When one is seeking Biblical salvation, first he or she must hear the word of God (Romans 10:17). Then, the person must believe what they have hard (Hebrews 11:6, Mark 16:15-16). Next he or she must repent of their sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38). Then, the person must confess Christ (Romans 10:9). One must be baptized for the remission of sins (Galatians 3:27, Acts 2:38). Finally, he or she must live faithfully to death (Acts 14:21-22, Revelation 2:10b). The step of salvation of baptism is the thrust and focus of this article. The Bible speaks of at least five different kinds of baptism. The Bible teaches that baptism is an immersion for the remission of sins. Finally, the Bible teaches baptism to be essential for one salvation.
The Bible speaks of many different kinds of Baptism. In Luke 12:49-53, there is the baptism of suffering. Luke pointed out that Christians could suffer for what they believe. This could refer to Christians today. However, it is possible for a person to become a Christian and then die so soon after that he or she never experiences suffering. So the baptism of suffering might or might not apply to Christians today. In Mark 1:4, one can read of the baptism of John the baptizer. In Acts 19:1-10, one can read of people who were baptized with John’s baptism but were then baptized again according to the law of Christ. Therefore, the baptism of John does not apply to New Testament Christians today. Then, in Matthew 3:11-12, one can read of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Baptism of fire. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred in Acts 2 and Acts 10 to give miracles to the first century disciples. Therefore, this does not apply to people today. The baptism of fire probably refers to judgment day and the punishment in store for all non-believers. This seems to make sense in the context of the verse 12. Therefore, the baptism of fire is not used to save the soul of man today.
In Matthew 28:18-20, the Bible says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” This verse refers to the baptism of salvation and it absolutely applies to man today. This is the one baptism spoken of in Ephesians 4:4-6.
One of the objections given to baptism today concerns its technique or mode. There are many advocating that immersion is not necessary but rather if one’s heart is in the right place, then a ritualistic sprinkling, pouring, or an anointing would suffice. The first problem with this idea is that there is a contradiction within it. If one’s heart is in the right place and that person really wants to be pleasing to God, then that person is not going to object to being immersed because that is what God said to do. The Bible teaches clearly that God intended for baptism to be a complete immersion into the water. In Acts 8:26-40, the Bible tells of the conversion of the eunuch of Ethiopia. When Philip had taught him the word of God, he saw water and wanted to be baptized in it. If sprinkling, pouring, or immersion were enough, then why did they stop and both of them go down into the water? Surely, he would have had some drinking water with him. The journey from Jerusalem to Ethiopia is no small journey. They could have used that to sprinkle or pour in the name of baptism. They did not because baptism is an immersion.
Consider what Paul says in Romans 6:4: “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.” Then in Galatians 3:27, the Bible through Paul says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Paul is showing by illustration the point that baptism is an immersion. It is symbolic act of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. A person is symbolically buried with Christ in baptism. Just as Christ rose from death so the new man or Christian is raised from the water of baptism. The biblical technique of baptism is that baptism is an immersion.
Another issue concerning baptism today involves its essentiality. Some say that it is not necessary to be baptized so long as one’s heart is in the right place. Again, there is a contradiction in such thinking. If one’s heart is in the right place and the person truly desires to please God in life, then that person will want to be baptized for the remission of their sins like the Bible says to do. Interestingly, it seems like there is more debate over this step in the gospel plan of salvation than any other and yet the Bible is so clear on the matter. In every New Testament account of conversion that applies to people today, baptism is a part of it. In Acts 2, the converts of Pentecost heard the word, repented, and were baptized. In Acts 8, the Eunuch of Ethiopia heard the word, confessed and was baptized. In Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus was baptized. In Acts 10, the Gentiles of the house of Cornelius heard the word and were baptized. In Acts 16, both Lydia and the jailor were baptized. If people today will do what they did, then they will receive the salvation that they got. The Bible is so very plain on the subject of baptism yet people today want to twist it and make it say something it does not say.
In Acts 10:34, Peter begins his sermon to the Gentiles by saying: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” If God were to require something different for the salvation of different individuals, then that would make Him a partial God. He will not require anything different today from what He required in the first century. Otherwise, He would be a God who shows partiality. If one wants to be saved, he or she need only to follow the gospel plan of salvation which includes being baptized for the remission of their sins. If one is going to use the Bible as their standard for salvation then he or she cannot deny that baptism is essential.
Reader, have you followed the biblical plan of salvation? Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins?
The Lord's Supper
By inspiration Paul wrote concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. We also learn from the gospel accounts concerning the institution of the Lord’s Supper what Christ was teaching was and is very important.
Christ says the unleavened bread involved in this memorial represents His body (1 Cor 11:24, Matt 26:26). Though none of Christ’s bones where broken on the cross His body or flesh was broken open when He endured scourging and being nailed to the cross.
Christ also tells us that the fruit of the vine contained in the cup represents His blood (1 Cor 11:25, Matt 26:27-28). We know from the inspired scriptures that Christ’s blood was shed on the cross. This blood was shed for the remission of our sins, the sins of all mankind (Matt 26:28).
There is a reason for having such a memorial. The death of Christ was an event that changed all mankind. Such an event performed by the Son of God for the sake of all mankind is something that must be held in remembrance (Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24).
With these facts in mind it is difficult to understand the thought behind taking the Lord ’s Supper less often than once a week or at times other than on the first day of the week. As with anything Christians do in worship and praise to God there must be an example or command for us to follow. We see from Acts
20:7 when the disciples came together on the first day of the week one of the acts of worship they took part in was partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
It should be discouraging to all Christians to see others who do not take part in the memorial of Christ’s death on the cross in a scriptural manner. If Christ took the time to teach His disciples about this memorial then it should be equally as important to us as it was for Him.
As followers of Christ, it should be easy for us to understand the message behind the Lord ’s Supper and be willing to take part in that memorial on every first day of the week. The question is do you remember the death of Christ as found in the Bible? Do you partake of the Lord’s Supper in the scriptural manner?
Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
I love to sing To Canaan’s Land I’m on my Way. Each time the song is sung I can picture a beautiful, peaceful journey to a land where there will be “no sad farewells, no tear dimmed eyes, where all is peace and joy and love and the soul never dies.”
The Physical Canaan’s Land: Israel journeyed from Egypt to their Canaan Land. Israel was held in bondage to Egypt until God sent Moses to set them free. They were held in physical bondage by Pharaoh. However, Exodus 2:24 tells us that “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” He brought them out of bondage to reside in a place He had set aside for them, “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Canaan was the land promised to the Israelite children who would remain faithful. The Lord said, “I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.” (Leviticus 25:38). Ultimately, Joshua led the faithful Israelites into the Promised Land.
The Spiritual Canaan’s Land: The faithful child of God is also on a journey. Today, men can and are still held in bondage. Of course, this is the bondage of sin. Scripture tells us that we all sin from time to time (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10). While we are living in this condition, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Micah 3:4). However, God has provided a way of escape for us; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The bonds of sin are broken through obedience to His word (Romans 1:16; 6:17; Ephesians 2:1). Jesus promised a place prepared for those who would be faithful (John 14:1-4). This place is called Heaven. It is the spiritual Canaan’s Land reserved for the steadfast child of God. This Canaan is described as “…an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
Moses led Israel to freedom from bondage in Egypt. Jesus is the Savior who has made it possible for men today to be set free from the bondage to sin. He “…became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). It is only by and through Him that we can truly say, “to Canaan’s Land I’m on my way… where the soul never dies.”
Will you be in the number that will enter into the Promised Land?
Part 2 - Original Sin
As we continue to answer the question: “Where does the Bible say that?” We come to the next topic of study: Original Sin. The definition of Original Sin is a person who is born in sin. We want to see if the Bible does or does not teach such a doctrine.
The most common verse used in an attempt to prove when a person is born, they are sinful is Psalms 51:5 which says “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (NKJV). The problem is with the phrase or word used in various translations.
The problem, of course, is determining what the original text actually says. To do this, we need to look at the Hebrew language in which the Old Testament was written. In the original, the text reads “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” To read the original we see that the NKJV in this case is translated the same way. However, if we took the interpretations of some, they have man being brought into the world sinful. However, the original text does not say such. We must remember that the scribes of the Old Testament were very careful to write everything exactly as it was recorded. If a mistake was made they would burn that copy! Here, we see that the text actually says “brought forth.” This means the person was born into a world which is sinful. The person was not sinful but the world the person is now living in is sinful.
To clarify even further: In order for a person to be sinful, what must they do? They have to transgress God’s law to become a lawbreaker or sinful. With that being said, what sin has a new born child committed?
Still some teach that we “inherit” the sin of Adam and Eve. This is yet another attempt to get around what the Bible teaches in order to support the doctrines of men. Does the Bible say a person “inherits” the sin of Adam or any other person? Look at what the Bible does say “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” Ezekiel 18:20 (NKJV).
We could continue on and look at the various verses used to try and teach the false doctrine of Original Sin. The Bible, however clearly tells us that such a doctrine is false. Adam and Eve brought the first sin into the world but they did not pass down their sin. Sin itself cannot be passed down but a sinful way of life seen through the examples of those who have gone before us can be, and sadly often, is passed down through example.
If a person is born sinful, then the child is sinful even while in the mother’s womb. What about this Bible verse: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5, NKJV). This child was known before he left the womb — known by God — but was he sinful? If original sin is true, then he had to be sinful. Anyone can see the holes in this false doctrine. The child in this verse was obviously not sinful or born sinful.
Let’s go one step further. A child who dies before leaving the hospital — if born sinful — spends eternity where? Can you see the obvious problems with this teaching? The Bible teaches that a person who is too young to be able to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ is not lost. Nehemiah 8:2-3 “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (NKJV). Who are those who sometimes cannot understand? A child is not born saved and a child is not born lost. A child is innocent until they gain the ability to understand what it means to be a child of God
Read the two statements below and consider which has a more powerful impact on your thinking:
1. Turn away from sin and become a Christian because God loves you so very much (John 3:16).
2. Turn away from sin and become a Christian because if you do not you will live eternally in a burning
hell (Rev. 21:8).
Both statements are completely Biblical and true, however, it seems to me the latter statement has the greater impact. It contains the danger, the harm, and the punishment for not becoming a Christian.
God has placed in the Bible the two great motivators for becoming a Christian; pleasure and pain; heaven and hell. Those are the two great rewards that await every soul on earth; one is desired and the other is frightening (Matt. 25:14-46).
Bible preaching requires that these subjects not be ignored or neglected. I am a Christian and I remain a Christian because I have heard preaching on both subjects.
People become Christians because they want to obtain the blessings of heaven and avoid the torment of hell. Christians should welcome preaching on both of these vital subjects. This kind of preaching will help save us (1 Cor. 1:18-21), and it will help us become a more complete Christian (2 Tim. 3:16 – 4:2).
Why not choose heaven and avoid hell by becoming a Christian today? In eternity you will be so very glad that you did.
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