Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 12 December 2013
Page 10

The Truth about Water Baptism

Michael Hooper

Michael HooperAny teaching that disagrees with the Bible is wrong! That is so because “the word of the LORD is right” (Psalm 33:4). Let us consider the Lord’s Word on water baptism.

Purpose for Baptism

Baptism is of utmost importance, for without being baptized, we can neither be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21) nor enter Christ, His church or kingdom (John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Without being baptized, we cannot have our sins forgiven and washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Beware of men who teach otherwise!

Please note that Jesus submitted Himself to John to be baptized for an entirely different purpose because Jesus had no sin (Matthew 3:13-15; Hebrews 4:14-15). John’s baptism was for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3), so it was no wonder that John initially tried to stop Jesus from being baptized. The Lord offered His own purpose for John to baptize Him, and John complied. Apart from that account, there is no exception to water baptism “for the remission of sins.”

Later, John’s baptism was no longer valid after baptism in the Lord’s name came into effect. That is evident from Acts 19:1-5. The men of Ephesus, after learning that the baptism of John which they received was no longer in effect, were baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Baptism in the Lord’s name is also water baptism (Acts 10:47-48), and it as well is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Not Sprinkling

When Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water (Matthew 3:16). That implies that He first went down into the water. Therefore, baptism involves a going down into and a coming out of the water (Acts 8:38-39).

At baptism, we are also buried (Roman 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12). Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection are facts of His Gospel that are preached to us (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Water baptism is patterned after those facts (Romans 6:3-4). We must obey that pattern of teaching in order to be set free from sin (Romans 6:17-18). Much water is required for water baptism (John 3:23). The emphasis is not whether or not we use a river, but rather we use enough water for the purpose. Therefore, since sprinkling or pouring water does not require “much water” as water baptism does, then sprinkling and pouring water are not water baptism at all.

Who Should Be Baptized?

An infant or anyone else without sin is not a candidate for water baptism, but a sinner who hears and believes the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16), repents of his sins (Acts 2:38) and confesses Jesus (Acts 8:36-38 KJV) is a proper candidate for water baptism of the New Testament. Please remember that water baptism in the Lord’s name is “for the remission [forgiveness] of sins” (Acts 2:38). Many contemporary preachers want you to ignore that Bible fact. Like water baptism, belief in the Gospel, repentance of sins and confessing the Lord Jesus are essential for our salvation.

Baptism and Grace

Our sins are washed away by Christ’s blood (Revelation 1:5). However, God will not wash away our sins until we obey His condition of water baptism for that purpose. Paul was baptized for his sins to be washed away (Acts 22:16). The Bible never teaches that we are saved by grace without obedience. By God’s grace Christ died for every man (Hebrews 2:9), and every man must to obey Christ to receive that salvation by grace (Hebrews 5:9).

What Hinders You?

“What doth hinder me to be baptized?” asked the Ethiopian, after Philip preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:35-36). The Ethiopian made up his mind immediately. He did not allow anything to prevent him from obeying the Lord. He was more than eager to receive salvation from the Lord.

Have you been baptized into a church which is not the one, true church? You have no reason to remain there. Do not let that hinder you from being baptized into the body of Christ—church of Christ—today (1 Corinthians 12:13, 27). Nothing hindered the Ephesians from being baptized again after learning that their previous baptism was not valid (Acts 19:1-5). Nothing hindered the people on Pentecost from being baptized on “the same day” (Acts 2:41). Nothing hindered the jailor and his family from being baptized in “the same hour” they heard and believed the Word (Acts 16:32-33). Does anything hinder you?

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