Thank you so much for replying to my question about “why did Paul Baptize anyone.” I have one more “tough one” for you. Acts 22:16 absolutely frustrates me because it seems to say that Ananias baptized (water) Paul. I know that some groups of Grace believers believe he did and did it on his own (not told to by God). Others hold that there was no water in this baptism. I thought that Paul was saved by grace on the road to Damascus so this “and wash away thy sins” baffles me. If you could shed any light on this subject, it would really be appreciated.
The gospel Paul preached to us is not the gospel Ananias preached to Saul. It was afterwards, after Ananias was sent to Paul that the Lord revealed to Paul that gospel he was to preach to the Gentiles – Galatians 1:11,12; 2:1.
By God using Ananias to go to Paul, there is continuity or cohesion of the two programs of God in the sense that Paul did not just show up, separate from the Kingdom Saints with a separate Gospel and ministry to the Gentiles. He first himself believed that Jesus is the Christ and taught this fact at Damascus. Afterwards God calls him out to Arabia and gives him the gospel of grace, the gospel of the uncircumcision. As Romans 1:1 says, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”
When exactly Paul was saved is not told us. What Ananias told Paul to do did not save Paul, at least not the baptism. Certainly “calling on the name of the Lord” did. Baptism was the step of faith in the Kingdom gospel, but when Paul wrote Romans 10 he said:
”But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That 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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ”
Like you said, it was on the road to Damascus that Paul acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that God raised him from the dead – Acts 9:5,6 “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutes; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
When Paul learned the Gospel of Grace, I think he knew that he was saved on the road to Damascus. That is when God showed him grace and when he believed on the risen Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting that when Paul went to Jerusalem to tell them that gospel he preached among the Gentiles, it was Peter who came to understand their salvation saying: “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).
This might not settle everything, but I think it might help.