Why Stop the Chariot?

Why Stop the Chariot?

Acts 8:26-39 records the conversion of the Ethiopian treasurer. Verse 38 says, “And he ordered the chariot to stop...”

Explore this with me: if some things people say about the doctrine of salvation are true, it would have been entirely unnecessary for the treasurer to stop the chariot!

1.) If just being a good and honest person is all that is necessary for salvation...

This man must have been a good, honest person to have the job that he did. He served “...under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians,” and he “had the charge of all her treasure...” (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.

2.) If just being religious is all that is necessary for salvation...
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 think a fellow like that would already be saved. Why stop the chariot if religion is all that it takes to please God and go to Heaven?

3.) If just reading the Bible is all that is necessary for salvation....
The man was a Scripture-reading man. He was reading Isaiah 53 out loud

(Acts 8:28-34). Some people think that reading the Bible good enough to please God and go to Heaven. If that were true, why stop the chariot?

4.) If just hearing the gospel saves...
Hearing the gospel is undoubtedly important. Paul says “ 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! He stopped the chariot!

5.) If people are justified by faith only...
The Ethiopian had faith. He confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the

Son of God” (Acts 8:37). If he was on that basis justified, why not keep the chariot wheels rolling down the Gaza road?

6.) If baptism is not necessary for salvation...
Most have been taught that baptism is not essential to salvation.

Please tell us why then did the man of Ethiopia command the chariot to stop so he could be baptized, if that were true?

7.) If people are saved by just praying “the sinner’s prayer”...
Many have been made to think that in order to be saved, one just

needs 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 people are really saved this way?

8.) If sprinkling or pouring are legitimate forms of baptism...
If sprinkling or pouring a little water upon the person will substitute

for immersion of the whole person in water, why do we read, “...and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water...” (Acts 8:38-39)? Surely there was a waterskin on board the chariot to quench the lips of thirsty travelers on a hot, dusty road. If sprinkling were sufficient, why not use it? Why be so happy with the appearance of a seasonal stream full of water?

Let me suggest to you that due to the shortness and uncertainty of life (Proverbs 27:1; Luke 12:16-20; James 4:13-15), the value of your soul (Matthew 16:26), the fact that judgment is coming (Acts 24:25), and that you must obey the Lord to be saved (Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:9), that you, too, need to stop the chariot.

Did you observe who stopped the chariot? It wasn't the preacher. It was the man who needed to obey the Lord. You are the one who must stop the chariot. There is an urgency about obeying the gospel as this record shows.

—John Isaac Edwards, 7/13/14