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Water Baptism

  1. 1 Peter 3:21 ESV

    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

    Has it ever bothered you that in the book of Acts, in every single instance of conversion, those being converted were baptized immediately or as soon as possible (as the case in the Philippian jailer-Acts 16)? Probably not, as most here have somewhat violently resisted my position on baptism.

    But why? Why did those men who walked physically with Jesus, who ate with him, slept in the same area as him, why did they do it? Jesus even taught them baptism (John 4). Surely, and hear me on this! Surely, if Jesus never intended baptism as an important part of the new birth process he would not have wasted his time.

    Why is it that the very first time someone (or someones) in Acts asks the Apostles, "What must we do [to be saved]?" (Acts 2:37) the first thing that Peter said was what?

    Acts 2:38 ESV, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

    Repent
    Be baptized
    Receive the Holy Spirit

    No, let's pray a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart...
    No, God predestined some here for salvation so he has saved you by grace...
    None of that modern church mumbo jumbo I'm so sick of hearing.

    REPENT & BE BAPTIZED

    Now Peter when later in life wanting to leave a written record of his teaching wrote 1 Peter he included baptism again in the new birth process.

    This is where I'm going with this and I again plead with you to read with some discernment before you hit the report button.

    Baptism was to the church of Acts what altar calls and the sinner's prayer are to the modern church.

    When they preached, they told people get baptized! Much like today preachers tell people, come to the altar, you'll be met by someone that will lead you in a prayer. The modern church has just shifted the event from what scripture says to what is convenient and easier.

    We fear someone may be embarrassed to be baptized.

    Well if they are too embarrassed to stand and proclaim their faith in front of other believers, how will they ever stand in front of non-believers?!

    Jesus did say, those who confess me before men I will confess before my Father, but those who deny me, I will also deny... right?

    In a true gospel presentation, baptism was preached as the physical point at which a person's faith in Christ materialized.

    In Acts chapter 8, Philip is told by the Holy Spirit... the HOLY SPIRIT to go and talk to the Ethiopian eunuch (horribly shortening the story but most here know it - Acts 8). As the eunuch reads from the scroll of Isaiah about the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) he asks Philip who is being talked about. Picking up in 8:35-40 of Acts:

    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

    It is plain as day here. During the course of Philip preaching the gospel to this eunuch he mentions baptism (v36). How else would this eunuch know he needed to be baptized? This is probably one of the clearest accounts in the entire New Testament of the importance of baptism. If these men and women who were 1st generation believers, just removed from the ascension of Christ, preached baptism with the gospel how much more should we?

    Now, some scriptures include a verse in that passage, verse 37. This is not a textual criticism thread so I'm not going to go into that but for the sake of clarity here, I would like to state that verse.

    Acts 8:37 KJV
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Some may use this verse to prove that confession is needed before baptism is administered. Others may counteract with the irrelevence of the text for various reasons, textual basis or whatever. What is important to note about the verse is the eunuch professes his faith before his baptism. But that did not prompt Philip to say ok well you have the important part down, now join with a group of believers and when possible get baptized.

    No, he preached the gospel to this eunuch. In the course of the presentation, he mentions baptism in some way. The eunuch upon believing is baptized.

    This is what I believe Peter was getting at in both his Pentecost sermon and his epistle. That baptism should be the immediate event of the new convert to publicly profess their faith in Christ. That is why "baptism... now saves you... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." (as I bolded in the headlining text; 1 Peter 3:21) It is because baptism was the immediate event of the early church for new converts to show their faith, just like the altar call and sinner's prayer (and subsequent round of applause/hand shake) are for today's church.

    Funny (well actually pretty sad)... I don't read about any altar calls/sinner's prayer in the book of Acts. None. That is after all the only Holy Spirit inspired document on church history to ever exist. Surely if baptism was just some thing that really isn't that important, perhaps not even necessary, it would have been mentioned seldom if ever. But it's not just mentioned once or twice, but at least 9 times (depending on how you read it).

    What I'm getting at here is the church needs to return to the way scripture outlines things. Baptism was the way the church of Acts allowed new converts to demonstrate their faith. It was administered immediately, or as quickly as possible, after people professed their intention for salvation.

    I plan on getting into the finer details of this topic. Hopefully the discussion can be had in a way that allows all people to discuss their point of view respectfully and not in a dominating manner. Again, I will re-emphasize for clarity sake as I'm sure some probably will want to report this thread, I do not believe baptism is an absolute necessity for salvation. It is a command though, commands are meant to be obeyed. It is a blessing, why should we wait? (Acts 22:16) I'm simply saying, the church in Acts administered baptisms in HUGE numbers immediately, the modern church should too.

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  1. Acts2:38
    Part 3,

    However, we know that the early disciples understood the importance of being saved. When Saul was taught by Ananias, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). When the Philippian jailer wanted to be saved, "So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized" (Acts 16:31-33). And this even though Acts 16:25 said the events started around midnight.

    Why the urgency in obeying God's commands? Because the people knew that the future is uncertain. "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). They did not risk the possibility of not having another opportunity.

    "For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).

    Frankly, when people truly believe God and are willing to do as He commands, the gap between belief and baptism isn't all that great. The possibility of dying before obeying is slim, and I'm confident that the Lord watches over those who are His.

    When the Ethiopian asked, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" The answer was, "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37-38). There is nothing preventing salvation but a person's own heart.

    God has told us there is no excuses anymore, Acts 17:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

    Have a wonderful day my friend. Always a pleasure speaking with you.
  2. Acts2:38
    Part 2,

    And what about repentance? Can a person be saved without changing their life?

    "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5).

    "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before" (Acts 3:19-20).

    Now some want to blur the lines and say that faith, confession, and repentance are all the same thing. But I always point out that you believe in your heart, but confession is made with the mouth and repentance means doing things differently. "... that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20). What happens to a fellow who doesn't have a chance to do works befitting repentance?

    The answer is, if it ever did happen (and I have more confidence in God than that), then it would be God's decision, and fortunately not mind, but in the meantime, I must teach the will of the Father and He says that hearing the word, faith in Jesus, confession of Christ, repentance from sins, and washing away sins in baptism are all necessary to be saved from sins. Therein is the key problem. People talk about salvation, they see the goal is to get to heaven, but they neglect to see that they being saved from something -- sin! It is as if they think they can be saved from drowning while remaining under the water.
  3. Acts2:38
    Part 1,

    So, People imagine the possibility of a person believing in Christ but before he can act on it he is killed. "What will happen to the poor man?" they moan. They want someone to say, "he will be saved," so that they can say, "See, you can be saved without baptism!"

    What they don't realize is that they are diminishing the power of God. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). If a man turns his heart to God, God is not going to take his life at the last second so as to prevent his salvation. The Lord God is not like that.

    I often ask such people, "Can a person be saved with confessing Christ?"

    "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

    "But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10).

    "But what," I then ask, "will happen to him if he dies before he has a chance to open his mouth and make a confession?"
  4. Acts2:38
    Hello again friend,

    There has been a great many discussions regarding the "What if" someone dies before baptism. That "what if" is brought by people trying to escape what the bible says and water down scripture. I'm not saying your doing this, but I find a great many that I read about and even discuss myself with, think this very "what if" scenario. Because I can only put 2,000 characters of type, I will break this into a couple parts, of what I explain here.

    What does scripture say?
    1. ByTheSpirit
      I explained in my blog what scriptures stated, you must always leave room for God's mercy. He knows a person's heart and can save them if he so chooses.
  5. OpenYourBibles
    How does one achieve/receive the "answering of a Good Conscience towards God?"

    I really appreciate most of this post, but then at the end what is this "baptism is not an aboslute necessity" stuff? What are you trying to say there?
      ByTheSpirit likes this.
    1. ByTheSpirit
      Only that faith is what saves us, not the baptism itself. Yes, baptism is the point our faith materializes and becomes saving faith, but if a person were to get baptized and not have faith it is worthless.
    2. ByTheSpirit
      The other aspect I answered in another reply. If a person were trying to get, or going to get baptized and met an unfortunate and untimely end before being able to do so, then I believe Jesus will view their intentions as sincere and save them. But that is not the norm and certainly not a valid excuse to not get baptized.
  6. Jack Isaacks
    Speak for yourself about the "modern church." Eastern Orthodoxy has always insisted on the necessity of water baptism, usually ministered by triple immersion.

    Christ is risen!
    1. ByTheSpirit
      No offense was meant by it. If your particular group administers Water Baptism then great! But does it add other requirements into the mix?
  7. Acts2:38
    Hello friend,

    Just wanted to throw a few thoughts at you from a couple of statements you made.

    Please consider the points I make here.

    #1
    You said: " I do not believe baptism is an absolute necessity for salvation."

    Next you said: " It is a command though, commands are meant to be obeyed."

    Those two statements are contradictory.

    If baptism is in the bible and it is a command meant to be obeyed, then is it necessary for salvation or not?

    #2
    May I further appeal to you of baptism's necessity? Consider these verses and questions.

    Mark 16:15-16

    Q: Is salvation promised to those who believe AND are baptized? Yes or no.

    Q: In addition to believing - loving - repenting - confessing - is it God's will that you be baptized? Yes or no.

    Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4

    Q: If you do NOT receive "remission of sins", can you enjoy God's gift of eternal life? Yes or no.

    Acts 2:37-47; Acts 22:16

    Q: Did these sinners gladly accept the word and obey the command to be baptized? Yes or no.

    Q: Were their sins forgiven AT baptism? Yes or no.

    Q: Did the Lord add to their numbers (the church), daily, those who were being saved? Yes or no.

    Anyhow, good blog post. You are catching on to something here and it is a good job. Very well done. I shall speak to you later my friend.
      ByTheSpirit likes this.
    1. ByTheSpirit
      By that first point I only meant that if someone were to meet an unfortunate end before they could get baptized (but fully meaning to get it/or however stated) then I believe Christ will accept that.

      That is not the norm though and not an excuse for people to not get baptized.
  8. Theo Book
    Truly so! The second problem with Scriptural baptism seems to me, to be, too many folks think sprinkling water on an infants head is Baptism, or pouring water over a person at any age; but scripture tells us this is NOT so.

    And where does it tell us about pouring, and sprinkling, and Baptism (immersion?) - "And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and [1](epiceei) pour it into the palm of his own left hand: 16 And the priest shall [3](bapsei) dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall [2](r`anei) sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD; (Leviticus 14:15-16)

    We can see from the Greek, sprinkling (From Greek "rantizw") and Pouring (from the Greek "epixew") and dip (from the Greek "baptw" which as a perfect passive participle, is in the form
    [UBS] ba,ptw (perfect passive participal; bebammai) dip ( beba aimati covered with blood Re 19.13)

    Sprinkling and pouring, therefore, are NOT baptism.

    Thank you for your informative post.




    ba,yei verb indicative future active 3rd person singular
  9. hengesthorsa
    Interesting materials. Thanks for typing it up.