Believers Baptism (continued 4)

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM

(Continued from 3/20/13)

We are in the process of considering that -

Some verses are misapplied by those who would teach that baptism is essential to salvation.

II Peter 1:20-21 - 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

This passage teaches that no text of Scripture stands alone. This means that every statement is in perfect harmony with the entire Word of God. Even though one statement at first glance might appear to be contradictory, we know that it cannot be contradictory, and we know that it must be our understanding that is faulty. Whereas there are over 150 statements in the New Testament that salvation is by faith alone, there are only about 6 verses which baptismal regenerationists cite in an attempt to prove that baptism is essential to salvation. If they stood alone, or if they were removed from their context, and if there were no other Scriptural teaching to the contrary, some of them would appear to teach that salvation comes through baptism. However, when examined in their context and in the light of the entire Word of God, the difficulties in these 6 verses are easily explained.

Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

Some assume that the washing of regeneration is baptism, but there is no good reason to do so. Washing simply means cleansing. Our sins were cleansed when we were born again. It was the Holy Spirit who caused us to be born again. In the Greek "the washing of regeneration" and "the renewing of the Holy Spirit" are actually two ways of saying the same thing. It is understood as saying, "the washing of regeneration, that is, the renewing of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 22:16 - "Be baptized and wash away thy sins." Baptism pictures that which has already taken place. Our sins have already been cleansed in our salvation, and we have already been united to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. I Corinthians 15:8 indicates that Paul considered his salvation to be when be saw the Lord on the Damascus Road. He was later baptized and his baptism pictured his salvation experience.

Galatians 3:27 - For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

From this an inference is made that being without baptism is being without Christ. However, Galatians 3:26 says, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." If Paul meant in verse 27 that baptism were necessary for salvation, he would have contradicted what he wrote in v. 26. Paul is simply stating that as many of the saved Galatians as had been baptized into Jesus Christ have put on Christ. To put on Christ means to imitate him.

Our conclusion: The New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

VI. Has baptism replaced circumcision as a sign of the covenant?

John R. Rice has well written in his Bible Baptism on page 39 "It is true that boy babies were circumcised in Israel when eight days old (Gen. 17:12). But baptism and circumcision are two entirely different matters. Circumcision was for boys and men only, while baptism is for both sexes alike. Circumcision was for every boy and man of Hebrew blood, while baptism is only for saved people. Circumcision and baptism mean entirely different things. Circumcision meant that this child was an Israelite, one of the chosen race by natural birth. Baptism means that the one baptized is born again and one of God's children by a birth from Heaven. One has no right to be baptized until he is born as God's child. The Bible does not say one word about dedicating little children to the Lord by any kind of Christian ceremony, and certainly does not mention baptism of babies anywhere in the Bible."

VII. Where have people gone wrong on baptism?

The belief that baptism was necessary for salvation eventually led to the baptism of infants.

Clinic baptism - Novatian about 250 A.D. was dangerously ill and about to die. He had not been baptized, but he desired to be baptized before he died. Those who were to baptize him thought that he would die if they attempted it, so they poured water profusely over him as he lay in bed in order to resemble as much as possible a submersion. The process began to be accepted gradually.

In the 8th century Pope Stephen II tolerated pouring for baptism, but it was made an option by the Council of Ravenna in the 14th century. In the 16th century it was generally adopted as a matter of convenience. It was adopted first in France and then spread to other Catholic countries. The Reformation leaders did not change baptism. In England in 1643 Parliament made sprinkling the legal mode. Other countries did the same.

However, had God intended baptismal regeneration, or infant baptism, or sprinkling, or pouring, He could have revealed it in the Bible. Since He did not, we can only conclude that He did not intend them, and they remain today mere human inventions.

VIII. Who should be baptized?

No babies

Some quote Mark 10:14 ("Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God") in an attempt to establish Biblical grounds for infant baptism. However, those children in Mark 10 were not infants, and the verse has absolutely nothing to do with baptism.

Some refer to the Household Baptisms in Acts in an effort to establish Biblical grounds for infant baptism. It is reasoned in passages such as Acts 16:15 and Acts 16:33 that since entire households were baptized, there were very likely infants within these households. It would be far easier to assume that, when entire households were baptized, every child was old enough to believe; and it would be more consistent with the rest of Scripture.

Some reason that baptism replaces circumcision as a sign of the covenant. They reason that since circumcision was performed on infants, baptism should be also. However, as we have already demonstrated, baptism did not take the place of circumcision as a sign of the covenant even if some want to reason that it did.

Not one instance of a baby being baptized will be found in the New Testament.

Only believers should be baptized - Mt. 28: 19, 20

Every believer should be baptized - Mt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41

Only persons coming into membership in the local church should be baptized Acts 2:41 , 47 The only exception to this is the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 who was just passing through the area.

IX. Who should do the baptizing?

Baptism is performed by the local church.

Mt. 28:19, 20;

Acts 2:41 , 47

Usually the pastor does the baptizing, but actually anyone in the local church could perform it as far as the Bible is concerned. It need not be an ordained minister as some teach.

Have you been baptized by immersion after your salvation? James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

XI. Conclusions:

Immersion is the only Scriptural form of baptism.

A church which practices sprinkling is not Scriptural.

Baptism always follows salvation.

Every believer is to be baptized without exception.

Every believer who has not been baptized is a disobedient believer.

A church which does not practice or require baptism for membership is an unScriptural church.