Tag Archives: Baptism

The Baptism of Jesus

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’… Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him” (Matthew 3.1, 13).

John the Baptist’s ministry created a sensation. He found himself at the center of a great spiritual revival. Large crowds converged on the lower reaches of the River Jordan, both to listen to his call to repentance and to be baptized.

John had already spoken of Jesus as one mightier than he, the thongs of whose sandals he was not worthy to undo. It is not surprising that when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism, John demurred. It would seem more appropriate for Jesus to baptize John than for John to baptize Jesus. But Jesus insisted.

It also seems strange that Jesus asked for baptism. John’s was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was without sin.  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3.15) and John consented.

As Jesus emerged from the waters of baptism “lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3.16-17).

Those words united two Old Testament scriptures. First, “this is My Son” echoes Psalm 2.7 where God declared the Davidic king to be His son. Second, “in whom I am well pleased” echoes Isaiah 42.1 where God declared His pleasure in His servant. Thus at His baptism, Jesus was declared both Son and Servant of God.

 – John Stott, Through the Bible, Through the Year

 

Why Baptism?

“Why is baptism (immersion in water) essential for salvation?”

The short answer is, “Because God said so.” And, following whatever further discussion ensues, that is still the essence of any longer answer as well.

Why was it necessary for Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan River to be healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5.1-14)? Because God, through His prophet’s messenger, told him to do this.

Why was it necessary for the Israelites to march around the walls of Jericho for seven days, blow trumpets and shout (Joshua 6.1-27), even though from man’s standpoint that is an absurd way to capture a walled city? Because that’s what God said to do. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11.30).

Faith is the key.

Naaman didn’t deserve his healing because of his dipping in the Jordan River, but his dipping showed his faith and God saw his faith and healed him by grace.

The Israelites didn’t earn the city of Jericho by marching and shouting. “The LORD said to Joshua: ‘See! I have given Jericho into your hand, it king, and its mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city…’” (Joshua 6.2-3).

God gave them the city. They marched, as God told them to, and by marching they showed their faith. The city fell by grace through faith, but only after they marched as God told them to do.

Jesus has said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16.16). When one hears the gospel, believes and is baptized, that does not earn salvation. Salvation is a gift of God. Being baptized shows that the person believes what God says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Refusing to be baptized shows disbelief, “and he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Salvation is not by works of merit, not by works that would enable us to boast (Ephesians 2.8-9). Baptism is distinguished from that kind of work. God saves us, but “not by works of righteousness which we have done,” but “through the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3.4-6).

Baptism shows our faith (James 2.18), completes our faith (James 2.22), and makes our faith a living, active, effective faith instead of a dead, vain faith (James 2.20).

So we have come full circle. The answer is, “Because God said so.” He promises; we believe. He commands; we show our faith by obedience. When we have obeyed, God gives what He promised.

It is necessary to be immersed in water to be saved because that’s what God, who has salvation in His hand, says to do in order to receive it.

“Baptize” means immerse.

The word used in the original language means that. The English Bible also clearly shows that baptism is a burial (Romans 6.1-5; Colossians 2.12), and that in being baptized one goes down into and comes up out of the water (Acts 8.38).

Baptism is the point at which the believer comes into Christ (Galatians 3.27); has sins washed away (Acts 22.16); dies to sin and begins to walk in newness of life (Romans 6.1-4); receives remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38); is saved (Mark 16.16; 1 Peter 3.21). We are commanded to be baptized with that in view:

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.38).

“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22.16).

To be baptized believing one is already in Christ, has sins already washed away, is already dead to sin and walking in newness of life, has already received remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and therefore, is already saved, is to deny every biblical purpose for baptism.

It’s important to note that baptism is not “a work done by us in righteousness” (Titus 3.5); it’s not a deed which merits anything from God. Baptism is in water, but the power is neither in the act nor in the water, but “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3.21).

 – Cecil May, Bible Questions and Answers, 17-20

 

The Primary Goal of Evangelism

We often think the goal of evangelism numerical growth; as long as pews are being filled evangelism is being achieved. Or, it’s all about baptisms; as long as people are being baptized, we’re fulfilling the goal of evangelism. Don’t misunderstand, baptisms and “church growth” are important, but these could be in vain if we do not understand the primary goal of evangelism.

What Is Evangelism?

The word “evangelism” comes from the Greek word, “euaggelizo,” which means to announce good news. Obviously in the context of Christianity, the good news about which we’re talking is the Good News about Jesus Christ: the Son of God was born King of the Jews, was crucified, and was raised King of kings and Lord of lords; and He gives eternal life to His disciples.

Evangelism is telling people the Good News about Jesus.

What is the Primary Goal of Evangelism?

But why do we tell people the Good News? What’s our primary goal in that? Our goal is for them to know how to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, if they so choose. The decision to be a disciple is not to be taken lightly.

Jesus said people ought to consider the cost. He compared it to building a tower. “Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it” (Luke 14.28)? Jesus wanted people to understand the enormous commitment required when responding to the Good News:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14.26-27,33).

Again, the primary goal of evangelism is for people to know how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Some will, sadly, decide the cost is too high. Others will see the Good News for what it is. In faith, they will repent of their sins and say, “Here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (Acts 8.36).

Evangelism Is Not Just for the Lost

As a side note, when we understand the goal of evangelism is for people to know how to be disciples of Jesus, then we will realize that evangelism is not just for the lost, it’s also for the saved. Even the church needs to be constantly reminded and matured concerning how to follow Jesus.

  • We could easily define evangelism by the “Great Commission,” in which Jesus said to go and make disciples by teaching them, baptizing them, and continuing to teach them how to follow Jesus (Matthew 28.18-20).
  • Paul said evangelists and other leaders “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4.12).
  • Evangelists like Timothy and Titus remained in churches, teaching and reminding Christians how to be disciples of Jesus.
  • Every one of Paul’s letters was evangelistic, but they were evangelistic to the saved, not the lost.

Evangelists teach the lost – and the saved – the Good News about Jesus, so they know how to follow Jesus. All Christians, in some sense, need to be evangelists and to have evangelists in our lives. We all need to be taught more (and reminded often) about the Kingship of Jesus, so we know how to follow Him.

Why It Matters That We Know the Goal of Evangelism

Why does it matter that we realize the primary goal of evangelism isn’t just to baptize people or get them “coming to church”? It matters because we’ve developed all kinds of methods and strategies to baptize people and grow churches. We can quickly walk people through why they need to baptized. We can show people why our congregation is a great place to be. But are we being evangelistic?

Being evangelistic means teaching people about Jesus. If we teach them about Jesus and they reject Him, we’ll still be evangelistic. But if we use some slick presentation to get someone baptized, or get them coming to our congregation, but they don’t know what it means to be a disciple, then we have NOT been evangelistic.

Baptism and church attendance are absolutely necessary to be a disciple, but they are not the primary goals; the primary goal is that we learn to bear our cross and daily follow Christ. If we don’t learn faithful discipleship, baptism and church attendance are ultimately in vain.

Wes McAdams, Radically Christian

 

“Hear Him.”

“Hear Him,”

says the God who made the worlds, rules among the armies of heaven, hurled down angels to hell for disobedience, and whose voice shook the earth. The God who holds the destinies of all the nations in His hand, who “weighs the hills in a balance and handles the isles as a very little thing,” in connection with the revelation of His Son, with all the majesty of His authority, says,

“Hear Him.”

Give Him audience, regard Him, bow to Him, follow Him, be guided by Him, honor and obey Him forever.

“Hear Him.”

If a man receives the revelation God makes of His Son, or, rather, if he receives His Son from the revelation He has made of Him, and bows in submission to Him in accordance with the command to,

“Hear Him,”

Confesses with the mouth before men what he believes in his heart, that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” and submits to the divine test of loyalty, being buried with his Lord in baptism, gives the highest assurance in his power to give, that he is changed in heart. He shows that he loves God and will serve Him, and is bound by the strongest obligation that can ever bind a human being, to love and serve God.

The authority that requires this submission is the highest and most binding that can rest upon a human being; and, if it does not govern, control, and restrain the person, no authority can.

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Hear Him.”
Matthew 17.5

Benjamin Franklin, Preacher of the Gospel
(February 1, 1812 – October 22, 1878)

Baptism and Responding to Grace

The Christians in the New Testament had all been baptized in water. (F.F. Bruce in his commentary on Acts simply says that the New Testament knows nothing about unbaptized Christians.) The church was a baptized community, and their baptism said that they not only believed the truth about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but that they had committed themselves to Him by faith in being baptized into union with Him.

These people didn’t see it as optional. What’s more, it never entered their heads to ask if they “had” to do it. They wanted to be saved in and through Christ, they were told to be baptized to that end and they did it and went their way rejoicing.

It’s a very modern thing indeed to argue about this matter. I can understand questions being raised about the status of those who are genuinely ignorant about all this, but I confess it’s more than disappointing to hear people, who know what the scriptures plainly say, dither on what they should say about it. Worse, it’s more than disappointing to hear people who know what the scriptures plainly teach on this matter encouraging others not to be baptized as the New Testament teaches.

Baptism in the New Testament was part of the response of faith. It was repentance in action, a response to the holy grace God was extending to the world in Jesus Christ. God by the gospel was calling to Himself an elect community to be His witness to the world that He had not abandoned it in its sin. Those who heard that electing message responded by taking the name of Christ on themselves by being baptized in His name that they would find remission of sins. But it wasn’t just personal forgiveness they were given; it was a place in the Community of the Christ whose death, burial and resurrection they identified as their own.

Baptism then was the response of faith to God’s grace. But it wasn’t a response of faith to God’s grace that the Church came up with; it was the wisdom of the Holy Father and expressed in His holy Son through the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t for people to debate over but to obey. It wasn’t a loveless obedience, which is nothing more than legalism; it was a heartfelt commitment in trust.

Like every other obedient response, baptism was more than a “condition to be met” if people wanted sins forgiven by God’s holy grace in Christ. It was a privilege. And it was seen to be a profound privilege in the New Testament.

Whatever else is true in the case of the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10 and 11), the privilege of water baptism is underlined. Here was a man who loved God with all his heart, and it showed in all the ways that we would like to see in ourselves.

The Jewish group went to his house under duress, Peter begins to tell him about the Christ, and God interrupts him by sending the Holy Spirit on the man and his gathered family. Stunned at what has happened, what is Peter’s question? Before us we have a man of whose righteous character God has personally approved and to whom God has exceptionally given the Holy Spirit (Acts 11.15) and what is the apostle’s question – “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water” (Acts 10.47)?

Doesn’t that strike you as odd? One might have thought that loving God as he did was all that was required. If more, then one would have thought that the coming of the Spirit was enough privilege. Peter’s question is in light of those two already existing realities.

What does the question imply? That someone might want to keep it from them and that the two realities mentioned make it clear that Cornelius had the right to water baptism. Some are coming to see the privilege of water baptism as well as the obligation of it while some who should know better are belittling the ordinance. And Peter commanded them (Cornelius and family) to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and so take on them that glorious name (see Acts 2.38 and 22.16).

Water baptism is both required of us and is a privilege granted to us by the Holy Father in His own name and in the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

 – Jim McGuiggan
(JimMcGuiggan.com)

 

 

Baptism in the New Testament

There continues to be great controversy and debate over the role of baptism in a person’s conversion and salvation. The problem is not with what the New Testament says about baptism; rather it’s how denominational creeds, confessions, and traditions have tried to change or otherwise disregard what the New Testament says.

The verb baptizō appears 77 times in the New Testament, its noun cognitive, baptisma, another 19 times. Both Bauer (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature) and Mounce (Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament) define the word as “to dip, immerse; to cleanse or purify by washing.”

I don’t have space in this bulletin article to examine all 96 occurrences of the word. Since the term itself is simple and not easily misunderstood, a few references will suffice.

Jesus’ Instruction

In Matthew 28.19 and Mark 16.16 Jesus instructed His apostles to baptize everyone who believed the gospel in order that they might be “saved.” According to Jesus, baptism is for salvation.

Peter’s Sermon

On the first Day of Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the gospel, the message of salvation in His name, was preached for the first time in Jerusalem. On that occasion Peter’s powerful sermon convinced the crowd (all devout Jews celebrating the Day of Pentecost) that they were guilty of crucifying Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2.36-37).

When the people in the crowd cried out “What shall we do?” Peter did not say, “Accept Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior and say the sinner’s prayer – ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.’”

No, that’s not at all what he said! He said, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” According to Peter, preaching by guidance of the Holy Spirit, baptism is for the forgiveness of sins.

Saul’s Conversion

When Saul of Tarsus went to Damascus on the authority of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council, to arrest Christians and return them to Jerusalem in chains to stand trial for heresy, he had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus of Nazareth (Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26). As a result of that encounter he was temporarily blinded and had to be led into Damascus. Blind, for three days and nights he prayed and fasted. Finally a disciple named Ananias came to him, undoubtedly one of the people he had come to arrest. Here’s what he said,

“’Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know His will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from His mouth; for you will be a witness for Him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name’” (Acts 22.13-16).

Because of his encounter with Jesus, Saul became a penitent believer, but until he was baptized he was still in his sins. According to the Holy Spirit through His spokesman Ananias, baptism is required to wash away sin.

Here’s a brief summary of what the New Testament says baptism does:

  1. It obeys a command of Christ (Matthew 28.19; Mark 16.16).
  2. It obeys a command of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38).
  3. It is for the remission of sins (Acts 2.38).
  4. It is how a person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38).
  5. It washes away sins (Acts 22.16).
  6. It puts a person in contact with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6.3-4).
  7. It clothes a person in Christ (Galatians 3.27).
  8. It is for salvation (Mark 16.16; 1 Peter 3.21).

Unfortunately, neither the Institutes of the Christian Faith, the Augsburg Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession, nor a host of other denominational traditions endorse what the New Testament has to say about baptism.

The words of Jesus in Mark 7.9 ought to be troubling to a lot of people: You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”

– Bill

 

 

What about Repentance?

150215 McGuiggan Quote…having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent… (Acts 17.30)

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3.9)

Last week we wrote of the controversy about baptism. Baptism is necessary for salvation. This we confidently affirm in the face of general denominational teaching to the contrary. They are wrong, and that’s a tragedy. No amount of good intentions can change the result of following a false doctrine. Obedience to the truth saves. Following a falsehood can only result in condemnation.

Although the Scriptures clearly state a person is saved by baptism (1 Peter 3.21), what about repentance? If a person is saved by baptism, is there no need of repentance? Certainly there is. A proper understanding of baptism provides the answer. Any act is only properly termed obedience when it springs from understanding, conviction, and the exercise of one’s own will. You cannot be tricked into doing the right thing in ignorance, nor can you be pressured into doing an act of obedience against your will. Such is contrary to the very meaning of the word.

There can be no question of the necessity of repentance. “Except you repent you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 3.3). The command to be baptized in order to be saved also couples these two words together; they are of equal force. Both are necessary for forgiveness – “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2.38).

Repentance has to do with that unique quality of a person, the will. We can weigh the evidence, then decide. We can examine the alternatives, then choose. We can will to do or will not to do. Repentance in the Bible always refers to the exercise of one’s volition to do good. When used in reference to a person’s relationship to God, repentance must precede baptism. The very nature of the word demands this order – first repentance, then baptism, then God forgives.

Although incidental to the main point of the passage, there is an excellent example that demonstrates the meaning of repentance in Matthew 21.29. A man said to his son, “Go work in the field today.” The son replied, “I will not” (it was not his will to go). Later, “he repented” and went (he changed his will).

It’s important to note repentance followed by proper behavior presupposes knowledge of what God wants us to do. We cannot repent in ignorance. We cannot walk uprightly in darkness. We cannot decide to do right until we are aware of what is right. That’s why the pure Gospel must be preached. When preached, it must then be accepted as truth without doubt. Such belief must be followed by a decision (a determination of the will) to do what we now believe. Failure at this point, the point of believing the Gospel without following with repentance, cannot produce the purpose of the Gospel, which is the reconciliation of man to God.

Repentance in this process is obviously necessary. We must repent. God does not force repentance, neither will He do it for us. We must decide for ourselves whether we will act upon our belief. This decision is repentance and can only be recognized in the resulting act of obedience – baptism.

The spiritual development of a person is described as a birth process. Conception occurs when the seed (the Word of God) is planted within the heart. It produces faith, and that faith grows to the point of repentance. Repentance is followed by a confession of faith and is then demonstrated by obedience in baptism. Thus a child of God is born – a spiritual birth occurs, a spiritual life begun.

 – Bill

(from my notes on repentance by Carl Hecker)

 

What about Christening?

The christening of infants – when and where did the practice begin? Well, first, it originated in the minds of men and has, over the centuries, become a part of both Catholic and Protestant tradition. The practice is found nowhere in the New Testament.

Sprinkling began sometime around the 4th century AD (that’s 400 years after Christ!) in a very few and isolated cases where the person desiring baptism was too ill to be immersed. It was not a common practice. In AD 753, Pope Stephen III authorized the monks of Cressy in Brittany to perform “baptism” by pouring water on the heads of infants. But still the practice did not find widespread use.

It wasn’t until 1311 (that’s one thousand three hundred and eleven years after Christ!) that the Council of Ravenna declared that either sprinkling or immersion was acceptable.

A Couple of Questions about Presumption

Now a couple of questions just sort of jump out at us. “Where do people get the notion or idea they can just go around changing what Jesus said and what the apostles wrote?” Jesus is God. He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” But along comes some Johnny-come-lately churchmen and with the stroke of a pen overrule God.

Now doesn’t that strike you as just a little bit presumptuous? “Who gave them the right or whatever gave them the idea that they could alter, adjust, redefine, discount, or change that which was universally practiced by the church in compliance with a direct command of Jesus?”

What’s the difference in them redefining baptism to mean “sprinkle” and someone else coming along and redefining it to mean “drink.” That would help a lot of people, too, wouldn’t it? “Just drink some water in the name of Jesus and you will be saved.” Drinking a glass of water is sure a lot more convenient, faster, warmer, and drier than getting dunked, excuse me, immersed. Fact is, there’s really no difference at all.

Loving Jesus Means Obeying Him

Is it not reasonable to conclude in order for one to become a Christian, he or she ought to do what Jesus said? After all, it was He who said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments” (John 14.15). The purpose and the plan and the practice for becoming and being a Christian is revealed and written in the New Testament; it’s a pattern for faith. So if we do now what He asked of them then, we will be now what His disciples were then – Christians (Acts 11.26).

 An Additional Note on the “Mode” of Baptism

There is a continuing debate as to the “mode” of baptism – whether immersion, sprinkling, or pouring is acceptable. Language accommodates culture; it changes with use. Today, in twenty-first century religious terminology, baptism has come to mean immersion, sprinkling, and pouring, all three.

But when Jesus and His apostles used the term baptizo, it meant only one thing – to immerse, to dip, or to plunge. There are separate and distinct Greek words (they don’t even look alike, so you can’t confuse them!) that mean “to sprinkle” – rhantizo and “to pour” – cheo. In all New Testament references pertaining to baptism, the term used in each instance is baptizo – “to immerse.” Rhantizo, “to sprinkle,” or cheo, “to pour,” are never used in the Scriptures to refer to baptism.

What Did Jesus Mean?

When it comes to faith in Christ and obedience to God, it’s not what a word means now that’s important, it’s what it meant then – in the specific context and time in which Jesus and the New Testament scribes spoke or wrote the word.

Do we want to be Christians? Do we want to be followers of Christ? Do we want to be obedient to God? Then why not simply respect His Word and do what He says? Understanding what He asks of us is really not all that difficult.

The New Testament is plain on the subject. Baptism is immersion and it is inseparately linked to faith, obedience and salvation.

 – Bill

From Martin Luther:

“I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.”

 

 

“…added to the church.”

Acts 2 – In the Beginning

On the Day of Pentecost following the Lord’s resurrection when the gospel was preached for the first time, the Bible records this response to Peter’s message:

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2.41).

The passage states the baptized believers were added by someone to something. Verse 47 reveals the who and what: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

When a person obeys the gospel of Christ by being baptized for the forgiveness of sins, he is added to the church. He doesn’t join the church nor is he voted into the church by other members; he is added by the Lord to that body of saved believers which is Christ’s church.

 

Back to Basic Christianity

 

back-to-basicsThe New Testament mentions only one church. Jesus said, “I will build My church…” (Matthew 16.18).

Years later Paul wrote, speaking of Christ, “He is also head of the body, the church…” and “There is one body…” (Colossians 1.18; Ephesians 4.4).

So if there is one body and the body is the church, then there is one church and Jesus is its head. It is His church and over His church He exercises all authority (Matthew 28.18).

Conditions of Membership

Since Jesus has all authority, He has the right to set the conditions of membership for His church. A study of the New Testament reveals the following requirements for membership in the Lord’s church:

  • Faith or Belief (John 8.24) that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and the sacrifice for our sins. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11.6).
  • Repentance (Luke 13.3) is a change of the will, a determination to walk in the opposite direction. God calls “all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17.30).
  • Confession (Matthew 10.32) is the declaration or statement of belief in the deity of Jesus and the saving power of His sacrifice. “For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved” (Romans 10.10).
  • Baptism (Mark 16.16) is an immersion or burial in water. It is a symbolic death, burial, and resurrection. It is essential for salvation. A person cannot be saved without baptism because “…baptism saves you…”  (1 Peter 3.21).

The Significance of Baptism

The New Testament states that baptism is necessary in order to be in Christ (Galatians 3.27).

  • Baptism stands between the sinner and salvation (Mark 16.16; 1 Peter 3.21).
  • Baptism stands between the sinner and the remission of his sins (Acts 2.38).
  • Baptism stands between the sinner and his being clothed in Christ (Galatians 3.27).
  • Baptism stands between the sinner and having his sins washed away (Acts 22.16.)
  • Baptism stands between the sinner and his being united with Christ in the likeness of His death (Romans 6.3).

We need to remember it’s Christ’s church. If we want the blessings and salvation He has promised to all who are a part of His body, then we need to do what He said – not what men have taught. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14.15).

– Bill