The subject of baptism is very important, highly debated and potentially divisive. The aim of this study is to be conciliatory, clear and, above all, true to the Scriptures. In the Bible and in our present religious world, there are many different "baptisms. The following lessons intend to present the baptism that the Bible refers to as "baptism into Christ".
1. What Blessings Does A Person Receive When He Is Baptized Biblically?
A person is saved when he
is scripturally baptized. There are several aspects or ways
of expressing this gift of salvation in the New
1. Salvation - Mark 16:15-16
"And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the
gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been
baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall
2. Forgiveness of sins - Acts 2:38
"And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the
3. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38
4. Sins washed away - Acts 22:16
"And now why do you delay? Arise and be baptized, and
wash away your sins, calling on His name."
5. Cleansing - Ephesians 5:25-27
"... Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by
the washing of water with the word, that He might present
to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or
wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and
6. Sanctification - Ephesians. 5:26 above
7. A good conscience - 1 Peter 3:21 "And
corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-not the
removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for
a good conscience-through the resurrection of Jesus
8. Puts off the body of sin - Col. 2:11, 12
"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; 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."
9. Raised with Christ - Col. 2:12 above
10. Born again - John 3:3-5
"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to
you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God.' Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be
born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his
mother's womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Truly,
truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'"
11. Baptized into the death of Christ - Romans
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been
baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized
into his death? Therefore we have been buried with Him
through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we
too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been
become united with Him in the likeness of His death,
certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His
resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified
with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin."
12. Become a child of God - Gal. 3:26, 27
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ
Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ."
13. Be clothed with Christ - Gal. 3:27 above
14. Enter into Christ - Gal. 3:27 and Romans 6:3
The phrase "in Christ" or "into Christ" is
very significant! When we enter into Christ, we then are
found "in Christ" and it is " in Christ" that
all spiritual blessings are given to us (Ephesians. 1:3,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the
heavenly places in Christ").
Romans. 3:24 - "being justified as a
gift by His grace through the redemption which is in
Romans. 6:11- "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to
sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Romans. 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the free
gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Romans. 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Romans. 12:5 - "So we, who are many, are one body in
Christ, and individually members one of one
2 Corinthians. 5:17 - "...Therefore if any man is in
Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed
away; behold, new things have come."
2 Corinthians. 5:21 - "He made Him who knew no sin to be
sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness
of God in Him."
Gal. 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor
female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians. 1:7 - "In Him we have redemption through
His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to
the riches of His grace."
Ephesians. 1:11 - "In Him also we have obtained an
Ephesians. 2:6 - "...and raised us up with Him, and seated
us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ
Ephesians. 2:7 - "...in order that in the ages to come He
might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness
toward us in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians. 2:13 - "but now in Christ Jesus you who
formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood
Ephesians. 3:6 - "...that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and
fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the
promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
Ephesians. 3:12 - "...in whom we have boldness and
confident access through faith in Him."
Phil. 3:9 - "...and may be found in Him, not having
a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that
which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which
comes from God on the basis of faith."
Col. 2:10 - "...and in Him you have been made
complete, and He is the head over all rule and
1 Thessalonians. 4:16 - "...For the Lord Himself will
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an
archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in
Christ will rise first."
2 Tim. 1:1 - "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will
of God, according to the promise of life in Christ
2 Tim 1:9 - "who has saved us and called us with a holy
calling, not according to our works, but according to His
own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ
Jesus from all eternity,"
2 Tim 2:10 - "For this reason I endure all things for the
sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the
salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal
1 John 3:5 - "And you know that He appeared in order to
take away sins; and in Him there is no sin."
1 John 5:11 - "And the witness is this, that God has given
us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
This question are often asked:"Do I have to be baptized in
order to be saved?" It might be easier to reply if we
"Do I have to be born of
the water and the Spirit in order to be saved?"
"Do I have to have my
sins washed away in order to be saved?"
"Do I have to be a child
of God in order to be saved?"
"Do I have to be in
Christ to be saved?"
The answer to all these
questions is the same – “yes!” - since it is
in Christ that all these blessings are bestowed
and we are “baptized into Christ”; that is, we come
into Christ in the act of being baptized. Baptism is
obviously necessary for a sinner to be saved! It is
good to remember that the act of baptism is not a work
whereby one earns salvation. Instead it is, as we will
see in the next section of this study, “an appeal to
God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of
1. Who are those that will be condemned?
No one as Jesus saves everybody
Those who disbelieve, do not obey, the Gospel
2. Who will not see the Kingdom of God?
Those who are not born again
3. The penitent believer who is baptized into Christ Jesus has been baptized into His death.
4. All in Christ have been blessed with all spiritual blessings
SHOULD A PERSON UNDERSTAND THAT HIS SINS ARE BEING FORGIVEN
WHEN HE IS BAPTIZED?
I believe the answer is yes, he does. These are the reasons
1. IN BAPTISM A SINNER CRIES OUT TO GOD TO SAVE
a. Acts 22: 16 - "And
now why do you delay? Arise and be baptized, and wash
away your sins, calling on His name." This passage
shows that we are baptized to have our sins washed away
and in that action of being baptized, we are calling on
the name of the Lord. To call on the name of
the Lord means to invoke Him to action.
baptism, what are we calling on the name of the Lord to
do? Answer: To save us! To wash away our
But what if we don't
feel the need to be saved, because we don't think Jesus
saves or we don't think we are lost or we don't really
know what we're doing or because we think we are
In this case, how could
we be calling on the Lord to save us in baptism? If we
didn't feel the need to be saved, we couldn't be
calling on the Lord to save us! True, scriptural,
baptism is an act in which we are asking the Lord to
save us from our sins!
This is not to say that
for a person's baptism to be valid, he must say aloud
words like: "Lord save me from my sins". Rather, it
means that we are being baptized for that
b. 1 Peter 3: 21 -
"Corresponding to that (eight souls saved by water in
Noah's ark), baptism now saves you - not the removal of
dirt from the flesh, but AN APPEAL TO GOD FOR A GOOD
CONSCIENCE - through the resurrection of Jesus
Baptism, according to
Peter, is not an outer cleansing of dirt from the
physical body. Rather, the baptism that saves us is an
"appeal to God for a good conscience". It is a prayer
(an appeal, a petition, a request) to God for Him to
cleanse our guilty soul of the guilt of sin. This is
the very same thought expressed in Acts 22:16
Notice how various
translators render this phrase in 1 Peter 3:21: "Baptism
an appeal to
God for a good conscience" NASB
an appeal to
God for a good conscience" RSV, NRSV
an appeal to
God for a good conscience," ESV
free from the sense of sin before God," Basic
for a clean conscience before God" Moffatt
an appeal to
God from [or for] a clean conscience." New Living
[the] demand as
before God of a good conscience."
of a good conscience after God"
the asking of
a good conscience in God," Wycliffe New
of a good conscience in regard to God" Young's
interrogation of a good conscience toward God"
with] the answer of a good and clear
conscience(inward cleanness and peace) before God"
for a pure heart" Easy To Read
making you free
from the sense of sin before God" Bible in Basic
unto God for a good conscience" Rotherhan
for a good conscience toward God" Montgomery
for a conscience right with God" Goodspeed
Some other translations or paraphrases render this phrase
The answer of
a good conscience toward God. NKJV,
(or response) of a good conscience toward God.
turning to God with a clear conscience.
Contemporary English Version
It means we are
saved from the punishment of sin and go to God in
prayer with a heart that says we are right. New Life
In the New International
Version it is "the pledge of a good conscience toward God,"
as if it were because we are already saved and having a
good conscience, instead of being "for" or "unto" remission
of sins in order to have a good
But it is rendered by
most other translations as an appeal to God for "cleansing"
in order to "have ... no more consciousness of sins"
(Hebrews 10:2), in accord with Acts 2:38, which speaks of
it as "for the remission of sins." This would make baptism
an overt prayer for pardon, without which surely baptism
itself would be of no avail.
This seems to not be the
easiest phrase to translate. Beasley-Murray makes this
comment: "...the disputed phrase can be rendered either as
a 'prayer to God for a good conscience' or a 'pledge to God
to maintain a good conscience.' "
On the first interpretation baptism is
declared to be an appeal to God on the part of the
baptized, which appeal is answered through the saving act
of the risen Christ; this personal dealing between the
believer and His Lord makes [baptism] what it is."
THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF
THE NEW TESTAMENT (edited by Kittel in Germany, 1935;
translated by Bromily in America, 1964): "Prayer to God for
a good conscience" (Vol. II, p.688), with the following
"In view of v.21 we
should expect alla to be followed by a cleansing in the
spiritual sense. Thus the request for a good conscience
is to be construed as a prayer for the remission of
sins. ... Remission of sins is closely related to
baptism from the very outset (Mk.1:4 and par.; Acts
2:38.) This makes a number of other passages fall
beautifully into place. For one thing, a "good
conscience" (Acts 23:1) is a "conscience void of
offence toward God and men" Acts 24:16). For another
thing, it harmonizes with what Ananias, sent by the
Lord to the believing and penitent Saul of Tarsus, told
him yet to do: "arise, and be baptized, and wash away
thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16,
King James Version; or "calling on his name," American
It is said: "For there is
no distinction between the Jew and the Greek: for the same
Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon
him: for, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved" (Romans 10:12-13). "Calling upon the name
of the Lord" or "calling upon him" or praying to him as
Stephen did while being stoned, was "calling upon the Lord,
saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts
Saul of Tarsus was to "be
baptized," "calling upon the name of the Lord," in order to
have his "sins washed away" and thus have a "good
conscience toward God." His baptism itself, being "for" or
"unto the remission of sins," was an overt request for
pardon in order to have a "good conscience."
The Greek word under
consideration in 1 Peter 3:21 is the noun eperotema,
the verb form of which is eperotao, meaning to ask;
also, according to Thayer, "by a usage foreign to the
Greeks, to address one with a request or demand; to ask of
or demand of one", citing Matthew 16:1. Arndt & Gingrich
likewise cite Matthew 16:1 as an example of meaning to ask
someone for something." Kittel-Bromily trace
the change of the word's meaning to include (in koine Greek
of New Testament times) the last mentioned sense, which was
taking place at the time of the LXX (about 250 B.C.)
& Gingrich define eperotema as: "1. question; 2.
request, appeal, and cite as an example 'an appeal to God
for a clear conscience 1 Peter 2:21', in harmony with the
goodly number of versions cited above, and
Even many scholars who do
not wish to concede baptism as being "for," or "unto
remission of sins," acknowledge that "answer" is not a
satisfactory rendering the Greek verb. But, if not, then
the above must be its most likely meaning. It is to me the
most satisfactory from every significant
"appeal" as used by the NASB, RSV, and others seems to make
more sense, meaning that we ask God for a good conscience
in the act of baptism. This appears obvious when we read
"baptism now saves us." There is no way for sinners to have
a good conscience before being saved. That is what it
really means to be saved - to be forgiven of our sins. We
are not saved when we "pledge to God to maintain a good
conscience." That would more closely define repentance. On
the other hand, when we, in baptism, appeal to God to
cleanse our conscience, he does just that - He saves
It is not the sinner saying "I promise to never sin again!"
that saves him. Rather it is the sinner crying out in the
act of baptism "Lord, please, save me!" that saves him.
That is the meaning of baptism.
That "appeal" is the better translation and is re-enforced
by comparing Hebrews 9:13, 14; Romans 6:3-6; Acts 22:16 and
1 Peter 3:21.
14 "For if the blood of goats and bulls and the
ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled,
sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will
the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?"
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized
into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his
"Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling
on His name."
1 Peter 3:
21 "… baptism now saves you - not the removal of
dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good
conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
From these we see that our conscience is cleansed by the
blood of Christ, in baptism we contact his blood (death)
and in baptism we call on the Lord to save us. These three
statements fit together perfectly. Salvation is given to us
in baptism because it is in baptism that we are appealing
(imploring, asking) God to cleanse our conscience by the
blood of Christ.
If the person being baptized is unaware of or unbelieving
in the truth that God is forgiving his sins (washing away
his sins, remitting his sins, cleansing his conscience) in
his baptism, then certainly he could not be asking for or
appealing for forgiveness of his sins. Such lack of
understanding makes his baptism not the baptism referred to
in 1 Peter 3:21, which baptism "saves" him.
The conclusion is: Salvation (forgiveness of sins), which
comes from being united with God in Christ, is given when
our trusting hearts appeal to God for a good conscience. We
do this when we are baptized. Baptism is faith crying out
to God to save, based on the death of Christ on the cross.
Baptism is the biblical "sinner's prayer", not necessaryly
spoken but understood and acted out.
c. Colossians 2:12 - "… 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." The
raising to a new life happens in, through or by means of
(Greek "dia") our faith in God's operation or
working. We, in effect, are trusting in God to save us in
that act of baptism. Note that in baptism it is faith in
God's working. Baptism is God's work, not ours. When we are
baptized, we believe (trust) that God is working. It is
through our faith in His working that He works! For our
baptism to be effective we must believe that God is working
to raise us to a new life (save us). Again, that's what
baptism is: crying out to God to
save us and trusting that He will, based on the
cleansing power of Christ's blood.
WORD STUDY: CALL ON THE
NAME OF THE LORD
TO CALL ON THE NAME OF
THE LORD means to invoke Him to action. Read each verse in
its own context and you will notice how calling on the name
of the Lord means to call out to God to save, help, bless,
protect, act, etc.
1Kings 18:24 Then you
call on the name of your god, and I will call on the
name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire-he is
God. Then all the people said, "What you say is
2Kings 5:11 But Naaman went
away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely
come out to me and stand and call on the name of the
LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me
of my leprosy.
Psalm 105:1 Oh, give
thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His
deeds among the peoples.
Psalm 116:3, 4 The cords
of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came
over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I
called on the name of the LORD: "LORD, save me!"
Psalm 116:13 I will lift
up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the
Psalm 116:17 I will
sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name
of the LORD.
name of the LORD, the
Isaiah 12:4 And in that
day you will say, 'give thanks to the Lord, call on His
name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them
remember that His name is exalted.
Isaiah 64:7 And there is
no one who calls on Thy name, who arouses himself to
take hold of Thee; for thou hast hidden Thy face from
us, and hast delivered us into the power of our
Lamentations 3:55 I
called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the
Joel 2:32 And everyone
who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on
Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the
Zephaniah 3:9 Then I
will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them
may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder
Zechariah 13:9 And I
will bring the third part through the fire, refine them
as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I
will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The
LORD is my God.'
Acts 2:21 And everyone
who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 9:14 - And here he
has authority from the chief priests to bind all who
call on Thy name.
Acts 9:21 - "...Is this
not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on
this name, and who had come here for the purpose of
bringing them bound before the chief priests?"
Acts 22:16 And now why
are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away
your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Romans 10:13 for,
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the
church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ
Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with
all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ-their Lord and ours.
1. Through the act of baptism one realizes he is a sinful man, recognizes Jesus is Lord and savior and pleads to God to wash away his sin by the blood of Christ.
2. Baptism only washes away the dirt from the body
3. Baptism is just a tradition as one is saved when they believe Jesus is the Christ
4. One's conscience is cleansed when God answers their appeal for forgiveness through their act of baptism.
5. Salvation comes from being united with God in Christ.
6. To call on the name of the Lord means to invoke Him to some type of action.
DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION
The doctrine of justification by faith demands that a
person understand and believe that his sins are being
forgiven when he is baptized. It is important, therefore,
for us to know what justification means.
To help us understand this word, think about the
super-religious, do-gooder, self-righteous hypocrite,
pillar of the church and the dirty, rotten, no-good,
traitorous, wicked, extortioner, sinner at his side:
"And He also told this
parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that
they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a
Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee
stood and was praying thus to himself, "God, I thank
Thee that I am not like other people; swindlers,
unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I
fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get." But
the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even
unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was
beating his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me,
the sinner!" 'I tell you, this man went down to his
house justified rather than the other; for everyone who
exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles
himself shall be exalted.'" (Luke 18:9-14)
a. WHAT DOES IT MEAN
TO BE JUSTIFIED? WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION?
Justification is a
Justification, defined in Young's Analytical Concordance,
means "A judicial sentence, declaration of right, to make
or declare right." Vine's Dictionary of New
Testament Words says that justify "denotes the act
of pronouncing righteous, justification, acquittal."
The person who is justified is declared or pronounced to
(The same Greek word translated "just" 33 times in the New
Testament is translated "righteous" 41 times). Declaring a
person justified is the same thing as pronouncing a man
Perhaps knowing that "just" and "righteous" are two ways
to translate the very same Greek word will help us
understand that to be justified does not mean to be
made "just-as-if-I" had never sinned. Just having no sin
does not make us acceptable in God's eyes. We must have our
sins "subtracted" and also Christ's righteousness "added".
Justification is when the criminal is not only declared
innocent of the crimes he committed but also declared to be
a righteous person.
There is a difference between "being righteous" and
"being declared righteous". We are declared to be
righteous the moment we are saved. We spend our lives
becoming righteous as we grow spiritually into the image of
Christ. Justification is exclusively a work of God in which
He imputes to us the righteousness of Christ There are two
kinds of righteousness: imputed (attributed, ascribed or
reckoned) righteousness and earned righteousness. Consider
Philippians 3:3-9: "for we are the true circumcision, who
worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and
put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might
have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a
mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the
tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a
Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the
righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But
whatever things were gain to me, those things I have
counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I
count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered
the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that
I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a
righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that
which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which
comes from God on the basis of faith, (This is imputed
b. WE ARE JUSTIFIED (SAVED, COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUS) BY
"For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart
from works of the Law." (Romans 3:28)
"knowing that a man is not justified by the works of Law
but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in
Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ,
and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the
Law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
"Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is
evident for, 'THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH'"
"For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient,
deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending
our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for
mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds
which we have done in righteousness, but according to His
mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the
Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through
Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace
we might be made heirs according to the
hope of eternal
life." (Titus 3:3-7)
"But God, being rich
in mercy, because of His great love with which He
loved us, even when we were dead in our
transgressions, made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved), and raised us up
with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly
places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages
to come He might show the surpassing riches of His
grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by
grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a
result of works, that no one should boast. For we
are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for
good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we
should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:4-10)
c. SOME CONCLUSIONS BASED ON THESE
God's motive for
saving us is His mercy, kindness, love and
Our actions did
not move God to grace. God's grace moved us to
take a step toward Him.
sinners who do not deserve to be saved. Grace
is unmerited and unearned favor.
We are saved by
grace through faith.
Salvation is by
Christ's meritorious work, not ours.
Wrath was owed
but grace was bestowed.
We do not save
ourselves from our sins, rather God saves
Salvation is a
gift from God.
(obedient) faith is the means by which we
receive God's grace.
is required for salvation. To be saved we must
trust in Jesus as our sin sacrifice.
righteous deeds are excluded as the means to
obedience merited the salvation that is given
We are not saved
because we are good enough but on the merits of
trusts in and depends upon God's saving work in
now saves us (1 Peter 3:21), to be effective, must
be classified as faith. It must be an expression of
our faith in Christ as our sin - sacrifice!
Otherwise, being saved by baptism would mean that
we are justified by works of law and not by
1. God declares a person righteous following their resurrection from the cleansing waters of baptism that leads to eternal life
2. Man earns righteousness by doing good things for others.
3. Being righteous and being declared righteous are the same.
4. Man is justified
on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,
according to God's mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
5. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works.
3. BAPTISM AND JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
"Baptized into Christ" must be considered as faith
and not be understood as some arbitrary command of
God to test our willingness to obey Him. Only when
baptism is understood to be faith can it agree with
Paul's purpose of proving that justification is by
faith in Christ. Specifically, baptism needs to be
seen as having the meaning of trust in Christ as
a. Paul wrote Galatians to prove that we are
sons of God through faith in Christ and not by
law - contrary to the legalists who advocated
justification by law keeping. Notice how he so
strongly emphasized this truth:
"nevertheless knowing that a man is not
justified by the works of the Law but through
faith in Christ Jesus, even we have
believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be
justified by faith in Christ and not by the
works of the Law; since by the works of the
Law shall no flesh justified."
"I do not
nullify the grace of God, for if
righteousness comes through law, then
Christ died needlessly." (Galatians
"Even so Abraham
believed God and it was reckoned to him as
righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is
those who are of faith who are sons of
Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that
God would justify the Gentiles by faith,
preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham,
saying, 'all the nations shall be blessed in
you.'So, then those who are of faith are
blessed with Abraham, the believer."(Galatians
"For you are all
sons of God through faith in Christ
For all of you
who were baptized into Christ have clothed
yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew
nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man,
there is neither male nor female; for you are
all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to
Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs
according to promise." (Galatians
Galatians 3:27 was not given as a treatise on
He was discussing justification by faith. The only
way we can understand his meaning in verse 27 is
within the context in which it was written. Why did
Paul mention baptism? How does it fit into his main
theme (Gal. 2:16)? It is in the context of
justification by faith in Christ that the apostle
wrote: "For all of you who were baptized into
Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ"
(3:27). But this statement is preceded by "For
you are all sons of God through faith in Christ
Jesus" (verse 26). If the meaning of baptism
were not classified as faith in Christ, it would be
irrelevant to Paul's argument. If verse 27 is not
to be equated with verse 26 then Paul's reference
to baptism is both irrelevant and confusing because
then he would be introducing a condition of
justification in addition to the principle of
faith. But, the apostle in verse 27 is still
teaching justification by faith in Christ as
opposed to salvation by law keeping.
So what does baptism mean? It means more than
simply immersion in water. It means faith in
Christ. It is not just that baptism is to be
preceded by belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
Baptism is faith in Jesus who offered himself as
the sacrifice for our sins.
If baptism were only a command of God chosen to
test our willingness to obey, and not seen as trust
in Christ as savior; if it were to be submitted to
just because Jesus commanded it, that would be
legalism (making baptism a work of righteousness we
do). But, when we see baptism to be the God
ordained embodiment of faith by which we are united
with Christ, then it becomes consistent with
Galatians' theme of justification by faith.
If the so-called "plan of salvation" means a set of
arbitrary commands given by one in authority, and
the one who obeys it is rewarded with salvation,
then those commands become pure legalism.
c. Baptism must not be separated from faith in
Christ to save us.
To make it a command or ordinance based solely upon
the authority of Christ to test man's willingness
to obey him is a return to legalism. Baptism
considered as the embodiment of faith in Christ as
our sin offering does not constitute a work of
legalism. The only way to properly defend baptism
as a prerequisite to salvation is to understand it
as faith; that is, reliance upon Christ as sin
One being baptized should have his eyes on the
cross, not merely on the act of being immersed in
water. We have to be very careful to not transmit
the idea that faith leads to repentance and
repentance leads to baptism and that baptism as an
act of obedience is separate and apart from faith.
That thinking would be legalism.
d. In baptism we are clothed with
"In Christ" and "into Christ" signify union with
Christ. To try to be justified by law (by merit or
by doing righteous deeds) is to be "severed from
Christ" (Galatians 5:4), but to be justified by
faith (embodied in baptism) means union with
Christ. This is the apostle's argument in Galatians
3:26, 27. Baptism can't be understood apart from
faith in Christ as sin offering. Simply to quote
Galatians 3:27 to prove the necessity of baptism is
to fail to consider it in its proper context.
Galatians 3:26, 27 shows baptism to be faith
embodied, expressed or pictured. Through our faith
in Christ as the sacrifice for our sins, baptism
results in us coming into Christ and being clothed
with Christ. Clothed with Christ, covered by
Christ's righteousness and not our own, entering
into Christ, coming into a saving relationship with
Christ - all this happens by or through our faith
in him when we are baptized.
Being baptized just to obey some command of God and
not for the purpose of receiving forgiveness and
thus salvation through the meritorious death of
Christ on the cross turns baptism into a work and
therefore a form of legalism. We are not saved by
any of our own works of righteousness but by faith
The Lord gave many commands. For example, "give to
him who asks you and do not turn away he who would
borrow from you". This is a command. To think that
by obeying this command one may unknowingly be
saved, would negate Ephesians. 2:8-9: "For by grace
you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result
of works, so that no one may boast." It would also
negate Titus 3:5: "He saved us, not on the basis of
deeds which we have done in righteousness, but
according to His mercy by the washing of
regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." This
would be obedience to a command but not directly
connected to faith in Christ to save nor the death,
burial and resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The
latter is the baptism the N.T. writers said was
necessary to be saved.
1. Baptism is an arbitrary command of God to test our willingness to obey Him
2. Man is justified thereby saved by his works that please God
3. Baptism is an act of faith in Jesus who offered himself as the sacrifice that cleanses sins from man.
4. Baptism is an act of obedience and is separate and apart from faith.
5. Through our faith and trust in Christ as the sacrifice for our sins, baptism results in
being clothed with Christ.
being covered by Christ's righteousness and not our own
entering into Christ
coming into a saving relationship with Christ
all the above.
4. SOME OTHER BIBLE STUDENTS AND CHURCHES DO NOT
AGREE WITH ALL OF THE CONCLUSIONS ABOVE
Following are excerpts of some quotations by
various people or groups. As you read them, try to
identify the statements that would disagree with
the conclusions given above. (Note: What these
sources teach may or may not reflect what the group
they are associated with teaches.)
Baptist Church - Needville, Texas
Should I Be Baptized? (a) To follow the example set
by Christ. (b) Because Christ commanded it. (c) It
demonstrates that I really am a Believer. 'We know
that we have come to know Him, if we obey His
commands,' (1 John 2:3)
What Is The
Meaning Of Baptism? a. It illustrates Christ's
death, burial, and resurrection. b. It illustrates
my new life as a Christian.
"Baptism doesn't make you a
Christian. Only your faith in Christ does that.
Like a wedding ring - it's the outward sign of the
commitment you have made in your heart (see
"UMC.org is the official online ministry of The
United Methodist Church
does The United Methodist Church believe about
"Baptism is a sacrament.
In a sacrament, God uses common elements - in this
case, water - as means or vehicles of divine grace.
. Baptism is administered by the church as the Body
of Christ. It is the act of God through the grace
of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy
"Does baptism mean that I am saved? No, salvation
is a lifelong process during which we must continue
to respond to God's grace. Baptism offers the
promise that the Holy Spirit will always be working
in our lives, but salvation requires our acceptance
of that grace, trust in Christ, and ongoing growth
in holiness as long as we live."
"Do I have to be baptized in order to be saved? No,
but baptism is a gift of God's grace to be received
as part of the journey of salvation. To refuse to
accept baptism is to reject one of the means of
grace that God offers us."
d. Oak Hills
Church of Christ, San Antonio, TX, "A Teaching
Paper on Baptism
The Demonstration of
"Christians participate in two
God ordained sacraments that celebrate what God has
done for us: communion and baptism. Communion is
celebrated on a regular basis and baptism as a one
- time declaration of a lifetime of devotion to
God. As a stone has many facets, baptism has many
sides: cleansing, burial, resurrection, the death
of the old, and the birth of the new. Once a person
admits his sin and turns to Christ for salvation,
some step must be taken to proclaim to heaven and
earth that he is a follower of Christ. Baptism is
that step. Baptism is the initial and immediate
step of obedience by one who has declared his faith
to others. Any step taken is a response to
salvation offered, not an effort at salvation
"A helpful verse to understanding baptism is 1
Peter 3:21."And that water is like the baptism
which now saves you not the washing of dirt from
the body, but the promise made to God from a good
conscience. And this is because Jesus Christ was
raised from the dead," Jesus commanded all his
followers to prove it, to make the pledge, by
public demonstration in baptism. Baptism was, and
is "a pledge made to God from a good conscience" (1
Peter 3:21, TJB)."
"Indeed, baptism is a vow, a sacred vow of the
believer to follow Christ. Just as a wedding
celebrates the fusion of two hearts, baptism
celebrates the union of sinner with Savior. We
"became part of Christ when we were baptized"
(Romans. 6:3). Please understand, it is not the act
that saves us. But it is the act that symbolizes
how we are saved! Baptism effectively seals our
salvation, uniting us to him and his body. Christ's
death becomes my death. Christ's resurrection
becomes my resurrection. If your faith is in the
sacrament and not the Savior, you are trusting a
"Baptism is the
initial test of the believing heart. If one won't
obey Christ in baptism, what will they do when he
calls them to obey him in prayer? Or evangelism? Or
service? The highest motive for doing anything is
because God asks you to do it. The heart of the
saved says, "If you want me to be baptized in a
pile of leaves, I'll do it. I may not understand
every reason, but neither do I understand how you
could save a sinner like me." If one is resistant
on the first command, one might wonder if there has
been a true conversion
"Apart from the
cross it has no significance. If you are trusting a
dunk in the water to save you, you have missed the
message of grace. This is no optional command. This
is no trivial issue. It is a willing plunge into
the power and promise of Christ. Baptism is the
first step of a believer. If it was important
enough for Jesus to command, isn't it important
enough for you to obey? And if it was important
enough for Jesus to do, isn't it important enough
for you to follow? In baptism God signs and seals
our conversion to him."
AND ANSWERS, LIPSCOMB, DAVID, Gospel Advocate
"The first design
of baptism is to put a man into Christ. If it is
necessary that the design, objects, results of
baptism shall be known in order to the validity of
baptism, the administrator, in asking the question,
"Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God?" ought to add, "and that baptism puts you into
Christ," "and that baptism is for the remission of
sins," and, as we are baptized for the dead, he
ought also to add, "and that you are baptized for
the dead?" The whole catalogue of results and
fruits must be asked, because baptism is either
acceptable to God or it is a sin in his
"If it is a sin to be baptized
without understanding when one of the blessings
promised is received, it is a sin to be baptized
without knowing when any other of them is."
"The father frequently has an end in view in
requiring a child to perform a certain act that is
not even told the child. The command tests the
willingness to obey. God blesses because we are
willing to obey, not because we see virtue in the
act. Baptism was clearly required as a test of our
willingness to obey God; but as our willingness to
obey arises from our faith in God, baptism is a
test to our faith in God."
"God had the design of bringing men into Christ by
baptism, and in Christ is found all the blessings
that God bestows on his obedient children. The
chief leading cause on man's part should be to obey
God. When he submits to it in obedience to God, he
has done all God requires. To repeat the act when
it has been done in obedience to God is to mock
God's appointments; to mock his appointments is to
trifle with God. ... If he is baptized from any
other motive than the desire to obey God, his
baptism is worth nothing."
"The purification of the heart, like most works of
God, is progressive. ... Peter (Acts 15: 9) says
that God purified the hearts of the Gentiles by
faith as he had those of the Jews. But this does
not declare the heart is made pure by the simple
act of believing. Faith saves us in heaven, but
only by leading us into the life that fits us for
heaven, and so secures our salvation. Peter,
writing to Christians, said: "Seeing ye have
purified your souls in obeying the truth." (1 Pet.
1: 22.) This would indicate that the obedience to
the truth, which is the obedience to which faith
leads, purifies the soul. "And every man that hath
this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is
pure." (1 John 3: 3.) This was addressed to
Allen, Jimmy, Howard Publishing Co., 3117 N
7th, West Monroe, LA 71291, 1991, pp. 39,
my belief that the New Testament teaches when a
penitent believer in the crucified and risen Savior
is immersed in water to fulfill righteousness or
obey God, the Lord forgives his past or alien sins
(although he may not know that sins are
person may have been ignorant of remission, his
baptism must be regarded as scriptural. Hence,
the concept that one must grasp the exact
significance of "remission of sins at the time
of baptism is incorrect."
PREREQUISITES THAT MUST BE MET IN ORDER FOR SOMEONE TO BE
Yes, there are
prerequisites for baptism. This is obvious from the account
of Philip and the Ethiopian treasurer in Acts 8. After
being taught Jesus, beginning from Isaiah 53, the eunuch
asked, "Look, here is water, why can't I be baptized?"
Philip's answer showed a prerequisite: "If you believe with
all your heart, you may." It is logical that if he did not
believe, he could not be baptized.
recorded in Matthew 28:19 also makes it obvious that there
are prerequisites for baptism: "Go and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit". Who are we to baptize? We are to
only baptize disciples - those people who decide to follow
Jesus and learn from Him. Those who do not decide to follow
Jesus (repent) are not to be
The simplest and most
concise way to express the prerequisites for baptism might
be simply that we must believe and repent in order to
baptized; that is, if we understand what these mean.
However, in that simplicity, it may be easy to get the cart
before the horse and in doing so we could ignore (or fail
to emphasize) the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is an important, even essential, connection between
the Cross of Christ, faith (as trust and belief),
repentance, discipleship, the Lordship of Jesus, baptism
and redemption. Consider the
ORDER TO BE BAPTIZED, ONE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT HE IS A
SINNER WHO NEEDS A SAVIOR.
1 Timothy 1:15 "It is a
trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among
whom I am foremost of all."
Many people do not feel
the need for a savior because they do not feel lost.
Whether it comes through hearing a moving sermon; maybe a
friend who shares with you the truth; maybe by reading a
tract; whichever, in some way one must come to understood
that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
(Romans 3:23). As the
prophet Isaiah had said, long ago: our sins have hidden
God's face from us so that He will not hear." (Isaiah
59:2). Our own sin separates us from God! "The wages of sin
is death" we read in Romans 6:23. This is a spiritual
death, which is a separation from God for those who are
"But what about my good
works?" someone may say. The answer returns: "For by grace
you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest
anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9). "But my sins are
small" others say, but "For whoever shall keep the whole
law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all"
(James 2:10). Human pride and self-sufficiency are the
greatest barriers against salvation. He who refuses to
admit that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness is lost
and cannot be baptized in order to be saved. Sinners need
ORDER TO BE BAPTIZED, ONE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT JESUS IS THE
ONLY HOPE OF SALVATION.
There is no other way. By
his death on the cross, Jesus is able to save, set free,
and ransom sinners. In John 14:6, Jesus declared: says, "I
am the way, the truth, and the life: No man comes to the
Father except through Me." The only way we can get to God
is through Christ. We also read in Acts 4:12, "Nor is there
salvation in any other, for there is no other name under
heaven given among men by which we must be saved." We
cannot be saved by relying on Mohammed, Buddha, Judaism,
Hindu gods or any other religion. Neither can we devise our
own system of "Christianity" as is being done today and
expect it to save us. Only Jesus Christ can specify the
conditions for our salvation because He paid our price and
is our only savior. There is no other way. What Jesus did
for sinners was necessary to bring divine mercy to
WHAT WAS IT, THEN, THAT JESUS DID TO SAVE
a. Jesus became a
man. Before Jesus came, He was God (John 1:1) and was
on equality with God (Phil. 2: 6). But man's Savior
must be human as well as divine; otherwise he could not
bear man's sins. He emptied himself … coming in the
likeness of men." (Phil. 2:7).
b. Christ became our
sin bearer. "But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that
brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are
healed ... and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of
us all" (Isaiah. 53:5, 6). "He made Him who knew no sin
to be sin for us." (II Cor. 5:21). "Who Himself bore
our sins in His own body on the tree" (1Pet. 2:24).
None other could be man's sin bearer.
c. Christ became our
sin offering. "God presented him as a sacrifice of
atonement, through faith in his blood" (Rom. 3:25).
"Christ died for our sins" (I Cor. 15:3). "Who gave
himself for our sins" (Galatians. 1:4). d. He was
raised for us. "But now hath Christ been raised from
the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep. For
since by man came, death by man (Christ in the flesh)
came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (I
Cor. 15. 20-22). "He was "raised for our
justification." (Rom. 4: 25)
e. He is at the
right hand of God interceding for us. "Therefore he is
able to save completely those who come to God through
him, because he always lives to intercede for them"
(Hebrews 7:25). "We have one who speaks to the Father
in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One" (1 John
2:1). "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 (Romans 8:24).
f. Christ did many
other things for the benefit of man, but it was by
means of his death that he redeemed us. For example, he
left us the incomparable Sermon on the Mount, but this
teaching is not redemptive. The gospel that saves is
the good news of Christ's death for our sins (I Cor.
15:3, 4). The source of our salvation is the blood of
g. What Jesus did
for us is called "the gospel", meaning "good news!" In
Mark 16:15, 16 Jesus said "go and preach the gospel to
every creature. He who believes [this gospel] and is
baptized will be saved but he who does not believe
[this gospel] will be condemned" We must believe this
gospel and be baptized to be saved. If we do not
believe [this] gospel we will not want to nor can be
WHAT A LOST PERSON MUST DO TO BE SAVED RELATES TO WHAT
JESUS DID TO SAVE HIM.
The conditions of
salvation are not merely acts commanded by one in authority
that become the ground of our redemption. "Christ
crucified" is himself the Savior. "He offered himself."
(Hebrews 7:27). "He gave himself" (Galatians1:4). The idea
that conditions have been arbitrarily chosen ignores the
cross. Nothing nullifies the cross more than to preach the
conditions of salvation without relating them to the
atoning work of the Savior.
What Jesus did to save us
determines, therefore, what we must do to be saved. Nothing
that is required of sinners can possibly be for the
remission of sins unless it relates to the blood of Christ.
Faith, for example, possesses no redemptive power; but the
blood of Christ is redemptive. So faith is a condition of
salvation because it means trust in, or reliance upon the
blood of Christ. (See John 3:16 and Romans
IS REQUIRED THAT ONE BELIEVE IN THE CRUCIFIED SON OF
John 3:16 teaches this.
"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son
that whosoever believes on him shall be saved." It was his
Son that God gave. But the Son must be lifted up on the
cross. The Son died for our sins. Hence, it is not enough
merely to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The sinner
must also believe in the Son crucified for his sins. The
faith that saves must be in the Son who died to save. "Whom
God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his
blood" (Romans 3:25). Christ is our propitiation because he
shed his blood (His sacrifice) for us and we respond to him
through faith. We must have faith in his blood (trust in
his blood) or faith in him who shed his
But what is it to believe
in Christ crucified? It is the belief that he died for our
sins and as well as trust or reliance upon him as our sin
offering. Jesus died to redeem man so one must depend upon
or trust in his death for salvation. This dependence on
Christ crucified is faith. This faith is more than
confidence in the integrity of Jesus to fulfill his promise
to save upon certain conditions. The conditions themselves
mean trust in his death for salvation. Faith looks to the
cross, to the blood. Jesus did not die merely to induce one
to recognize him as Lord or king, that is, as one having
the right to rule over us. He died to save sinners. Hence,
faith that saves must mean dependence upon his blood.
Without trust in the blood as an element of faith there is
no satisfactory response to Christ as a sin offering. Faith
that saves must have Jesus Christ and him crucified" as its
object. This faith looks to the cross. Any other notion of
faith removes Jesus from the cross and makes him no more
than a teacher or lawgiver. Jesus is Savior. One does not
rely, therefore, on the conditions, but upon
ONE MUST REPENT OF HIS SINS IN ORDER TO BE BAPTIZED AND,
Jesus says in Luke 13:3,
"... unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." It
is either repent or perish; the choice is ours. Acts 17:30
says, "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but
now commands all men everywhere to repent." All people
everywhere are commanded of God to repent. Repent of what?
Repent of our sins. Repent of not fully serving and
following all that God says. God is pleading with us to
repent. He greatly desires that we turn to him. He tells us
in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His
promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering
toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all
should come to repentance." God wants us to repent so we
can be saved.
Repentance is not just
being sorry. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "For Godly sorrow
produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be
regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
Repentance is a change of heart and a change of mind. We
must make up our mind to stop living life our way and start
living it God's way. It is making up our minds that we are
going to serve God with all our might and do
Romans 2:4 says, "The
goodness of God leads you to repentance." God has been so
good to us, and this should cause us to want to please Him
in every way. God, because of His love for us, has done so
much for us, and because of this we read in I John 4:19,
"We love Him, because He first loved us." This should cause
us to want to repent and do all the things that He has
asked us to do, otherwise we do not love God. Jesus said in
John 14:24, "He who does not love Me does not keep my
REPENT IS BASICALLY SYNONYMOUS WITH BECOMING A DISCIPLE AS
WELL AS CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST AS LORD.
We not only confess that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, as Peter
did in Matthew 16:18; we also confess Him as our Lord. "...
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..." Romans 10:9. We name Him as our leader,
owner, ruler, chief, boss, the one who has total authority
over our lives. Someday everyone will make this confession
(" …that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under
the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:10-11) but for some it will be too
Since baptism is the
embodiment of faith and a sinner's appeal to God for
forgiveness, it is obvious that without faith in Christ as
one's sacrifice and without surrounding to Jesus as Lord.
There can be no baptism, and thus no
WHAT MUST ONE DO TO BE SAVED?
Repentance is "in the
name of Jesus Christ." Jesus as the Christ is man's sin
offering. Hence, repentance must be "in the name of" the
crucified Christ. The phrase "in the name of Jesus Christ"
signifies not only the authority of Jesus, but reliance
upon him as sin offering. Hence, repentance is not merely
turning away from sin, but it is related to turning to
Jesus as sin offering. Such repentance is inseparable from
faith that means trust in Jesus Christ. Peter spent much
time on Pentecost leading his hearers to repentance. But it
was not a mere turning from sin that he sought, but such a
turning from sin as would lead to a full acceptance of the
Lord and Savior. The rejection of Christ through unbelief
was also a sin that called for repentance. When one repents
of the rejection of Jesus as Savior he accepts him as the
Savior. Faith, therefore, must be accompanied by
repentance, and repentance must be associated with trust
before one has responded to Christ as his sin
IS REQUIRED THAT PENITENT BELIEVERS BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME
OF JESUS CHRIST" (ACTS 2:38).
The relation of baptism
to faith in the scriptures is easily revealed as the
expression or the embodiment of faith. What is signified by
trust in Christ crucified is outwardly expressed or
embodied by baptism which is a burial in and a resurrection
from the water "in the name of Jesus Christ." Baptism,
therefore, signifies trust in Christ. It is not something
different from faith added to faith and repentance, but an
expression of both. Hence, Peter commanded his hearers to
repent and be baptized.....in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Baptism, like faith,
looks to Calvary, to Christ as sin offering. It has,
therefore, the meaning of faith. God has joined baptism to
faith and repentance, and he expects every one of us "to be
baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts
The conditions of
salvation are responses to Christ as sin offering. They are
meaningless, therefore, apart from the cross. It is
senseless and pointless to reach the conditions without
first having reached Jesus as a sin offering. The
conditions are not a few commands arbitrarily given by one
in authority to test man's willingness to obey, but natural
responses to one who is man's sin offering. He must make
Christ crucified his plea before God and expect salvation
because of Jesus' death on man's behalf. The sinner is
being called, not merely to confess Jesus as his Lord but
1. Whoever is committed to the only begotten son shall be saved because he desires to please God by doing His will.
2. To believe in the crucified Christ is to
believe Christ died as our sin sacrifice
put trust and reliance upon Him as sin offering
A and B
3. Why is it necessary for a person to repent
It is not necessary
To obey a command
Repenting is an act of change in attitude and life and may include a verbal statement of such action.
4. Expressing one's belief that Jesus is Lord and Savior is totally unnecessary.
5. Is there any benefit in appealing to God for forgiveness if you do not have faith that he can or is unwilling to put your trust in Him?
I believe that babies should not and
cannot be baptized and here are the reasons why
1. INFANT BAPTISM IS UNBIBLICAL
a. Since baptism is the embodiment of faith and a sinner's
appeal to God for forgiveness, it is obvious that without
faith in Christ as one's sin sacrifice, there can be no
Acts 22:16 - An
infant is incapable of calling on the name of the
1 Peter 3:21 - An
infant is incapable of appealing to God for a good
Col. 2:12 - An
infant is incapable of having faith in the working of
b. The scriptures
describe those who are to be baptized and the description
excludes infants. Matthew 28:19 - "make disciples of all
the nations, baptizing them (Those who became
Mark 16:16 - "He who
has believed and has been baptized shall be
Acts 2:41 - "Then
those who had received his word were
Acts 8:12 - "...when
they believed ... they were baptized, men and women
Acts 8:36-37 - "What
prevents me from being baptized?" "...if you believe
with all your heart, you may."
c. Simply stated, it
was not practiced in the New Testament. The earliest
historical references to infant baptism came 150 years
(Origen) to 200 years (Irenaeus) after Pentecost. This
prolonged silence makes it obvious that infant baptism was
an innovation to what the apostolic church practiced. Even
those who defend the practice of infant baptism have to
admit this is so. Consider, for example, L. Berkhof in his
Systematic Theology under the heading, "the Scriptural
basis for infant baptism." He writes: "It may be said at
the outset that there is no explicit command in the Bible
to baptize children, and that there is not a single
instance in which we are plainly told that children were
baptized. But this does not necessarily make infant baptism
unbiblical" (p. 632).
2. SOME ARGUMENTS GIVEN BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN INFANT BAPTISM
Martin Luther in his "Large Catechism Part Fourth:
"That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost; and that there are yet many even today in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Ghost both because of their doctrine and life ... This is indeed the best and strongest proof for the simple-minded and unlearned."
"Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid; but everything depends upon the Word and command of God. When the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be wanting... For even though a Jew should today come dishonestly and with evil purpose, and we should baptize him in all good faith, we must say that his baptism is nevertheless genuine. For here is the water together with the Word of God, even though he does not receive it as he should."
"Therefore they are presumptuous, clumsy minds that draw such inferences and conclusions as these: Where there is not the true faith, there also can be no true Baptism. Just as if I would infer: If I do not believe, then Christ is nothing; or thus: If I am not obedient, then father, mother, and government are nothing. Gold is none the less gold though a harlot wear it in sin and shame."
"Some people mistakenly contend that the phrase "Repent and be baptized" and "Believe and be baptized" demonstrate that only those old enough to repent can be baptized. But, consider 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "If anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat." It says anyone. Does that mean that we should starve our babies since they don't work? Of, course not. The verbs "to repent", "to believe", and "to work" apply only to the extent that a person is capable of doing so."
"Infants moved by God's grace can receive His Gift of faith. When Mary brought Jesus to St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist. Elizabeth replied, "The infant in my womb leaped for joy."
Calvin: Calvin justified infant baptism on the grounds that there is a seed of faith which is implanted in the children of believing parents because of the covenant promise of God. Thus the Reformed evangelical position:
While there is no explicit command, infant baptism is based on the essential unity and continuity of the covenant of grace,
The covenant of grace is a single, spiritual covenant made initially with Abraham and fulfilled in Christ,
No faith is necessary,
Because of covenantal unity, the sign of the new covenant can be given to the children of believers in the NT, just as Abraham gave the sign of the covenant God made with him to his infant sons in the OT, and
The sign of the new covenant is baptism which replaces the old covenant sign of circumcision. This accounts for things like "household baptisms," in which it is assumed that infants were baptized, "covenant children" instead of "privileged children" in 1 Corinthians 7:14, and the "inclusion" of little children in the kingdom of God as opposed to the "likeness" of little children to kingdom citizens in Mark 10:14-16.
Nowhere does the Bible mention a single, spiritual "covenant of grace" that somehow spans the ages and connects Abraham to Christ.
While their physical relationship to Abraham entitled them to temporal, physical blessings under the Abrahamic covenant, it did not entitle his descendants to any eternal, spiritual blessings unless they were spiritually like their father Abraham (i.e. they were looking in faith to God). God has never promised spiritual blessings to anyone, at any time, on any other basis than grace. And grace by its very definition not only excludes all human merit; it also excludes physical and natural descent. This is true in both the Old and New Testaments no matter what the covenant.
The children of believers are in a very privileged position. They are the subjects of their parents' prayers, they are exposed to the Word of God and to the testimonies of their parents and other Christians, and they are urged to seek the Lord while he may be found and call upon him while he is near. But nowhere in the NT are we told to baptize them until they give evidence that they come to personal faith in God through Christ Jesus the savior.
Just because they are children of believers does not mean they have been chosen by God, nor that they have any share in the new covenant. To baptize them as if they did, or in the hope that they will, is unbiblical. To baptize them as a sign that they are "covenant children" who need to respond to the gracious overtures of God, is to go back to the types and shadows of the OT, to the days of Abraham and Moses when God was preparing Israel and the world for the emergence of a new nation and people who would all know him, love him, and serve him.
That circumcision was a prophetic type of baptism is seen in Colossians 2:11, 12: "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." The language cannot apply to infants: an infant has no sins to be put off and an infant has no faith in the working of God.
Baptism of unknowing, unbelieving infants is as unbiblical and ineffective to accomplish the biblical purposes for baptism as it is for adults.
WHEN IS A CHILD OLD ENOUGH TO BE BAPTIZED? This is an important
question, especially for parents and grandparents. There is
not really a clear, concise answer in the scriptur es for
this question. This may imply that it is the wrong
question. If so, what should the question then be? A more
useful question might be: "What must a child (or any
person) know and understand in order to be baptized?
Maturity and capacity for understanding spiritual matters
does not always depend exactly on the age of the
The answer to this question ("What must a person know and
understand in order to be baptized?) has answers in the
scriptures. These answers can be put in the form of
questions that you can ask the child to answer.
Here are some questions that a person must be able to
answer in order to be ready to be baptized:
1. Who is God?
2. What is sin?
3. What is the result
when a person sins?
4. What does it mean to
5. What does it mean to
6. Who is Jesus?
7. Why was Jesus
crucified or why did Jesus have to die?
8. What does God promise
to do for a person in baptism?
9. What does it mean
when we say that our sins are washed away by the blood
10. What does it mean to
say that Jesus died for you?
In addition, these
questions of a personal nature may be asked:
1. Are you lost?
2. Why do you feel
guilty before God?
3. Why do you want to be
4. Have you repented of
your sins? What does that mean?
5. Do you believe in
Jesus? What does that mean? What does believing in
Jesus have to do with his death on the cross?
6. Are you ready to
commit yourself and your life to Jesus Christ and
confess Him as your Lord? What does it mean for Jesus
to be the Lord?
1. These questions are
all to be answered, not with a simple yes or no, but
with expressions of the child's own
2. A child (or adult)
may not have to understand theological words like
"justification, atonement, reconciliation,
propitiation, redemption, regeneration, etc. but they
can answer these questions in their own vocabulary in
3. Be careful of
children who are mainly motivated by a desire to please
4. Regular participation
is Bible reading and prayer, worship, listening to
sermons and classes are important to gauge spiritual
5. The child must be
able to make a commitment to the Lord in terms of
1. Baptism is
Another's, not your, decision based on their belief
A personal decision based on faith and trust
2. What does the Bible say about baptism?
make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
he who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.
those who had received his word were baptized.
be baptized for a gravely ill or deceased familymember or friend
all the above
A, B and C
3. Baptism is valid, even though faith is wanting.
4. In the New Covenant baptism is the circumcision of the putting off the body of sins
5. Everyone must be baptized even though they do not believe they have sinned
MUST BAPTISM BE DONE BY IMMERSING A PERSON IN WATER
INSTEAD OF JUST SPRINKLING OR POURING WATER ON
I do not believe there is
such a formula and here are the reasons
Greek word translated "baptize" means immerse.
Baptism is from the Greek BAPTIZO which always means to
"dip", "immerse", or "submerge. Modern English dictionaries
may give other definitions but this only reflects modern
usage. This does not necessarily show what the word means
in the language of the Bible. Greek dictionaries of Bible
words show "baptize" means to immerse
Thayer's lexicon on
BAPTIZO says: "to dip, immerse, submerge."
Concordance defines baptizo, "to make
whelmed i.e.: fully wet"
Lydell and Scott
define it as "To dip, dip under."
sprinkling overlook an important factor. The original New
Testament text and the spoken language of that day was
Greek. The authors of the New Testament knew the Greek word
baptizo meant to immerse. They also knew the Greek
word "rantizo" meant to sprinkle and the Greek word
cheo meant to pour. These often used words were
never interchangeable, having separate meanings. If God had
intended for baptism to be sprinkling, the Greek word
rantizo, or pouring, the Greek word cheo, He
would have been employed them rather than immersion, the
Greek word baptizo.
2. The Bible Evidence
The best way to understand a Bible command is to study the
passages that refer to it in context comparing them to
other passages on the subject. This is how we learn the
meaning of words. Notice what baptism requires and consider
what action fits what the Bible says:
a. Baptism requires water
The element or substance
used is not inherent in the word "baptize." The
substance, though, used in the baptism that Jesus
commanded everyone, is water.
Acts 10:47-48 - "Surely
no one can refuse the water for these to be
b. Baptism requires
John 3:23 states, "And
John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because
there was much water there..." "Much water" is not
needed if one is merely being sprinkled or poured, but
it is necessary for immersion.
c. In baptism people
came to water
Acts 8:36 - "They came
to some water"
Matthew 3:5-6 - "Then
Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all
the district around the Jordan; and they were being
baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed
Some people think the
eunuch pulled out a bottle of water and Philip used some of
it to baptize him. Not so! The water used to baptize the
eunuch was a body of water they came to as they traveled.
When people receive sprinkling or pouring, do they need to
go to the water? No, the water can come to them, because
not much is required, but when people are immersed, do they
go to the water.
d. Baptism involves going down into and coming up out of
Mark 1:9-10 - "It came
to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of
Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And
immediately, coming up out of the water, He saw the
heavens opening, and the Spirit descending upon Him"
(NKJV reads 'like a dove).
Acts 8:38-39 reads, "and
they both went down into the water, Philip as well as
the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up
out of the water."
Here the obvious
reference is to immersion. Does sprinkling or pouring
require going down into the water? No, but baptism
e. Baptism is a burial and a resurrection.
Colossians 2:12 -
"buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also
raised with Him through faith in the working of God,
who raised Him from the dead."
Romans 6:4-5 -
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism
into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the
dead through the glory of the Father so we too might
walk in newness of life. For if we have become united
with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we
shall be also in the likeness of His
In baptism we are
buried with Jesus and raised with Him. As He was buried in
the earth, we are buried in baptism.
Some say baptism is "just a symbol" of Jesus' burial, so it
does not matter how it is done. There is a symbolic element
in baptism, but how does that prove that the action does
Do the passages say Jesus was buried, but it doesn't matter
whether or not we are buried? It says we are buried and we
are raised in baptism. The one to be baptized is to be
buried and raised.
Actually, symbols are important, especially, when it was
God Himself who selected the symbols.
Who would presume to change what God wanted?
Obviously, death, burial and resurrection in baptism is
something that God wants us to know and be reminded of by
the symbolic action that He chose for us to do. Romans 6:1
- 12 tells us how important and practical it is for the
Christian to be reminded that he died with Christ in
"What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin that grace might increase? May
it never be! How shall we who died to sin live in it?
Or do you not know that all of us who have been
baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His
death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through
baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised
from the dead through the glory of the Father so too
might walk in newness of life.For if we have become
united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly
we shall be also in the likeness of His
resurrection,knowing this, that our old self was
crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done
away with, that we should no longer be slaves of
sin.For he who has died has been freed from sin.Now if
we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also
live with Him,knowing that Christ, having been raised
from the dead, is to never die again; death no longer
is master over Him.For the death that He died, He died
to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He
lives to God.Even so consider yourselves to be dead to
sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.Therefore do not
let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey
3. Comments From Some Scholars
Encyclopedia: "At first all baptism was by
complete immersion" (vol. 1, p. 651). The Catholic
Encyclopedia: "In the early centuries, all were
baptized by immersion in streams, pools, and
baptisteries" (vol. 2, p.263). Encyclopedia
Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 3, pp.365-66:
Immersion was not convenient after the Catholic Church
instituted infant baptism; thus the mode was changed to
b. Commentary from
Various Denominational References
a. "This passage (Romans
6:4) cannot be understood unless it be borne in mind
that the primitive baptism was by immersion" -
Conybeare & Howson Life and Epistles of St.
b. "Baptism means
immersion; and it was immersion…Unless it had been so,
Paul's analogical argument about our being buried with
Christ in baptism would have had no meaning. Nothing
could have been simpler than baptism in its first form.
When a convert declared his faith in Christ, he was
taken at once to the nearest pool or stream of water
and plunged into it, and henceforward he was recognized
as one of the Christian community." Cunningham
The Growth Of
c. "Baptism is the grave
of the old man and the birth of the new. As he sinks
beneath the baptismal waters. The believer buries all
his corrupt affections and past sins; as he emerges he
rises regenerated, quickened to new hopes and a new
life. This baptism is an image of his participation
both in the death and resurrection of Christ." -
a. "Alluding to the
"immersion" practiced in the cases of 'adults', wherein
the person appeared to be buried under water, as Christ
was buried in the heart of the earth; His rising again
the third day, and their emerging from the water, was
an emblem of the resurrection of the body." -
Commentary of Co. 2:12
b. "'We are buried with
him.' Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by
immersion." - John Wesley
a. "The sacrament of
baptism was administered in this century (the first)
without the public assemblies, in places appointed and
prepared for that purpose, and was performed by an
immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font." -
Moshein Moshein's Church
b. "For the explanation
of this figurative description of the baptismal rite it
is necessary to call attention to the well-known
circumstances that in the early days of the church,
persons, when baptized, were first plunged below and
then raised above the water." Toluck Commentary on
a. "For thirteen
hundred years baptism was predominantly an immersion of
the person under water." Brenner
Conclusion: Let us not
change what God has ordained.
IS THERE A CERTAIN FORMULA OF WORDS
THAT MUST BE SPOKEN WHEN ONE IS BAPTIZED?
I do not believe there is such a
formula and here are the reasons why:
Some say: "I baptize
you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy
Some say: "I baptize
you in the name of Jesus
Some add to these:
"for the remission of sins" or "for the remission of
sins and to receive the gift of the Holy
Some even baptize
the person three times, once "in the name of the
Father", again "in the name of the Son" and finally "in
the name of the Holy Spirit.
Some do not believe
that it is required to say anything special, as long as
the person being baptized understands what they are
doing and why they are being baptized.
Does doing something in the name of another require the
repeating a formula using that person's name?
The apostles could
not cast out demons, heal the sick or do other miracles
except in the name of Jesus but Peter sometimes omitted
saying this formula (Acts 9:40).
Christians pray in
the name of Jesus but did not always repeat this
formula (Acts 4:23-30).
Preaching is done in
the name of Jesus (Luke 24:46, 47) but this doesn't
mean that these words always have to be repeated for
the preaching to be valid.
All we do, we do in
Jesus' name (Colossians 3:17) but this doesn't mean the
words must always be repeated.
scriptures do not teach that a certain formula of words
must be said when one is baptized.
No single identical formula was given in examples of Bible
Matthew 28:19 - "in
(eis into) the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit"
Acts 2:38 - "in
(epi upon ) the name of Jesus
Acts 8:16 - "in
(eis into) the name of the Lord
Acts 10:48 - "in
(en in) the name of the Lord"
Acts 19:5 - "in
(eis into) the name of the Lord
Some ideas about what "in the name of" means:
Thayer: "by one's
command and authority, acting on his behalf, promoting
"into the power ... influence ... faith... family
Commentary: "by way of consecration
W F. Flemington:
"into the ownership of"
4. Jesus Only
There is a "Jesus only Doctrine" that is taught by Oneness
"Doctrines are taught that a person cannot be saved unless
this person first forsakes his belief in the Trinity and is
re-baptized 'in the Name of Jesus only', according to an
interpretation of several scriptures, most notably Acts
2:38. Conversely, the baptismal formula accepted by most
Christians is found in Matthew 28:19." (ref. Wikipedia Free
Following are comments on
this doctrine from the web site of the United Pentecostal
"The Formula for Baptism": "Jesus
commanded His disciples to "teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). He did not command them to use
these words as a formula, but He commanded them to baptize
in "the name." The word name is used here in the singular,
and it is the focal point of the baptismal command. The
titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost describe God's
relationships to humanity and are not the supreme, saving
name described here, which is Jesus. "...there is salvation
in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men, by which we must be saved
Jesus is the name in which the roles of Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost are revealed. The angel of the Lord instructed
Joseph, "She will bear a Son; and you shall call his name
JESUS: for it is he who will save His people from their
sins" (Matthew 1:21). Jesus said, "I have come in my
Father's name," and, "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in my name, (John 5:43; 14:26)." Thus by
baptizing in the name of Jesus, we honor the Godhead. "For
in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
Luke 24:47 describes the commission that Jesus gave: "and
that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be
proclaimed [preached] in His name to all the nations [Jews
and Gentiles], beginning from Jerusalem." Peter, [ten days
later, preached] "Repent, and let each of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your
sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
(Acts 2:38). Cornelius and his household were Gentiles, yet
there again Peter "commanded them to be baptized in the
name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48). (Most translations actually
say, "In the name of Jesus Christ.")
The Samaritans, who were not Jews, were also baptized in
the name of Jesus. "And Philip went down to the city of
Samaria, and began proclaiming Christ to them...." "But
when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the
kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were
being baptized, both men and women...". "...They had simply
been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:5, 12,
Paul went to Ephesus many years after the Day of Pentecost
and found some disciples of John the Baptist there. "He
said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you
believed?' And they said to him, 'No, we have not even
heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said, 'Into
what then were you baptized?' and they said, 'Into John's
baptism.' And Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism of
repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was
coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' And when they heard
this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
(Acts 19:2-5) Although these disciples had already been
baptized, the name of Jesus was so important as to cause
them to be re-baptized in His name.
The apostles not only preached baptism in Jesus' name, but
they practiced it. Nowhere can we find that they baptized
using the words "in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost." Instead, we find them baptizing in
the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In baptizing in Jesus'
name, they fulfilled the command of the Lord in Matthew
History tells us that it was not until many years after the
apostles that the mode and formula of baptism in the name
of Jesus Christ were changed. (See Hastings' Dictionary of
the Bible, vol. 1, p.241.)
It seems obvious that the reason for this group's debate
concerning the words that must be said in baptism is not
really the insistence upon a formula, but rather an
objection to the doctrine of the triune nature of God - are
there really three persons in the Godhead? This must be the
subject of another study.
1. Baptism meand to:
Immerse in water
spromkle water on
Pour water over
2. Baptism (immersion) requires
people coming to water
a going down into water and a coming up out of water
a burial and a resurrection
all of the above
3. After one is baptized into Christ God resurrects him into a newness of life.
4. One is united with Christ when he
Believes that Jesus is the Christ
Buried into Christ death and is resurrected by God
5. One who has died to sin and buried into Christ death is freed from sin becoming alive into God in Christ.
6. What words or formula must be spoken for a persons baptism to be acceptable to God.
In the name of Jesus only
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
It is not words or formulas but in the name / authority of Jesus
I believe that today
there is only one literal baptism usually referred to as
Christian baptism or "baptism into
is only one.
1. Ephesians 4: 4-6 - "There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one
Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
The question is asked: "If there is only one baptism, why
does the writer of Hebrews refer to "baptisms"? Hebrews
6:1, 2 - "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the
elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to
perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance
from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of
baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the
dead, and of eternal judgment." (NKJV)
There are several baptisms mentioned in the Bible, but
discounting those that were only symbolic and those that
were temporary, there remains only one baptism practiced in
the church today. It is immersion in water in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of the sins of those who
come to Jesus, repentant of their sins and trusting in His
death on the cross to take away their sins.
Various Baptisms in the Bible
Baptism of John
Mark 1:4 - "John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of
Acts 18:25 - "This man had been instructed in the way of
the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and
teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being
acquainted only with the baptism of John."
Acts 19:4 - "And Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism
of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was
coming after him, that is, in Jesus.'"
The baptism of John was temporary and no longer to be
practiced after Christ gave his life on the cross.
Baptism in Fire
Matthew 3:7-12 - "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and
Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, 'You brood
of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and
do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have
Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that God is able
from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And the
axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree
therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water
for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier
than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His
winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear
His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the
barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable
The baptism in fire is symbolic of God's judgment on the
Baptism into Moses
1 Corinthians 10:1-2 - "For I do not want you to be
unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the
cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were
baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea."
When Israel left Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, they were
encompassed by water - the cloud over them and the Red Sea
around them. This is a symbolic use of the word "baptism"
in several details, not only them being surrounded by water
(though passing on dry land). It is indeed a prophetic type
of our experience. As they were freed from their slavery
and came into the relationship with Moses as their leader,
so we, in baptism, are freed from the bondage of sin and
come into a relationship with Jesus as our Lord.
Baptism of Suffering
Matthew 20:20-23 - "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee
came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a
request of Him. And he said to her, 'What do you wish?' She
said to him 'Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of
mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left.' But
Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you are
asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about
to drink?' They said to Him, 'We are able.' He said to
them, 'My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and
on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those
for whom it has been prepared by My Father.'"
In Matt. 26:39 - He prays to the Father to "let this cup
pass from me; yet not as I will, but as thou wilt." In John
18:11: "the cup which the Father has given me, shall I not
drink it?" The "cup" and "baptism" Jesus spoke of here was
a symbolic way of talking about the terrible things he
would soon suffer as he offered himself as our sin
sacrifice. It is symbolic language.
In Acts 1:5, Jesus said to them "For John baptized with
water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not
many days from now."
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was what Jesus did with the
Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
John 15:26 - "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send
to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who
proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me."
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured the Spirit out on
"all flesh" (see Acts 2:17). The baptism in the Holy Spirit
was a once for all time historical event. The effects
remain but the Spirit has already been poured out on all
Baptism into Christ
Mark 16:16 - "He who has believed and has been baptized
shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be
Gal. 3:27 - "For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Romans 6: 3 - "Or do you not know that all of us who have
been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His
There is now one baptism. All the others are either
symbolic uses of the word meaning "immersion" or historical
events that do not need to be repeated.
1. John the Baptist preached a baptism of
2. The Baptism of Fire is symbolic of God's judgment on the unrepentant
3. Passing though the waters of the Red Sea delivered the Israelites from bondage of the Egyptians whereas Christ's baptism delivers one from the bondage of sin
4. The baptism into Christ is the calling on God to forgive thereby cleansing one of their sins.
5. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is what Jesus did with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
One of the Bible subjects most confused and
misunderstood in people's minds is the baptism with the
Holy Spirit. A large part of the confusion is resolved with
a proper biblical definition - exactly what is the baptism
with the Holy Spirit? This lesson tries to do just that.
When this is understood, then many of the other subjects
become clear, such as:
1. When is somebody baptized with the
2. How can somebody know if they have been baptized with
the Spirit or not?
3. Is speaking in tongues the sign that somebody was
baptized with the Spirit?
4. What happened in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10?
5. Is baptism "with" or "in the" Spirit the same thing of
baptism "for" or "of" the Spirit?
6. Was Jesus speaking of the baptism with the Spirit when
said to the Apostles: "you will receive power when the Holy
Spirit descends on you" (Acts 1:8)?
7. If there is a baptism with the Holy Spirit and a baptism
in water, can we say that there is ""only one baptism"?
THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY
SPIRIT WAS DONE BY JESUS, EXCLUSIVELY.
Matthew 3:11 - "As for me, I baptize you with water
for repentance, but He who is coming after me is
mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His
sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and
Mark 1:8 - "I baptized you with water, but He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Luke 3:16 - "John answered and said to them all, 'As
for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who
is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong
of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and fire.'"
John 1:33 - "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent
me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you
see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this
is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'"
Note: It was not something done by men or
something done by the Holy Spirit, but by Jesus.
John (who immersed) is preaching to his listeners
to repent of their sins to be saved.
He informs them that someone greater than he was
coming; therefore the time to make their decision to
repent was limited.
John is not talking about dates or chronologies
(neither the order nor when it would happen); but only
about the greatness of Jesus.
His authority would be seen in that He could
baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
a. Jesus has power over the two.
b. Not that the two are the same thing.
Baptism with the Holy Spirit did not involve
fire.a. The "tongues of fire" that rested on the
apostles in Acts 2 were not an immersion in fire.
b. These two baptisms have two different
The baptism with fire.a. Matthew 3:12; "His
winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly
purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into
the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with
i. John knew that among his hearers
were two groups of people, the ones who
would accept his message (the wheat), and
the ones that they would reject it (the
ii. The ones who would accept it and
repent would receive the
blessing of the baptism with the
iii. The ones who rejected it would
receive the punishment of the baptism with
(a) This did happen with these listeners in
year 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed
(b) This event is not mentioned in the
gospel of John, probably because John was
written after 70 A.D.
iv. Malachi 4:1-6 is a parallel to
B. Acts 2:33; "Therefore being exalted to the right hand
of God, and having received from the Father the promise of
the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and
C. Nobody (neither men nor the Spirit) would baptize
with the Spirit. Only Jesus would do that. Men baptized in
water and the Spirit gave gifts and power to be able but
neither baptized with the Spirit. When we read in the Bible
of a man acting or the Spirit doing something, we can know
that such a thing does not refer to the baptism with the
THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SOMETHING DONE WITH
THE SPIRIT AND NOT DONE BY THE SPIRIT.
Matthew 3:11 Jesus …"baptizes with (or in) the
The Bible does not speak of the baptism "by the"
Spirit but the baptism "with" the Spirit.
1. It was not something that the Spirit did (to fill,
to seal, to give power, to give gifts) but something
that Jesus did with the Spirit.
2. It is not the gift of speaking in languages (that is
something that the Holy Spirit did and not Jesus (1
3. Simply, it was not something that the Spirit does,
but something done with the Spirit.
THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT HAPPENED ON THE DAY OF
PENTECOST AND NOT BEFORE.
Matthew 3:11 - It had not happened yet when Jesus
was baptized by John.
John 7:39 11 and 12:16, 23 - It would only happen
after Jesus was glorified (after his resurrection).
Acts 1:4-5 - Here, in the hour of the ascension of
Jesus, they had still not received the promise from the
Father (v. 4), which was the baptism with the Holy
Spirit (v. 5).
Acts 2:16-17 - On the day of Pentecost, in his
sermon, Peter identifies the events of that day as
being the fulfillment of the prophecy of the baptism
with the Holy Spirit made by Joel the prophet.
The Spirit had been present, acting, moving,
empowering, etc. since the creation of the world but
nothing that He did or that was done with Him before
the day of Pentecost is called "the baptism with the
Spirit". Before Pentecost, people had been full of the
Spirit and had received power from the Spirit, but none
of this was called "baptism with the Spirit."
Therefore, It is not...
the power to do miracles (many had done miracles
the gift of inspiration (many had been inspired
to be full of the Spirit (many had been before
a. John (Luke 1:15).
b. Isabel (Luke 1:41).
c. Zachariah (Luke 1:67).
to be clothed by the Spirit since people in the Old
Testament (before Pentecost) had been clothed with the
Spirit (see Judges 6:34; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2
THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CALLED THE "PROMISE
OF THE FATHER"
Jesus had already spoken about the promise of the
Father to his disciples. The Father promised to send
the Spirit in the name of Jesus after Jesus returned to
1John 14:16,17,26 "And I will pray the
Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever; "the Spirit
of truth, whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but
you know Him, for He dwells with you and will
be in you. ... "But the Helper, the Holy
Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things, and bring to your
remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 15:26 "But when the Helper comes, whom
I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit
of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will
testify of Me.
John 16:7 "Nevertheless I tell you the
truth. It is to your advantage that I go away;
for if I do not go away, the Helper will not
come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him
Acts 1:4,5 And being assembled together
with them, He commanded them not to depart from
Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the
Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from
Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many
days from now."
B. On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out
the Spirit on all flesh. This event was what Joel
(and Isaiah) has prophesied centuries before:
Isaiah 32:15 Until the Spirit is poured
upon us from on high and the wilderness becomes
a fruitful field and the fruitful field is
counted as a forest.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on him
who is thirsty and floods on the dry ground; I
will pour My Spirit on your descendants.
Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17) "And it shall come to
pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit
on all flesh.
C. On the day of Pentecost, the Father
fulfilled His promise and Jesus poured out the
Spirit - Acts 2:33 "Therefore being exalted to the
right hand of God, and having received from the
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured
out this which you now see and hear."
Note: Baptism with the Spirit was always a promise and
never a command.
A Definition Of "Baptism With the Holy Spirit"
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is what Jesus did with
the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in fulfillment of the
promise of the Father - Jesus poured out the Spirit on all
flesh. The Spirit since then became available to all saved
people, independent of race (Jewish or heathen) or role in
the government of God (priest, prophet, etc.).
This means that the Spirit was made available for
all of humanity. Those who receive the benefit are
those who become Christians.
The baptism with the Spirit occurred once in
history. He, the Spirit, was poured out once for all.
1. In the same way that Jesus died once for
all, the Spirit was poured out once for all.
These two historical events never need to be
2. Even Acts 10:45 reflects this truth. In
the house of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell on
the Gentiles who heard the gospel. They started
speaking in languages. This event convinced the
Jews that the Holy Spirit had been poured out
on the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
3. But when had He been poured out on the
Gentiles? It was on the day of Pentecost. The
perfect tense of the verb in Acts shows this.
It indicates an act completed in the past with
effects continuing in the present. Once He was
poured out, the Holy Spirit began to do His
works, but nothing that He does is called "the
4. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is what
Jesus did with the Spirit on the day of
Pentecost. The effect of the baptism with the
Holy Spirit is the same as the death of Christ.
Although He died for all, only the ones that
believe, repent and are baptized in water
receive the benefit. Although poured out on all
flesh, only the ones that believe, repent and
are baptized in water receive the benefit.
5. Once He was poured out, the Spirit began
to do His works, but nothing He did or does is
referred to as the baptism with the Spirit. The
baptism is what Jesus did with the Spirit on
the day of Pentecost.
6. In practice, the effect of the baptism
with the Spirit is the same as the death of
Christ. Even though he died for all people of
all ages, only those who believe, repent and
are baptized in water receive the benefit. Even
though the Spirit was poured out on all
humanity, only those who believe, repent and
are baptized in water receive the benefit.
C. All people of all ages were baptized with the
Spirit potentially and all the saved in Christ of
all ages are baptized effectively in the
This was the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4,5).
Jesus received the promise of the Father (Acts
2:33). Peter, in Acts 2:39, explained that the
promise was for "you others" - those Jews present
on Pentecost, "for your children" - the Jews of
future generations, and "for all who are far off" -
the Gentiles (See Ephesians 2:13), for as many as
the Lord our God shall call - all Christians in all
D. Today, if you are in Christ, you have been
effectively baptized in the Spirit.
But when? On the day of Pentecost. But how? In
the same way Jesus died for you 2,000 years ago.
You received the benefit of the death of Christ
when you became a Christian. The Spirit was poured
out on all flesh 2,000 years ago. You received the
benefit of this outpouring when you became a
BAPTISM WITH THE SPIRIT DOES NOT MEAN "RECEIVE
MIRACULOUS POWER FROM THE SPIRIT".
Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father
upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you
are endued with power from on high." does not say that
the promise of the Father is the same thing as "receive
power". He said that both things would so they should
stay in Jerusalem. The Spirit gave power before
Pentecost but the baptism with the Spirit did not
happen before Pentecost.
Jesus gave the Spirit and the Spirit gave power but
the baptism is what Jesus did and not what the Spirit
Not all Christians did miracles but all Christians
received the Spirit.
Since the baptism with the Spirit is a unique
historical event, it doesn't make sense to talk about
"receiving Holy Spirit baptism". The Bible never uses
that type of phrase. How can you receive a past
historical event? We can receive the Spirit or we can
receive a gift from the Spirit but we cannot receive
the "baptism of the Spirit".
WE NEED TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE "BAPTISM WITH THE
SPIRIT" WHICH WAS A WORK OF JESUS, AND GIVING POWER, WHICH
IS A WORK OF THE SPIRIT.
This is the most common mistake in the mind of many
people - confusing what Jesus did with the Spirit
(Baptized or poured out) and what the Spirit did once
He was poured out or made available.
For example, the Spirit gave miraculous powers to
people to speak in other languages and heal the
He seals believers in Christ, dwells in the
redeemed, inspired the apostles and prophets, comforts
and guides, etc. but none of this is called "the
The baptism is what Jesus did with the Spirit on
the day of Pentecost - He poured Him out on all
In the Bible, when the Spirit descended on someone,
came on someone or fell on someone, that person
received divine power
1. He descended on Jesus and he did
2. Luke 2:25-27 - Simeon prophesied
3. Luke 1:35 - Mary conceived Jesus
4. Acts 1:8 - the apostles received
5. Acts 2:3, 4 - They spoke in
6. Acts 8:16 - They performed signs
7. Acts 10:44, 45 - They spoke in
8. Acts 19:6 - They spoke in languages and
Note: In Acts 8, the apostles were men especially chosen
to witness the resurrection of Jesus. They had
qualifications: Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 1; John 1:1-2 and
credentials: 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 9:1; Acts
1:21,22; Acts 8:18. They and only they had the power to
make the Spirit fall on someone by the laying on of hands
(and so to give power).
COMPARE THE BAPTISM WITH THE SPIRIT TO BAPTISM IN WATER
TO SEE WHICH OF THE TWO IS THE "ONE BAPTISM" OF EPHESIANS
BAPTISM IN WATER (IN THE NAME OF JESUS)
Done by men
Acts 8:38 1 Corinthians 1:14-16
Done with water Acts 8:38-39
Happened many times (with each conversion)
Is a commandment and not a promiseActs 2:38
A Definition: Christian baptism is immersion in
water in the name of Jesus (by the authority of Jesus)
for remission of sins. It is always preceded by faith
Some teachings:Baptism in water is necessary (Mark
16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16)
Baptism is only permitted for someone who believes
Baptism symbolizes a burial (Romans 6:3-6). It is by
In baptism, we enter into Christ (Galatians 3:26,
Ephesians 4:5 says that there is "only one baptism".
This baptism is baptism in water, because the baptism in
the Spirit already happened and does not need to be
repeated. Baptism in water in the name of Jesus, though,
continues being done whenever someone becomes a
SOME SAY THAT "HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM" WAS PROMISED ONLY TO
The "baptism of the Spirit" for these
people is when somebody receives the power from the Spirit
as inspiration, revelations, miracles, etc. But problems
with this idea exist.
First, the expression "baptism of the Spirit" does not
exist in the Bible. All the translations have "baptism with
the Spirit" or "baptism in the Spirit." It is not a baptism
that the Spirit does, but rather, it is a baptism where the
Spirit is used. In the promises of the Old Testament, it is
the Spirit that would be poured out and this would be
evident by the miraculous gifts that the Spirit would give.
It has to be kept in mind what it is that was poured out -
it was not gifts, but rather, the Spirit. The promise was
the Spirit and not the gifts that the Spirit would
distribute after being poured out. Miracles and gifts
already had been given well before this baptism, but what
was promised only occurred on that day and not before.
Until that day, the Spirit never was poured out for all
people, but since that day all can receive the Spirit. The
words of Jesus in Acts 1:4- 5 show that the promise of the
Father and the baptism with the Spirit were the same thing.
When the apostles received the Spirit in Acts 2, Peter said
in v.16 that the prophecy of Joel (the promise of the
Father) was being fulfilled. This agrees with the words of
Jesus in 1:4,5. In 2:33, Peter agrees with John 7:39 and he
says clearly that the promise was the pouring out of the
Holy Spirit. When Peter says: "this which you see and
hear", he is using the manifestations of the Spirit to
illustrate that the Spirit, in fact, was poured out. Jesus
poured out the Spirit as was promised since the Old
Some of those who say that the promise of the baptism
with the Spirit was only made to the apostles affirm that
in the passages where Jesus speaks about this, only the
apostles were present (for example, Acts 1:4-5). But when
Jesus spoke to the apostles, this did not necessarily limit
the promise. Actually, when we look at all the passages
that speak about this baptism, we see that this was not so.
When John the Baptist spoke, he was not only speaking to
the apostles but to the multitude of Jews who went to be
baptized by him (Matthew 3:1-12 and Luke 3:15, 16). When
the apostle John spoke about the promise (that it, is the
baptism with the Spirit) in John 7:39, it was not only
limited to the apostles. The promise of Acts is not limited
to only some, but is a promise for all the saved. One
reason that some think that it was limited is because they
do not understand that the baptism with the Spirit is not
the distribution of gifts (ex. languages) nor a miraculous
WHAT ABOUT THE CASE OF CORNELIUS? (Acts
In Acts 10: 44-45 Peter was called to preach to the
Gentiles. While he was preaching, the Spirit fell on the
Gentiles and they started to speak in languages. Does this
mean that the Gentiles received the Spirit before they
became Christians? Not at all. Certainly the Spirit already
acted in some people before Acts 2. Saul in the Old
Testament is an example. In 1 Samuel 10:10, the Spirit of
the Lord possessed Saul and he prophesied (also see 1
Samuel 11:6). In 1 Samuel 16:14 it is said that the Spirit
of the Lord was removed, but in 1 Samuel the 19:23 Spirit
came upon Saul again and he prophesied. The Spirit can come
upon somebody, make him prophesy (or do something else) and
then remove Himself. Somebody being influenced by the
Spirit, even to the point of prophesying, does not
necessarily mean that the Spirit dwells in that person as
was promised in the Old Testament.
In Acts, we learn about the promise of the Spirit
through the preaching of Peter in chapter 2. When somebody
is called by God through the gospel and becomes a
Christian, this person receives the gift of the Spirit.
This is possible because the Spirit was poured out on all
flesh. In Acts 10, God wanted to show that this included
the Gentiles, just as would be later preached: "He does not
make a distinction". The Spirit fell on them before they
had become Christians, showing that God accepted the
Gentiles as well as the Jews who believed in Jesus as the
Christ. When Peter and the others saw this, they recognized
that when the Spirit was poured out, back in Acts 2 (the
verb is in the perfect tense), He had been poured out on
the Gentiles also. Then, without hesitation, the Gentiles
were baptized, without circumcision, and, according to
promise, received the Holy Spirit.
1. The baptism with the Holy Spirit was done by Jesus exclusively
2. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is something done with the Holy Spirit not something done by the Holy Spirit.
3. The baptism with the Holy Spirit happened on Pentecost Day not before.
4. God, the Father, promised to send the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus after Jesus returned to heaven.
5. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs annually around Christmas
6. Today those in Christ have been effectively baptized in the Spirit as the Holy Spirit was poured out on all men on Pentecost Day.
7. One baptized with the Holy Spirit receives miraculous powers.
8. Which of the following happened when the Holy Spirit descended on them?
Jesus did miracles
Judas betrayed Jesus
All the above
A, B, and C
9. Baptism in Jesus name, by the authority of Jesus, is
Done by men
Done in water
A command not a promise
Always preceded by faith and repentance
A, B, C, and D
A and B
None of the above
10. What does the Bible say about Holy Spirit baptism
"baptism of the Holy Spirit"
"baptism with the Holy Spirit"
baptism by the Holy Spirit
A and B
11. What was poured out on Pentecost Day?
Gifts of miracles
Promised Holy Spirit
12. The promise of the Holy Spirit and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are the same.