Have You Been Scripturally Baptized?
Scriptural baptism is essential to the salvation of the soul. Therefore no sinner can enter heaven without it. Since this fact is denied by many, we quote the following Bible passages which clearly prove the necessity of baptism to salvation. As you read them remember this passage: "For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar . . . " (Rom. 3:4). This statement by Paul concerning the Jews' unbelief is also applicable to every unbeliever and denier of God's word today.
"Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). "Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us . . . " ( 1 Pet. 3:21 ). Salvation is IN Christ (2 Tim. 2:10) ; we become as children of God by faith when we are baptized INTO Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). The blood of Christ washes away sins (Rev. 1:5) ; it was shed IN his death (John 19:34) ; we are baptized INTO his death (Rom. 6:3). Hence Saul of Tarsus was told to "arise, and baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
While there are many unscriptural baptisms preached and performed in religions of men, there is only one baptism approved and accepted by God (Eph. 4:5). This one baptism must be according to the scriptures. Any other baptism is rejected by God, hence is null and void of value. The following Bible example is proof of this.
"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:1-5).
The evidence indicates clearly that these religious people were honest, sincere and conscientious. They actually thought they had been baptized to obey God. But they had received John's, baptism, which had been superseded by Christ's baptism. Though the people had been buried in water once commanded by God for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4), though they believed on Christ, yet they were required to be baptized again. Why? There are two reasons: (1) Wrong authority. They had been baptized by John's authority, not Christ's. (2) Wrong faith. They believed on Christ that should come, whereas Christ had already come. This proves that one cannot be baptized right by the wrong authority and/or upon the wrong faith. Therefore, to determine whether we have been scripturally baptized we must compare our baptism with God's requirements on every point. What are the requirements of Bible baptism?
(1) One must be TAUGHT the gospel of Christ first. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them. . ." (Matt. 28:19). "And he said unto, them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John 6:44-45).
(2) After being taught the right doctrine to produce the right faith (Rom. 10:17), one must BELIEVE before he can be baptized. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water, and the eunuch said, See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:36-37).
(3) The next step is to REPENT. "Then Peter said un,.) them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). Repentance precedes baptism.
(4) After repentance one CONFESSES with the mouth unto salvation. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10). What is this confession? The eunuch confessed, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). The wrong confession would disqualify one from being scripturally baptized. Some confess, "I believe that God for Chrl st's sake has pardoned my sins." This shows that the person was taught wrong and believed wrong, for one is NOT pardoned of sins before baptism. Regardless of sincerity, such a confession of falsehood renders the baptism null and void.
After scriptural teaching, belief of truth, sincere repentance and the right confession, one is a scriptural subject for scriptural baptism. Obviously no infidels or infants can be scripturally baptized in view of these requirements. An infidel does not believe, hence will not repent or confess. An infant has no sins and consequently does not need baptism; but it could not be a scriptural subject anyway, for it cannot believe, repent or confess.
Some religions of men teach that the Holy Spirit and fire are elements of baptism to be administered today, as well as water baptism. One preacher used rose petals as the element in his baptism! But there is, only ONE baptism (Eph. 4:5). Jesus instructed MAN to administer it until the end of the world (Matt. 28:18-20). What is it? Man never has and cannot now baptize people with the Holy Spirit. Man certainly must not immerse one in fire! God will do that at the judgment (Rev. 20:15). Therefore the one baptism to be administered by man until the end of the world is water baptism. We have many Bible examples as proof (See Acts 8:38-39).
Many human churches offer a choice of sprinkling, pouring or immersion, as if there are three ways to baptize. What does the Bible say? "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God ...(Col. 2:12). Both Philip and the eunuch had to go down into the water (Acts 8:36-39). No man on earth can cite one scripture where anyone was ever instructed to be sprinkled or poured for baptism, and neither is there any example of such being done. Furthermore, no one was ever offered a choice. Therefore, if one has been sprinkled or poured he has not been scripturally baptized.
Some baptisms are wrong in purpose. Some say they are baptized to show the world they have already been saved. But Bible baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) ; to wash away sins (Acts 22:16) ; to get into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3), where the cleansing blood was shed (Rev. 1:5; John 19:34) ; to be saved (1 Pet. 3:20-21 ; Mark 16:16). In Bible baptism God performs the operation "in putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2:11-13). The wrong purpose renders the baptism void.
Bible baptism is by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38), not by the authority of a church or the vote of the people. We are to be baptized in the name (by the authority) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). But the baptism is not made valid merely by the preacher saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." These words are said when babies and adults are sprinkled, and at baptisms for the wrong purpose. They could be said while baptizing a goat but would mean nothing! No man can baptize by the authority of Christ unless he has had the right subject (one who believes the truth, repents and confesses the right thing), the right element (water), the right action (burial), and the right purpose (to be saved).
Dear reader, have you been scripturally baptized? Or have you received one of the many false baptisms of men? Compare your baptism with God's requirements. Were you taught the gospel of Christ or a doctrine of man before baptism? Did you believe truth or error? Did you believe your baptism was to bring salvation from Christ (truth), or that you were already saved (error) ? Did you sincerely repent? Did you confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or did you confess the falsehood that you had already been saved through Christ? Do not be afraid or ashamed to admit error and change to truth. Your eternal salvation depends, on being scripturally baptized. If you find your baptism to be in error, then be baptized like those in Acts 19:1-5 to please God. Do it today! Call the nearest gospel preacher or any member of the church of Christ for assistance.
Truth Magazine, V:2, pp. 18-20