FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR
It is rather a startling thing to discover how little has ever been written concerning baptism.
In a widely used book on Christian Theology there are 326 pages. Out of these 326 pages one-half of a page (22 lines) is devoted to baptism! This is a typical example.
In the catalogues of the leading religious book houses there is very little mention of books on baptism.
This neglect of the subject of baptism is even more startling in view of the tremendous importance given the matter in the New Testament.
The words Baptist, baptism, baptize, baptized and baptizing are used a total of 113 times in the New Testament.
In view of this obvious neglect I feel there is a definite need for at least a booklet on baptism. This booklet is necessary for several reasons.
First, there is a need for a booklet that will instruct new converts on the subject of baptism.
Second, today's divisions in Christianity began with a departure from the truth concerning baptism. All united effort for the cause of Christ has to begin with a return to unity in baptism.
Third, error concerning baptism is causing more people to be deceived about eternal salvation than all other errors combined.
It will be our purpose to use the Bible and the Bible only as the authority for what we say about baptism. We will not appeal to history, tradition, nor man's interpretation. God being our helper, we will let the Word of God say what it was intended to say.
Chapter 1 The History of Baptism
The New Testament places great emphasis upon baptism. The words, Baptist, baptism, baptize, baptized are used a total of 113 times in the New Testament.
THE STORY OF BAPTISM BEGINS WITH WITH JOHN THE BAPTIST
The first mention of baptism in the entire Bible is found in Matthew 3:4-6.
"And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
"Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan.
"AND WERE BAPTIZED OF HIM IN JORDAN, CONFESSING THEIR SINS."
Without any explanation or previous mention the New Testament simply states that those who came to John "were baptized of him in Jordan." THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF BAPTISM. There is absolutely no mention of baptism in the Bible until John the Baptist.
John stated that he had been sent to baptize.
"And I knew him not: BUT HE THAT SENT ME TO BAPTIZE WITH WATER, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." -John 1:33
Thus we see that John the Baptist was sent forth by God to baptize. Jesus stated by inference in Mark 11:30 that the baptism of John was from heaven.
John the Baptist was the first voice from God for almost 400 years. He came to "prepare ... the way of the Lord." (Isa. 40:3.) He was the "voice of one crying in the wilderness." (Matt. 3:3.)
John the Baptist ushered in the Christian era.
"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." -Luke 16:16
ALL TWELVE OF THE DISCIPLES WERE BAPTIZED BY JOHN THE BAPTIST
It is evident, from the Bible, that all twelve of the disciples were baptized by John the Baptist.
"Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
"BEGINNING FROM THE BAPTISM OF JOHN, unto that same day that he was taken from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection."-Acts 1:21, 22
This is the record of the selection of one to take the place of Judas Iscariot, the one who had betrayed his Lord with a kiss and then committed suicide. The new disciple had to be one who had been with the disciples "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, BEGINNING WITH THE BAPTISM OF JOHN." The fact that the successor to Judas must have been baptized by John certainly indicates that all the other disciples were baptized by John.
John 1:35-45 clearly states that some of the original twelve had first been disciples of John and had thus been baptized by John. It is clearly taught that all the disciples were baptized by John the Baptist.
JOHN THE BAPTIST BAPTIZED JESUS CHRIST
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." -Matt. 3:13.
"And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan." -Mark 1:9
Jesus Christ walked sixty miles to be baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.
JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES BAPTIZED THEIR FOLLOWERS
"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and THERE HE TARRIED WITH THEM, AND BAPTIZED." -John 3:22.
"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples.) -John 4:1, 2
From these two Scriptures we find that the baptizing of converts continued in the ministry of Jesus and the disciples. It would seem from these two verses that Jesus probably baptized early in His ministry but later delegated this authority to His disciples.
Before the close of the Gospels Christ had given the command that baptism was to continue.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST." -Matt. 28:19.
After the ascension of Christ the practice of baptism continues in the book of Acts.
THE CONVERTS ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST WERE BAPTIZED
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thou sand souls." -Acts 2:41.
THE CONVERTS IN THE REVIVAL AT SAMARIA WERE BAPTIZED
"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN." -Acts 8:12
THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS BAPTIZED
"And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, AND AROSE AND WAS BAPTIZED." -Acts 9:18.
THE GENTILE CONVERTS WERE BAPTIZED
"Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
"And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." -Acts 10:47, 48.
PAUL'S CONVERTS WERE BAPTIZED
Lydia was baptized (Acts 16:14, 15.) The Philippian Jailor was baptized (Acts 16:33). Crispus was baptized (Acts 18:8.)
Throughout the entire Book of Acts we find that all those who embraced Christianity were baptized.
Throughout the Epistles we find that the early churches practiced baptism.
The practice of New Testament baptism has continued to this day.
Then, briefly, this is the history of baptism:
1. God sent John the Baptist to baptize.
2.John the Baptist baptized all his followers and the twelve disciples.
3.John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ.
4.Jesus Christ and His disciples baptized their followers.
5.Jesus Christ commanded that baptism was to continue.
6.After the ascension of Christ the practice of baptism continued with the Apostles and early churches.
7.The practice of baptism was continued down through the ages until today.
Chapter 2 Definition of Baptism
What is baptism? In view of today's conflicting claims, this is certainly a legitimate question. We will try, God being our helper, to let the Bible answer this question as simply and clearly as possible.
JOHN WAS SENT OF GOD TO BAPTIZE WITH WATER
"And I knew him not: BUT HE THAT SENT ME TO BAPTIZE WITH WATER.. the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." -John 1: 33.
The fact that water was used in baptism is declared many times in the Scripture.
"And were BAPTIZED OF HIM IN JORDAN...." -Matt. 3:6.
"were all baptized of him IN THE RIVER JORDAN." -Mark 1:5.
"I indeed baptize you with WATER..." -Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:26.
"And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, BECAUSE THERE WAS MUCH WATER THERE: ... " -John 3:23.
BAPTISM IS BURIAL IN WATER
The Bible plainly describes baptism as burial in water. This is true at the baptism of Jesus.
". . . and Jesus, when he was baptized, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER.. ." -Matt. 3:16.
"Aud it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John IN JORDAN.
"AND STRAIGHTWAY COMING UP OUT OF THE WATER, he saw the heavens opened ..." --- Mark 1:9, 10.
This language, describing the baptism of Jesus, if taken for its intended meaning, pictures Jesus being buried in water.
The expression, "...went up straightway out of the water," pictures one who had been down into the water and brought up out of the water.
The expression, "baptized of John IN JORDAN," can have only one intended meaning. This language could not possibly be describing sprinkling or pouring but complete immersion.
In every instance where baptism is described it is always a complete burial in water.
Notice the language that describes the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
". . . and the eunuch said, See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized!" -Acts 8:36.
"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and THEY WENT DOWN BOTH INTO THE WATER, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
"AND WHEN THEY WERE COME UP OUT OF THE WATER, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip..." -Acts 8:38, 39.
Certainly it is obvious, even to the casual reader, that this language describes burial in water as baptism. Note the following things:
1. The eunuch understood that baptism was immersion in water. They came unto a certain water and the eunuch said, "See here is water." If sprinkling or pouring was to be used, why would he have stopped at this water? The water they had in canteens would have been enough. The scripture reveals that because of the teaching of Philip the eunuch understood that baptism was burial in water.
2. "They went down both into the water". . . "they.. . come up out of the water." This language describes baptism as burial in water.
BAPTISM IS A PICTURE OF A BURIAL AND RESURRECTION
The Bible reveals that baptism in water is a picture of a burial and resurrection. Sprinkling or pouring cannot, in the wildest stretch of imagination, picture a burial and resurrection.
". . . we are BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM ... " -Col. 2:12.
"For if we have been PLANTED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, we shall be also in the LIKE NESS OF HIS RESURRECTION." -Rom. 6:5.
"Therefore WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM into death: that LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." -Rom. 6:4.
Let us allow the Bible to speak for itself and mean what it was intended to mean. Notice the language that describes baptism.
"BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM." Sprinkling or pouring could not possibly be meant. Only burial in water fulfills the meaning.
Baptism is to be, "Planted together in the likeness of his death" and to be raised "in the likeness of his resurrection." Baptism is to be like Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Buried beneath the water is like His death and being brought up from the water is like His resurrection.
In the entire Bible the only baptism described is burial and resurrection in water. THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INDICATION OF SPRINKLING OR POURING EVER BEING USED AS BAPTISM.
The Bible is God's holy, inspired, word. Each individual has the divine God-given right to come to God's word. Isn't it the logical thing to accept and abide by a "thus saith the Lord"? It is a tragedy to be deceived by man's teaching.
Chapter 3 Who Should Be Baptized?
Who should be baptized?
The major divisions in Christianity are caused by differences of man's opinion concerning an answer to this question.
Again we ask just one thing ... LET THE BIBLE SPEAK FOR ITSELF AND MEAN WHAT IT WAS INTENDED TO MEAN.
To get an answer to our question and for purposes of clarity we would like to look at the New Testament in four divisions.
1. Who did John the Baptist baptize?
2. Who did Christ and the disciples baptize?
3. Who was baptized in the Book of Acts?
4. What do the Epistles say about this question?
JOHN THE BAPTIST DEMANDED REPENTANCE AND FAITH BEFORE BAPTISM
The Scriptures clearly teach that John the Baptist demanded repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as conditions for baptism.
Listen to the message of John the Baptist.
"In those days came John the Baptist, pre-aching in the. wilderness of Judea, "And saying, REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND." -Matt. 3:1, 2.
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Saddacees come to his baptism, He said unto them . . . Bring forth therefore FRUITS MEET FOR REPENTANCE." -Matt. 3:8.
The baptism of John the Baptist was called the "BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE." (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3.)
"I indeed BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE . . ." -Matt. 3:11.
There is an extremely important verse in Acts that is largely overlooked when speaking of the baptism of John the Baptist. Let us look at it.
"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE, saying unto the people, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM WHICH SHOULD COME AFTER HIM, THAT IS, ON CHRIST JESUS."-Acts 19:4
In this verse the Apostle Paul sums up the ministry of John the Baptist. Notice the following facts from these scriptures:
1. John the Baptist came forth, sent from God, to call the people to repentance.
2. John the Baptist instructed those who came to him that they should believe "on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."
3. It is plainly taught that John only baptized those who repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ.
IN THE GOSPELS, CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES ONLY BAPTIZED THOSE WHO HAD REPENTED AND BELIEVED. In the manner of John the Baptist, Christ and His disciples only baptized those who had repented and believed.
"Go ye therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:. . ." -Matt. 28:19.
In this great commission to the church Christ gave the divine order. "Go ye therefore and teach all nations." In this expression the word "teach" literally means to "disciple," that is, to make disciples. The disciples were to be made . . . then baptized. This is borne out in another scripture.
"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus MADE and BAPTIZED more disciples than John."-John 4:1.
Jesus MADE THE DISCIPLES, THEN BAPTIZED THEM. Only those who had repented and believed were baptized.
"He that BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."---- Mark 16:16 Only those who had believed were baptized.
IN THE BOOK OF ACTS ONLY THOSE WHO HAD REPENTED AND BELIEVED WERE BAPTIZED
Throughout the entire Book of Acts only those who had repented and believed were baptized.
"Then Peter said unto them, REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." -Acts 2:38
Repentance and then baptism --- this was the order preached in the Book of Acts.
"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
Only those that "gladly received his word" were baptized.
"BUT WHEN THEY BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN." -Acts 8:12
when they believed ... they were baptized." This is the divine, God-given order.
"Then SIMON HIMSELF BELIEVED also: and WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, HE CONTINUED with Philip ... 11 -Acts 8:13
Simon was baptized after he had believed.
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; WHAT DOTH HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED?
"And Philip said, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST." -Acts 8:36,37
Language could not be plainer than this. In answer to the direct question, ""WHAT DOTH HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED?" the direct answer was, "If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest." He had to believe before he was baptized.
In Acts 16:14, 15 it tells how Lydia "attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul" and then was baptized.
In Acts 16:30-33 the jailor believed and then was baptized.
"And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians HEARING BELIEVED, AND WERE BAPTIZED." -Acts 18:8
Hearing ... believed ... baptized, this has always been the divine order.
THE EPISTLES TEACH THAT ONLY THOSE WHO HAD REPENTED AND BELIEVED WERE BAPTIZED
Romans 6:1-10, Gal. 3:26, 27, etc. all teach that only those who had repented and believed were baptized.
Who should be baptized?
John the Baptist only baptized those who had repented and believed.
Jesus and the disciples only baptized those who had repented and believed.
The apostles and early churches only baptized those who had repented and believed.
The epistles teach that only those who had repented and believed were to be baptized.
THE ESTABLISHED BIBLE FACT THAT ONLY THOSE WHO HAD REPENTED AND BELIEVED WERE BAPTIZED EXPOSES A LOT OF ERROR IN MAN'S IDEAS CONCERNING BAPTISM
For instance, since repentance and faith must come before baptism this makes infant baptism a little ridiculous. More will be said about this in a later chapter, but it is easily seen that an infant cannot meet the requirements for baptism.
Since repentance and faith must come before baptism, it is a little ridiculous to get baptized to get saved. One who has repented and believed is already saved. Another error is exposed. More will be said about this later.
THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE IN ALL THE BIBLE WHERE ANY BUT THOSE WHO HAD REPENTED AND BELIEVED WERE BAPTIZED.
Chapter 4 The Essentials of Salvation
The object of this message will be to establish from God's Word that from the standpoint of human responsibility there are only two essentials to salvation. These essentials are REPENTANCE AND FAITH. They are vital, indispensable and absolutely necessary. As far as human responsibility goes REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE THE ONLY ESSENTIALS IN SALVATION.
As we have already established, only those who had repented and believed were baptized, This chapter will establish that repentance and faith are the only two essentials to salvation. The conclusion is obvious-Only those who were saved were baptized.
Let us take two texts.
"And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL." -Mark 1:15.
"Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." -Acts 20:21.
Notice these expressions . . . "REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL"... REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST."
Repentance and faith are the only essentials to salvation. The Bible teaches that when a sinner repents of his sin and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ he is saved. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE NECESSARY. Let us establish this fact.
The Word of God calls for sinners to repent.
"And they went out and preached THAT MEN SHOULD REPENT." -Mark 1:15. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; BUT NOW COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERY WHERE TO REPENT."-Acts 17:30.
". . . for I am not come to call the righteous, but SINNERS TO REPENTANCE." -Matt. 9:13.
In our text the command is, "REPENT YE, and believe the Gospel."
Beginning with John the Baptist the gospel message has called sinners to repentance. The preachers of the New Testament, "went out and preached that men should repent." Jesus Christ said, "I came ... to call ... sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32).
God commands all men to repent.
It is easily established that the Word of God plainly teaches that sinners should repent.
REPENTANCE IS AN ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL
The Bible teaches that if the sinner does not repent he is lost. Regardless of what else he does HE MUST REPENT. THE SINNER CANNOT BE SAVED WITHOUT REPENTANCE.
"I tell you, Nay: but, EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH." -Luke 13:3, 5.
The phrase, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish., " establishes the fact that repentance is essential to salvation. It is an absolute necessity.
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE." -11 Peter 3:9.
This verse plainly teaches that to fail to come to repentance would be to perish, that is, to be eternally lost. Again it is revealed that repentance is absolutely essential to Salvation.
"For godly sorrow worketh REPENTANCE TO SALVATION not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."-II Cor. 7:10.
The phrase ""repentance to salvation" reveals that repentance is essential to salvation.
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CALLS SINNERS TO REPENTANCE. WITHOUT REPENTANCE THERE CAN BE NO SALVATION.
Now let us look at the other essential to salvation.
The word of God calls for sinners to believe.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16.
"Whosoever believeth" ... this is the gospel invitation.
"HE THAT BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned . . ." -John 3:18.
"He that believeth" . . . this is the gospel requirement.
"He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON hath everlasting life:" ... -John 3:36.
To have everlasting life is to have salvation and this is a present reality to all that believe.
"He that heareth my word AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME hath everlasting life. . .-"-John 5:24.
In answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" the Bible answers ,
"And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." -Acts 16:31.
From these Scriptures, and hundreds like them, it is easily established that the Bible invites men to believe and be saved. THE CALL IS ALWAYS TO FAITH.
FAITH IS AN ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION
The Bible teaches that if a sinner does not believe he is lost. THE SINNER CANNOT BE SAVED WITHOUT FAITH. HE MUST BELIEVE.
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, BECAUSE HE HATH NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD." -John 3:18.
"He that believeth not is condemned." To fail to believe is to be eternally condemned. It is to be lost ... forever. BELIEVING IS AN ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.
The reason for condemnation is also given in this verse in the phrase, "because he hath not believed." A sinner is lost "because he hath not believed."
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: AND HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE: BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM," -John 3:36.
Let the Bible say what it obviously intended to say. "He that believeth not the Son shall not See life." The only way that an individual can see life, that is, be saved, is to believe. There can be no eternal life without faith.
"THAT THEY ALL MIGHT BE DAMNED WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH..." -Il Thess. 2:12.
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CALLS MEN TO BELIEVE. WITHOUT FAITH THERE IS NO SALVATION.
"Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." As has now been established, repentance and faith are essential to salvation. Repentance and faith are the human responsibility in salvation. They are inseparable. True repentance cannot exist apart from faith, nor can there be faith without repentance.
In repentance the sinner turns from sin and in faith he turns to God. They are both parts of the same move. TRUE REPENTANCE INVOLVES FAITH AND TRUE FAITH INVOLVES REPENTANCE.
As pertaining to salvation the terms, repentance and faith, are used almost interchangeably.
When it is said that Christ came to call sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:13) it is certainly understood that those sinners were also called to believe.
When it is said, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," the repentance involves faith because he also said, "he that believeth not is condemned."
When it is said that God would have all men to come to repentance it certainly includes faith.
In some instances faith, by itself, is pictured as the means of salvation.
He that believeth on him is not condemned . . ."-John 3:18.
In other instances repentance, by itself, is pictured as the means of salvation.
"I came ... to call . sinners to repentance."---- Luke 5:32.
IT HAS TO BE ACCEPTED THAT REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE ESSENTIALS TO SALVATION.
REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE THE ONLY ESSENTIALS TO SALVATION.
BAPTISM IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.
It is not stated in the Bible in a single verse that unless you are baptized you will be lost. It is never stated that if you are baptized you will be saved.
Every time that baptism is spoken of in relation to salvation it is always with the acceptance of the fact that there already has been repentance and faith.
Let us look at a couple of examples.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." -Mark 16:16.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Many have hung their immortal souls upon a false interpretation of this one verse by believing that it makes baptism essential to salvation.
As has already been established believing is essential to salvation. "He that believeth on him is not condemned." Accepting this fact shows that the believing brought the salvation, not baptism. It could truthfully be said, "He that believeth and has red hair shall be saved." As believing brings salvation every redheaded person who has believed is saved. This doesn't make being red headed an essential to salvation.
It can also be truthfully said, "He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved."
That it is the believing and not the baptizing that brings salvation is established in this verse. It says, "he that believeth not shall be damned." THIS REVEALS THAT FAITH AND NOT BAPTISM WAS THE ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.
Probably one of the most misused verses in the Bible is Acts 2:38.
It has been used to try and prove the false idea that it is necessary to be baptized in order to be saved. Let us look at it.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' -Acts 2:38.
As we have established, repentance and faith are essential to salvation. WE HAVE STATED THAT EVERY TIME BAPTISM IS SPOKEN OF IN RELATION TO SALVATION IT IS ALWAYS WITH THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE FACT THERE HAS ALREADY BEEN REPENTANCE AND FAITH. It is so here.
Peter said, "REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED." If they had genuinely repented their repentance involved faith and they were saved ... before they were baptized. THIS SAME PASSAGE BEARS THIS OUT. It tells us who were baptized.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized." -Acts 2:41
Who was baptized on the day of Pentecost? Those who had repented and gladly received his word. There you have the essentials to salvation, repentance and faith. These folks were saved and then baptized.
NOT ONE SINGLE TIME IS THE WORD "BAPTIZED" USED BY ITSELF AS AN ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION. REPENTANCE IS USED THIS WAY. FAITH IS USED THIS WAY. BUT NOT BAPTISM.
Never does it say, "'except ye be baptized ye shall perish." Never does it say, "be baptized and be saved."
WHAT HAS BEEN SAID OF BAPTISM CAN BE SAID OF THE LORD'S SUPPER, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, REFORMATION, OBEDIENCE, LAW KEEPING, ETC. None of them are essentials to salvation.
The Gospel message to lost sinners is "REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL."
Chapter 5 The Purpose of Baptism
So far we have learned that those who had repented and believed were baptized by burial in water picturing a death, burial, and resurrection.
Now we would like to look at the purpose of baptism, that is, why those who repent and believe are to be baptized.
BAPTISM IS A PUBLIC CONFESSION OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST
Throughout the New Testament those who repented and believed made a public confession of this fact by submitting to baptism. Sinners would publicly show their repentance and faith by submission to baptism.
Those who repented and believed the message of John, Christ, the disciples, etc. demonstrated this by baptism.
We have already established that only those who had repented and believed were baptized. Baptism was a public confession of this fact.
The New Testament preachers called sinners to repentance and faith and sinners answered this call by submitting to baptism. This was the way they publicly identified themselves with the redeemed.
BAPTISM IS A PICTURE OF THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
By baptism the sinner publicly confesses his faith in the gospel story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and exhibits the sinner's faith in that Christ as Saviour.
Let us look again at the sixth chapter of Romans.
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." -Rom. 6:4, 5.
Baptism is "like as Christ was raised up from the dead." Baptism is the "likeness of his death" and the "likeness of his resurrection."
The gospel is the good news It-hat Christ died for or our sins and was buried and arose. (I Cor. 15:1-4.) When the sinner hears the gospel story of the death, burial and resurrection, repents of his sin, and believes, he demonstrates this publicly by baptism.
BAPTISM IS A PICTURE OF THE CHANGE THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE SINNER AT THE TIME OF SALVATION
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD through Jesus Christ our Lord." -Rom. 6:11.
"Dead indeed unto sin . . . alive unto God." This is what happens when a sinner is saved.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live..." --Gal. 2:20.
In salvation the old sinner is reckoned dead, crucified with Christ, and the believer has been made alive unto God. He has been made a new creature (II Cor. 5:17).
Baptism pictures this salvation that has occurred in the believer.
The old, condemned, sinner is dead ... crucified with Christ. This is pictured by being "buried with him by baptism." (Rom. 6:4.)
The believer is "alive unto God" and is a new creature. This is pictured in baptism, "that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in NEWNESS OF LIFE." (Rom. 6:4.)
The believer is baptized to picture the salvation he already has, not to get salvation.
BY BURIAL IN WATER THE BELIEVER PUBLICLY CONFESSES HIS FAITH IN CHRIST WHO DIED FOR HIS SINS, WAS BURIED, AND AROSE AND THE BELIEVER DEMONSTRATES THAT HE HAS DIED TO THE OLD LIFE AND HAS BEEN RAISED TO WALK IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE.
Chapter 6 The Results of Baptism
What are the results of baptism? What does it accomplish? We will now look at the answer to these questions.
Baptism is the means that God has provided for the repentant believer to publicly identify himself as a Christian. By baptism he declares to the world that he is saved and a child of God.
As we have already seen in the New Testament, sinners answered the call to repentance and faith by submitting to baptism. By baptism the repentant believer identified himself with Gods people.
THE CHURCH IS THE PUBLIC ORGANIZATION OF CHRIST'S FOLLOWERS
The only organization of Christians mentioned in the New Testament is the local church. In the New Testament all repentant believers were expected to be baptized and identified with a church.
BAPTIZED BELIEVERS WERE SPOKEN OF AS BEING "IN THE CHURCH."
Believers were identified with particular local churches and were spoken of as being "in" these churches.
"Now there were IN THE CHURCH THAT WAS AT ANTIOCH certain prophets and teachers . . ." --Acts 13:1.
"In the church that was at Antioch." This is the way that Christians were spoken of in the New Testament. They were identified with individual, local, churches and were spoken of as being "in the church."
"And when they had ordained them elders IN EVERY CHURCH . . ." -Acts 14:23.
Each church had its own organization and its own membership. (I Cor. 12:28.)
A church member could be excluded from membership in the church. (III John 10, Matt. 18:17, 11 Thess. 3:6, Titus 3:10, etc.)
From these Scriptures, it is easy to see that church membership was a recognized position in the New Testament. Individual Christians were identified with local churches.
THE LOCAL CHURCH IS CALLED THE "BODY OF CHRIST"
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the CHURCH, "WHICH IS HIS BODY, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." -Eph. 1:22, 23.
". . . the church, which is his body, . . ." Several times in the New Testament the church is spoken of as the body of Christ.
"And he is the head of THE BODY, THE CHURCH." -Col. 1:18.
"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh FOR HIS BODY'S SAKE, WHICH IS THE CHURCH." -Col. 1:24.
To the local church at Corinth Paul wrote these words.
"Now YE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR." -I Cor. 12:27.
The local church at Corinth was called the "body of Christ."
To the local church at Ephesus Paul wrote these words. "For we are MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, of his flesh, and of his bones." -Eph. 5:30.
The members of the local church at Ephesus were spoken of as being "members of his body."
To the local church at Colosse Paul wrote these words. "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called IN ONE BODY, and be ye thankful." -Col. 3:15.
Several important things have now been established from these Scriptures.
1. Baptized believers were spoken of as being "in the church" and were identified as members of particular, local churches.
2. The local churches were called "the body of Christ."
3. The church members were spoken of as being "members of his body" and "members in particular" of the "body of Christ."
JESUS CHRIST IDENTIFIED HIMSELF WITH THE CHURCH AND CALLED IT HIS BODY
We can see the close relationship of Christ and the churches in the experiences of Paul. Before his conversion, Paul persecuted the church.
"As for Saul, HE MADE HAVOCK OF THE CHURCH..." -Acts 8:3.
I persecuted the church of God" -I Cor. 15:9.
Saul made havoc of the church. He persecuted the church. When Christ met Saul on the road to Damascus He spoke these words:
". . . Saul, Saul, WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME? ... I AM JESUS WHOM THOU PERSECUTEST."---- Acts 9:4, 5.
Saul had been persecuting the church yet Jesus asked, "why persecutest thou me?" TO PERSECUTE THE CHURCH WAS TO PERSECUTE CHRIST! This reveals how Christ identified Himself with the church.
HOW DOES THE REPENTANT BELIEVER BECOME A MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST AND BE "IN THE CHURCH"?
The Scriptures give us the answer.
"For by one Spirit are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." -I Cor. 12:13.
". . . baptized into one body . . ." When the repentant believer is baptized he is "baptized into one body" the local church. He becomes a member of the body of Christ and is placed in the church by baptism.
We need to look at two other verses.
"Know ye not, that so many of us as WERE BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST were baptized into his death?" -Romans 6:3.
"For as many of you as have been BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST have put on Christ." -Gal 3:27.
"Baptized into Jesus Christ!" "Baptized into Christ." What can these expressions mean?
It has been established that the body of Christ is the local church. The Scriptures teach that we are baptized into the body. This is the meaning in these expressions about being "baptized into Christ." It means we were baptized into the church, the body of Christ. Christ and the church are so closely identified that it was proper to speak of baptism as being ""baptized into Christ."
Notice the expression, "as many of you as have been baptized into Christ HAVE PUT ON CHRIST." ""Put on Christ" . . . this is publicly identifying with Christ. For instance, the civilian becomes a soldier when he is sworn in and he publicly is identified as a soldier when he puts on the uniform. A sinner becomes a child of God by repentance and faith and he publicly is identified as such when he "puts on Christ" by baptism.
Chapter 7 The Authority To Baptize
Where should the repentant believer go to receive baptism? Who has the authority to baptize? These questions must be answered.
First, we must again review what has already been established about baptism.
1.The entire New Testament speaks of the same baptism. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the early churches all administered the same kind of baptism.
2.Baptism is a burial and resurrection in water.
3.Baptism pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
4.Baptism pictures the gospel.
5.Only repentant believers were baptized.
6.Baptism pictures salvation by grace.
IT IS AN OBVIOUS FACT THAT ONLY THOSE WHO ACCEPT THIS KIND OF BAPTISM CAN ADMINISTER THIS KIND OF BAPTISM. Let us look at those this would eliminate.
Those who would substitute sprinkling or pouring for burial in water are not administering scriptural baptism and thus would have no authority to baptize.
Those who would baptize babies certainly have no scriptural concept of baptism and thus could not administer scriptural baptism.
Those who would make baptism essential to salvation have departed from Bible truth and are not administering scriptural baptism.
Those who would make man's works part of salvation are not picturing salvation by grace in their baptism and, thus, are not administering scriptural baptism.
ONLY THOSE WHO ARE BAPTIZING REPENTANT BELIEVERS BY A BURIAL AND RESURRECTION IN WATER TO PICTURE SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST ARE ADMINISTERING SCRIPURAL BAPTISM.
THE REPENTANT BELIEVER MUST GO TO THOSE WHO ARE ADMINISTERING SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM TO RECEIVE SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM.
Who has the authority to baptize?
It is a matter of cold logic that the authority to baptize has to rest somewhere. It has to be administered some way.
THE AUTHORITY TO BAPTIZE COULD NOT REST IN EACH CHRISTIAN
Each individual Christian has personal responsibilities that are his alone. For instance, each Christian is expected to lead a clean, separated life, to be a witness, to win souls, to tithe, to pray, to study God's Word, etc. A17 these are his personal responsibilities that he, and he alone, can meet. No one else can do them for him ... they are his personal responsibilities.
There are responsibilities that Christians have collectively ... as a group. God only left one organization of Christians on earth and that is the local church. As a church, God's people are to receive and dispense the tithes and offerings of God's people as God directs. As a church, they are to call and ordain pastors and deacons. As a church, they are to send missionaries around the world. As a church, they are to exercise discipline. As a church, they are to maintain facilities for teaching and preaching God's Word. They are to glorify God in all ages.
IT IS RIDICULOUS TO THINK OF AN INDIVIDUAL ASSUMING THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHURCH.
Does each Christian have the right to receive the tithes and offerings of God's people?
Does each Christian call and ordain his own pastor and deacons?
Does each Christian have the right to administer discipline?
Of course not!
On the other hand, it is just as ridiculous to think of the church assuming the responsibilities of the individual Christian. Can the church do the Christian's praying? His tithing? His studying? His living? Of course not!
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT EACH CHRISTIAN HAS HIS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES INVOLVING THOSE THINGS THAT ARE INDIVIDUALLY HIS AND THAT ANY BUSINESS INVOLVING CHRISTIANS COLLECTIVELY IS CHURCH RESPONSIBILITY.
Into which if these classes does baptism belong? Each Christian cannot assume to speak for Christians collectively in accepting candidates for baptism. This would result in wild confusion. The authority must rest in the church. This is the only organization that God left on earth to carry out His work. It is a logical thing, after accepting this fact, to understand that this organization, the local church, is the only vehicle on earth that has the authority to speak for Christians collectively. THIS HAS TO BE THE ORGANIZATION THAT POSSESSES THE AUTHORITY TO BAPTIZE ... THERE IS NO PLACE ELSE!
CHRIST GAVE THE COMMISSION TO BAPTIZE TO THE CHURCH
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST:
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." -Matt. 28:19, 20.
Christ had called the disciples together and delivered this great commission. I Cor. 12:28 reveals that these men had been first set in the church and it was in this capacity that they assembled. It was to the church that Christ gave the commission to go forth and baptize.
PAUL TEACHES THIS TRUTH IN A LITTLE UNDERSTOOD SCRIPTURE
"Now this I say, that everyone of you saith I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or WERE YOU BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF PAUL?
"I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
"LEST ANY SHOULD SAY THAT I HAD BAPTIZED IN MINE OWN NAME.
"And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides I know not whether I baptized any other.
"FOR CHRIST SENT ME NOT TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." -I Cor, 1:12-17.
Paul is denouncing the divisions that existed in the church at Corinth. They were divided into cliques and factions. They were following human leaders.
Paul asked, "were you baptized in the name of Paul?" He was asking if they thought they were baptized by his authority. He repeats this in words, "Lest any should say that I baptized in mine own name." PAUL WAS FEARFUL THAT SOMEONE WOULD THINK THAT HE WAS BAPTIZING ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY.
Paul wrote, "CHRIST SENT ME NOT TO BAPTIZE" yet names those he had baptized! Paul is emphasizing that Christ had not sent him to baptize, that is, he did not in himself, possess the authority to baptize.
GOD SENT THE CHURCH, NOT PAUL NOR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL, TO BAPTIZE.
Paul was sent to preach. When he administered baptism he did so by the authority of the church ... not Paul. Where should the repentant believer go to receive baptism? Who has the authority to baptize?
Now the questions have been answered.
1. The church has the authority to baptize.
2. ONLY THOSE CHURCHES THAT ARE BAPTIZING REPENTANT BELIEVERS BY A BURIAL AND RESURRECTION IN WATER TO PICTURE SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST CAN ADMINISTER SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM.
3. Churches that substitute sprinkling or pouring for burial in water cannot administer baptism.
4. Churches that baptize babies cannot administer scriptural baptism.
5. Churches that teach that baptism is essential to salvation calnot administer scriptural baptism.
6. CHURCHES THAT RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT THE BAPTISM FROM CHURCHES SUCH AS DESCRIBED CANNOT ADMINISTER SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM. By accepting false baptism, a church loses its authority to administer scriptural baptism.
Chapter 8 Infant Baptism
S. E. Anderson states in his book, "The First Baptist," this amazing fact, "Over seven hundred millions of people in Christian churches are taught the deadening doctrine that baptism brings salvation to an infant."
This is an amazing thing!
Seven hundred million people are being taught in Christian churches that infants should be baptized, YET THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY ONE SINGLE SOLITARY WORD ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM.
This is fantastic!
More people have been deceived by this error than all other errors combined.
INFANTS SHOULD NOT BE BAPTIZED!
Let us look at some of the reasons why infants should not be baptized. These reasons should be obvious to those who have read this far in these lessons.
THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH INFANT BAPTISM. IT DOES NOT SAY ONE WORD ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM.
This should be enough to destroy forever the practice of infant baptism. Infant baptism originated with man, not with God.
INFANTS CANNOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BAPTISM
As we have already learned, only those who had repented and believed were baptized. An infant cannot possibly meet this requirement and thus is not to be baptized.
THE ORIGIN OF INFANT BAPTISM
The practice of infant baptism was born in error. It was the outcome of another error. When people began to depart from the faith, one of the first great errors they embraced was what is called "baptismal regeneration." This is the false teaching that an individual has to be baptized in order to be saved. When people began to believe this error, the next natural step was to baptize babies in order to guarantee their safety. One error led to another.
THE DANGERS OF INFANT BAPTISM
One can easily see the danger of infant baptism. The individual trusts in the fact that he was baptized as a baby and never feels his need of salvation. THIS IS A TRAGEDY. Millions have been deceived and given a false hope of salvation by infant baptism.
Many have tried to justify the error of infant baptism by pointing to what is called "household baptisms" in the Bible. These are records where whole families were baptized. They try to reason from this that these baptisms must have included infants. Let us look at these scriptures.
"And I baptized also the household of Stephanas . . ." -I Cor. 1:16.
Paul states that he baptized the household of Stephanas. IT DOES NOT SAY THERE WERE INFANTS IN THIS HOUSEHOLD. Infant baptism could not be shown in this verse.
"And when she was baptized, and her household, -Acts 16:15.
This is the record of the baptism of Lydia, a seller of purple. It is another example of "household baptism." Again notice that it does not say that there were any infants present. Lydia was about 300 miles from home, on business. It is hardly likely any infants were with her in her household!
"And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway." -Acts 16:33.
This is the record of the conversion of the Philippian jailor. The verse states that he "was baptized, HE AND ALL HIS STRAIGHTWAY." Those who try to justify the error of infant baptism will state that this meant his entire family, infants and all, were baptized. Let us look at the context. In verse 32 it says,
"And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, AND TO ALL THAT WERE IN HIS HOUSE."
"All that were in his house" were able to hear the word of the Lord. This does not sound like infants! Look at verse 34.
". . . believing in God WITH ALL HIS HOUSE."
All that were in his house believed! THIS IS NOT INFANT BAPTISM. All those in the household of the jailor heard the word, believed and then were baptized.
THERE IS NOT A SINGLE RECORD OF AN INFANT BEING BAPTIZED IN ALL THE ENTIRE BIBLE.
WHEN SHOULD A CHILD BE BAPTIZED?
The scriptural answer is simple. A child should be baptized when he repents and believes.
Chapter 9 Your Baptism Is Important
Great emphasis is given to baptism throughout the New Testament. It is mentioned 113 times!
God sent John the Baptist to baptize. John the Baptist baptized all his followers and probably all 12 of the disciples.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ and His disciples baptized their followers. Jesus gave the command that baptism was to continue.
After the ascension of Christ, the practice of baptism continued with the Apostles and early churches.
Notice again our definition of baptism.
BAPTISM IS THE BURIAL AND RESURRECTION IN WATER OF A REPENTANT BELIEVER TO PICTURE SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. BAPTISM IS ADMINISTERED BY THE CHURCH.
Our definition answers the following questions.
What is baptism?
Baptism is the burial and resurrection in water.
Who should be baptized?
Only repentant believers should be baptized.
What is the purpose of baptism? Why should I be baptized?
By baptism, the repentant believer publicly confesses his salvation. In baptism he presents a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and declares that by faith in Him he has died to the old life and has been raised to walk in the newness of life.
Baptism publicly identifies you with God's people and places you in the church.
Where should I be baptized?
Only a New Testament church can administer baptism.
YOUR BAPTISM IS IMPORTANT!
Consider the following things:
1. We know that baptism is important because of the great emphasis it receives in the New Testament.
2. ERROR CONCERNING BAPTISM IS CAUSING MORE PEOPLE TO BE DECEIVED ABOUT ETERNAL SALVATION THAN ALL OTHER ERRORS COMBINED.
3. Today's tragic divisions in Christianity began with a departure from the truth concerning baptism.
4. Baptism is the public profession of salvation by the repentant believer. It is the means that God has provided for the redeemed child of God to proclaim his salvation to the world.
5. Our baptism pictures to the world the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
6. OUR BAPTISM IS A PICTURE OF THE GOSPEL. It is one of the ways that God has given to declare the good news of salvation to the world. It is just as important that our baptism pictures the true gospel as it is that we preach a true gospel.
7. Baptism is a picture of our salvation. It publicly confesses to the world that we were a lost, helpless, condemned sinner and that we are saved by the matchless grace of God.
8. Baptism publicly identifies the repentant believer with God's people and places him in the church.
YOUR BAPTISM IS IMPORTANT!
The most important question in all of God's universe is, "HAVE YOU BEEN SAVED?"
Second only to that is the question, "HAVE YOU BEEN SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED?"
May God bless you and guide you.