Acts 8:26-29 records the conversation of the Ethiopian treasurer. Verse 38 makes some things stand out: “And he commanded the chariot to stand still…” has it ever occurred to you that if some things men say today are true, it would have been entirely unnecessary for this man to stop the chariot? Explore this with me.
- If just being a good, honest person is all that it takes. The man must have been a good, honest person to have the job that he did – “under Candace Queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasures…” (Acts 8:27). There was no need to stop the chariot if just being a person of integrity is all that it takes to please God and go to heaven.
- If just being religious is enough. The Ethiopian was a religious man. He “…had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27), a distance of nearly 1,000 miles one way! Most people would thing a fellow like that would already be saved. Why stop the chariot?
- If just reading the Scriptures is all that is required. The man was a Scripture reading man. He was reading Isaiah 53 out loud (Acts 8:28-34). Some think they read the Bible and no more is really necessary. If that be true, whys top the chariot?
- If just hearing preaching saves. True, “…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save…” (1 Corinthians 1:21). The Ethiopian heard preaching as “Philip…preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Some hear a lot of preaching, but do no more. Not this man!
- If justified by faith only. The Ethiopian had faith. According to some translations, he confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). If justified by faith only, why not keep the chariot wheels rolling down the Gaza road?
- If baptism is not necessary for salvation. Many have been made to believe that baptism is not essential to salvation. If this is true, why then did the man of Ethiopia command the chariot to stand still and be baptized?
- If saved by saying the sinners prayer. Many have been made to think that to be saved they just need to pray a prayer like this: “Lord, I confess to you my sins. I accept you into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior.” Why stop the chariot if one is saved in this way?
- If sprinkling or pouring are acceptable modes of baptism. If sprinkiling or pouring of a little water on a person will substitute for immersion of the whole person in water, why do we read, “…he commanded the chariot to stand still and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they had come up out of the water…” (Acts 8:38-39)? Surely there was a waterskin on baord the chariot.