Continuing from last time we shall notice some of the things that are taught and practiced in regard to baptism. Comparing them with the New Testament we shall see both the fallacy and the truth respecting these contentions. Thanks to all of you that have made comments regarding the usefulness of the things previously presented.
ONE CAN FOLLOW THE TEACHING OF JESUS WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED
If one wishes to follow the things Jesus taught that are agreeable to himself, then the above statement is true, however, if one is to follow the teaching of Jesus in order to have the remission of past sins or the forgiveness from past sins, then the statement is far from the truth. The idea that we can be selective of which commandment of the Lord we will follow and which we will not follow and remain a follower of the Lord is false. Regarding baptism Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mk. 16:16). Anyone of normal intelligence reading that statement will not turn away from it and say; “I can follow Jesus and not be baptized.” The problem regarding the validity of baptism has arisen because men are stubborn and want their own way rather than to comply with the will of Jesus Christ. One preacher put the statement of Christ in the simplest of mathematical terms, as the following.
One Plus One = Two
Belief Plus Baptism = Salvation
On the other hand,
One Minus One = 0
Belief Minus Baptism = Nothing
Perhaps you can think of a way to exemplify what Jesus said better than that, but I must admit that it is beyond me how that could be stated in a way plainer than that! When a preacher, tract or book proclaims that one is saved the moment he trust Jesus as his personal Savior, before and without water baptism, whom shall we believe or trust, what is said by man or what is said by Jesus? Who is putting trust in Jesus, the person that does what Jesus says or the person who discards what Jesus says. If you and I believe the statement of a fellow human being—a statement that contradicts what Jesus said—are we to trust Jesus as our Savior—personal or otherwise? Jesus declared, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Again, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jn. 14:15; Jn. 15:15). When Jesus declared “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” what will a person who loves Jesus do? When Jesus commanded, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” what will a friend to Jesus do? Methinks to ask these questions is to answer them. Once more, Can one follow the teaching of Jesus without being baptized? An echo answers, Nooo.
CAN ONE FOLLOW THE TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED?
Peter’s teaching on Baptism is recorded in the very first Gospel sermon after Jesus resurrected. Convincing his hearers of their sins they inquired what they must do. In answer Peter commanded them to “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). None of normal intelligence will say, “Oh, I can obey Peter’s command and not be baptized.” Two things are emphasized in the statement and to leave either off is a repudiation of the total. If we want our own way rather than the Apostolic Way, then we can leave Baptism off, but if we follow the way of inspiration we must be Baptized to secure the remission of our sins. One preacher put the statement of Peter in simple mathematical terms, in the following manner:
One Plus One = Two
Repent Plus Baptism = Remission of sins
On the other hand
One Minus One = 0
Repent Minus Baptism = Nothing
When and if we hear a preacher or read where someone has written that we can secure remission of sins without Baptism, we immediately know that such a statement is not within the authority of Jesus Christ nor that which He delegated to Peter and the other Apostles, because Baptism is administered “in the name of (by the authority of) Jesus Christ.” Repentance is necessary to the remission of sins—without it there is not remission. In addition by the same authority Baptism is necessary to remission of sins—without it there is no remission.
We need to remember when Peter opened the door of the church to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house “he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48). That has a particular significance because baptism as you see was “in the name of the Lord.” The question can be asked, “what were those people baptized for?” The answer “for the remission of sins” as it was by the same authority (in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ), as were the people on Pentecost Acts 2:38.”
Then again, Peter wrote “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now saved us…” (I Pet. 3:21). An exceeding plain declaration is it not? What does Baptism do? Answer, “it saves us.” For a fuller discussion of this passage return to “THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM (Part I)” and read again “BAPTISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FORGIVINESS OF AN ALIEN’S SINS.” Can one follow the teaching of the Apostle Peter without being baptized for the remission of sins? The echo comes forth loudly, Nooo.eH
Furthermore, reading from Paul’s writings Romans 6:16-18, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye were to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” The Apostle first reminded them that at one time (in the past) they “were servants of sin.” Therefore, they were sinners, people estranged from God, people who were lost. That conclusion is irresistible. One who yields to sin is the servant of sin. It does not matter if a profession is made to the contrary—unless sin has been forgiven one is the servant of sin. At the same time and with the same logic, if one follows (obeys) righteousness he is not in sin. As hard as it is to conceive for us, there were those in New Testament times that contended that one who obeys the Gospel of Christ rejected his relationship to Abraham and was therefore a sinner in so doing (see I Jn. 3:9). The Romans knew the truth: to yield to sin made one a servant of sin—to yield to righteous made one a servant of righteousness. Their condition had changed from being a servant of sin to what they now were servants of righteousness.
These people had been in Paul’s’ prayers of thanksgiving as he had thanked God that their past had been repudiated when they rejected a life of sin by “obeying from the heart that form of doctrine that delivered them from sin” and being a servant thereto. At what moment were they free from sin? The Apostle says it was THEN, when they obeyed that form of doctrine. Was it WHEN they believed—No. Was it WHEN they repented—No. Was it when the confessed their faith in Christ—No. It was THEN—THEN WHEN they OBEYED.
PREVIOUS AT THE TIME AFTER
Were Servants Of Obeyed From The Heart Became Servants
SIN THEN Of Righteousness
Made Free From Sin
The only question for us is what and how did they obey to so drastically change their life from being a servant of sin to become a servant of righteousness. There are many theories and some guesses about the matter, none of which can satisfy the longing heart and the will of God. Thanks be to God we do not have to rely on a theory concocted by some man, nor do we find it necessary to listen to some guess or “think so” of human intelligence, no, because we have the answer given by inspiration. The answer of the anxious inquirer today is the answer that was supplied the Romans. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4). Being Baptized (immersed in water), put them and us into Jesus Christ. From that watery grave we raise up to walk in “newness of life.” The “new life” begins after Baptism NOT before Baptism. Therefore the THEN of verse 18 when they were “free from sin” is at the moment they were Baptized (immersed in water)! To assume salvation, remission of sins or freedom from sin before one is Baptized is to array ourselves against the Word of God.
To the Galatians the Apostle Paul wrote, “For ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:26). Pausing here a moment to reflect upon that statement, we know that all of us if children of God, we are such by faith. Does that mean “faith only” or that we became children of God the “moment we believed?” Shall we allow Paul to answer? Notice carefully the next verse, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” How many are children of God by faith? The inspired answer, “as many as have been baptized into Christ.” (Gal. 3:27). What about those who have not been baptized into Christ? Does that mean they are by faith children of God while they are not in Christ? That does not take much thought—those who are in Christ are equal to those who are God’s children by faith. The passage is inclusive and exclusive at the same time. Can one follow the teaching of the Apostle Paul without being Baptized? The answer is Nooo.
We are told about the first converts to Christianity, (some 3,000 of them), all of whom had “gladly received their word and were baptized.” These adhered precisely to the teaching (or doctrine) of the Apostles. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42). What think you (?) did they tell others that baptism was not necessary or that they could follow Apostolic teaching while neglecting baptism. To ask such a question is to answer it. We cannot follow the teaching of the Apostles without being baptized and telling others to likewise be baptized.
Barney Owens 1510
11560 Lippleman Road
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30 P.M.
Saturday 6:00 P.M.
Lord’s Day 10:30 A.M. (and) 3:00 P.M.
Preaching By: Brother Kevin Presley of Dothan, AL