Vol. 3, No. 6
Because of much grave and gross misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches about water baptism, I felt compelled to present some insights on this subject. Frankly, I know of no more serious issue facing the church than the need for Christians to have proper insights and understandings of what the New Testament says about water in connection with salvation from sin, so they can help poor, lost sinners understand what they need to understand in order to be saved.
The masses are bombarded constantly on television with false concepts and schemes of men relative to how to be saved. So, I know of no more serious an issue than that of getting the masses to understand what the Bible teaches about God's scheme of redemption! We can become so involved in what we may think are important issues that we forget what are some of the most serious and important issues of all!
Constantly, I hear men tell the lost that all they need to do to be saved from their sins is to repeat something like this: "Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins; come into my heart so I can be saved." Then, those who repeat such words are assured that Christ has saved them! Nothing in the New Testament indicates that such is the way an alien sinner can be saved and become a Christian. So, much misunderstanding by so many is indeed a big and grave issue that should truly concern all Christians!
The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul used the relationship of Christ and his church to magnify the sacredness, solemnity and love of the relationship of a husband and a wife. The following is some of what he said. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:25-26).
The Bible clearly teaches that Christ established his church on the first day of Pentecost following his death, burial and resurrection (Acts 2). This means he gave himself for his church before his church actually existed. In the same sense, he purchased his church with his blood and thus paid the purchase price of his church before it actually existed (Acts 20:28).
Obviously, this all means when Jesus shed his blood on Calvary and gave himself for his church, he made it possible for his church to exist. He paid the price for his church before his church actually existed just as Colonial soldiers who died in the American Revolutionary War paid the price of freedom which at the time they died they did not have. They paid the price in giving their blood and their lives that made freedom in the Colonies possible. Even so, Jesus paid the price in giving his blood and his life that made his church possible.
The New Testament teaches plainly that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is that divine institution for which Jesus gave himself and in which he saves people. His church is his body (Ephesians 1:22-23). We know this does not mean his church is his physical body. Obviously, his church is his body in a spiritual sense. The Lord adds all who should be saved to this body which is his church (Acts 2:47).
In the New Testament, the church means the saved. The New Testament teaches that one can no more be saved out of the church we read about in that book than he can be saved out of the saved!
Some say they do not want church salvation, but that they want cross salvation. However, the Bible teaches that cross salvation is in the one body which is the church (Ephesians 2:16).
Jesus sanctified and cleansed his church with the washing of water by the Word. He did this in that his church is made up of people who heard the Word of God in which they were instructed to be baptized (immersed) in water to get into Christ which is the same as getting into his body which is his church. Those in Christ are in the one body which is his church (Colossians 1:2; 3:15; 1:18).
When one thus gets into the church he is sanctified or set aside by the Lord to worship and serve him. He is also cleansed because all his sins are washed away in the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5). This is all through faith, because one must be baptized because of his faith in the Lord. So, baptism in water is very much an act of faith! Unless one being baptized in water has faith in Christ as God's Son, his baptism would be worthless!
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