And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)
Why Are You Waiting?
Saul of Tarsus had come to Damascus to arrest and imprison all those who were followers of Jesus Christ. He had brought serious persecution against the infant church following the stoning of Stephen. Saul was filled with rage against those who preached against Moses, claiming Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. He determined to do everything within his power to destroy those who were of the Way. Because of his persecution, the disciples were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. As Saul approached Damascus, he was struck with a brilliant light and fell to the ground. A voice cried out to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Inquiring who the voice was, Jesus declared Himself to the persecutor, telling him to go into the city and he would be told what to do.
Blinded by the light, Saul had to be led into the city by the hand of those who traveled with him. Three days later, Saul was blind and did not eat or drink. A devout man named Ananias came to Saul, explaining the purpose of God’s plan for his life. Saul would become a witness to all men of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Then Ananias implored Saul to become a Christian. Saul was a devout Jew, but he had not obeyed the gospel of Christ. He believed in the voice he had heard three days earlier and accepted the instructions of Ananias, but he was not saved. His sins remained, and he needed God’s grace.
The message of Ananias to Saul was immediate and demonstrative. Ananias asked Saul why he was waiting. What purpose would any delay have to the will of God? Obedience is not something that can be delayed. The urgency of conviction grasped the heart of Saul. He faced the realization he was lost in his sin and needed the mercy of God. Ananias told Saul to be baptized to wash away his sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Remission of sins does not come by faith alone. Believing in Jesus alone does not wash away sin. The pattern of salvation as given to Saul was obedience was immediate and that only through the waters of baptism can sin be washed by the blood of Jesus. There is no reason to wait for another revelation. God delivered once the faith that would save men. Delaying for another purpose of the Lord to be revealed is futile.
There are many religious hearts today who are delaying salvation. They believe they are Christians when they have never had their sins washed away. The common doctrine in the religious world is salvation comes by faith only. It is best described by the idea of accepting Christ as a personal Savior, and salvation will be given. This is not what Ananias told Saul. There is never a record of anyone being saved by faith alone. Ananias was responsible for telling Saul what he needed to do for salvation. His message was not to wait and to be baptized. When Saul rendered himself to the will of God in baptism, the Lord would take away his sins. Calling on the name of the Lord was the declaration of allegiance to the will of God.
Do not wait to be told what you must do to be saved. Reject the teachings of human wisdom that deny the essentiality of baptism. Salvation in any other manner will not wash your sins away. Ananias told Saul precisely what he needed to hear, and Saul did not hesitate to do what God told him to do. He arose and was baptized. His sins were washed away. He called on the name of the Lord. God granted His grace and mercy to Saul, and the former persecutor became the great apostle to the Gentiles. There is little doubt as Paul told the multitudes not to tarry and wash away their sins, he remembered that moment in the house of Judas when Ananias told him the same thing. Why are you waiting? What reason do you have to deny the will of God? Arise. Be baptized. Wash away your sins in the blood of Jesus. Call on the name of the Lord.