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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 5 – What About Baptism?

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SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #5…. What about baptism? ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 2:37-40 (KJV) –

37)Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

38) 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.

39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 8:34-39 (KJV)

34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36) 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?

37) 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.

38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 22:14-16 (KJV)

14) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15) For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16) And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1Pet 3:20-22 (KJV)

20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21) The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Rom 6:1-6 (KJV)

1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4) 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.

5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Gal 3:26-29 (KJV)

26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29) And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

THE STUDY:

Before we begin to study the role of baptism in salvation, it is important for us to understand what the term “baptism” means.  “Baptism” in the NT is derived from a Greek word meaning “to dip, or to immerse”.

The basic concept of the Greek term is to fully immerse, or cover something (or someone).  The concept of sprinkling, or pouring, being a type of baptism is totally foreign to the Scriptures.

The definition of baptism is illustrated for us in 1Cor 10:1-2

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

Please notice that Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea and under the pillar of cloud is described as a “baptism”.  Why?  Because they were entirely surrounded by water;  the waters of the Red Sea surrounded them on each side, while the water that made up the pillar of a cloud covered them from above.  Here, we find the principle of immersion clearly presented.

Also,  there are several passages that speak of going into and coming up out of waters during the act of baptism, also “much water” was used to baptize… (Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-38, John 3:23).  Again, it is only immersion (not pouring or sprinkling) that requires “much water”, and involves someone “coming up out of water”.

The next important principle for us to understand is the purpose of baptism.  Why is it so important for us to be baptized? The purpose of baptism is taught to us in 1Pet 3:20-22

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Here, we are told that baptism is not to “put away the filth of the flesh”, but it “answers” (follows, or it is done in response to) the receipt of “a good conscious toward God”.  In other words, baptism is to follow salvation.  Why?  Baptism is the public declaration of our coming to faith in Christ and His work.  Baptism is how we tell others about the work of Christ and the change that has already taken place in our life.

In Gal 3:26-29, we are told, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  In other words, we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus.  Following salvation, at our baptism, we “put on” Christ.  Much like a soldier puts on clothing (a uniform) that associates him with the military branch he is a member of.  At his baptism, a Christian announces  to the world that he has trusted in Christ, and from that point forward is “wearing Christ” (he is looked upon as a follower of Christ).

This is why Philip emphasized the need for saving faith in Christ before anyone could be baptized. (Acts 8:34-39)

So to summarize our study so far, we have seen that Scriptural baptism is immersion in water, following salvation.  It is done to declare our faith in Christ and to associate ourselves with Christ.

Now let’s look at a few other verses about baptism’s relation to salvation…

Mark 1:1-4  “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

 Please note in the above verses, a part of John the Baptist’s message was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  Let’s cover two main points.  First, why is baptism called “the baptism of repentance”?  In our study on repentance we said that repentance was speaking of a change of mind and/or action.  One example of this is turning from our sin to submission to the Lordship of Christ.  When we are baptized not only does it declare our faith in Christ, it also publically declares the great change that has taken place in our lives when we are saved.  The Bible describes this change as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (Gals 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).

The baptismal act of submersion and then raising from the water, symbolizes our old life is put to death and we now have a new life in Christ. It declares that our life is now changed.  Hence, the phrase “baptism of repentance”.

Paul fully explains this principle in Rom 6:1-6  “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our second question is this… what does it mean when it says we are baptized for the remission of sins?”.   Here, we are told that we are baptized because our sins HAVE ALREADY been remitted (at our salvation).  Much like when a criminal is “arrested for murder”, we are saying the criminal was arrested because he HAS ALREADY murdered.

Remember, if we have trusted in Christ, we are now followers of Him.  Our life has changed.  One of the many changes is our sins have been remitted.  We are to be baptized to declare all of this to others.

The same linkage between baptism and remission of sins is spoken of in Acts 2:37-40 “Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? 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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In this passage, Peter declares to the lost men who were convicted of their sin that they must “repent”… this resulted in their salvation and the remission of their sins.  Then he explains to them that their next immediate need is to be baptized.  Why should they be baptized?  Because their sins HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMITTED.

Unrelated to salvation, another reason for baptism is to gain entrance into the Lord’s local assembly of believers.  When a believer is baptized they become eligible for membership in the assembly.  More on this in a later blog entry.

Peter tells them that once they repent (are saved) and then are baptized (publically declaring their sins are remitted).  At this point,  they would become members of the church at Jerusalem.  Remember, just previous to this in Acts 1:1-4, the church assembly had received the gift of the Spirit.  As a new member of this church, the newly saved and baptized would be recipients of this gift as well.

 Now let’s look at another passage that links baptism with our salvation…

Acts 22:14-16  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 Paul had been saved prior to this event, when on the Damascus Road, Paul turned from his life of sin to submission to the Lord.  As a matter of fact, the reason why Paul was standing in the presence of Ananias was due to his obedience to a direct command of Christ.  In Acts 22:10….”And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”  Paul, who had just been saved is demonstrating a submissive will as a new creature in Christ.

Now Paul, with a willing spirit of submission to his Lord, listens as Anaias explains the ministry the Lord has called Paul to perform.  Note “that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

Ananias, during his explaination of Paul’s new ministry, emphasizes Paul’s need of baptism as a beginning point of his ministry, much like the beginning of Christ’s ministry  on earth was His baptism as well.

As Ananias explains the need of baptism to Paul, he says “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  He tells Paul of the need for Paul to be baptized, outwardly declaring that the sins of his past are no longer a part of his life.  This was of absolute importance for Paul before his ministry could begin.

Remember, Paul’s past life of sin involved the persecution, and murder, of followers of Christ.  Before Paul could begin a new ministry of service and submission to Christ’s will, he had to make sure that he publicly declared this past life had ended, his sin had been washed away by the blood of Christ, and he now was a new man of service to the Lord.

Remember, Paul had said in Gal 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul,  speaking of the Damascus Road experience, says that he had received the gospel (good news of salvation) from Christ during his revelation to Paul (Paul’s salvation experience)…  Ananias did not tell Paul ANYTHING that involved the gospel message, he had given to Paul his instructions to serve the Lord…  “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”

Furthermore, 1 Cor 6:11 helps us to understand, how our sins are washed away… And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The great change that takes place in our life is an act of the Holy Spirit during the conversion experience.  The three main parts to our conversion experience are washing, sanctifying, and justifying.  These happen simultaneously by the Spirit of God.

The cleansing of our sins is brought about through the application of the blood of Christ not applying the waters of baptism.

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 7:14 (KJV)

14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Remember our 1 Peter passage quotation… “The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”.  Making it plain to us that baptism does not involve putting away the filth of our flesh.

Clearly, “wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord” is describing a symbolic washing of sins at Paul’s baptism.  He was declaring to all he was now a follower of Christ and his sins had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that baptism is a very important way to make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, baptism is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  Baptism should always follow salvation.

In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ———————————————————————–

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”


4 Comments

  1. Patti (PJ) says:

    Hey Rob! I completely understand about being too busy to get on the computer. I may be cutting down myself some for the month of June We are going on vacation to Arkansas and traveling to different lakes to camp and fish, so I don’t know if I will be able to post EVERY night. I am taking my laptop, but of course that doesn’t guarantee a post. It depends on how tired I am after “tube” fishing most of the day.LOL!

    I completely agree about the false teachers out there. We must really be “prayed up” and know our Bible to be able to discern false teaching, because some can twist just a few words out of context and cause a stumbling block. God Bless you Rob, I welcome all the comments from you I can get! LOL! Don’t work too hard this Spring and Summer. Would you believe it is 77 degrees right now at 10:35 am and it is suppose to get up to 93? We’re having August weather in May! I dread to see what July and August are going to be like! LOL! Anyway, don’t work too hard. I look forward to your next comments.
    PJ

    • Rob Barkman says:

      PJ,

      First, have fun on vacation… I’m sure you need it. I still haven’t come to a complete understanding of how you post on a daily basis. Like I told you before, I’m struggling to get out a post once or twice a week. know you must be getting weary and n need of a break. Hope you enjoy your vacation.

      You mentioned the “out of context” issue. I couldn’t agree more. I believe that ALL false teaching comes from a failure to interpret Scripture with Scripture. For those of us who are saved, we all know that the BIble NEVER contradicts itself. And, yet I am the first to agree that, at times, I may see one verse and simply try to explain it without looking at all the other verses that teach on the same subject. This is incredible dangerousm and we all must try to guard against it.\

      Thanks for much for your comments, loking forward to hearing form you once you get back.

      Lord bless you,
      Rob

  2. Hi Rob
    Again a very detailed blog which should satisfy anyone wishing to know more about baptism.

    Baptism is a great blessing as we OBEY the Lord’s command – just as any step of obedience is a blessing. The unique experience in this case is that we are identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and declaring to all that we rise to walk in newness of life.

    Angela

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Angela,

      One of the most important ways for a new believer to honor and serve their Lord is through the ordinance fo baptism… like you said, it is a “great blessing”.

      Thanks for your comments,
      May the Lord continue to bless you.
      Rob

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