Publish by Elder K. Clark
This article was written to defend and preserve the truth and the purity of water baptism as it is written in the Holy Scriptures. This article is an effort to share God’s word with those that desire to understand the subject in its purest form. The focus of this article is simply matters of doctrine only, and its operations as pertaining to the church in this present time. The ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ is dedicated to restoring the original principles and teaching of the holy bible as they were given by the Lord Jesus and confirmed by the apostles that heard him. Baptism in water in my opinion is one of the foremost greatest controversial issues ever debated in the alleged Christian faith. There are literally thousands of debates, articles, websites, blogs, books, tracks and theological resources either in favor of or against the subject. However with all the smoke on the subject, it all boils down to on innocent question, “Baptism, whence was it, from heaven or of men”?
I deliberately titled this article “Baptism, whence was it, from heaven or of men?” Because once we define where baptism originated, we can easily determine whether baptism is considered necessary. In fact, Jesus poses the same question to the religious leaders in his time, saying, and John’s baptism, where did it come from, heaven or from men? You see once this simple question is answered the debate is immediately over. Why so? Simple, if baptism in water came from God then it is:
- Essential to Salvation.
- NOT a work of men.
- A work of faith.
Therefore we are indebted to answer the question “Baptism, whence was it, from heaven or of men?” That is to say, is baptism spiritual or carnal, did God ordain it or did man originate it? The blessed Apostle James said, Do not be deceived, my dear friends! “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning”. (James 1:16-17) So is baptism good or evil did it come from God or did it come from man? John the baptizer recognized the importance of letting the people know the importance of baptism, and that he wasn’t some rebel starting some man made religion saying, “God sent me to baptize with water, saying unto me, upon whom you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptize with the Holy Ghost”. (John 1:33) John confessed that he was sent by God to baptize with water, as a result no one can conclude that baptism is a work of men hands, otherwise John’s calling and testimony was false and Christ wasted his time being baptized of him.
A careful analysis of the Law of Moses and the prophets we would immediately notice that baptism of water in the New Testament was predicted in the Old Testament in types and shadows. The Apostle Peter too gives evidence to one of the many types and shadows of the Old Testament on water baptism when he declare that the prophet Noah build an Ark by the authority of God and saved his family by water. He continues on the matter saying, this symbol was pointing to the New Testament water baptism, which now saves us. It is not the washing of body, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (1Peter 3:20-21)
Now the anti-Baptist critic’s response to the Apostle Peter analogy of Noah and the Ark saying, Noah wasn’t saved by water, he was saved by the Ark. But the Apostle Peter said, “The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water”. The anti-baptism brothers deny the words of the blessed Apostle Peter and determine that the apostle was in error for making this analogy of Noah. The Apostle Peter filled with the Holy Ghost and being moved by the spirit to write said, “The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water”. The apostle Peter taught the natural water in Noah’s day, had a spiritual meaning that pointed to our baptism in water, which our anti-Baptist friends can’t comprehend because the percepts are spiritually discerned. Let’s take another peek at Peter’s letter there is something very interesting I’d like to bring to focus and it reads.
(1Pe 3:20-21) “These were the spirits of those who had not obeyed God when he waited patiently during the days that Noah was building his boat. The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water, which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you. (It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience.) It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.
There’s two key points in Peter letter, first Noah’s flood is linked symbolically to water baptism and secondly water baptism is link directly too the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s review the passage again removing the phrase in the brackets ().
“The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water, which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you, it (BAPTISM) saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.
According to the Apostle Peter’s letter Baptism of water saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle by the Holy Ghost repeats the same message in his letter to the church in Colossi saying, “For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death”. Again Paul states baptism and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are one while addressing the church in Rome saying, “By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life”. The apostles taught with one voice that water baptism was directly link to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result, if water baptism is not necessary for salvation then neither is it necessary for one to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be saved. Can anyone deny the resurrection of Christ and be saved? Can anyone not believe in the resurrection of Christ and be saved? No! In that case, how can anyone deny, reject, or forbid water baptism when both Peter and Paul indicates that water baptism as a direct link to faith in the resurrection of Christ, saying, when believers give themselves to water baptism in the name of Lord Jesus Christ they are confessing that Jesus Christ died and rose from the grave. At the same time they are also identifying themselves with him while there sin is being removed through faith.
This at length conclude why Apostle Peter question the Jewish brethrens in the mist of the house of Cornelius in Acts 10 after the Holy Ghost was pour out on the gentiles saying, “Can any man forbid water baptism”? We aren’t allowed to forbid anyone from being baptized. Consequently, if anyone denies the resurrection they are simply lost. The apostle Peter answers his own question by commanding the gentiles to be baptized in water according to the Acts of the Apostles chapter 10. As a reminder, the Apostle Peter is an extremely important figure within the early church doctrine on baptism, besides this, none of the apostles ever taught that baptism wasn’t necessary; neither did they teach that water baptism is an outward expression of the inward faith. This is clearly a matter of human opinion to justify why some many will continue to deny the resurrection through the rejection of baptism.
The biblical facts are clear on the power of baptism; ‘We are buried with him and share his death” “We are planted together in the likeness of his death” “Our old man is crucified with him,” “The body of sin (the operation of sin) is destroyed” “We are raisin up from the dead d by the glory of the Father” “We are quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” “We receive the remission of sin” through faith in Christ resurrection. Therefore all believers must be baptized in water as an act of obedience and faith in Christ resurrection.
Contrary to the voice of the multitudes, confession is more then repeating what is known as the sinner prayer (see: The Sinners Prayer). True confession is in action displayed in both word and deed. For example, here is a verse of scripture that is often used to show that confession without works is all we need to be saved; “If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Roman 10:9).
However, what nearly everyone seem to always miss in the simple verse is the latter part, “And shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead”. No one can believe in there heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and reject baptism, to believe in the resurrection is to except baptism according to the teaching of Christ saying, “Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be save”. And again the scriptures speak, “Many of them believed his message and were baptized” (Acts 2:41). “But when they believed Philip’s message about the good news of the Kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Act 8:12). “Simon himself also believed; and after being baptized, he stayed close to Philip and was astounded when e saw the great wonders and miracles that were being performed” (Act 8:13). “Crispus, who was the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his family; and many other people in Corinth heard the message, believed, and were baptized” (Act 18:8).
The scripture in harmony teaches both faith and baptism, not faith without baptism. Once we have faith in the Gospel we must be baptized. If baptism is rejected, then the resurrection of Jesus Christ is also rejected. If baptism is rejected then the counsel of God is rejected for the scriptures, “Everyone had been listening to John. Even the tax collectors had obeyed God and had done what was right by letting John baptize them. But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God by not being baptized by John” (Luke 7:29-30). If baptism in water is rejected the Gospel is rejected and the counsel of God is rejected.
(Act 8:26-38) “And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that get down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join your self to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand thou what thou read? And he said how, can I except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of who speak the prophet this of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, if you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him”.
A key point here is the Eunuch’s question. “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized”? Why did the eunuch ask about water baptism when the scriptures only state that Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus”? Simple, no one can preach Jesus without preaching the resurrection of Christ which in turns will always lead to the teaching of baptism of water and conversion to the faith. No one can preach Jesus and leave out baptism in water, without forsaking the Holy Scriptures. So what hinder the eunuch from being baptized? Unbelief, it’s the only valid reason not to baptize. In truth, we can clearly see that God send Philip to the eunuch, for the scriptures states “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join your self to this chariot”.
Therefore Philip was lead by God to baptize the eunuch in water. Likewise God also send Peter unto the house of Cornelius, for the spirit said to Peter, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them and there the apostle baptism Cornelius household. These scriptures along with many others are more then enough to convince any pure hearted person that baptism is essential to our salvation. John the baptizer was sent by God to baptize and the apostles were sent by Christ to baptize. As a result, it would be pure negligent to teach that baptism is a work of man when its origin is God. Baptism is a work of faith (as clearly outline in this article not a work) in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and anyone that reject baptism reject the fact that God raise Jesus from the dead. Anyone that rejects baptism rejects God holy word and work and therefore can not be saved under any conditions. Let every man and woman submit to the will of God through baptism in the name Jesus Christ for the remission of sin that we might be blameless in the day of the coming of God with great power and glory.
In ending, as a result of the facts here in this article, the list of questions at the beginning of the article has been answered. If baptism is ordained of God then baptism is:
- Essential to Salvation.
- NOT a work of men.
- A work of faith.