You’re Right! You Don’t HAVE to Be Baptized.

998332_402313846555351_872321929_nI have had many discussions about the subject of baptism with people, and it never fails that sometime during the discussion, they just deny what the scriptures say about the topic. They at times just say, “I deny what you are saying about about baptism,” ignoring the fact that all I am doing is quoting verses about baptism. Another response I have gotten is, “You don’t have to be baptized!” Well, to this response I say, you are absolutely right! You do not HAVE to get baptized. This is a true statement. You only HAVE to get baptized if:

  • you want to follow in the steps of Christ, who was baptized (Matthew 3:16);
  • you want to become a disciple (Matthew 28:19);
  • you want to be saved (Mark 16:16);
  • you want to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5);
  • you want your sins remitted (Acts 2:38);
  • you want the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 5:32);
  • you have gladly received the word of God (Acts 2:41);
  • you have believed the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom (Acts 8:12)
  • you want to obey the commandment of God (Acts 10:47-48)
  • you want your sins washed away (Acts 22:16)
  • you want to call upon the Lord (Acts 22:16)
  • you want to be IN Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3)
  • you want to be IN the death of Christ (Romans 6:3)
  • you want to be buried WITH Jesus and raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4)
  • you want to be united with Jesus in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5)
  • you want to be crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6)
  • you want your body of sin to be done away with (Romans 6:6)
  • you want to no longer be a slave to sin (Romans 6:6)
  • you want freed from sin (Romans 6:7)
  • you want to be washed and sanctified in the name of Jesus by the Spirit of God  (1 Corinthians 6:11)
  • you want to be in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • you no longer want to be under the tutor of the law (Galatians 3:25-27)
  • you want to become a son of God by faith (Galatians 3:26-27)
  • you want to be in Christ and clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27)
  • you want to be sanctified and cleansed (Ephesians 5:26)
  • you want a spiritual circumcision of Christ, in which your body of flesh (sin) is cut away (Colossians 2:11)
  • you want to be buried with Jesus and raised up with Him (Colossians 2:12)
  • you want to be made alive together with Christ (Colossians 2:13)
  • you want forgiven of all your transgressions (Colossians 2:13)
  • you want to be saved by the mercy of God, regenerated, and renewed by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7)
  • you want your heart and your evil conscience cleansed (Hebrews 10:22)
  • you want to make an appeal to God for a clean conscience (1 Peter 3:21)
  • you want saved through the resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 3:21)

So as the verses above show, you really don’t HAVE to be baptized, but I pray you will be so you can partake of the above blessings that are given to those who are. 

Comments

  1. Heath Fowler says:

    What a wonderful approach to the issue. It’s amazing how clear seemingly complex questions become when we simply let the Word of God speak. Looking at these verses in parallel, it makes me wonder that so many good-hearted people let the traditions of men dictate their views on baptism and its role in God’s plan. Excellent work.

    • Thanks for the kind words Heath. It is very easy for us to allow our presuppositions to affect what we are studying in scripture. Even as Christians, this is something that we need to guard ourselves against to make sure we do not suppress the truth. God bless

  2. Bill Robinson says:

    Good job!

  3. Sean William Seehafer says:

    I am a member @ the Hillcrest Church of Christ,I was baptized on 4-19-09 by Jimmy Pettigrew the greatest day of my life.ONLY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IS IN THE BUSINESS OF WINNING SOULS TO CHRIST,and we as Christians are to keep the congregation that Jesus purchased with his blood spotless and blameless,I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ and in order to be saved one most;listen,believe,learn,obey,confess that Jesus is deity,be baptized for the forgiveness and remission of sins and live faithfully to death.When a human being doesn’t come to the church of Christ that Jesus purchased with his blood you are killing Jesus afresh every time.Every true,perfect blessing comes from GOD!This wicked and evil generation,ungodly generation is the worst ever because of the DEVIL! People need to hear the one will,one gospel,one doctrine and Jesus perfect plan of salvation,people need to be pricked in their hearts and change their ways.GOD sent his very best so all should come to the gospel.People need to change and live for GOD & JESUS number one priority else their soul is lost forever!

    • Hi brother Sean. Thanks for your thoughts. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to encourage you in your faith towards God and to grow in your desire to get out and preach the one true Gospel of Christ. God bless!

      • What about acts 8:16? And/or 1 Corinthians 1:17?

        • I don’t know what point you are trying to make from Acts 8:16. In Acts 8:13, we see that these people who heard the preaching of Philip believed and were baptized as Jesus taught, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). The passage teaches that some disciples had not received laying on of hands from the Apostles, which was when spiritual gifts were given.

          Concerning 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul’s own teaching and example make clear that he both believed and taught that baptism is essential to salvation. To take this one verse, and then use it to say that baptism is not essential, brings you into contradiction with too many verses that talk about baptism (all of the verses in this article). The topic under discussion in this text is not whether or not baptism is essential to salvation. That issue was settled clearly in numerous other passages, and the Corinthians would already have understood that teaching even before they themselves were baptized. The topic under discussion is who actually did the physical act of baptizing.

          1 Corinthians 1:17 is one of the many “not … but” passages in Scripture.

          This is a common expression. The purpose of such expressions was, not to deny the importance of the first point listed, but simply to emphasize the importance of the second point. For other examples, see John 6:27; 12:44; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Peter 3:3,4; Mark 9:37; Matt. 10:20; Acts 5:4; 1 Thess. 4:8; Genesis 45:8; Titus 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:9.

          If Paul’s statement that he was not sent to baptize was an absolute, then he should not have baptized anyone. But in fact he clearly states that he sometimes did so, even in Corinth.

          • I think your blog is neat and you seem to study scripture well, but…
            Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
            Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

            it is clearly saying the baptism of The Lord and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit were separate.

            Mar 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

            In acts 8:16 this was the initial receiving of the Holy Spirit, not the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

            The gift of the Holy Spirit – which saves us- came by Faith in Christ

            Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

            Jhn 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
            Jhn 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

            And it is only by the blood of Jesus that we receive the remission of sins, not by baptism.

            Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
            Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

            Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
            Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

            Mar 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

            Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

            God bless, friend

          • Thanks again for your thoughts Arron. I am working on reading over and examining your longer post.

            I find it interesting that you are doing what you can to get as far away from what the scriptures teach on baptism as you can. The teaching of scripture is clear about baptism and its purpose, as this article shows (and others on my site). Bringing up scriptures about when you receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the baptism of the Holy Spirit does not deal with the verses/argument that is made in the baptism articles on my website.

            Nonetheless, I agree that water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism are separate events as you said. I have not said that they are. I think you are also confusing verses that speak of receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 5:32, Eph 1:13, John 7:38, etc) with verses that are talking about receiving spiritual gifts (Acts 8:16) and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). All of these verses are not speaking of the same thing, but about different measures one can receive of the Holy Spirit. You seem to infer by quoting them all w/o making comments about them that you believe that they are the same. Could you clarify your position on this?

            It is clear in scripture that every Christian receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38) upon their obedience to the Gospel (Acts 5:32). This indwelling is a down payment and a seal (Ephesians 1:13). This is a “non-miraculous” measure of the Holy Spirit that all Christians receive. I agree that that the indwelling is given to us when we believe, but the question is at what moment. The “when” is given in Acts 2:38. In Acts 2:37, it is clear that those listening to Peter believed what Peter had said and were convicted of their sin, but they still had not received the Holy Spirit. The needed to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. When they did this, they were justified by faith and received the Holy Spirit by faith. My view here brings together all of the teaching in scripture about salvation and receiving the indwelling of the Spirit. You have not yet dealt with the baptism passages, showing how they fit into your position. Please do not ignore them.

            The receiving of miraculous spiritual gifts, such as tongues, prophecy, etc (Acts 8:16) was accomplished through the laying on of the Apostles hands. We do not see in scripture another way of these gifts being given to Christians. These gifts were not given to every Christian, and you don’t have to have them to be saved, which is evidenced in Acts 8 where they were Christians already before they received the gifts.

            The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” comes from God, and we only see it occurring twice in scripture, in Acts 2 to those in the upper room, more than likely the 12, and in Acts 10 to the household of Cornelius as a sign to Peter and the disciples with him that God wanted the Gentiles to share in the promises to Abraham and to be baptized into Christ.

            You mention in this post and your longer post, “it is only by the blood of Jesus that we receive the remission of sins, not by baptism.” I agree that it is by the blood of Christ that we are saved and justified. But my question is “when?” Scripture shows us in Romans 6 it is at the point of baptism in which we are united with Christ in His death. This is when God cleanses us with the blood of Christ and justifies us by faith, which is the argument I make in other articles on my website.

          • Thanks again brother for your response,
            You know a lot of scripture friend!
            Are you a preacher?

            I will give an account for the major verses on Baptism
            Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21

            But…

            Answer me this,
            Since Jesus saved us from Gods wrath which was according to the law of sin and death which required blood for the remission of sin and never water.
            How does your interpertation of Baptism for remission of sin line up with this?
            God never changes, His laws are universal and the remission for his laws which are stated in the Torah were only by blood.
            Answer please..

            Because I have many friends who are church of Christ.. And i would love to believe what you believe.. But my conviction of scripture is the blood of Christ, not the water of baptism…
            Please explain, friend.
            God bless you

          • Hi Aaron. I do preach, and Lord willing, will begin to be supported to do the Lord’s work next year. Most of this is just what I have seen in my studies over the past 10 years since I became a Christian.I haven’t gone to school or anything like that.

            Under both covenants, to be consecrated as priests (which Christians are), those who are to become priests must by faith undergo washings and sacrifices (see Leviticus 8-9). Also, under both covenants, the sinner needs to be united with the sacrifice in its death. We see in Leviticus 1-5 that when a sinner by faith brought his sacrifices to the temple/tabernacle, they placed their hands on the sacrifice as they killed it for their sins. They were united with the sacrifice in its death for them. Whenever they did this, they were saved by faith, not works. They, by faith, observed the commandments of God and were saved by faith. The same is the case under the New Covenant. We, by faith, submit ourselves to Christ as Lord and are united with Him in His death [and resurrection] at baptism (Romans 6:3-7).

            I would encourage you to read and answer the objection on my article, “When Are We Saved By Grace Through Faith”, which is based on Ephesians 2 and Colossians 2. IT shows my position on how we can be saved by grace through faith at the point of baptism. I haven’t had this argument answered yet.

            Here are other articles that deal with specific passages that you can respond to if you’d like:

            Acts 2:38 – “What Shall We Do?”
            Mark 16:16 – “Five Views of Mark 16:16”
            1 Peter 3:21 – “Baptism and the Flood of Noah”
            Romans 6:1-7 – “When Are We United With Christ?”
            Paul’s Conversion – “Was Paul Saved on the Road to Damascus?”

        • The point of receiving the Holy Spirit is when you Believe..

          You first have a change of heart towards God and sin (repentance)
          and believe the gospel (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection)

          Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

          Acts 20:21- testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

          Ephesians 1:13- In him you also, WHEN YOU HEARD THE WORD of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and BELIEVED in him, were SEALED with the promised Holy Spirit

          You see the Ephesians heard the gospel and believed it and received the Holy Spirit, we know this because the gospel and Baptism were separate, you first have a change of heart (repentance) then believe the gospel (salvation) then get baptized which unites you with Christ with the Christian mark or sign (baptism)

          1 corinthians 1:17- For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

          In this statement Paul clearly undermines baptism when compared to the gospel…
          He takes the emphasis off of himself, off of Apollos, off of Cephas, OFF OF BAPTISM and puts the emphasis on the CROSS, (BLOOD), the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
          If Paul believed baptism saves you then he wouldn’t have EVER UNDERMINED IT, regardless of the situation he was addressing. Period.
          You never ever ever see Paul take emphasis away from the Cross, in none of his letters.

          1 corinthians 1:15- Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
          For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

          In this writing to the Corinthians he tells them again that the gospel is what saved them, not baptism

          Romans 1:16- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

          He tells the romans that the gospel is what saves them, not baptism…

          We will see this one last time with Cornelius who believed the gospel after hearing it, then received the Holy Spirit, then was baptized, the order that it should be in…

          I will point out the main parts of this scripture…

          Peter was confused of why he came to Cornelius’s house…

          Acts 10:29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

          Cornelius explains why Peter came to his house…

          And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

          Peter understands completely why he’s came to Cornelius’s house.. (To preach the Gospel to them)

          Acts 10:34-35- So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

          Peter preaches the Gospel to them…

          Acts 10:36-43- As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

          After hearing the FULL GOSPEL they believed and received the Holy Spirit…

          Acts 10:44-45- WHILE PETER YET SPOKE THESE WORDS, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
          And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

          We know that they received the Holy Spirit by believing the gospel and NOT BEFORE HEARING THE GOSPEL NOR AFTER BAPTISM…

          Acts 11:17-18- Forasmuch then as God gave them the LIKE GIFT as he did unto us, who BELIEVED on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
          When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

          then they were baptized after ALREADY RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT..

          Acts 10:47- Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

          • Arron, you mentioned again the need for repentance, which is much more work than submitting to baptism, which is a fruit of repentance. Baptism in the NT is a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins- Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:38; etc. All those who believed the gospel and repented were baptized for the remission of sins.

            You are still going out of your way to not deal with the verses that actually mention baptism. You are making the verses that say we are saved by faith and repentance contradict verses that say we are saved by faith when we repent and are baptized.

            You say that Paul discounts baptism in 1 Corinthians 1:17, when this verse is not even dealing with the question if baptism is essential for salvation. I could give an equally valid argument that because Jesus said “Repent, and obey the gospel,” that baptism is not part of the gospel. You say he clearly undermines baptism in this passage, but you are still unwilling to look at the passages in which Paul shows the importance of baptism. Based on this, is your position that Paul had multiple personality disorder when it comes to the doctrine of salvation? You are inserting into the text that Paul is undermining baptism. This article, I believe, answers the argument you are making from this verse in depth. I have the link for it on the baptism page on my website also.

            You use a verse such as Mark 1:15 to show that faith and repentance are necessary for salvation, but you ignore Mark 16:16, which says baptism is also.

            You use Acts 20:21 to show that belief and repentance are necessary, but you ignore Acts 2:38, 22:16 (amongst many other passages) which show baptism is essential.

            You mention 1 Corinthians 1:17, and disregard 1 Cor 6:11, which says that the Corinthians were washed in the name of Jesus (which happens at baptism – Acts 2:38)

            You use 1 Cor 15, which says that it is the gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) that saved the Corinthians, but disregard 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 which say that the one who does not obey the gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) they will go to hell. We are united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection at baptism (Rom 6).

            You use Romans 1:16 to show that belief is the requirement for salvation, but disregard all of Romans 6, where Paul shows that baptism is the point in which we obey from the heart (faith) the doctrine that was delivered to us (6:17-18) and are sanctified and forgiven by the grace of God (6:22-23).

            You do at least mention that Cornelius and His household were baptized, but you are reading into the text that they were saved before this when they received spiritual gifts. Peter commanded them to be baptized in the verse you quoted. What if they said no? Would they have been saved? I believe it is safe to say that when Peter commanded them to be baptized, it was the same command he gave in Acts 2:38. You also mention from this passage in Acts 10 that Cornelius and his household, “after hearing the FULL GOSPEL,” “they believed and received the Holy Spirit.” But this is not the case either. We are told in the following chapter by Peter that they received the Spirit and started speaking in tongues as he BEGAN to speak to them (11:15). They did not even hear the gospel yet! They didn’t even believe the gospel yet! I also, if I remember correctly, gave you (or someone else in this thread) an in depth study of this passage that answered your argument.

            If you want to continue this discussion, it would be nice if you actually dealt with the arguments that I make in the articles about baptism on my website. You are allowing your preconceived ideas about baptism and everything that you have always been taught cause you to suppress the truth of what God says about baptism in scripture. Until you deal with the actual arguments I make (and not ignore them), I am going to stop answering your posts. Almost every book within the NT that you have quoted, within the same book, shows us how important baptism is to God, and that HE teaches that it is essential for salvation.

          • God bless you brother!

          • I would encourage you Arron to not allow what you have always been taught to get in the way of what the passages teach about baptism. IF those passages mean what they say, that means that we are not brothers in Christ, and, if you have not been baptized for the remission of sins, that you are still in your sins. Please take this seriously and don’t just write off the arguments that I make in the articles from scripture. Let God be true and every man a liar. Let His word teach you about baptism, not what your teachers, or even I say. Please get into God’s word and study the topic of baptism like you would any other topic.

          • Thanks again brother, you may not believe we’re brothers, but that’s ok, I have been baptized and am grateful I was baptized.
            It was one of the greatest moments of my life, proclaiming my faith publicly.
            Do you believe God speaks still?
            If so, please pray about what you’re teaching and what type of church you are apart of.
            I love a lot of people from The church of Christ, but to believe you’re the only ones getting in to heaven is really unhealthy, friend.
            I pray that God shows you the truth of salvation.
            That we are made righteous by faith, then baptized because we are saved..
            You should really read the Cornelius story again, y’all totally twist that scripture to fit your steps to salvation, and its not good at all…
            If you believe they received the Holy Spirit before believing then tell me the FULL story of Cornelius, the way y’all teach it.
            Then I may believe how y’all believe, please tell every angle as I did.
            God bless brother

          • Thanks for all of your comments Aaron. I don’t know of many Christians in the “churches of Christ” that believe they are the only ones that will be saved. We believe those who obey the gospel as given in scripture are saved. This gospel includes the forgiveness and remission of sins that God gives us at baptism.

            I am a member of a church of Christ because they are the closest to the Bible I have been able to find.

            You keep mentioning that you believe that you are saved before baptism, but you have not dealt with any of the arguments in the articles on my site. You just dismissed them based on your preconceived beliefs that began in the 15th century. The first 3 centuries of church history conclusively show that baptism is essential for salvation. I have articles on my website that show how the very disciples of some of the Apostles believed what I am showing you from scripture. What you are saying about baptism is not Biblical. Baptism, as shown in the articles on my website, is the moment in which we are saved by faith.

            I have been fair and responded to almost all of your main arguments (except for your one long post that didn’t make any arguments against my position.) You have not yet dealt with one argument I made in the articles on my site, in spite of my asking many times for you to respond to them.

            You claim that I am “twisting” the scriptures when it comes to the Cornelius example, but you have not yet proven that receiving spiritual gifts makes someone saved. You just assert it. Assumptions/assertions do not equal objective truth. It does not say they were saved in the text. You are reading this INTO it. Peter still commanded them to be baptized, and he would not have contradicted what he taught earlier about baptism (Acts 2:38). Your belief about baptism brings the scriptures into contradiction. We are told they received the Holy Spirit, then they were COMMANDED to be baptized. If they would not have, they would not have received remission of sins, as other scriptures make clear happens at baptism. They had not yet been united with Christ in His death, which happens at baptism (Romans 6:3-7). Do you need to come into contact with the death of Christ to be saved? WE are told that we are saved by grace through faith when God raises us with Christ and makes us alive together with Him (Ephesians 2:5-10). We are told in Colossians 2:11-14 that this happens at baptism. So if Cornelius and His household were forgiven before baptism, then this account contradicts these verses about baptism. Also, as I showed you in my other comments, Cornelius and his household did not even BELIEVE yet when they receive the Spirit! Peter says in Acts 11:15 that the Spirit fell on them AS HE BEGAN TO SPEAK TO THEM.(Before belief-just read the passage! It means what it says.)So based on your argument, they were saved before faith also, so faith is not necessary for salvation. IF you were consistent, this is the view you would now be forced to hold if you take this text all by itself and ignore the rest of the verses that deal with salvation (baptism verses) as you are.

            I don’t understand how you can feel fine just ignoring the verses that talk about baptism so you can continue in your traditions. My view brings together what is clearly taught in the baptism verses with the verses about grace and faith. Your view ignores the scriptures about baptism. Why don’t you believe these scriptures?

            One last point: you asked if I still believe God still speaks today. He does: through His inspired word that we have in the Bible. We are told in scripture that the Apostles would be led into all truth (John 16:13) and that God has given us everything we need in scripture to be equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). Based on this, we know that the Holy Spirit is not giving new revelation today. A view that He is would contradict these passages. If you want to discuss this farther, we can do so somewhere else.

          • John 10:27-28- My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
            And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

            God spoke the world into existence, he spoke to Adam, spoke to Moses, spoke to Israel, spoke to Christians, God has been speaking forever and isn’t changing anytime soon.
            Israel always had Gods word too, but they ignored it.
            The ones who thought they knew God the most (Pharisees) were the only ones Jesus rebuked!
            They were legalistic, and twisted scripture and judged people for legalistic things.
            The church of Christ are the Pharisees of the south.

            I do believe Baptism is apart of he salvation experience,
            But it is not the power that saves you.
            It is the physical seal of salvation, where as the Holy Spirit is the inward seal.
            I would be dumb to say that baptism isn’t COMMANDED, Jesus himself commanded it.
            And anyone who is saved is glad to partake in it, because it is PARALLEL WITH remission of sins,
            It was done at the same time usually as faith and repentance, but you can’t deny the thief on the cross who was saved by repentance and faith and Cornelius who was saved by repentance and faith.

            Throughout all scripture from old and New Testament you will see repentance and faith as a means of salvation and there was a sign that accompanied those who were saved,
            The sign in the Old Testament was circumcision…
            But Abraham was saved before circumcision..

            Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

            10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

            11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

            12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

            13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

          • I found the post where you mentioned circumcision, though you do not talk about how baptism fits in with circumcision. If you from the passages in Romans 4 are saying that as circumcision was a seal/sign of the covenant, and because of this baptism is only a seal/sign of the covenant, the onus is on you to prove this is the case from scripture. You will be hard pressed to find a verse that says that baptism is a sign of the covenant. The only passage that mentions baptism and circumcision together is Colossians 2:11-14 In this passage we are not told that baptism is a sign or seal, but that it is the point in which our sin is done away with.

            “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col 2:11-14)

            This passage shows many important things about baptism, many of which I put in bold type. This baptism is the point in which we are raised up with Christ by faith in the working of God, the point in which the body of flesh (sin) is “cut away” by God, the point in which we are made alive together with Christ, the point in which our transgressions are forgiven, and the point in which we are freed from the certificate of debt that was against us which was nailed to the cross (the Law of Moses). This is what a straightforward reading of the passage show. The onus is on you to show why the passage does not mean what it says.

          • I love your quote of John 10:27-28. IT is so true that the Jesus’ sheep hear His voice and follow it. This includes doing those things that He says we must do to be saved also, including belief (John 3:16), repentance (Luke 13:3), and baptism (Mark 16:16). If we do not do these things for the reasons that He and His Apostles taught in scripture, we are not His sheep. Jesus said that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. As much as you want to erase baptism from this verse, it is still there. The person who believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved by God. Your belief about how to respond to the gospel completely rewrites this verse to say “He who believes and is NOT baptized will be saved.” Your belief brings you into contradiction to what the verse actually says.

            You also mention that it is “legalistic” to say that one must obey the commands of Jesus and show that He is their Lord. You cannot be consistent with this position. Which commandments in scripture can we purposely violate? Which ones do we not have to obey? If we love the Lord, we will obey His commandments, of course not to earn our salvation, but in response to what He has done for us. If you want to label me (or anyone else) a legalist, that is fine. I have no problem being labeled a legalist for wanting to show my love for the Lord in obeying His commands. The definition of a legalist is “one who abides/adheres to the law.” I would rather be a legalist than the opposite (an “illegalist”- one who does not abide in the commandments of Christ).

            The Pharisees were NEVER rebuked by Jesus for their strict adherence of the Law of Moses. You will not be able to find a verse in which they were. They were rebuked in scripture for two reasons: 1.) for trying to make themselves righteous by their lawkeeping (which is impossible), and 2.) for their hypocrisy. Whenever you call me a legalist, if you mean one of these two things, I do not believe I am a hypocrite, and I do not believe one can earn their salvation through works. If this is what you believe, you are straw-manning my position about baptism.

          • The MAIN sign and seal in the New Testament was baptism.. Jesus said it best when he put it in context with other signs that would follow believers such as tongues and prophecy.

            Mark 16:16- He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[a] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

            The passage is in context with signs that would follow genuine faith, which the main one is baptism.

          • I am not going to approve your posts if you start name-calling in them. Calling someone or a group of people “legalistic” or “Pharisees” is ad hominem attack, and you are making these attacks just because I am quoting what Jesus and His Apostles say about baptism. If you think I am wrong in my quoting the verses or in my interpretation of them, all you have to do is respond to them, but you haven’t done this yet. You have ignored what Jesus and His Apostles have said about baptism to form your own belief based on what you have been taught.

          • That’s not true, it hurts my heart that I’ve clearly done what the bible command us to do for salvation, hearing, repentance, believing, confession, baptism and remaining faithful to The Lord and you say I’m not saved because in my baptism they didn’t say “for the remission of sin”…
            How should I take that?
            That is legalism.
            You are the one being mean, friend.
            I’ve done nothing but be nice and call you brother.
            God bless you, brother

          • Aaron, with all due respect, Acts 2:38 clearly says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”. Just reading the verse as stated, Peter commands the whole crowd to repent, then commands each individual person to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. All I am doing is reading the text as-is. For you to call me a legalist for saying this verse means what it says makes Peter a legalist in your view for commanding such of the crowd on Pentecost. Just denying what it plainly says does not answer the argument. You are assuming that Peter commanded different things to different people in Acts 10. Why would Peter be inconsistent with what he says about repentance and baptism in Acts 2:38? He wouldn’t. It is much safer to assume that he gave the same command about baptism to the household of Cornelius than to say he commanded a different baptism. Acts 10 does not tell us when the household of Cornelius was saved. You must look at the whole of scripture to see that even Peter himself, when he commanded baptism, said it, when done with a repentant, believing heart, was for remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

            I have only observed that based on the passages I am quoting in this article (all of which you have not responded to yet), baptism is the moment that one is saved by grace through faith, has their sins remitted, and is united with the death of Christ. If this is the case, the one who has been baptized with the false belief that they were already saved, and their baptism was only a sign of forgiveness that already happened (not taught in scripture), their baptism was unbiblical, and they need to be baptized biblically. This is the example we see in Acts 19 when people received baptism with an incorrect understanding. They needed to be baptized with the correct baptism of repentance, in the name of Jesus Christ, so they could be saved in the name of Christ.

            I have not called you any names, nor have I been “mean” as you have put it. I have only made arguments from scripture that you have dismissed and not dealt with. Every time I have asked kindly for you to deal with the actual arguments I have given, you would not and continued to use other verses to suppress what these verses actually teach about baptism. I haven’t called you names as you have, I have only tried to point you to scripture and to understand the consequences if the view that I am giving on baptism (that you have not dealt with yet) is correct.

            God bless you. I will be prayerful that you study these verses about baptism and see what they are saying.

          • ****Not because they weren’t baptized for the remission of sins.

            Did you see my post on circumcision and my response on mark 16:16-17 ?

            Please reply to that, and I will reply to the others shortly, sorry I haven’t, I just get caught up in what you say, before I can respond.

          • You just quote Mark 16:16 and say baptism is a sign of faith, but the passage does not say baptism is a sign of faith. It says that the one who believes and is baptized will be saved. IF you are not in faith baptized, you are not saved according to this passage.

            I cannot find any circumcision references. I did delete your one long post that didn’t make any arguments for or against baptism. Could you restate your view on baptism and circumcision?

  4. Its by grace through faith that you have been saved, not by works, lest anyone should boast…Baptism is significant, its the first gospel witness in the life of a new believer, it identifies us with and as part of the Family of God. I find way too many unregenerate folks in my area who claim baptism but have never been transformed. No love, no passion, no worship, no giving, no sharing of the gospel, but they have a baptismal certificate. Repentance and faith, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

    • Kevin, you are creating a ‘false dichotomy’ in saying that there are only two possibilities, being saved by baptism and being saved by grace through faith. Scripture shows us that we are saved by grace through faith and that we are saved by God at the point of baptism. You have to take what all of scripture says on the subject of salvation and not use the ‘grace and faith’ passages to suppress the truth of what the baptism verses do teach. There are too many verses that show that baptism is necessary to become a Christian/disciple. This article you commented on gives the majority of them. I find it interesting that those who disagree with what is in this article hardly ever deal with the verses mentioned in the article in which God tells us the purpose of baptism when they make comments. They only quote Ephesians 2:8-9 (forgetting the context in my judgment), mentioning grace and faith, and completely ignore what God says about baptism. I pray that you will not do this also. I pray that you will actually study the passages in the article within their contexts to see the truth of what they are saying about baptism. Please do not ignore what God says on the subject.

      The context of Ephesians 2:8-9 alludes to what God does at during baptism. This passage says that God saves us by grace through faith (vs8-9) when He “makes us alive together with Christ” and “raises us together with Him” (vs5-6). We are told in Colossians 2 that God does this when we, by faith in the working of God, are baptized: “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col 2:12-13). I have not had one person who believes as you do answer these parallel texts. They just ignore them, and in so doing, miss an important truth that God gives about what HE does in baptism, and how HE saves us by grace through faith at this point. We DO NOT save ourselves in our “faith, confession, prayer, repentance, or baptism.” God is the one who raises us into new live and makes us alive together with Christ when we with a believing, repentant heart are baptized [into Christ (Romans 6:3].

      The fact that there may be people that believe baptism is essential for salvation who do not live as a new creation does not prove their belief is wrong. There are many people who believe what you believe about salvation (even in your own church maybe) who do not live like they have been regenerated. This proves nothing either way.

      You mention “repentance and faith.” Why do you accept these to be necessary for salvation? These are just as much “works” or “actions” that are performed than baptism is. I would argue that repentance is much more work than baptism is. The person being baptized does not do anything but submit to it. Both repentance and baptism were commanded by Peter on the day of Pentecost when people asked him what they must “do” to be saved (Acts 2:38). They are both things that we must do to be saved by God according to scripture.

  5. Rev. Clyde E. Pullen says:

    This is a very interesting Article… plus the comments are good –although some are confusing..

    As Southern Baptist we basicly believe what the aurthor is stating.

    Baptism is an act of obedience to God. It is “symbolic” of your personal Death / Burial/ Resurrection –> to live a new life for the Lord.

    It has no saving grace whatsoever…. It is a public testimony to the World that you have forsaken the world; sins; –your are “Dead” You have been buried with Christ –“in Christ” — and now The Power of God/ Christ / Holy Spirit — raises you up from the deadness / death — and by his Spirit gives you New Life — You are to live Holy; righteous; Pure — and you can because “Christ is in Me.” You will still have choices to make — for Satan will continue to tempt you to your old sins and strive to draw you back to the “Law.” But, now as a “New Creation/ Creature” & through the Power afforded you by the Holy Spirit — you can resist the Devil and flee from temptations “get thee behind me Satan” and live a life that brings “Glory and Honor” to the Lord.

    I hope this helps.

    In His Love,

    Rev. Clyde E. Pullen

    • Thank you for your comments Clyde. I looked at each one of those passages within their context to show what the scriptures say happens at baptism. If you do not fully believe what is stated in the article, can you show how you disagree with the interpretation of some of the passages in their contexts?

      I do agree that baptism is an act of obedience, but I do not know of a passage in scripture which says that it is symbolic of what happens before baptism. Romans 6:1-7 and Colossians 2:11-14 show that baptism is the point in which we are united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. It is at this moment we are raised up together with Christ and made alive together with Him by grace through faith (compare Ephesians 2:5-6 and Colossians 2:12-14), and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It is the moment in which we are put into Christ (Romans 6:3; Gal 3:27).

      The point of this article was to show that when baptism is done by faith with a repentant heart, that it is the moment in which we become a disciple of Christ and a partaker of the promises of God in Him. So if you do not agree with this statement, you disagree with the whole point of the article.

      • David Lauer says:

        Colossians 2:8-14 Baptism is the “circumcision of Christ”, the point at which we enter into a covenant relationship with Him, made possible by the sacrifice (His body and blood) which He offered to the Father once and for all Hebrews 2:9-15, 9:1-10:23. It is in baptism that we contact the blood of the new covenant in His death, burial, and resurrection, dying to sin and being raised to walk in newness of life as mentioned earlier Romans 6:1-11.

        Jason, thanks for sharing the Word.

    • Marie Rodrigue says:

      I am amazed that you can make a statement such as: “It has no saving grace whatsoever…. It is a public testimony to the World that you have forsaken the world; ” when there is not a single scripture that states that fact in the way you do! There is a verse that is very important to this topic that was not added. In an attempt to limit the need for baptism as Jesus states in Mk 16;16, many will say that the act of baptism is a work. Being reborn again is regeneration. We put the old man to death and rise again in newness of life at baptism. If we look at Titus 3:4-7 . 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
      Not by works, but by the washing of regeneration! The ” washing of regeneration” is not therefore a work. There is no other action in the New Testament that is a washing involving regeneration other than baptism. We can also see how grace and baptism work together. This is not hard to understand or to except if we do not allow a man made agenda to cloud our thinking. Just open up your heart and listen carefully what Jesus is saying in Mk 16:16 – our Lord said nothing about a “public testamony” as you imply.

  6. Lewill Tagapan says:

    As a young individual this article truly shows us how important baptism is in our salvation.The scripture is very clear why do others understand this easily and others do not ? Brethren pls. be open minded in reading this it is the word of God that speaks.

    I’m from the Philippines i would greatly appreciated if anyone could help me you could help me in terms of teaching materials thank you God Bless!

  7. Thank you for a fine article. I’ve linked to it at my site, http://www.preachersstudyblog.com. You have presented a concise summary of what the Bible teaches. Many commenters seem to work awfuly hard to defend Calvin’s teachings when they run up against the inspired word. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the encouragement brother. It is interesting (even sad) that I have not yet had someone actually deal with the arguments yet that I have made in the baptism articles. They have not dealt with the baptism verses. There is one person who said he will (Arron), so I pray he will study these passages and come to see the truth. Please be praying for him.

      I will be checking out your website. I have already subscribed to it. Thanks for linking to my site. God bless your work!

  8. JOHN’S BAPTISM AND NEW COVENANT BAPTISM
    Why do men accept the Scriptures about John’s Baptism but reject the Scriptures concerning New Covenant baptism?

    JOHN’S BAPTISM

    Matthew 3:13-15….14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me? 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. (NKJV)

    Matthew 3:13-15…….15 Jesus answered him, “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.” Then John gave in to him. (God’s Word-Translation)

    Jesus was required to be baptized in water by John the Baptist in order to fulfill all righteousness. Had Jesus rejected John’s baptism He would have been disqualified as a perfect sacrifice for mankind. Jesus was without sin, however, He still had to do all that God required Him to do.

    You will notice Jesus did not say I was baptized by John as a simple act of obedience, but it really was not essential in order for me to fulfill all righteousness.

    Luke 7:29-30 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves not having been baptized by him. (NKJV)

    Luke 7:29-30 And all who heard John preach—even the most wicked of them—agreed that God’s requirements were right, and they were baptized by him. 30 All, that is, except the Pharisees and teachers of Moses’ Law. They rejected God’s plan for them and refused John’s baptism. (The Living Bible–Paraphrased)

    When men today claim that Christian water baptism is either not essential to salvation or they outright refused to be immersed in water, are they rejecting God’s counsel? Are they rejecting God’s required for forgiveness of their sins?

    Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.(NKJV)

    Why do men believe that John the Baptist baptized in water for the remission of sins and then disbelieve the apostle Peter when he told the three thousands, (Who were baptized under the New Covenant) to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins? (Acts 2:38)

    Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee the wrath to come.(NKJV)

    John the baptist said men have to be baptized to escape the wrath of God. Men today say Christian baptism is simply a way to demonstrate their faith.

    Why do men believe what God said about the baptism of John and rejected what God said about New Covenant baptism.

    CHRISTIAN BAPTISM IN WATER

    1. Mark 16:16 ….and is baptized will be saved…(NKJV)

    2. Acts 2:38…be baptized…for the remission of sin…(NKJV)

    3. Acts 22:16…Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins…(NKJV)

    4. 1 Peter 3:21 ..which now saves us, namely baptism..(NKJV)

    5. Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (NKJV)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>steve finnell a christian view

  9. I am a member of a church of Christ and have always been taught that no one is saved until he/she comes up out of the waters of baptism. Ironically, a closer look at God’s Word and reading and listening to huge chunks of Scripture all at once have caused me to question that teaching. I have many more questions than answers but one thing I do know is that Jesus Himself said that we can recognize those who belong to Him by their love for one another– not their theology. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,35). On the other hand, Jesus says we will know false prophets (and I believe this also applies to false teachers as mentioned and described in 2 Peter 2) by their fruits. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matt. 7:15-23)! Now, as far as I can tell, everyone on here is doing their best to follow Jesus in faith. It sounds to me like we are all baptized believers and we all take the Word of God very seriously. We may disagree on some things, but we all believe that true faith will result in baptism because Jesus commanded it and we all live Him and want to obey Him. I think it is splitting hairs to try to break down the exact point that someone is saved. That is God’s business and He is just and sovereign and will judge rightly. I understand and respect both sides of this argument. I cannot in good conscience tell someone that he/she is saved before baptism, but then again, I couldn’t tell them so after the fact, either, because I’ve known so many who were not baptized in faith. We all just need to realize that people can be honest and still come to a different conclusion than us. I’ve seen it said over and over that those who believe baptism is a sign of the covenant are just blindly following after men and don’t look at Scripture honestly. You need to realize that when you make such statements, you are judging people’s hearts/motives. You cannot sit here and tell me, based on Scripture, that if someone is baptized simply because Jesus said to do it and they want to obey Him because they love Him that their baptism isn’t legit. It is no wonder we are viewed as legalistic Pharisees! Who are you to say that Aaron isn’t your brother because he doesn’t have his theology all right.

    Remember…God doesn’t save us or not save us based on technicalities (i.e., “Well, even if you were baptized in the name of Jesus, you are not saved if you don’t believe that your baptism washed away your sins”). His grace and mercy are so much bigger than that! He looks at our hearts. Praise Him! It is a traditional church of Christ thing that such statements about His grace make us uncomfortable because usually when people talk like that, they are just trying to get out of obeying God. No one in this discussion has even alluded to such a silly idea. Of course if we love Him, we will obey Him (Jn. 14:15)! But none of us will ever do that perfectly. As a matter of fact, we won’t even come close. We all have to follow Him in faith based on our own understanding of His Word. We all have biases…none if us will understand it all perfectly,either. Thanks be to God for His infinite grace! He remembers that we are just dust”

    • Hi Songbird. Thank you for your response. Your comments are in bold and italics, and my responses are below them.

      I am a member of a church of Christ and have always been taught that no one is saved until he/she comes up out of the waters of baptism. Ironically, a closer look at God’s Word and reading and listening to huge chunks of Scripture all at once have caused me to question that teaching.

      It is great that you are examining scripture on your own and testing the things that you believe. When it comes to the subject of salvation (and any other Bible subject), we need to ask the important question, “What does God say on the subject?” If God says that baptism is the point in which we are forgiven of our sins, united with the death of Christ, and saved by God’s grace through faith, we really do not have a right to our own opinion on the subject. I believe the articles her on my website show clearly that it is the case that baptism is the point in which we are saved by grace through faith (article showing this), when we are united with Christ in His death (article showing this), and when our sins are remitted (article showing this). I would recommend reading these articles and the others on my baptism page, and if you disagree with the arguments that I make, respond to them.

      I have many more questions than answers but one thing I do know is that Jesus Himself said that we can recognize those who belong to Him by their love for one another– not their theology. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,35).

      One thing that is common when the subject of baptism is debated is that people on the other side of this debate do not deal with the actual arguments that are made in scripture about baptism, but look at verses on grace, faith, love, etc., and in so doing, many times bring scriptures into contradiction with each other.

      You mention here that you know that it is our love and not our theology that shows whether we are the disciples of Christ. My questions is, “where do you draw the line?” Would you accept Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholics, etc. who have incorrect theology but still love each other? Why or why not?

      On the other hand, Jesus says we will know false prophets (and I believe this also applies to false teachers as mentioned and described in 2 Peter 2) by their fruits. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:15-23)! Now, as far as I can tell, everyone on here is doing their best to follow Jesus in faith. It sounds to me like we are all baptized believers and we all take the Word of God very seriously. We may disagree on some things, but we all believe that true faith will result in baptism because Jesus commanded it and we all live Him and want to obey Him. I think it is splitting hairs to try to break down the exact point that someone is saved. That is God’s business and He is just and sovereign and will judge rightly. I understand and respect both sides of this argument. I cannot in good conscience tell someone that he/she is saved before baptism, but then again, I couldn’t tell them so after the fact, either, because I’ve known so many who were not baptized in faith. We all just need to realize that people can be honest and still come to a different conclusion than us. I’ve seen it said over and over that those who believe baptism is a sign of the covenant are just blindly following after men and don’t look at Scripture honestly. You need to realize that when you make such statements, you are judging people’s hearts/motives.

      You are saying here that I am wrong in judging people’s hearts/motives, although you yourself quote the verses that show that we are to make judgments based on the fruits that we see. You are judging me in your comments even though you yourself say that we should not do so also. You call me/us “legalistic Pharisees,” and in so are making a judgment when you do not know me!

      But the truth is, I have been quoting scriptures about what God says and teaches on baptism in these articles, and people show their hearts for what God says in denying what these scriptures say. They are not following God in faith if they are rejecting the scriptures on what they say about how one is saved. It can be seen clearly by those who are examining the comments in this thread that those who have responded thus far have not dealt with the arguments made in the articles, and are bringing up teachings to suppress what those verses teach to justify their beliefs (that began at the time of the reformation).

      You say that I am splitting hairs, but I am not if God’s word is teaching these things! If God’s word teaches that baptism is the point in which we are united with Christ in His death, then you are saying here that GOD is splitting hairs and telling GOD, “what’s the big deal?”

      You cannot sit here and tell me, based on Scripture, that if someone is baptized simply because Jesus said to do it and they want to obey Him because they love Him that their baptism isn’t legit. It is no wonder we are viewed as legalistic Pharisees! Who are you to say that Aaron isn’t your brother because he doesn’t have his theology all right.

      Paul rebaptized people to make sure they were baptized with the correct understanding about Jesus and the gospel (Acts 19). Do you believe he (inspired by the Holy Spirit) was being legalistic also in rebaptizing these people? Their baptism “wasn’t legit” to Paul. Also, would you say that a baby getting baptized is legit also? Or a young child who doesn’t have a clue what the gospel is? Where do you draw the line, and if you reject these baptisms, why the arbitrariness? If you do reject these baptisms, you will say they are not legit based on scriptures that teach one must be able to submit to Christ in faith and repentance before baptism, and in so doing, would be making the exact same arguments that I am in my responses.

      Remember…God doesn’t save us or not save us based on technicalities (i.e., “Well, even if you were baptized in the name of Jesus, you are not saved if you don’t believe that your baptism washed away your sins”). His grace and mercy are so much bigger than that! He looks at our hearts.

      You are just brushing the commands of God off as “technicalities”?Can you show me a passage of scripture that shows that we do not have to meet the conditions God gives us to be saved? If God gives conditions for salvation, one does not have to submit to them? Scripture shows that it is through these “technicalities” (as you call them) that one receives His grace, as show in in this article, and as I said above, rejecting what is clearly taught in God’s word about baptism and its purpose shows what condition a person’s heart is in. How would you respond if I was arguing that repentance was not necessary for salvation, and I just called it a technicality, and said, “God only judges our hearts.”? If scripture teaches that repentance is necessary (which it does in Luke 13:3 and Acts 2:38), I would be calling God a liar in believing it is “only a technicality” and that I can be saved without it. The same is the case on baptism. Scripture shows that it is the moment in which we are united with Christ in His death and have our sins forgiven. If we flat out deny this, we are calling God a liar and saying I can still be saved in spite of my belief that what He says about baptism is wrong and “only a technicality.”

      It is a traditional church of Christ thing that such statements about His grace make us uncomfortable because usually when people talk like that, they are just trying to get out of obeying God. No one in this discussion has even alluded to such a silly idea. Of course if we love Him, we will obey Him (Jn. 14:15)! But none of us will ever do that perfectly. As a matter of fact, we won’t even come close. We all have to follow Him in faith based on our own understanding of His Word. We all have biases…none if us will understand it all perfectly,either. Thanks be to God for His infinite grace! He remembers that we are just dust”

      There may be brethren that overreact when the topic of grace is brought up, but this is irrelevant to the discussion. The command in Acts 2:38 is:

      “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”

      Your arguments show that you believe someone does not have to obey this specific command. Your arguments show that you agree with Arron that the command that God gives is this:

      “Repent for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

      Are you comfortable rewriting the verse to say this? If you believe that Arron is saved, you are agreeing with the rewrite of the verse and rejecting what the actual text that the Spirit gave says. This is what you are doing in your comments without realizing it!

  10. Evangelismhelp.
    I’m sorry to say this my friend ( you would’t call me your brother in Christ, however I consider you to be mine.) I have read and considered all the above, and have to say I am with Aaron and Songbird.
    I believe and trust in Eph2 vs’s 8-9For it it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from your selves, it is a gift of God- not by works, so that no-one can boast. I’m afraid you do sound legalistic and judgmental. My purpose in responding is to encourage and reassure anybody who stumbles across this site, not to be put off, discouraged or diverted from their spiritual journey. God is the only one that will judge us. You have set yourself up to judge the hearts of all believers in the catholic church, the Anglican church and loads of other protestant traditions. In that, I disagree with you. It is the Blood of Christ on the cross that saves and no work of yours or anybody else. I am sure that if any-body believes in God and accepts and trusts that Jesus died for them on the cross. They will be saved. That’s it.

    • Ron, I agree wholeheartedly that we are saved by grace through faith. I make this clear in one of my articles (http://www.evangelismhelp.com/when-are-we-saved-by-grace-through-faith/). The problem with the comments given by those who disagree with the scriptures presented in this article on baptism is that they hardly deal with the arguments in the articles. They take verses like Ephesians 2:8-9, and use them to completely dismiss what the scriptures teach about baptism being the point in which we are saved by grace through faith. You can label what I believe as “legalism,” but all I do in the article is teach what the scriptures say about baptism, which has not been dealt with yet.

      I have not set myself up as a judge of anyone. My goal is to lead those who love God and His word to believe what IT teaches about baptism. What most people in the religious world believe about baptism is not taught in scripture. You, along with Arron and Songbird, are creating a false dichotomy in saying that no action whatsoever (work/active faith) is needed to be saved. You must harmonize what scripture teaches to see all that God teaches about salvation.

      I am not going to be judged by the many traditions of men that you speak of in your comments. Many of them contradict the word of God and go beyond the doctrine of Christ and His apostles. I am going to be judged based on what the word of God teaches. So I will challenge you Ron to lay aside whatever traditions you hold and to open up scripture to see what it teaches about baptism.

      I don’t know how you can be “sure that if any-body believes in God and accepts and trusts that Jesus died for them on the cross, They will be saved, That’s it.” When scripture says that one is united with the death of Christ at baptism (Rom 6:3-7), has their sins remitted at baptism (Acts 2:38), is made alive together with Christ at baptism (Colossians 2:11-14), how can you contradict scripture in saying that just accepting and trusting in what Jesus did saves someone? One who trusts in what Jesus did and taught will do what Jesus commanded to do to be saved; to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:16). Your belief in your comments deny what the Bible (Jesus and His Apostles) taught about baptism.

  11. I’m afraid you speak with such confidence in your condemnation of others. You say that you will not be judged by the other traditions that I speak of, however it is not them that have judged you but you that are judging them. I would encourage you to have a little more Christian charity, and consider that you have no idea where any of them or us are in our spiritual journey. You have no power nor authority to judge or condem anybody.
    You are a sinner just like the rest of us, in need of the mercy and grace of our saviour.
    Trust me, you are coming across as smug and self important. It would be so much more helpfull if you could show a little more of the love and humility that the bible also speaks of.

    • If you believe I have come off as proud, I don’t mean this to be the case. If you could give me an example where you believe I have done this, I would be happy to consider what I said and respond.

      I don’t know exactly what you are talking about where I condemn others. If you mean by this that I quoted Jesus in saying “unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3:5) which scripture shows that this happens at baptism, I am not the one making the judgment. Jesus is. If you mean my quoting of Mark 16:16 which states that the one who does not believe the gospel and gets baptized will be condemned, once again, Jesus is the One doing the judging. Not me. The logical conclusion looking at scripture is that if the Bible teaches that we are united with Christ’s death at baptism, and that baptism is the point in which our sins are remitted, then if we do not get baptized biblically, then we have not contacted the death of Christ and have not had our sins remitted. This would mean that we cannot enter the kingdom of God, which is what Jesus says in John 3:5.

      I agree that I am a sinner saved by the grace of God, but why are you judging me for quoting Jesus and His Apostles and saying that we need to obey the gospel Biblically to be saved? It is not humble to say, “you’re right, baptism is not essential for salvation” when the Bible teaches the opposite. IT is the height of arrogance to disagree with what God teaches in His word and to say that we do not have to do what He commands.

      The scriptures are the final authority for us, and I make no apology for appealing to them and, as the Apostle Peter, commanding those who are in their sin to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins

  12. in saying that no action whatsoever (work/active faith) is needed to be saved.
    That’s correct. Nothing you can do can save you. That is where you are fundamentally mistaken.

    My goal is to lead those who love God and His word to believe what IT teaches about baptism.

    Where do you get the authority to lead anybody?

    • Submitting to the commands of God does not earn your salvation. We are told in scripture that God saves us by grace through faith at the point of baptism (see the article link I already sent you). God is the One who saves us. To say I believe we must do works to earn our salvation is a straw-man of my view.

      Would you call Peter a legalist when He commanded the people to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins in Acts 2:38. They cried to Peter and the Apostles “What must we do?” and he gave this response. By your own words that you are using to judge me as a legalist, you would be guilty of doing the same with Peter!

      Scripture is the authority. Those who love Christ and believe Him will obey Him.

  13. These type of doctrinal arguments are often open ended they can become hurtful and unhelpful. Particularly on the internet, when people are not facing each other. You weald selected verses and passages like an axe then claim it’s not you that is talking but the Bible. I’m afraid you have more responsibility in what you say than that. These kind of arguments have been going on for hundreds of years with quote and counter quote being used to support one or other vested doctrinal viewpoints.
    It would be pointless to try to persuade you out of your particular doctrinal viewpoint. I am not going to do so. I absolutely disagree with YOUR interpretation of scripture.
    So, I think it is best to agree to disagree. Then allow any audience of this blog to draw their own conclusions. You have deeply intrenched doctrinal beliefs that only the Holy Spirit will be able to shed light on. I pray that he will do so.
    I do have a further concern regarding the general style and presentation of your remarks.
    I mentioned it earlier, but I just want to repeat to anybody that have been following this blog. It concerns, Stumbling Blocks.

    Anybody that may be interested, I respectfully direct your attention, not as weapons but as encouragement. — have a look at .. Rom 8: 31/39.

    31… What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

    But particularly 37/39.

    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[c] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Also Rom 14:13
    Romans 14:13

    13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

    and Mark 9: 42.

    Mark 9:42

    Causing to Stumble

    42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.
    To any observer of the above.
    Please don’t be discouraged or disheartened by any of the above remarks. Always remember that your Father in heaven loves you more than any earthly father could ever do. Take any questions, doubts or uncertainties, and prayerfully hammer them out on the anvil of truth in the power of the Holy spirit. You have nothing to fear .He will not allow you to be mislead if you come to him with an honest heart .

    In particular don’t allow any human-being, or organization to rob you of your peace that is in and from Christ Jesus.

    I have one question for EvangelismHelp. A scenario.
    A person on their deathbed comes to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel, he confesses that he has sinned, and honestly repents of his sin, and accepts Jesus as his personal Savior and Risen Lord.

    Is this individual saved, although he hasn’t been baptized?

    Rom 8-9.

    8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

    Finally! then I leave you the final word!

    EvangelismHelp,
    This is particularly for you. Please accept it in the spirit of love and friendship it is given.
    1 Corinthians 13

    13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Mark 9:42

    The New Covenant, leaves us with two commandments.
    Love God with all our hearts, minds soul and body .
    AND LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES.
    In Christ. Ron.

    • You speak like there is not an objective truth to argue for. If the Bible teaches that you must be baptized with faith and a repentant heart to receive the remission of sins, it would be unloving for me NOT to share the truth. And if what I am saying is true, I am not throwing stumbling blocks before people, but the truth that the Spirit is using to convict people. You are just assuming that because you disagree with my interpretations (really quoting) of verses that I am throwing stumbling blocks before people and being judgmental, but you have not been willing to actually deal with the arguments I am making or the passages in scripture I am using. This has been the case so far in this thread. Those commenting want to talk about everything but the arguments and verses that I am giving about baptism. So when people just disregard passages of scripture (using whatever “rescue devices” they have created in their own minds to disregard these passages), revealing a negative heart towards God’s word, I am going to respond more abruptly, asking why they are ignoring what God says.

      You say that I am using scripture as an anvil. Those who disagree with me about other articles say the same thing, and the reason is they are holding onto their doctrines/practices that contradict scripture and feel judged by what I am saying. They should if they are not believing what scripture says.

      You quoted Romans 10:8-10 which shows someone must be willing to confess that Jesus is Lord to be saved, but you disregard what Paul says about baptism earlier in the book of Romans. Romans 6 teaches that baptism is the point in which we submit to Christ as Lord, are united with Him in His death, and have our sin taken away, being born again. You need to harmonize all that is taught about salvation, not take one passage in the book and disregard others. Chapter 6 still says what it says about baptism.

      So if you are going to publicly share your disagreements and say that I am misinterpreting scripture, don’t run away saying doctrinal discussions are unprofitable, show me how I am misinterpreting scripture. quote the verses on baptism and feel free to show me what you believe they are teaching about baptism. I am open, I have been wrong about things before. The reason why I believe what I do about baptism is because I believe that God teaches these things. I can be persuaded if I am in error, as I have been in the past.

  14. Brother, I urge you to be very careful in your responses. You have misquoted the Scriptures many times in your above responses, adding your own words to make them mean what you already have decided they mean. For example:

    ” Romans 6 teaches that baptism is the point in which we submit to Christ as Lord, are united with Him in His death, and have our sin taken away, being born again. ”

    Actually, this is what Romans 6 says:

    “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
    20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Nowhere does Romans 6 say that baptism IS THE POINT at which one’s sins are remitted. Paul is obviously speaking symbolically because we are not LITERALLY buried with Christ in baptism. It is not contradictory to Arron’s and Ron’s view of Scripture (from what I understand) for Paul to say “…for all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death,” etc. After all, baptism is the way (well, really, just the beginning) we show our faith. It is possible that it’s the sign of the covenant with Christ, just as circumcision was the sign of the covenant in the OT(See Romans 3 and 4). Paul could tell who really accepted the free gift of grace because they were baptized to show it. There is so much symbolism in the Bible. There are so many statements that are not meant to be taken literally. (For example, Peter says, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation,” even though none of us can actually save ourselves–that’s why we need Jesus!) It is very possible that Romans 6, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, etc. are the same way. As I already said, baptism cannot LITERALLY wash our sins away…sins are not tangible things. But it certainly can symbolize that happening. Water is used in conjunction with purity and salvation all throughout both old and new testaments. God is merciful…He knows we, as concrete humans, need something concrete in order to understand His higher ways. I believe that is why He gave us baptism…it is yet another grace of His.

    You say that those of us who “deny what Scripture says” on this topic are only seeking to justify ourselves. Well, I WAS baptized for the remission of my sins, so how can I be justifying NOT having done so? You assume that my motive must be wrong because I no longer use the same hermeneutic that you do. Can’t you see how you subtly mix in your own fallible application of Scripture and call IT Scripture? I understand, though, because I have done that most of my life. I am sure I still do it at times. We humans can be so blind. That is why we need to constantly humble ourselves and ask God to open our eyes daily. He won’t always do it all at once because He is merciful. (I cannot imagine how overwhelmed and sorrowful I would feel if He did it all at once! )Sometimes, it takes years. And if my suspicions are correct, He will probably be opening mine over the course of the rest of my life!

    In all of this, I am not saying baptism is optional. Jesus commanded it, and if we have child like faith in Him, we will do it without question because we love Him. Real faith produces obedience. That also is shown all throughout the Bible. My point is simply that we are judging when we have no right if we say that someone has to be thinking at the time of their baptism, “This is what will take my sins away.” That is between that person and God. According to my understanding of who God is from doing my best to readthe Bible in context, one who would exclude people from the fellowship of Jesus on such a technicality is very reminescent of the Pharisees who said that Jesus was technically breaking the Sabbath by healing a man. Mercy triumphs over judgment!!! (James)

    • The point of Romans 6 is to show the Romans that there is no excuse for sin. As Christians, they needed to have a completely different attitude towards it. They are reminded in this text that they were to be slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:16-18). Jesus needed to be their Lord and Master, not sin.

      He uses their baptism into Christ to show this truth in verses 1-7.

      The following things taught about baptism in this passage:

      – those who are baptized are “baptized INTO Christ Jesus” (v3). This is when we are put INTO Christ

      – We are “baptized INTO His death” (v3). Baptism is the point in which we are put INTO His death.

      – We are “buried WITH Him THROUGH baptism INTO death” (v4). When we are buried in the water, we are put to death and buried as He was.

      – Since Christ was raised from the dead, this shows we must walk in “newness of life” (v4). We must live as a new creation.

      – Verse 5 says that “IF we have become united WITH Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Only IF we are united with Christ in His death (when we are baptized/immersed INTO His death at baptism – v3) do we know we will be united with Him in His resurrection.

      – At baptism, our old self was “crucified with Him” and our “body of sin” was “done away with” (v6). Christ’s death becomes our death at this point. This is what the text says. At this moment our sin is done away with.

      – “he who has died is freed from sin” (v7). Once again, we die with Christ at baptism (v3-4). This is when we are freed from sin.

      -And since we have died with Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to God IN Christ Jesus (v8-11). We are alive because we are IN Christ, which we saw in v3 that we were baptized INTO Christ. This is when we are put INTO Him, and this is when we died with Christ (v3-4).

      You say that I am reading into the text, but as far as I can see, I am reading the text and saying it means what it says. You say He is speaking figuratively in this text, basing it on the belief that one is not buried with Jesus literally. What the text says is that when we are baptized (which means buried/immersed), we are united with Him in His death and we are freed from sin. Saying that it is figurative does not erase what the text says.

      You said, “Paul could tell who really accepted the free gift of grace because they were baptized to show it.” Can you show where Paul says this in the text? He says in the text that since they were freed from their sin (v7 teaches that this happened when they died with Christ, which happens at baptism – v3-4), they derived the benefit of sanctification and the free gift of eternal life from God (vs22-23).

      “As I already said, baptism cannot LITERALLY wash our sins away…sins are not tangible things.” I agree with this to a point. It is not the water that washes away our sin. I have not said this. I believe when we are baptized (and united with Christ in His death), we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. This is what scripture shows:

      “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Peter clearly says that the water is not cleaning anything, but instead it is at this moment we are making an appeal to God to cleanse us inwardly and appealing for new life “by the resurrection of Christ.”

      The Hebrews writer says, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (10:22). What this text says is that when we draw near top God and have our bodies washed with water, our hearts are “sprinkled clean” and our evil conscience is cleansed. If we are drawing near to God in faith, this is what happens at baptism.

      You said, “You say that those of us who “deny what Scripture says” on this topic are only seeking to justify ourselves. Well, I WAS baptized for the remission of my sins, so how can I be justifying NOT having done so? You assume that my motive must be wrong because I no longer use the same hermeneutic that you do.” I make this judgment by the fruits that I see in these discussions. Most of those who are sending me messages are not dealing with the verses that mention baptism. They are ignoring them or dismissing them based on their “faith/grace only beliefs” that are not taught in scripture.

      I am not teaching something that is unbiblical if I say that someone must have a correct belief about baptism to be saved. Do you believe someone must repent or believe before baptism as scripture teaches? If so, you would also say that certain baptisms are unbiblical and not valid. If we are commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), then those who have been baptized for other reasons (be added to a denomination, to show their belief in forgiveness that they already received), they have not obeyed the command. They were not baptized “in faith.”

  15. P.S. Here is my answer to your question from before. You asked:

    My questions is, “where do you draw the line?” Would you accept Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholics, etc. who have incorrect theology but still love each other? Why or why not?

    My answer: The line is not mine to draw.

  16. Oh, and you also falsely accused me of calling anyone a “legalistic Pharisee.” (Hehe, it’s really OK. It didn’t hurt my feelings. 😉 ) I said, “It is no wonder why we are VIEWED that way.” You are right…I do not know you. I would not call you that. I actually think you have good intentions, which is more than I can say for the Pharisees.

    Oh, you also said, “Paul rebaptized people to make sure they were baptized with the understanding about Jesus and the gospel (Acts 19). Do you believe he (inspired by the Holy Spirit) was being legalistic also in rebaptizing these people?”
    Of course not! Those people were baptized into John’s baptism. We are talking about people who are baptized into Christ because of their faith in Him. You are comparing apples and oranges here.

    You also asked, “You are just brushing the commands of God off as “technicalities?”
    No, I am brushing off YOUR APPLICATION of the commands of God as technicalities. Once again, I think you can’t see where God’s Word ends and your application/understanding of it begins.
    You also said:

    Your arguments show that you believe someone does not have to obey this specific command. Your arguments show that you agree with Arron that the command that God gives is this:

    “Repent for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

    Are you comfortable rewriting the verse to say this? If you believe that Arron is saved, you are agreeing with the rewrite of the verse and rejecting what the actual text that the Spirit gave says. This is what you are doing in your comments without realizing it!

    My response: I do not know whether Arron is saved or not because I do not know him and cannot see his fruits or read his heart (after all, only God can do that). Once again, I never said I believe what he believes, and my arguments do not prove such. That is yet another assumption on your part. As a matter of fact, I explicitly said that I cannot tell someone they are saved before baptism in good conscience. I believe that is where he and I differ. My arguments simply illustrate that we can still have unity in Christ though we differ on the reason for baptism, as long as we are doing it in faith in Christ Jesus. From what I understand of Romans 14, the Lord does not want us to divide over OUR TAKE on how the Word is to be interpreted, i.e., quarrel over opinions. *Sigh* Is that what I have been doing? Please forgive me if I have been quarreling. I’m done now.

    • You cannot sit here and tell me, based on Scripture, that if someone is baptized simply because Jesus said to do it and they want to obey Him because they love Him that their baptism isn’t legit. It is no wonder we are viewed as legalistic Pharisees! Who are you to say that Aaron isn’t your brother because he doesn’t have his theology all right.

      Brother, this statement seems to show your approval of such a label, and that you are applying it to the things I have said. If I misunderstood your statement, I apologize.

      The point of bringing up the example in Acts 19 is to show that all baptisms are not legit. These men were not saved yet because their baptism was incorrect. Those who teach that they are saved before baptism, or that they were baptized into a denomination instead of into Christ have not been baptized Biblically, just as the disciples of John.

      You say again that I am missing “where God’s Word ends and your application/understanding of it begins.” This kind of statement is a slippery slope. I could say the same thing about everything that anyone teaches! Is there such a thing as objective truth? Do we have a right to our own opinions about scripture? If God says, “Repent, and be baptized for the remission of your sins…”, is it true that one must be baptized for the remission of their sins to be a Christian?Is the verse true as stated, or do we have the right to switch the wording of the verse around to make it say we can be baptized for a different reason?

      I believe you are misunderstanding “unity.” We can only be unified based on what is revealed in scripture. If someone teaches/believes a different gospel/God, Paul says that they are accursed. If they teach contrary to the Apostles, they are wrong. Many on this thread have been saying that baptism is not when we are forgiven of our sins in spite of Peter, Paul, and Jesus saying differently. They are not in fellowship with God (or in the universal church) if they are constantly rejecting the teaching of Christ and His Apostles and if they have not obeyed the gospel that is taught in scripture.

      “As a matter of fact, I explicitly said that I cannot tell someone they are saved before baptism in good conscience.”

      I agree that you said that you cannot tell someone in good conscience that they are saved before baptism, but the rest of your argument has contradicted this statement. If you cannot in good conscience say that someone is saved before baptism, then your conclusion should be that those who are not baptized with the baptism that was commanded by the Apostles are lost. If a believing, repentant person is commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins, then one who gets baptized without believing or repenting (an infant) is not saved. If someone gets baptized to merely enter a denominational church, or to show that they are already saved, then they have not obeyed what Peter teaches in Acts 2:38.

      I do not believe you have been quarreling. I just encourage you to consider the things that I am saying from scripture. IF what I am saying agrees with scripture, then it is true regardless of whether you have a different opinion or not. We do not have a right to an opinion if it contradicts scripture. Scripture either teaches that baptism is the point in which we are forgiven of our sins or it doesn’t. We both cannot be right. We both can be wrong, but we both cannot be right brother.

  17. You cannot take away,or add to Gods word.Many are doing this very thing today.There are people who profess to receiving a baptism of a spirit, but have never been Biblicaly Water Baptised (Acts 2:37–39), I hold to the Apostles Doctrine,i preach water baptism in no other name,but the name of Jesus.Thank-you so much,Stephen

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