We will study this topic in 7 sections
OT – mikveh and Jewish immersion
Word – meaning and usage in NT
Travel through NT passages
Baptism Is / Does
Conversions in Acts
Common Objections to baptism
Why was Jesus baptized?
Mikveh – gathering of waters – Genesis 1:10
Temple and Law of Moses
3 Areas of washing / immersion
Gentile converting to Judaism
Woman after monthly cycle
Pots made by a non-Jew
Descending Order of mikveh
Highest – spring, flowing river,
Called – Living water
6 Restrictions in Jewish Tradition
No other liquid – water only
In ground, attached to building on ground
Not flowing except natural (river, stream)
Not manually drawn – must flow in
Not channeled by anything unclean
At least 40 sa’ah = 200 gallons of water
Sa’ah = 5 gallons
Human body takes 20 sa’ah
Immersion requires double that
All Hebrew words for above are in Leviticus 11:36
To Jew – mikvah – washing, purification, cleansing, so as not to be remain defiled, cleansed from sin
All Commands of the Law
Moral or Ethical
Ritual, ceremony, worship
Separate from world – Deuteronomy 4:6
How was Immersion done?
Cut nails, hair
Undress – nothing touching you
Profess faith to the “father” – origin of “godfather”
Waist deep in water
Squat and bend over
Baptizer – make sure you are all under
Early drawing of John the Baptizer
Matthew 3:16 – “Came up out of water”
6 parts to Immersion
Exhortation – explain the reason, purpose
Self – Immersion
mikveh used 3 times
Leviticus 15:16 – “wash all flesh”
Required a witness
Father to whom confession is made
Origin of “in the name of”
Origin of baptism = naming
Not touched by baptizer
Water compared to womb
Called a new person
Referred to as a new birth, born again
3 witnesses required
Not related to convert
Repent and stop the sin
Any sin can be forgiven
Water and Blood = Cleansing
Blood – Passover, Atonement, feast offerings, Levitical offerings, priest’s ministry
Water – Red Heifer, priest’s ministry, leper cleansing, washing of the law, remission of sins
Thayer – (baptizo) – 1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk) 2) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe 3) to overwhelm
Torrey - Administered by immersing the whole body of the person in water
Vine - <A-1,Noun,908,baptisma> "baptism," consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, "to dip"), is used (a) of John's "baptism," (b) of Christian "baptism," see B. below; (c) of the overwhelming afflictions and judgments to which the Lord voluntarily submitted on the cross
Thayer – (bapto) - 1) to dip, dip in, immerse 2) to dip into dye, to dye, color
King James Dictionary – Baptize To immerse; to dip or dye a thing.
Webster - baptism is performed by plunging, or immersing the whole body in water, and this is done to none but adults.
For the purposes of the rest of the discussion it will be noted that the mode of baptism is used in the definition of full water immersion. The Greek for the word ‘baptizo’ means to immerse, plunge, dip, or bury in water. The very Greek word itself excludes it from meaning “sprinkling.”
Let’s begin by looking at each individual passage that relates to baptism and then at all of them together as a whole and let the Bible speak for itself:
I Peter 3:21
Baptism is how we get into Christ. Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4
Baptism is always accompanied by faith and repentance. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38
Baptism is God’s terms of surrender. Matthew 7:21
Baptism is our signal to God we have accepted Christ’s gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:1
Baptism is the external washing with water and the internal washing away of sin by God. 1 Peter 3:21
Baptism is “calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16
Baptism is being unified with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:3-5
Baptism is “clothing” ourselves with Christ. Revelation 3:5; Galatians 3:26-27
Baptism is “accepting” Christ (on His terms, not ours). Romans 10:16
Baptism is when our sins are forgiven. Acts 3:19; Acts 22:16
Baptism is when we receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Baptism is how and when we come into contact with the blood of Christ. Romans 6:3-4
Baptism is when we are reborn. John 3:5
Baptism is an act of faith. Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36-37
Baptism is how we enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5
Baptism is when we are added to the body of Christ (the church). Acts 2:47
Baptism is when we exchange our life for His. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Baptism is when we die to ourselves and come alive in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 6:11
Baptism is the washing of regeneration, and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5
Baptism is the starting gun of a race of a new life. Romans 6:4
Baptism is proclaiming in Christ the resurrection of the dead. Romans 6:5
Baptism is when the old dies and the new arises. In this manner we become saved. Romans 6:6
Baptism is the point in time when we become saved. 1 Peter 3:21
Baptism is when we stop living for ourselves and start living for Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:11
Baptism is how and when we scripturally make a conscious decision to dedicate our lives to Christ. Galatians 3:27
Baptism is a command of God. Acts 10:48
Baptism is how we scripturally enter into a relationship with Christ. Galatians 3:26-26
Baptism is the gavel striking the bench proclaiming forgiveness of sins, the end of the old and the birth of the new. Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4
is done FOR the forgiveness of sins Acts 2:38
is done to SAVE us 1Peter 3:21, Acts 2:40, Mark 16:16
Is done to WASH AWAY OUR SINS Acts 22:16
is done to be REBORN to new life John 3:5, Romans 6:3-6
is done to CLOTHE ourselves with Christ Gal 3:26-27
is done so that GOD will RESURRECT us from death Colossians 2:12, Romans 6:3-6
is done as a REQUIRMENT to enter heaven John 3:5
is done to put us INTO CHRIST Romans 6:3-6, Galatians 3:26-27, 1Corinthians 12:13
When accompanied by faith and repentance, baptism (immersion) is how and when our sins are washed away. If it is not done for the purpose of washing our sins away Acts 22:16, it is not the ONE baptism of the New Testament Ephesians 4:4-5 and therefore the “baptism” is invalid. It needs to be done in the correct, Scriptural manner.
When Jesus died on the cross, He, who had no sin, paid the death penalty for our sins. Through baptism we are united, or joined with Christ in paying the death penalty for sin. We are baptized into His death, into the death penalty for sin. We, who are unable to return from death because we have sin, are joined to Christ—and since Christ is sinless and was victorious over death, we, now being united with Him through baptism, are made victorious being united with Christ in His resurrection.
Now if God allows us to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (an event which occurred 2000 years ago), through baptism, it can truly be said we are saved through faith and God’s grace!
Baptism can be likened to the Israelites coming up out of the land of slavery, passing through the Red Sea and entering the Promised Land. Baptism can be likened to passing through the flood of Noah. Baptism is about leaving our old sinful, worldly ways behind and taking upon our shoulders the yoke of Christ. It is about lifestyle change and dying to ourselves and doing God’s will instead of ours. Our reason and purpose for living changes after baptism. Afterward is a new way of life. Baptism is about heart, faith, total commitment, surrender, self-denial, death, resurrection, repentance, and seeking God’s mercy through Jesus Christ and the work He did on that cross on that day of infamy 2000 years ago.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death. We will certainly be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. --Romans 6:3-8
Death Burial Resurrection
The work of the cross is God’s offer of life…
Baptism is our acceptance.
Acts 2:38-41 … the very first believers were Jews; the start of the church at Pentecost
Acts 8:5-12…Philip preaches in Samaria. People respond in faith by being baptized
Acts 8:26-40…Philip teaches the Ethiopian eunuch who responds by being baptized
Acts 9:18…the conversion of Saul to Paul
Acts 10:47-48…the “Gentile Pentecost”-God shows Peter the Gospel message is not for Jews alone
Acts 16:15…the conversion of Lydia and her household
Acts 16:16-33…Paul and Silas’ jailer (and his household) respond in faith and are immediately baptized
Acts 18:8 …Crispus, the synagogue ruler
Acts 19:3-5…those that had not heard yet of Jesus are baptized
Acts 22:16…Paul’s story revisited --his sins are washed away, calling on the name of the Lord in baptism
Baptism in the book of Acts and throughout the New Testament is always practiced by adults who have:
heard the message of the gospel (of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ ),
believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and paid for their sins on the cross,
turned away from their sins (repented) and
turned to Christ in faith and then
were fully immersed in water into Christ and into new life.
There are these five basic events, combined, that mark conversions in the New Testament:
Repent of our sins
Confess verbally faith in Jesus
Be baptized (fully immersed) in water for the forgiveness of our sins.
It’s that simple. In the Book of Acts, these five “ingredients” all take place in a very short time period, almost as a singular event.
Thief on the cross
This is a perfectly valid question and makes sense at first glance. However, the problem arises from not having a clear understanding of what baptism represents and what the scriptures tell us about it. According to Romans 6:3-6, baptism represents being unified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The problem with the thief on the cross when Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise is that Jesus was still alive. Christ had not yet died or been buried, so He had certainly not risen yet either. Baptism into Christ was not put into practice until Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 after Christ had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.
into your heart through prayer
This verse is taken out of context if it is applied to mean initial conversion. This is written in a letter to the church in Laodicea, i.e. to those that have already been baptized and have already been born again. This is not a verse about conversion. It was written to people who were already Christians (the church—see verse 14) and who were growing weak, in order to urge them back to a closer walk with God.
Many teach out of error that one only need say a prayer that goes something like this in order to be saved:
"Jesus, I know that I have sinned against you. I have sinned by my own choice. I take the responsibility for it. I know that I have earned punishment from You, and that the fair punishment would be death. Jesus, I believe that You died in my place. Forgive me for my sin. I cannot cover up or take my sin away, I am relying totally and completely on You. I am completely helpless. You are the only one who can save me. I reject my sin, I turn away from it, and I repent. Please come into my life, wash away my sin, and show me how to live my life in a way that is right and pleasing to You."
Nowhere in scripture do we see anyone “praying for salvation.” Although the thoughts and attitudes expressed in this prayer are exactly correct, it needs to be followed up with baptism into Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Saying a prayer for salvation may sound reasonable from a human standpoint, but it is totally unbiblical and foreign to the New Testament.
Prayer of “invitation to Jesus” taught?
If you have prayed a prayer like this, you have been stopped just short of the “one yard line.” You may have asked the Lord to show you what He wants you to do in your life. So keep going. Don’t stop now. Be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
If you have prayed such a prayer asking God to save you, He is responding to your prayer right now by telling you what HIS salvation plan is and that you have not heard the full story! He has heard your plea and wants to save you. God wants you to know His salvation plan involves being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
But baptism is
a “work” and we are not saved by works…
we are saved by faith alone.
First, we must consider what the definition of a “work” is that we are using. If one defines baptism a “work” then we must also label believing a “work”. We must also label repenting a “work”. Believing and repenting are both things we must DO as a prerequisite to salvation. They are both things that require human action. Baptism is merely the last part of that equation. James tells us he will show us his faith by what he does. James 2:17
It must be remembered that although baptism is something we must do (like believing and repenting), baptism is an act of faith, not a “work.” It must also be noted that the one at “work” when we are baptized is God, not us. See Colossians 2:12. Just as we must report to the hospital before a surgeon can operate on us, so too, we must “report to God’ in the waters of baptism, submitting to God and claiming His promise so that our sins will be forgiven. Just as it is the surgeon who is the one who is at work when we are operated on, so too, it is God who is the one who is at work when we undergo baptism.
Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is our birth John 3:3-5. Baptism is not an on going process such as feeding the poor, or clothing the homeless or offering sacrifices as they did under the Old Covenant. Doing good deeds cannot earn us eternal life.
Baptism is a manifestation of faith. It is not Man who is at work in baptism; it is God. Baptism is not a “work of righteousness.” If anything, it should be considered a work of UNrighteousness. We are baptized because we are corrupt, unrighteous and spiritually dead in sin. This is why we are buried with HIM into DEATH as explained in Romans 6. It is the DEAD that are buried, not the living.
But God has always measured faith by our actions. James 2:17-26
Did you catch that? There are many who teach one is saved by “faith alone,” but there is only one place in the bible where the phrase “faith alone” is found—James 2:24. And it states very plainly we are NOT saved by faith alone!!!
But I was baptized as an infant…
The concept of infant “baptism” is totally foreign to the Holy Scriptures. This practice stems from the erroneous teaching of “original sin.” The Bible does not give one single example or command of any baby being baptized anywhere. The Bible does not teach babies are born separated from God. On the contrary, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children. Matthew 19:14
To explore the topic of infant baptism we must also look into the erroneous teaching of “original sin.” The idea behind baptizing a baby is to remove “original sin”, i.e., the sin of Adam and Eve.
But if humans are “born in sin” and separated from God, then Jesus would not have been sinless. Jesus was not 50% God and 50% man. He was 100% God and 100% man. And “He committed no sin…” 1Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15 Sin is something we commit. Sin is not something we are born with or “in”.
The process of falling is a step-by-step process in which we turn away from God and commit acts contrary to His will. James 1:14-15
Notice in the above verses nowhere does it even imply we are born in sin.
Paul taught that we fall short because we sinned. Romans 3:23
The word “sinned” is an active verb. It means we did something. We sinned. Although we have a disposition to sin, we are not born lost and separated from God. How can babies who can’t even yet speak, sin?
Paul reiterates this idea again. Romans 5:12
Notice this does not say men were born into sin. It says death comes because we all sin. The word “sinned” is an active verb. This means we have an active hand in our own demise. It is something we do to ourselves. Sin is an act. We commit sin; We are not born condemned. The act of Adam gave men the choice to sin because sin was now present. In Eden, Adam’s eyes were opened and he realized he had a choice in whether to obey God or not. He saw the two paths set before him: obedience or disobedience. God gives us free will. The Bible says we all have chosen the wrong path at some point.
Adam’s act brings death. In choosing to follow Adam’s path we die.
Jesus Christ’s act brings life. In choosing to follow Jesus’ path we live.
But whether in Adam or in Christ (the Second Adam), we make a choice. And the end result is a result of that choice.
Sure, baptism is commanded, but it’s not essential…
According to Romans 6:3-10 and Colossians 2:12 we are dead and unified with Jesus through baptism into His death, His burial and His resurrection:
According to this erroneous teaching, which states: We are saved when we believe and are resurrected at that point and are then baptized as a sign of “what has already taken place,” we get another and completely different picture, which looks like this:
We don’t bury live people. On the contrary; We bury dead ones! This teaching, when looked at closely, is NOT what the Word of God teaches about baptism in Romans 6 and Colossians 2:12. This is not a Biblical baptism. Romans 6:9-10 states Christ died ONCE and cannot die again! We are unified with Him in death, buried with Him and also raised with Him through baptism. How does all this take place? By faith.
If we are “saved” before we are baptized, then baptism has no meaning and is contradictory to itself.
Furthermore, Ephesians 4:4-5 states that there is only ONE baptism, not two! A person must choose which baptism is the one that is taught in scripture. And there is only ONE Gospel.
If we deny baptism is when we are reborn, we are denying not only our own resurrection (and rebirth) but also Christ’s resurrection.
We are not
saved when we are baptized in water;
we are saved when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.
First of all, the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was never commanded; It was promised ---and could not be administered by men, only by Jesus. The baptism of the Great Commission was in water. The phenomenon of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” occurred twice in Scripture (Acts 2 and Acts 10). It never happened again in this outward, visible manner (which is what the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was). This miraculous, outward sign was to verify and confirm the predicted coming of the Holy Spirit—which meant God’s eternal kingdom had now begun to establish itself on earth.
The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” as referred to by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 is a separate and different occurrence than water baptism. It was an outward sign to confirm God’s Word and Christ’s prophecy of the coming of the kingdom—the start of Christ’s church, which happened at Pentecost over 2000 years ago.
But Ephesians 4:4-5 teaches there is only ONE baptism.
Which baptism can this be then? What is this ONE baptism?
It is the baptism of Christ spoken of by Peter starting on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38 and continuing throughout the rest of the New Testament. It is the baptism that the Ethiopian eunuch underwent. It is the baptism that Paul underwent to have his sins washed away. New Testament baptism consists of two parts: water and Spirit, as the Lord spoke of to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5. Jesus said that the truth is that we must be born of the water and the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. In other words, we must be baptized to be saved. That is what the Lord Himself said.
If baptism is
so important, then why isn’t baptism mentioned
in every single passage about conversion?
Baptism is, in fact, mentioned in every single detailed conversion story in the book of Acts.
It must be remembered that faith, repentance and baptism, all combined, are what make up the three facets of conversion. Some passages of scripture emphasize baptism. Other passages emphasize belief, and still others emphasize repentance. Some emphasize two out of the three. And yet in still others, all three facets can be seen.
In the book of Acts, when the question was asked, "What must I do to be saved?" some were told they needed to believe because they had not yet done so. Others were told to repent because they had not yet done that. And still others were told to be baptized because that still needed to be done. If the New Testament and its teachings are taken as a whole, then it is certainly reasonable to conclude that God requires faith, repentance, and baptism for a person to be saved.
For example, just because one particular passage does not emphasize repentance, it does not mean we do not need to repent. Jesus very clearly stated in Luke 13:3 that unless we repent, we too, will all perish. Does that mean then that the passages that emphasize faith, that repentance is not required? Of course not! What about passages that don’t mention faith, repentance or baptism? Take a look at Acts 14. Here, large numbers of people were being converted, yet nothing is mentioned specifically as to how people responded, not even faith! The fact that they believed must be inferred.
We are not
saved by baptism;
the blood of Christ saves us.
We gain access to Christ’s blood through His body.
We gain access to Christ’s body through baptism.
1:7-8; Romans 8:1
We are not
saved by baptism;
we are saved by grace.
Indeed, we are saved by grace. But just what is ‘grace’? The Oxford American Dictionary defines grace as: God’s loving mercy toward mankind. Other words that may be found in a thesaurus as synonyms for “grace” include: mercy, favor, kindness, blessing, and compassion.
And it is because of God’s mercy, His favor, His kindness, His blessing and His compassion that He has provided mankind with a salvation plan! We are saved by God’s mercy. We do not deserve the blessings God has given us.
Baptism in no way minimizes or nullifies God’s grace as some critics argue that baptism does. They make this argument because they do not understand the role baptism plays in God’s salvation plan. Baptism confirms and verifies God’s grace to us! God’s grace is manifested in baptism! And after we are baptized, His grace continues to cover us.
Notice this passage says:
God made us alive in Christ when we were dead—and this is God’s grace. God raised us up with Christ. God expresses His grace to mankind by giving us Christ Jesus. God’s grace is through faith. When did God make us alive when we were dead, and raise us up with Christ? Romans 6:3-5
happens to a person if they die
before they are baptized?”
The scenario goes along these lines: A person hears the message that Jesus died for their sins and rose again; they believe and repent of their sins and come to understand the need to be baptized so that their sins will be forgiven. But before they can make it into the water to be baptized, death overtakes them.
This objection to baptism arises on the argument that God would not keep a person in such a situation from heaven. So according to this line of reasoning, therefore if baptism isn’t required in that situation, it is NEVER required because God is perfectly fair and just.
First, to build an entire doctrine around the topic of salvation based on a hypothetical situation, while completely ignoring at least a dozen passages that plainly teach baptism is a part of God’s salvation plan, is utter and complete folly, besides just going against common sense.
It is noted though, that from a human standpoint, this scenario is seemingly difficult. It is recognized that God “will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, (Romans 9:15) and God is the Judge and all His decisions are perfectly just and righteous. If God decides when looking at something, He wants to grant an “exception to the rule”, that is His place, not man’s. God can do whatever He wants. God will still be God. God has an infinitely better ability to make judgments than man. Yes, God is merciful, but it MUST be remembered there is NO scriptural support for such a person being saved. God is under no scriptural obligation in such a case.
Could God make an exception? Yes, He could. But does that mean He would? That is not a question any human being can answer with certainty. Only God, Himself, in His infinite wisdom and righteousness, can know the answer to this question.
When God has gone to such inexpressible lengths to give us such a wonderful salvation, it would be wise not to ignore it and put ourselves in the place of God and tinker with His salvation plan, attempting to grant things that only God can grant. Remember, it is God who “makes the rules”, not man! Only a fool would trade something that is absolutely certain for something that is highly questionable.
God expects from us what we are able to do, not what we are unable to do. Romans 10:9 teaches one part of God’s salvation plan. We know this verse is not exclusive of other verses, because Jesus also said unless we repent we will all perish. Luke 13:3-5 So Romans 10:9 cannot exclude repentance (or other components of God’s salvation plan, such as baptism). Looking at Romans 10:9, what would happen to the person who has a deformed tongue and cannot speak? Would God expect them to obey this verse? Obviously not. But just because God might make an “exception to the rule”, does not mean we throw out the rule! We cannot throw this verse out and build a doctrine around excluding this verse! Sadly, that is what the denominational world has done with baptism.
However, the issue is not whether the person of this scenario will go to heaven or hell, no, that is a judgment left to God--the issue always has been and always will be—What is God’s salvation plan as revealed in Scripture?
“What about the Greek word “eis” in Acts 2:38?”
Some, in wishing to deny the importance and purpose of baptism, claim that the original Greek word eis in Acts 2:38 means "be baptized because you already have remission of sins." But such a translation and interpretation cannot be supported with a responsible study of Scripture and the Greek language.
In Acts 2:38 (KJV), Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ FOR (Greek eis) the remission of sins." According to one source, eis is translated in this way in the King James Version:
Into – 571 times
To -- 282 times
Unto -- 208 times
In -- 131 times
For -- 91 times
On -- 57 times
Toward -- 32 times
That -- 30 times
Against -- 25 times
Upon -- 25 times
At -- 20 times
Among -- 16 times
Concerning -- 5 times
“because of” – 0 times
According to Thayer's lexigon, eis means "entrance into, or direction and limit: into, to, towards, for, among." The majority of the words listed above are consistent with that meaning. Many wish to believe/teach that Peter said repent and be baptized "because of" the remission of sins. There is, however, not a single instance of the Greek word eis in the KJV ever translated as "because of." Nor is there apparently any version of the Bible that translates Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized . . . because of the remission of sins." There are several versions though, that translate the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins” as “so that your sins will be forgiven”
To better understand the meaning, consider the entire phrase "for the remission of sins." That phrase is also found in Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3 where John preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Did John preach and baptize because they already had forgiveness, or was it leading up to that time of forgiveness through Christ?
The real test, though, is found in Matthew 26:28. Jesus said His blood "is shed for many for the remission of sins." What did He mean by that? Would He shed His blood because people already had forgiveness or in order that they might obtain it?
If Jesus used the word/phrase to mean "in order to receive remission of sins," then is it not reasonable to conclude that Peter, by inspiration of the Spirit sent by Jesus, would mean the exact same thing when he used the exact same phrase? Surely Peter's command to be baptized in Acts 2:38 means what it clearly says: baptism is for/in order to obtain the forgiveness of sins.
“But Paul said he was not sent to baptize…”
“In 1 Corinthians 1:10ff, Paul condemns the Christians at Corinth for their division. Apparently many were holding an improper allegiance to the one who baptized them (verse 12). In verse 14, Paul stated that he was therefore thankful that he had baptized only a few there in Corinth. He did not seek any particular status in the minds of those who were baptized; it made no difference to him who actually did the baptizing. He says in verse 17 and in Acts 9:15 that Jesus had called him to preach. Others could do the baptizing as well as Paul, but not necessarily the preaching. Remember John 4:1-2 says that Jesus made and baptized many disciples, but it was His disciples that actually did the physical act of baptizing.
Was Paul saying that baptism is not important? Certainly not. Remember it was Paul who said that we put on Christ in baptism. Galatians 3:27 Actually, the passage is very consistent in showing that baptism is very important. It is obvious that the Christians in Corinth had been baptized; this is inferred in 1 Corinthians 1:13 and stated in Acts 18:8. And Paul, in this passage, actually indicates that two things are required before a person may call himself after another person. First, Paul would have to die for that person; and second, that person would have to be baptized in the name of Paul. This actually parallels perfectly with Biblical teaching that Christ has died for us, and we rightfully call ourselves Christians when we put Christ on in baptism.”
The divisions that were occurring with the Corinthians apparently got started because they were placing improper importance and significance on who baptized them. Whether it was Paul or some other teacher, it did not matter.
But notice something very important about Paul’s words that actually demonstrate the necessity of baptism: To re-state, according to verse 13, in order to be called after Christ, at least two things must happen:
Christ must die for that person (which He did)
That person must be baptized into the name of Christ!
If one has not been baptized into Christ, one cannot rightfully call them a Christian.
Even though Paul may have only
baptized a few of the Corinthians himself, personally, they ALL were
“But God has answered my prayers for a long time,
so how could I not be saved?”
Answered prayer is not “proof” we are saved. God answers prayers of unsaved people all the time. That is how loving, caring, all-powerful, all-knowing, merciful, and perfect God is. Matthew 5:45
When God answers our prayers even before we are saved, He is drawing us to Him. When we reach out for God, He does not push us away. He answers so we will know He is there. He answers so we will know he is real. He answers so we will believe He exists. God answers so we will continue to seek after Him.
It is not unusual for God to hear the prayers of people that are seeking Him, even before they are saved.
God not only heard Cornelius’ prayer before he was saved, He sent an angel in response to provide him with more information through Peter! Peter later told Cornelius the rest of the message so that he could be saved.
Jesus warned us that even miracles performed in His name do not mean we are saved. Matthew 7:21-23
In the above verse, how could these people cast out demons unless they pray? How could they perform any of these works without prayer? Notice Jesus does not deny they did these things. But Jesus tells them to depart because they did not do His will. How do we know what God’s will is? By reading the Scriptures and doing what they say.
Think about this: If God did not answer our prayers at all before we were saved, how would we ever find Him?
Imagine a parent that looses their child in a store. Does the parent not cry out and call to that lost child? And when the child hears his mother or father, does he not run in the direction of that voice?
That is what God does with us!
Baptism in the name of Jesus, or baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Some people think that being baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” and being baptized into the “name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” are two different things. They are, in fact, the same thing. It is half a dozen in one hand or six in the other. Some think that by obeying this direct command and wording of Jesus Himself in Matthew 28:19 it is somehow not the same as being baptized into Christ and makes baptism in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, invalid (even if it is full water immersion for the forgiveness of sins and done in conformity to Christ’s exact Words). The reason these people use is that the wording found elsewhere in the New Testament and especially the book of Acts uses the term “Jesus Christ” or simply “Jesus” (which can further open a can of worms…is it “Jesus Christ”(as Peter said), “Christ Jesus” (as Paul said), “Jesus”(Paul again) or “Christ” (Paul)? The New Testament uses all these terms). But if the Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, then both of these renderings would be correct. Part of this confusion stems from misunderstanding two things:
1. The whole Bible is the Word of God and Matthew 28:19 cannot be excluded
2. The nature of Christ as God the Father and of God Himself
So if we see supposedly two examples in Scripture—“Jesus Christ” and “the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” and only one of them is valid, that would invalidate the other, which in turn would invalidate the Word of God. And God is not a liar. His Word is Truth. Are these “two” ways really two? Are they contradictory? Or are they the same?
If we come to understand from the Word of God the nature of our Creator, we can start to grasp what Jesus was telling us when He referred to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This idea is perhaps one of the hardest for us mortals with finite minds to grasp and this author does not claim to fully fathom the depth of himself. It is just accepted on faith. This exploration is by no means complete, as it will only scratch the surface of what is called the doctrine of the Trinity-- a single God who is three, but is also one.
“Calling on the name of the Lord”
Often times people will quote Romans 10:13 not understanding what it means to “call on the name of the Lord” biblically. This verse in Romans 10:13 is actually a quote of Joel 2:32. This is the same exact verse the apostle Peter quoted in Acts chapter 2 at the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:21
In Acts 2, we see that after Peter quotes them the verse in Joel they still ask Peter, in Acts 2:37 “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter does not respond by telling them to say a prayer. Peter does not lead them in any prayer! NO! Instead he tells them what they must do to be saved. Peter gives them the answer mankind needs so desperately to hear.
The Bible tells us what it means “to call on the name of the Lord”. To “call on the name of the Lord” is equated with repentance and baptism into Christ’s name.
“Calling on the name of the Lord” being equated with baptism is further reinforced in Acts 22:16 -- “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'”
The first thing Satan always attacks is the Word of God. It was the first thing he attacked in the Garden of Eden and the Word of God is still the first thing he attacks today. His tactics have not changed a bit. He keeps using the same old strategy over and over again on fresh batches of people. As generations come and as generations go, he repeatedly deceives the nations in the same way.
In the beginning, God told Eve, “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree…” and Satan came along and said, “Did God really say ‘Do not eat of the fruit of the tree’?” He managed to persuade Eve that’s not really what God meant. Satan asks people the same question today, “Did God really say you need to be baptized to be saved?” The answer is, “Yes, He did.”
Why are there so many that profess to believe in Jesus Christ but have such a hard time with what should be clearly apparent to them? There are many passages on baptism in the Scriptures. It seems so clear and obvious to some but more difficult for others. Why is this?
Q: Where did Jesus die? A: Christ died on a cross!
Baptism is when we become united with Christ and are crucified with Him. And those that resist the Scriptural teaching of baptism, resist the message of the cross. 1 Corinthians 1:18
And it is impossible to separate the message of the cross from the biblical teaching of baptism. The two go hand in hand. The message of the cross is gut wrenching enough, let alone it now becoming when WE, ourselves must personally decide to be crucified with Christ and become unified with Him in His death—which was on the cross! Consider what Jesus went through on the cross. And then consider that all we have to do to be saved is believe, repent of our sins and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins. This is nothing considering what He did for us that day on that cross two millenniums ago.
The work of the cross is God’s offer of life…
Baptism is our acceptance.
It should be noted full well, that God is a God of order, light and truth, not one of confusion and darkness. By giving us the scriptures, God wants us to understand and see. His purpose is not to confuse. If we see everything that God is telling us about baptism and its essential need, we see the perfect order and harmony in these scriptures. If baptism is necessary then it is not hard to see the wonderful agreement, conformity, and synchronization of these scriptures. They all fit together perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle. If baptism is not necessary, and if we accept the critics “explanations”, we see confusing meanings, contradictory commands, clashing explanations, and conflicting instructions, along with a schizophrenic God that can’t make up his mind about anything He is trying to tell us. We end up understanding less than when we started! But God is not a God of confusion but one of order.
To those who may be more aware of the spiritual battle that rages around us…
If baptism is as important as we are making out, if it is when we become saved and God forgives our sins, then wouldn’t you just expect the devil to set up every argument he could against the need and necessity of baptism? Would you not expect him to resist and attempt to persuade the world that one does not need to be baptized into Christ? He does not just roll over and die without a fight. And if we were to consider what arguments to use to deceive people what arguments would they be?
It is a grave mistake to remove the essential necessity of baptism from the gospel message! Jesus started His public ministry by being baptized Himself and He ended it by commanding the Apostles to baptize and teach disciples as they went into the entire world.
There are many people who have a deep and sincere faith in Christ. Yet, because the Word of God does not capitulate to the teachings of men, these people are being held at the “one yard line” by error (to use a phrase from the sport of American football). Though they sit on the doorstep to the kingdom of heaven, they have not yet entered in. If Jesus were on the earth today I believe Christ would say something like, “You are not far from the kingdom of heaven. You lack this one thing. Go and do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Do not be like the foolish who, though they were at the very door, remained locked out.
Christ died a painful, excruciating, humiliating death for us. Consider the words of Isaiah the prophet concerning the Christ. All Christ asks is we be baptized into His name to experience His resurrection and victory over death (and then follow Him for the rest of our life). He died alone on that cross and was separated from God for us. Being unified with Him in His death is the only way to be unified into His life. Baptism is a simple and easy thing to do. It is time to put aside human teachings and traditions of men and follow the scriptures alone as our sole source of truth.
For those people that have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ but have not yet been baptized, you are urged to do so immediately. Don’t let the devil hold you at the one-yard line. You are so close. Get over that line. Being baptized is such a small thing. It takes a few moments. God has done so much for us and does not ask for much in return. Being baptized is a small thing to do in return. Christ set us an example Himself, and He commands it as well. It is the perfect measure of faith and action working together. --Faith that God will forgive your sins and add you to the kingdom of heaven and to His body and new life. This website has explained what baptism means and what is so significant about it. There is no need to delay any further.
Here is some food for thought for those that wish to look at the issue using 100% logic:
If the critics were correct and baptism is NOT a requirement to be saved, and we ARE baptized, we will still be saved. But if, on the other hand, baptism IS required and we are NOT baptized, we will be lost.
There are those who will try to use scripture to say that we don’t need to be baptized to be saved. But the Scriptures make it very plain that baptism is a part of God’s salvation plan for mankind. The religious teachers of the day tried to use the scriptures against Jesus as well.
Jesus answered – Matthew 3:15
NOT – for forgiveness of sins
Jesus was without sin – Hebrews 4:15
Who did no sin – 1 Peter 2:22
In Him is no sin – 1 John 3:5
Who knew no sin – 2 Corinthians 5:21
God commanded it – Matthew 21:25
Refusing to be baptized would mean disobedience to God
He wanted to do what is right – “fulfill all righteousness”
NOTE: Much of this material is developed from the website - http://www.bebaptized.org/ - and the charts are also from this site.