Continued from page 1
The Jailor: "And he took them same hour of night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized." (Acts 16:33)
Corinthians: "Then Crispus, ruler of synagogue, believed on Lord with all his household. And many of Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:8)
Again we say, how much clearer must it be for us all to agree that baptism is a necessary part of salvation? There are those who say that faith is all that is necessary. Then why does book of acts show us that in every case recorded for us to learn from, baptism was practiced?
Who is baptism for? I have a dear friend who is in a brotherhood that teaches and practices infant baptism. Is baptism for infants? Or is baptism only for those who know significance of act and what it represents?
Let's consider those things which Scriptures teach that must precede baptism. First, person must believe. This is emphasized strongly by Jesus, read again Mark 16:16. Can an infant have faith that Jesus is Christ, Son of living God? Do you remember what you "believed" when you were just a few months old? How significant are those "beliefs" to you today? Can an infant be taught about God? Can an infant respond to that teaching? We all know answer to these questions: Of course not! Another act which must precede baptism is repentance. Can an infant repent? Again, answer is no. And for what sins would infant be repenting for? Confession of one's faith that Jesus is Son of God is another act which must precede baptism. It is equally clear that an infant cannot confess to have a faith that they are incapable of having.
So, who should (must) be baptized? If you still don't know answer to this question, then you should read again eight accounts of people being converted in book of Acts. This time read full accounts. They are found in following chapters of Acts: two, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, fifteen, sixteen, and eighteen. However, answer is one who believes that Jesus is Christ, Son of living God; one who has repented for all sins he/she has committed and strives to sin no more; and one who is willing to and has confessed his/her faith in Jesus as Son of God. Only for these people is baptism appropriate, and a meaningful act. Remember, you can fool man most of time, but you can never fool God!
The form of baptism is also subject of much false teaching. Here again, Bible is quite clear as to form. The Greek word we translate as baptism is "baptizo." It means to dip, immerse or plunge. There is no one who is a serious student of Word that can deny this fact. If Jesus had intended for disciples to pour as a method of baptism, He would have used word "ekcheo." But He didn't! If He had meant for disciples to sprinkle He would have used word "rantizo." But He didn't! And if He had intended for method of baptism to be any and all of these He would have used words interchangeably. But He didn't! God's word tells us method of baptism: immersion, and that's all.
What does baptism do? Well, first of all it is a picture of death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us this in a beautiful way: "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 dead by glory of Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3,4) It is also a picture of birth, for Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
Baptism is necessary for remission of sins. In Acts chapter 2 three thousand that responded to gospel on that day had said, "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37b) "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins; and you shall receive gift of Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
Brothers and sisters, don't accept false teachings. Go to God's word for yourself and learn what It says about these and other subjects which are important to your salvation. May God be with you in your studies.
All scriptures quoted are from New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of Be Ye Doers Of The Word.
Visit our site at http://www.james1-22.org
Permission to use is granted if attributed to author and his website.