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Vol.  10  No. 6 June 2008  Page 14
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Ernest Underwood

A Moment of Reflection


By Ernest S. Underwood

    One of the requirements one must do to be saved and be added to the church/kingdom is that one must be baptized for the remission of sins. However, much of the religious world rejects this command of God as being essential to salvation. In this article, we shall “examine” the Scriptures to see what is actually said about the command. The first thing that we should make clear is that baptism is not a work of merit on man’s part. When man has obeyed this command of God, he has not earned the remission of sins. When man obeys any command of God, he has no reason to boast of such actions as though he now had merited something, or that he had indebted God in some way.

    That baptism is a command to the alien sinner no one can rightly deny. Those on the day of Pentecost who asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), were told to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). When Saul of Tarsus asked the Lord, “What would you have me do?”, he was told to go into Damascus and there it would be told him what he must do (Acts 9:6). In Acts 22, Paul recounts his conversion. He tells of Ananias who came to him, being sent by the Lord, and who told him to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (verse 16). There are other accounts that can be given. In fact, in every case in the Book of Acts that records a conversion, that person or persons were baptized as the final act of becoming a Christian. It might be good at this point to ask why this is so.

    The Scriptures are plain and simple in their teaching about the blood of Christ. One simply cannot be saved without the shedding of His blood. Please turn to the following Scripture references in your Bible and read in the order given: Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 10:4; Hebrews 9:12. There are many other such passages, but these will suffice to prove the point. The question now is, “How does one come into contact with that blood so that he may be redeemed—that he may be cleansed from his sins?

    In John 19, the Jews came to Pilate asking that those on the crosses be taken down before the beginning of the Sabbath. Pilate sent the soldiers to break the legs of those on the crosses to hasten their deaths. However, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead. At this point, one of the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus with his spear “and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). Please note that the blood was shed in His death. In order for one to contact that blood, he must get into the death of Christ. Is there any passage that tells us how this is accomplished? Yes. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4 NKJV). Notice two things: One is baptized into the death of Christ; he is then raised to walk in newness of life. He is now a new creature in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Question: When is one a “new creature?”—in Christ”! Another question: How does the passage say that one gets into Christ? He is baptized into Christ. This same apostle wrote the Galatians: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). Paul states that they were (present tense) children of God by faith in Christ, because they had (past tense) been baptized into Christ.

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