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Gospel Gazette Online
Vol.  11  No. 2 February 2009  Page 3                    powered by FreeFind

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The Basics of Baptism

By Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

Rodney Nulph

Baptism is by far one of the most controversial subjects in the religious world. In fact, not long ago a denominational person made the statement to this author that he could not understand why I place so much emphasis on baptism. The answer is simple: The reason I place so much emphasis on baptism is because God Almighty has placed great emphasis on the subject. Baptism is a line that God has drawn “in the sand.” And anyone desiring to please God today must cross that line! There are some preliminary matters that are essential in understanding the subject of baptism.

What is baptism? The verb “baptize” in the New Testament literally means “to put or go under water” (Mounce 52). Bible baptism is not sprinkling or pouring! Baptism is nothing less than a burial in water (cf. Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4). Baptism is an act of obedience that God has placed between the sinner and salvation!

Why should one be baptized? First, one should be baptized because the Bible commands it! Jesus so lovingly said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16; cf. Matthew 28:18-20). Which command(s) can one fail to do and still please God? Obviously no commands can be left undone (cf. James 2:10; 4:17)! The New Testament repeatedly commands baptism (cf. Acts 2:38; 10:33; 48; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21, et al). One should be baptized because the Bible commands it! Also, one should be baptized because forgiveness demands it! Forgiveness of sin only comes about when one submits to baptism! Peter made this point crystal clear to the Jews on Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:37-39) and Ananias affirmed this fact to Saul of Tarsus as well (cf. Acts 22:16). Interestingly still is the fact of what Peter said in his first epistle, “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” (1 Peter 3:21, emp added). How much clearer could Peter have been? One should be baptized because forgiveness demands it!

Should baptism really be that controversial of a subject? Why does mankind try to alter God’s plan? Should our attitude not be if God said it then I will do it? Have you submitted to God and His plan? Have you been immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins? If not, please let us help you fulfill your obligation to God, so one day you can live eternally with Him! “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16)!

Works Cited

Mounce, William D. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

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