Step 4 - Baptism
Confession, the next "step" in
the process of how one is converted to Jesus Christ and becomes a
Christian is Baptism. There is much debate over
baptism and its necessity. Such debates are needless as well as
tragic, for the Scripture's teaching on this topic is plain.
What does the Scripture say about baptism?
is a burial, or complete immersion into water. Rom. 6:3-4 shows that one
is to be completely buried in water to be considered baptized. Religions that practice sprinkling or pouring and call it "baptism" are
not practicing scriptural baptism. Even the grammar of the New
Testament (koine Greek) bears this out, using different words to
express each idea. "Sprinkled" comes from
rhantizo (1 Pet. 1:2)
while "poured" is from
ekkuno (Rom. 5:5). "Baptized"
(Mk. 16:16), and means "to submerge...even overwhelm." One who
has been sprinkled has been "rhantized," but he has not been
"baptized." He could hardly call having water sprinkled on him an
is for the forgiveness of sins
(Acts 2:38). When Peter convinced the Jews of murdering Jesus
(Acts 2:22-36), they asked what they should do. He didn't say,
"Just believe..." or "Say the sinner's prayer." He told them to repent
and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of sins. Some who say salvation comes before and without
water baptism claim the word "for" in Acts 2:38 means "because
of." In Mt. 26:28, Jesus uses the exact same expression with
respect to His blood. Did Jesus shed His blood because
sins were already remitted? No, He died for the remitting
saves us (1 Pet. 3:21). This
verse teaches that baptism is not just an outward washing, but a total
demonstration of the complete submission of our will (the "answer of a
good conscience toward God") to doing whatever God has required of
us. It is accomplished "through" the resurrection of Christ. Those who
say "Baptism does not save" are at odds with this verse.
So, is it necessary for you to be baptized to be saved? Much of the religious world today says, "No, just believe, or have
faith." We've already covered "faith only"
(first article). The word of God says without a doubt that baptism
is necessary. Consider the following Biblical logic:
we are in sin, the Bible says we are "dead" (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). These same two verses also teach that once we obey the Lord's commands
and become a Christian, we are "made alive."
w We have already shown that baptism is a burial (Rom. 6:4).
If we accept the religious teaching that baptism is not necessary for
salvation, and that one is saved (made alive) at the point of faith,
then baptized (buried) sometime later, what is the only logical
conclusion? Would we not be burying a live person!! If not, why not?
Can you not see the error of such man-made thinking?!?!
The New Testament clearly teaches we must
put to death the sinful man
What do you do with a dead body? Obviously, you bury it. Once our sinful
man is dead, we bury him in baptism. Upon rising up from the watery
grave, we have a new life in which to walk (Rom. 6:4). The whole
point of Paul's teaching in Rom. 6 is to compare the death, burial,
& resurrection of Jesus Christ to our own death, burial, & resurrection.
Was Jesus dead or alive before He was buried? Why, then, would it be
congruent with this text to argue one is alive at the point of his faith
before submitting to baptism? Obviously, it would not.
If one were to examine the book of
and the recorded conversions, one would see the importance of baptism for
the remission of sins. Over and over again, people were told to "...be
baptized for the remission of sins" (2:38); "...arise and be
baptized and wash away your sins" (22:16). People
"...believed...and were baptized" (8:12-13; 36-38); "...were
baptized in the name of the Lord" (10:48); "...immediately...were
baptized" (16:30-33). The Lord Jesus Himself said, "He who
believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16). At this
point of the "process of salvation," one is saved. He is now "in Christ"
(Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Without N.T. baptism, one is outside of
Christ and lost. You decide how important you think it is.
- Jeff Smith
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