to procrastinate and delay obedience to the commands of Christ, and particularly to the ordinance of baptism: the reasons of which delay are, the strength of their corruptions, and the weakness of their graces, which cause them to question whether they have any interest in Christ; as also fears of falling away, and so of dishonouring Christ, his Gospel, and ordinance: and in some the reproaches of men; and sometimes such a delay is made, waiting for more comfortable frames, or for a greater fitness; but no such delay, nor on such accounts, ought to be; for it is a command of Christ, and ought to be forthwith complied with, as soon as a man believes; and to obey it is a following of Christ, in which no time should be lost: and the consequences of a delay are very bad: it is a prevention of the glory of Christ, as well as shows ingratitude to him, and a bereaving of ourselves of that comfort, which might be hoped to be enjoyed; and it often induces a carelessness about the ordinance, and even a losing the sense of the duty:

arise, and be baptized; this shows that Ananias was a Christian, since he directs to an ordinance of Christ, and that he was a preacher of the word, and had a right to administer baptism; for that it was administered by him, though not in express terms yet seems to be naturally concluded from Acts 9:18 as also this passage shows, that baptism was not administered by sprinkling, since Saul might have sat still, and have had some water brought to him, and sprinkled on him; but by immersion, seeing he is called upon to arise, and go to some place proper and convenient for the administration of it, according to the usage of John, and the apostles of Christ. "And wash away thy sins"; or "be washed from thy sins"; not that it is in the power of man to cleanse himself from his sins; the Ethiopian may as soon change his skin, or the leopard his spots, as a creature do this; nor is there any such efficacy in baptism as to remove the filth of sin; persons may submit unto it, and yet be as Simon Magus was, in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; but the ordinance of baptism, may be, and sometimes is, a means of leading the faith of God's children to the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin;

calling on the name of the Lord; the name of the Lord is not only to be used by the administrator of baptism in the performance of it; but it should be called upon by the person who submits to it, both before and at the administration of it, for the presence of Christ in it; and this invocation of the name of the Lord in baptism, signifies an exercise of faith in Christ at this time, a profession of him, and obedience to him.

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Acts 22:16. Τί μέλλεις;] Why tarriest thou? μέλλειν so used only here in the N.T.; frequent in the classics. The question is not one of reproach, but of excitement and encouragement.

ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτ. σου] let thyself be baptized and (thereby) wash away thy sins. Here, too, baptism is that by means of which the forgiveness of the sins committed in the pre-Christian life takes place.[136] Comp. Acts 2:38; Ephesians 5:26; and see on 1 Corinthians 6:11. Calvin inserts saving clauses, in order not to allow the grace to be bound to the sacrament. As to the purposely-chosen middle forms, comp. on 1 Corinthians 10:2.

ἐπικαλ. τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ] Wolf appropriately explains: “postquam invocaveris atque ita professus fueris nomen Domini (as the Messiah). Id scilicet antecedere olim debebat initiationem per baptismum faciendam.”

[136] Comp. the Homeric ἀπολυμαίνεσθαι, Il. i. 113 f., and Nägelsbach in loc.Acts 22:16. καὶ νῦν: so by St. Paul in Acts 20:22; Acts 20:25, Acts 26:6, Acts 16:37, Acts 13:11; also found in Acts 3:17, Acts 10:5, but no instances in Luke’s Gospel of καὶ νῦν beginning a sentence, Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 145.—τί μέλλεις: only here in this sense in N.T., cf. 4Ma 6:23; 4Ma 9:1, and so often in classical Greek, Aesch., Prom., 36, etc.—ἀναστὰς, see Acts 5:17.—βάπτισαι: middle voice (so perhaps in 1 Corinthians 10:2, W.H[368] text, but passive in margin, as Blass), as a rule naturally in the passive, “to be baptised,” cf. Acts 9:18, but the convert in “getting baptised” was conceived as doing something for himself, not merely as receiving something (Simcox, Language of the N.T., pp. 97, 98), so apparently Blass, Gram., p. 182, or the middle may mean that he submitted himself to Christian Baptism, Bethge, p. 197, and Alford.—ἀπόλουσαι: also middle, cf. Acts 2:38, and 1 Corinthians 6:11, the result of the submission to Baptism, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 5:26.—ἐπικαλ., cf. p. 81, on the significance of the phrase. This calling upon the name of Christ, thus closely connected with Baptism and preceding it, necessarily involved belief in Him, Romans 10:14. There is no contradiction in the fact that the commission to the Apostleship here and in 9 comes from Ananias, whilst in 26 he is not mentioned at all, and the commission comes directly from the mouth of the Lord. It might be sufficient simply to say “quod quis per alium facit id ipse fecisse putatur,” but before the Roman governor it was likely enough that the Apostle should omit the name of Ananias and combine with the revelation at his conversion and with that made by Ananias other and subsequent revelations, cf. Acts 26:16-18. Festus might have treated the vision to Ananias with ridicule, Agrippa would not have been influenced by the name of a Jew living in obscurity at Damascus (Speaker’s Commentary).

[368] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.16. why tarriest thou?] According to the narrative in Acts 9:15 the message of Ananias had already proclaimed the gift of the Holy Ghost to Saul, and the favour of God had been shewn in the recovery of his sight. So the question of Ananias becomes parallel to that of St Peter in the house of Cornelius: “Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

arise, and be baptized] Though the gift of the Spirit was announced, yet God directs that the means of grace, the sacrament of baptism, which the Apostle must offer to others, should also be received by himself.

and wash away thy sins] The close connexion of the sacramental sign with renewing grace is spoken of in like terms by the Apostle in his Epistle to Titus (Acts 3:5) “according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

calling on the name of the Lord] The oldest authorities give “calling on His name,” which refers back to “the Just One.” Probably the Textus Receptus is due to a desire to make the phrase accordant with Acts 2:21.Acts 22:16. Τί μέλλεις, why tarriest thou?) Quickly, saith he, strive to pass from a state of grief to a state of peace.—ἀπόλουσαι, wash away) receiving baptism.Verse 16. - His Name for the Name of the Lord, A.V. and T.R. Wash away thy sins; ἀπόλουσαι, only here and in 1 Corinthians 6:11, where it is found in exactly the same sense of "washing away sins" (see vers. 9, 10) in holy baptism. Hence the λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας, "the washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5; comp. Ephesians 5:26; and see Acts 2:38, note). Calling on his Name (ἐπικαλεσάμενος); see Acts 2:21; Acts 7:59, note; Acts 9:14, 21; Romans 10:12, 13, 14; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:22: 1 Peter 1:17, all texts distinctly justifying prayer to the Lord Jesus. Wash away (ἀπόλουσαι)

See on Acts 16:33.

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