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 Vol. 8, No. 3 

March 2006

~ Page 15 ~

Baptism for What?

By Richard Kelley

Image Sometimes the complaint is voiced in a question, like this, "How come those of you in the church of Christ teach so much on water baptism?" While a variety of answers could be given, the simplest one is this: because there is so much false teaching on baptism. Unfortunately, for a topic addressed in the New Testament around 100 times, there are probably at least that many notions that concern us today. Let us assert foremost, that the apostle Paul was guided by inspiration to tell us only one baptism was an abiding one (Ephesians 4:5). Therefore, it stands to reason the topic is valid and essential, and deserves our attention.

In the form of a return question, we ask this, "What would the Bible have to say for someone to believe water baptism is essential for salvation?" Would it have to say, "Baptism now saves us?" (check 1 Peter 3:21). Would it have to say, "Be baptized for the remission of sins?" (check Acts 2:38). Would it have to say, "Baptism puts you 'into' Christ?" (check Galatians 3:26-27). Would Jesus himself have to say it is necessary to be saved? (read Mark 16:16). What if it was the case that every New Testament account of conversion included the act of water baptism? Read these Scriptures in the Book of Acts for yourself: (1) Jews on Day of Pentecost (2:38-41); (2) people of Samaria (8:12-13); (3) eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:35-38); (4) Saul [Paul] of Tarsus (9:17-18); (5) Cornelius (10:34-36; 43-48); (6) Lydia and household (16:13-15); (7) Philippian jailer (16:31-34).

Sadly, these things are never taught to most people; therefore, the churches of Christ often feel compelled to speak on them frequently. Baptism is a biblical topic. It is an essential topic. Perhaps that is why Satan has suppressed it in many religious circles into almost nothing. If baptism is essential (and it certainly is according to the Scriptures above), what better place to fool people and teach falsely? Satan will let you believe in Jesus, because that alone will not save you (even Satan believes!). He will let you confess the name of Christ. But there are two very important things he does not want you to do: repent of your sins, and have them removed by the blood of Christ in baptism (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:1-4).

When the Bible tells you, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins!" (Acts 2:38), remember, it is Satan who says, "That is a lie!" Is that not the way he deceived our mother Eve? By one word, "not" (Genesis 3:4), he told her a lie, convinced her it was true and led her to obey it. By the same word, he lies to men today, saying, "Baptism is not for the remission of sins!" (Acts 2:38). Let us learn from her mistake to take God at his word, and leave Satan's lies alone!Image

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