“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both LORD and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this,they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.Acts 2:36-41
He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.Mark 16:16
And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.Acts 19:3-5
Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.Acts 22:16
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?Rom 6:3
The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’Matt 21:25
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.Mark 1:4
And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sinsLuke 3:3
after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.Acts 13:24
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”Acts 19:4
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.Rom 6:4
having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.Col 2:12
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you – not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,1 Pet 3:21
It is clear from the above verses that being BAPTIZED / BAPTISM is linked to salvation. But the question is how and why? Why is it that going through BAPTISM is a necessary part of your salvation? The verse in Mark almost makes it a prerequisite for salvation. But don’t let the subtlety of the verses escape you. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” He who has BELIEVED AND BEEN BAPTIZED shall be saved. It seems BELIEVE and BAPTIZED are both necessary for salvation. But notice the antithetical statement – but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Notice there is no statement, “He who has not been baptized shall be condemned”. It is not an issue of being BAPTIZED as a stand alone concept. It is being BAPTIZED as an integral part of BELIEVING which is at the heart of this matter.
What is BAPTISM anyway? Don’t fail to notice the above links in the verses I have collected for you. These verses are all the verses which link BAPTIZED / BAPTISM with salvation or some aspect of it. It is going to take some time to work this out together so I intend to give it you in two parts. First the verses above for you to ponder, pray over and question. (a la the Deeper Bible and the Gems process). Your own ability to deeply ponder and ask questions of the text before you, is what leads you into deeper insights. Many of us just simply read our daily Bible passage in a cursory kind of way. Or even worse, if we are rushed to get to work or have woken up late, the Bible is sandwiched between a number of other things which need to be prioritised that morning. So we have our Bible reading, our Quiet Time, but it doesn’t really sink in because our mind is elsewhere. Trapped by all the other priorities; attentive to the necessary things of life, reading the Bible is omitted. We should take care of other priorities, but don’t let it squeeze your focus on the Word of God to the point where it becomes trivialised. If we keep doing that over and over, we miss important lessons in the Bible that we think we understand but we truly don’t.
The Deeper Bible class 501 came across one such lesson in the story of the scribe (or teacher of the Law) who came to Jesus and queried Him about the first and foremost commandment. I told the class to take time and really ponder and question what is going on here. When we did that, much became clearer. The same is true of this matter of BAPTISM and the link to salvation. Take the time to ponder and pray over these verses for yourself. The strength of Deeper Bible is in the doing, not the hearing; in the practice not the answers. In addition to that, for this Gems I will add some general discussion and comments about being BAPTIZED and BAPTiSM. Following that we will take the time to analyze why being BAPTIZED is such an integral part of salvation.
Baptism is an interesting word. It comes from the Greek word [βαπτίζω] baptidzō: to make whelmed (that is, fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:- baptist, baptize, wash.
Some say the word is related to ships immersed in water. The difficulty with the word is that it is not translated, rather it is transliterated and so there is no attempt to explain its meaning. It has merely been anglicised and brought into the English language, and every other language. (In Indonesian the word is baptisma or membaptiskan / dibaptis.)
Therefore we have to understand the word in its original setting. When we come to do that, there is variation between the concepts of full immersion in water, in the words of Strongs Concordance above – to be fully wet or to sprinkle with water in ceremonial form. Both of those usages are found in the use of the word in Greek. So it is impossible to resolve the differences in interpretation between baptism by full immersion and baptism by ceremonial sprinkling. Both usages were present in the usage of the word in Greek.
You know this is an important topic when you look at the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE – E–Sword) and you see the following listings: The Baptist Interpretation, Baptism Non Immersionist View, Baptism Lutheran Doctrine, Baptismal Regeneration, Baptism for the Dead, Baptism of Fire, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Infant Baptism. It is not that Baptism is difficult to understand but that it is a Sacrament of the Church (universal) and as such is dear to each of us, each from our denominational points of view. I am trying to be impartial in this process and just simply look at it from the point of view of a Bible translator. But of course I can’t be, because even if I am, I will still be interpreted as coming from one side or the other. Especially when I tell you that my denominational background is Baptist. Automatically you as the reader will attach great importance to that statement and it will cause you to reinterpret what I say in the light of what YOU KNOW about Baptists. It may or it may not be applicable to me, but that doesn’t matter – perception is everything in this case when the matter under question is dear to your heart. In my opinion, whether you have been baptised by full immersion or by sprinkling, I don’t think God minds too much. Realise there are places in the world where a deep body of water is just not available and so sprinkling is the only option. And after all, baptism itself is a SYMBOLIC act. Of much more importance is the fact that it is “believers’ baptism” and not baptism on “behalf of”. That is a deep statement. We will see why in the next Gems.
Time now for you to take a moment to read the verses above and think through what it is you believe about – REPENT – BELIEVE – BE BAPTIZED and perhaps more importantly, what you believe about BAPTISM before I go any further.
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward faith.Watchman Nee
God’s people should be baptized because God commanded it, not because some church requires it.John R. Rice
Five types of baptism are mentioned in the New Testament, though only two of the five have to do with water. No wonder people become confused.Larry Dyer
Is it possible for an unbaptized believer to be saved? Yes, definitely. Should every believer be baptized? Yes, definitely.Max Lucado