The point Rod Rodgers made about taking AFESIN TWN hAMARTIWN
hUMWN in Acts 2:38 with METANOHSATE seems worth examining because
in the following passages from the gospels, it seems the reason
people were baptized was to ceremonially validate the forgiveness
of their sins that was achieved by their repentance:
Matt 3:11 EGW MEN hUMAS BAPTIZW EN hUDATI EIS
Mark 1:4 EGENETO IWANNHS [hO] BAPTIZWN EN TH ERHMW KAI
KHRUSSWN BAPTISMA METANOIAS EIS AFESIN hAMARTIWN.
Luke 3:3 KAI HLQEN...KHRUSSWN BAPTISMA METANOIAS EIS
Indeed, if one insists that BAPTIZW plus EIS plus the accusative
in Acts 2:38 MUST mean "result" (i.e., be baptized with the
result that [or "so that"] your sins will be forgiven), then that
means that John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 was baptizing people
with the result that they repented.
I know that "Christian" baptism is "different" than Jewish
baptism, and that John the Baptist's baptism was for a different
reason than baptism into Jesus. But I think that's because of
what the different baptisms relate to; it's not because in
"Christian" baptism the act of baptism effects the new
relationship with God.
Indeed, if the act of baptism in Jewish practice was a symbol of
one's repentance and God's consequent forgiveness/cleansing, as
it appears to be in the case of John's baptism--i.e., it didn't
effect the forgiveness or cleansing, it merely symbolically
marked (or perhaps "sealed") it--I think we should be careful
about stating that the waters of baptism related to entrance into
the New covenant as preached by Peter at Acts 2:38 have a greater
initiatory role than the waters of baptism in other contemporary
Jewish rites--and in Acts 2:38, baptism into Christ was STILL a
"Jewish" rite, and the purpose of being "baptized" would have
probably been the same or meant the same thing to Peter's
hearers, only it would have related to a different covenant.
(Oops! There I go, turning from grammar to theology!)