On Baptism

baptism-for-salvation

First, a personal note to all my wonderful friends and readers. This is a topic which I enter into a discussion with all due respect to many who do not hold to the same beliefs concerning baptism as necessary for salvation. I respect your position and once held to the same beliefs myself.

I have had several readers ask for me to expand on what I found in scripture which would have changed my beliefs on this critical salvation issue. Rather than just respond one-off each time I decided to simply add a special page to my blog which I can add to over time. It is a big subject and an important one. I will only scratch the surface to begin with, but I commit to continually adding to the case which will be solely based in scripture.

I pray your reading and study will be as mine always has been. One must come to the table, Bible in hand, and be willing to take the attitude, “I might be wrong” in order to have a constructive study. I will present what I am convinced is unshakable Bible proof for baptism as necessary for salvation and will look forward to constructive criticism and your case for what you hold on this subject as long as we use scripture, not man-made religion and tradition.

I believe that the Bible is God’s word which is consistent and does not contradict itself. I also hold that when we go to study God’s teaching on a particular subject, we must look at the weight of all scriptures on the subject not just “cherry pick” a few and ignore the rest.

All scriptures quoted will be from the New American Standard Version since it is widely held to be the most literal to the Greek of all available translations in publication today.

That said, here we go.

The “Ask Jesus into your heart by praying the sinners prayer” adherents would generally hold up many of the following scriptures to make their case. These were offered by a friend which was the catalyst for this page.

Romans 5:8  8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

John 3:16 16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Acts 16:31 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

1 Cor 12:13 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Luke 5:12-14 12While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

 13And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

 14And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

 Romans 10:9-13 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 

10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

 11For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

 13for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Acts 10:43  43“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Romans 5:1 1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

                                                    ~              ~             ~

 As Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the rest of the story.” …or scripture as it were.

Colossians 2:11-12 11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Question: Who is doing the work and where is it done?

Question: At what point does this say you are no longer considered to be dead in sin?

Matthew 7:21 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Question: What is the obedience required beyond mere words?

Galatians 3:26-27 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Question: When are you “clothed” with Christ?

John 3:5  5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Question: What does Jesus say is required to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Romans 6:3-4 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Question: When are we raised to the new life?

Ephesians 4:5  5one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Question: How many kinds of baptism are there?

Luke 3:21 21Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

Question: What was Jesus’ example for us to follow?

Acts 9:18 18And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;

Question: What did Ananias teach Paul concerning baptism?

1 Corinthians 12:13 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Question: At what point did we become one with the body of Christ?

Acts 16:14-15 14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Question: At what point were they judged faithful to the Lord?

Acts 8:36-39 36As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

 37[And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]

 38And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

Question: Why was the Eunuch in such a big hurry to be baptised after being taught?

Question? When did he rejoice?

Acts 2:37-38  37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

 38Peter said to them, “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.

Question: When asked what they must do to be saved, what was Peter’s clear response?

1 Peter 3:20-21 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Question: By what means were they saved in Peter’s comparision to the flood?

Mark 16:15-16 15And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 16“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Question: At what point is one considered saved?

John 6:29 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Question: If belief too is a work, how can that be requisite any more than baptism?

James 2:24 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Question; Is faith alone sufficient?

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

Question: What is required to “obey” the gospel?

Acts 19:1-5  1It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

 2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

 4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

 5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Question: If they had heard and believed and been baptized, why did they have to be baptised again?

Acts 22:16 16‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

Question: For what reason are they told to be baptized?

2 Kings 5:13-14 13Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

 14So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

Question: Why do we have such a problem simply doing what God has clearly instructed like Naaman?

Here’s an interesting study of the salvation stories in Acts: 

 

ACTS:

Who

Hear

Belief

Repent

Confess

Baptized

Pray

2:38          

All

X

 

X

 

X

 

8:12          

Samaritans

X

X

 

 

X

 

8:13

Simon

X

X

 

 

X

 

8:25-40

Eunuch

X

X

 

X

X

 

9:17-18

Saul

X

 

 

 

X

 

10

Cornelius

X

X

 

 

X

 

16:14-15

Lydia

X

 

 

 

X

 

16:30-34

Jailor

X

 

 

 

X

 

18:8

Corinthians

X

X

 

 

X

 

19:1-5

Ephesians

X

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question: What stands out as consistent related to those who were then considered saved?

Question: If praying the sinners prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart is all that is required, why all the scriptures concerning baptism as requisite to salvation and praying that prayer is not mentioned even once in any of the accounts in Acts?

Question: Where exactly is the sinner’s prayer in the scripture?

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Responses

  1. The scripture says that if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth then we will be saved. What about the thief on the cross? Jesus told him “This day you will be with me in Paradise.” He did not come down from the cross to be baptized.

    I am a Baptist preacher, and hold baptism in high regard I assure you. But new covenant believers cannot make baptism into the new circumcision, because we are not under that Law. The gospel is that Christ has done for us all that needs to be done, and all we need is to place our faith in that promise. Baptism does not bring salvation.

  2. Thank you for all your diligence and study on this powerful subject! Too bad some people have a hardened heart against the WHOLE truth.

  3. Clarke,
    First off, thanks for your thoughtful response. Yes, we are dealing with two different covenants. The first, the physical, was however a fore shadowing of the second, the spiritual covenant. That is to say that they are connected by faith and God’s unchanging nature and grace. Jews were physically born into the family in the old covenant and then taught about God. We are spiritually born into the new after being taught about God.

    Jeremiah 31:31-34 31″Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33″But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34″They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

    The token of the physical covenant was outward in the circumcision demanded of all male Jews after Abraham. That physical act was a fore shadowing of the circumcision done on the spiritual flesh of the heart by God in the new.

    Colossians 2:11-12 11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    That circumcision is said to be performed by God in baptism in the scripture.

    I am at a bit of a loss as to how you could read the verses offered above that call for baptism consistently and still not be moved even a little, but then it took a while for me to let it sink in as well. You do have a special dilema being a Baptist preacher for sure. We must look at the whole of scripture on the subject. I think if you would look back far enough in Baptist history you would find a similar belief that was changed in time over the doctrinal concerns over Paul’s teaching concerning works based salvation. That’s when the change was made to “public profession of faith and church membership”.

    I am glad you brought up the thief on the cross because it is a common response. Here we are seeing what happens when we try to apply New Covenant requirements, the reality, to Old Covenant situations, the shadow. Jesus made His offered response to the thief while all were still under the Old Covenant. The requirement of water and spirit was not yet in effect. Baptism was not required until the new.

    Acts 2:37-38 37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38Peter said to them, “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.

    Again, I’ll just offer up scripture for you to prayerfully consider.

    Romans 6:3-4 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

    May God bless you as you seek His heart. In Christian love, Bryan.

  4. What remains consistant in the Old and New Testament is faith. In Genesis 15:6, Abraham believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis chapter 15; before the Law, before circumcision, before baptism. Abraham’s faith made him righteous. In the New Testament, the faith of the Roman Centurion heals his servant, the faith of the woman with an issue of blood made her whole.

    First Abraham had faith (and righteousness), then he was circumsiced. The people of faith were also circumcised. In the New Testament, people saved through faith by grace then get baptised. Baptism doesn’t cause a person to believe, but those who believe follow in baptism.

    Both are symbols; both are commands. They are important; but both come second to faith. Belief in God and his promises make one saved, and those that are saved get baptised. The relationship between salvation and baptism is there, but baptism is not the cause of the salvation.

  5. Thanks Clarke.

    I understand what you are saying. I really do. However, I would like to have a discussion based on scripture. I absolutely do not intend for that to come across as tacky or condecending. It would be interesting to see you respond to the scriptures on the subject I have put forward. I am curious as to what you do with Colossians 2:11-12 since you want to discuss circumcision. It appears to me that God does the work of circumcision in baptism on the flesh of our hearts and we rise up born again.

    I agree that it is not baptism that saves, but God’s grace. I have included a number of scriptures in my initial response that certainly say clearly that it is in faith and obedience that God performs that act of forgiveness in baptism. Like Naaman, it is not ours to ask God as to why He chooses for us to come in contact with the blood in this fashion, just to obey.

    Colossians 2:11-12 11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    Romans 6:3-4 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

    Question: At what point does it say you are raised up through faith?
    Question: Why would we need to be buried and die to sin if we had already been saved and made alive by a prayer?

  6. We may be closer on this issue that I thought at first.

    “…we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Paul also says that if we have shared in Christ’s death, then we will also share in his resurrection.

    At the top of this original post there is a giant banner reading “Baptism for Salvation.” In your last comment, you admit that baptism is not what saves, it is in fact faith. There are some people who claim there is no salvation without baptism. Read John chapter 3. As Jesus is talking with Nicodemus, he says that “unless one is born by water and the Spirit…” Myself and many others believe that verse implies a physical birth and also a spiritual birth (water implying physical birth into this world). There are those who read “water and Spirit” and interpret that to mean baptism. There are Christians, and if you are one please clarify, that believe if a person bows in the alter to confess sins and ask forgiveness tonight, then gets run over and killed before they are baptized, that such a person dies and goes to hell. I believe Christians should get baptized, but not because it causes salvation to take place.

  7. Here’s a question: In your response to the thief on the cross, you said because Jesus had not been resurrected that they were still under the old covenant. What about John the Baptist? He was baptizing before Jesus ministry even began. He was definitely old covenant. What was he doing, and what did his baptism mean? Why did John not preach repentance and then circumcise in the wilderness?

  8. Clarke, I think the scripture describes clearly the difference between the baptism of John the Baptist in the Old Covenant and New Covenant baptism.

    Acts 19:1-5
    1It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

    2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

    3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

    4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

    5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    To your second point, in fact, John the Baptist did preach repentance in the wilderness.

    Matthew 3:1
    1Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

    2″Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

  9. Clarke, to your question as to when one is saved, I would reference you to the scriptures in the original writing on this page. I believe that the scripture is clear that it is in the waters of baptism that one is saved. It is by faith and obedience.

    Galatians 3:26-27
    26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

    27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    1 Peter 3:21
    21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    Matthew 7:21
    21″Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

    Romans 6:3-4
    3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

    4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

    Acts 22:16
    16’Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

    I personally find it diffucult to rationalize away the clear teaching of these scriptures. There are many more that say the exact same thing in my initial posting. I would implore you, please read them again prayerfully and with an open heart and mind. I am intentionally referring all questions and inquiries to His word for answers. Not what I have been taught.

  10. First of all I’d like to point out that no one believes the “sinner’s prayer” saves. That point is usually made clear by any good minister.

    Second, The Bible believer knows that there is no WATER connected with ANY baptism in Colossions 2; Romans 6; Ephesians 4; or Galations 3, and there is no BAPTISM connected with ANY water in John 3:3-5.

    About John 3:3-6
    You cannot read baptism into every verse that mentions water. I believe that this also has nothing to do with the physical birth.
    See Eph 5:26–That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the WASHING of WATER by the WORD

    It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor:12-13) that puts all believers into Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:1-4) and that is the “ONE baptism” found in Ephesians 4.

    No apostle in the New Testament was ever baptized according to Acts 2. Also, notice that Ananias (who baptized Paul) called Paul a “brother” (Acts 22:13) BEFORE Paul was baptized in water, and also didn’t tell him that he would receive the Holy Spirit upon being baptized, but would be “FILLED” with the Spirit. The Apostles Peter, James, John, Matthew, Bartholomew, Thomas, etc, were never baptized by anyone “in the name of Jesus Christ” in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). They received the Holy Ghost (John 20:22) forty days before Pentecost ever showed up.

    Notice that it is a converted Jewish proselyte (Acts 22:12), who still observed the Jewish laws (Acts 22:12), who baptised Paul. Ananias certainly did not have the revelation of Galations 1:8-12 when he baptized Paul. Ananias still associated “purification” (Acts 22:16) with WATER, exactly as did ALL JEWS in the Old Testament (see Heb. 9:19 and John 2:6).

    No Christians are present at Pentecost (the word doesn’t show up in the bible till Acts 11:26); no one there, including Peter, knows that their sins were blotted out at calvary (see how Peter says this will take place in the FUTURE when he preached in Acts 3:19); no one at Pentecost knows of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ (Gal. 1:8-12); and no one present asks how to be saved, what to do to be saved, how to be born again, what to do to get eternal life, or how to get to heaven. The Jews and Jewish proselytes at Pentecost ask only what to do in view of the fact they have crucified their Messiah.

    The Gospel of the Grace of God is given in 1 Cor 15:1-4. You cannot preach the Gospel of Matthew 10 or the Gospel of Acts 2 to Gentiles. In this church age the gospel is NOT the preaching of water baptism. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit in this age is NEVER received by repenting and being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Even before the book of Acts is over, Gentiles are receiving the Holy Spirit by grace through faith (Acts 10:40-44) BEFORE water baptism, and afterward they are plainly said to receive the Holy Spirit by FAITH (Gal 3:14)–not water baptism. I still haven’t seen a response to to that one from my last post.

    I think what we have here is a refusal to accept ADVANCED REVELATION (John 16:12-13). Don’t ignore the Pauline revelation (Gal. 1:8-12) and resort back to Peter’s Pentecostal message preached before one New Testament book had been written while at atime when revelation on New Testament salvation was so incomplete that the preacher (Simon Peter) at that time actually thought it was a sin to eat rabbit and pork (see Acts 11:1-6).

    Peter gets his GRACE doctrines straight (Acts 15:11) after his experience with Cornelius (Acts 10) and never again does he mention Acts 2:38 to anyone, saved or lost.

    In the New Testament, water baptism is defined as a “FIGURE” of real salvation (1 Pet. 3:21) and a man’s sins are washed away by “CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD” (Acts 22:16).

  11. Additional Comments:

    A person who has genuinely received salvation will produce good fruit. Good works are the inevitable result of salvation (Ephesians 2:10). What differentiates a “living faith” from a “dead faith” in James 2:14-26 is the presence of good works. Church of Christ advocates are right to denounce churches that teach intellectual assent to the facts of the Gospel as sufficient for salvation. The Church of Christ is right to reject the idea that a dead faith, a faith that produces no good works, is what saves a person. Faith / trust in Christ as the Savior is what saves a person, but this faith is a living faith that always results in and produces good works. To say that good works must be present BEFORE a person is saved is to make salvation dependent on our obedience, which is works-salvation, not salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. As Titus 3:5 declares, “He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

  12. The word ‘Baptist’ came from the word ‘Anabaptist’.

    The Anabaptists did not (do not) hold strongly for baptism (particularly infant baptism), because for them it is not a work that God does, but rather it is an action of God.

    Just last week I heard someone say that “Baptists hold baptism in high regard” and I said to myself, “WHAT!?…THEY HOLD IT IN NO REGARD!”

    One that holds baptism in high regard, would be one that believes that since the Lord commanded it…that He is in it. For He never commanded us to do anything where He would not be present in it, working in it for our sakes, His power and grace and mercy.

    Now, that is what holding baptism in high regard is all about.

  13. To ‘theoldadam’,

    Thanks for your opinion, but if I’m wrong in my baptism for salvation position I challenge you to offer at least ONE scriptural correction to my posts. 2 tim 3:16

  14. Just about every single reference to baptism in the New Testament refers to water baptism.

    When Christ commanded that we “go into all the world, baptising and teaching abou Him, He wasn’t telling us to ‘go and give people the Holy Spirit (we can’t do that, it happens from above as Jesus makes clear to Niccodemus).

    So then, Jesus meant baptize, with water (which is what the word means).

    If you take the ‘free will’ position that we make the decision, you will end end with a humanistic view.

    If, on the other hand, you take a Christ centered view, you are more apt to believe that God really does choose us and not vice versa and that He is free to save sinners, without their cooperation.

    I would site all the scripture verses that you have, only I would ascribe them to water baptism, as that is one of the ways that the Lord has choosen to work faith in us.
    1st Peter 3:21 is a perfect example of this. The writer makes it quite clear that water is the vehicle used to save.

    I realize that we probably are not going to agree on this, David, but I do feel it is important that people at least hear the other side of the story.

    Thanks for the discussion, and God bless you!

    – Steve

  15. I completely agree that we’re to teach and baptize (with water) all nations, and that this commandment should not be taken lightly, no doubt.

    An excellent explanation of this passage (1 Peter 3:21) is given by Dr. Kenneth Wuest, author of Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. “Water baptism is clearly in the apostle’s mind, not the baptism by the Holy Spirit, for he speaks of the waters of the flood as saving the inmates of the ark, and in this verse, of baptism saving believers. But he says that it saves them only as a counterpart. That is, water baptism is the counterpart of the reality, salvation. It can only save as a counterpart, not actually. The Old Testament sacrifices were counterparts of the reality, the Lord Jesus. They did not actually save the believer, only in type. It is not argued here that these sacrifices are analogous to Christian water baptism.

    Countless passages of Scripture clearly teach that salvation comes when one believes in the gospel, at which time he or she is sealed “in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise”

    It seems like your comments on free will and God’s choosing us lean towards Calvinism. The Bible is clear that we not only have the ability to choose, we also have the responsibility to choose wisely. In the Old Testament, God chose a nation (Israel), but individuals within that nation still bore an obligation to choose obedience to God. And individuals outside of Israel were able to choose to believe and follow God as well (e.g., Ruth and Rahab). But I guess predestination and the elect are for another blog…

    I know we probably won’t agree.

    Straight Ahead!

    God bless Steve,

    Dave

  16. I started this page with a stack of Bible scriptures which refer to the fact that one was considered saved only after baptism in the first century church. We must look at the totality of scripture on this subject for guidance not just pick a favorite few.

    The change to baptism solely as symbolic or for church membership is an invention of denominationalism in the last 500 years. That is, man made religion. Acts says when they were saved, they were added to the church. That is, Christ’s church. Acts 2:47

    That said, here are the two most direct again.

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, 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.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    Just so we do not get distracted from the burden of the scriptures, here’s the longer list again.

    Colossians 2:11-12 11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

    12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    Question: Who is doing the work and where is it done?

    Question: At what point does this say you are no longer considered to be dead in sin?

    Matthew 7:21 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

    Question: What is the obedience required beyond mere words?

    Galatians 3:26-27 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

    27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    Question: When are you “clothed” with Christ?

    John 3:5 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Question: What does Jesus say is required to enter the kingdom of heaven?

    Romans 6:3-4 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

    4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

    Question: When are we raised to the new life?

    Ephesians 4:5 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

    Question: How many kinds of baptism are there?

    Luke 3:21 21Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

    Question: What was Jesus’ example for us to follow?

    Acts 9:18 18And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;

    Question: What did Ananias teach Paul concerning baptism?

    1 Corinthians 12:13 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

    Question: At what point did we become one with the body of Christ?

    Acts 16:14-15 14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

    15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

    Question: At what point were they judged faithful to the Lord?

    Acts 8:36-39 36As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

    37[And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]

    38And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

    39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

    Question: Why was the Eunuch in such a big hurry to be baptised after being taught?

    Question? When did he rejoice?

    Acts 2:37-38 37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

    38Peter said to them, “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.

    Question: When asked what they must do to be saved, what was Peter’s clear response?

    1 Peter 3:20-21 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

    21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    Question: By what means were they saved in Peter’s comparision to the flood?

    Mark 16:15-16 15And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

    16“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    Question: At what point is one considered saved?

    John 6:29 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

    Question: If belief too is a work, how can that be requisite any more than baptism?

    James 2:24 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

    Question; Is faith alone sufficient?

    2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

    Question: What is required to “obey” the gospel?

    Acts 19:1-5 1It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

    2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

    3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

    4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

    5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Question: If they had heard and believed and been baptized, why did they have to be baptised again?

    Acts 22:16 16‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

    Question: For what reason are they told to be baptized?

    2 Kings 5:13-14 13Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

    14So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

    Question: Why do we have such a problem simply doing what God has clearly instructed like Naaman?


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