1) IS BAPTISM ESSENTIAL ? WHY?
Is baptism essential? And if it is, how is it?
Acts 2:38 says , "Then Peter said unto them, Repent , and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Peter was obviously literal when he said to repent, as in turn from sin, as part of salvation. Luke 13:3 "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Proverbs 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Since his answer to their question, How do we get saved (Read Acts 2:37) involved REPENTANCE as an essential part ( it wasn`t optional ), so the rest of his commands were as equally important. The scripture says 'be' baptized, inferring to an action, since repentance is the first essential part of salvation then baptism is as equally essential to salvation.
In Mathew 26:27-28, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; (28) for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Jesus tells his disciples that remission of sins is through his blood. So how do we apply the cleansing power of Jesus' blood in the plan of salvation? Simply through baptism, by submersion, in his name, after all it was Jesus' blood that was shed for many as the scripture says. At repentance Jesus forgives you but your sins still need to be washed away, and that happens in baptism.
In Acts 10:43-48, Peter was commanded of God to go and speak unto the house of Cornelius about salvation. His message was to them, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." While Peter spoke those words the Holy Ghost fell on all them. Then he commanded them to be baptized. First they saw that they had been granted repentance because God just gave them HIs Spirit. So Peter told them to be baptized. He saw that they obeyed step one, Repent, ( and had received God`s Spirit ) they had only one more step left, be baptized. Realize that his sermon was that whoever believes in Jesus shall receive remission of sins. You can cross reference the word remission in this passage back to Acts 2:38, when Peter told them to be baptized for the remission of sins. Whoever believes, Peter said, had the promise that their sins would be washed away. After Peter spoke to them about the Son of God, and they believed, God finished His good work in them in fulfilling His promise that all who believe would receive remission of sins. Luke 1:77-78 "To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,"
In Acts 8:12, it says , "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized , both men and women." Again, when they believed they were baptized, receiving the promise that whoever believes would receive remission of sins. There are many instances that show that after one believed they were baptized. Like the eunuch that Phillip spoke to about the Son of God. After he believed he said, ( Acts 8:36- 38) "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. 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." Notice that, once again, after he believed on the name of Jesus Christ, he was granted remission of sins through baptism.
In Acts 16:29-34, the Phillipian jailor asked Paul and Silas What he must do to be saved. They answered him that he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they spoke unto him and all who were in his house. Then they baptized them, and they rejoiced. " Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized , he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." ( Acts 16:29-34 ) The Bible says that our source of rejoicing is because we are born again . So evidently , they rejoiced because: they believed and were baptized -- showing that baptism is what washes away our sins. Again, God had finished His promise in him, that after he believed, he received remission of sin.
In Acts 19:1-7, Paul found a group of disciples, and asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They replied , "...We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." After Paul heard this, he asked them then by what baptism were they baptized into . They answered that it was John`s baptism. Paul explained that John`s baptism was unto repentance, that they should believe on Him which was to come. After they heard that, Paul baptized them in the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. Paul knew that it was so important that once we believe that we must be baptized, that he commanded them to be baptized again. This time in Jesus name. Afterward Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. Once again, another instance of when one believes, they were baptized in Jesus name. God fulfilling his promise in them; that whoever believes would receive remission of sins.
One of the most convincing scriptures is the conversion of Saul. Ananias came to Saul, after he converted and believed on Jesus` name , so that he would receive his sight. Paul had repented and received the Holy Ghost. So wasn`t he born again? He just repented, he believed on Jesus' name, but Ananias' answer was still, " And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Ananias knew Saul `s sins weren`t washed away at repentance, but that he still needed to be buried in Jesus`s blood in Jesus`s name for his sins to be removed. " And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight.
And the same hour I looked up upon him. and he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." ( Acts 22: 12-16 ) ( Also see Acts 9:17-18 ).
Two more references that sins are not washed away at repentance is with two other Christians found in the book of Acts. In Acts 16:14-15, a certain woman named Lydia, which worshiped God, heard Paul preaching. The Lord opened her heart that she attended unto the things which Paul spoke. She was then baptized, and her house; once she believed. The Bible says that she worshiped God , obviously she was repented of her sins. But God still opened her heart to Paul's preaching, to finish His good work in her, and she was baptized. If all she needed to do was repent, why then did God open her heart to be baptized? "And A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." ( Acts 16:14-15 ) Also, in Acts 18:7-8 a certain man named Justus, one that worshiped God, and Cyprus believed on the Lord. And many Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized. Once Again, Justus worshiped God; but after he believed he was baptized. God fulfilling His promise again that whoever believes will receive remission of sins.
1 Peter 3:20-21 says, " Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us ( not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, ) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: " The flood that saved Noah and his family from the wrath of God on the sinful world was a parallel to baptism which is now come through Jesus Christ. The part that says, " The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us ..." When we are buried in baptism, we are buried into the death of Christ. And when you rise, you rise to new life in Christ Jesus. " Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." ( Colossians 2:12;) ( read Romans 6:1-4 )Baptism wouldn`t work without the Son of God buried first. John`s baptism didn`t wash away sins because God`s blood wasn`t shed yet; and we couldn`t be buried into Him without Him first being buried. If we are baptized in Jesus Christ`s name, then we are buried with Him and covered in His blood. The Bible makes it clear that our act of baptism doesn't save us, it`s the blood we are being buried into that saves us. In Galatians 3:26-27, Paul says, " For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." In other words, Paul was saying , " You guys are God`s children because you`ve put your faith in Him, not that you can earn it. For any of you who were baptized in Jesus Christ`s name have put on Christ." Baptism isn`t a work it is faith. Our actions can never save, so baptism isn`t a work. We receive Christ`s work in being buried by faith in His blood, which we are baptized into.
If we are baptized we didn`t earn salvation through baptism, we received it through faith in baptism of His blood. In John 3: 1-7, verse 5 ," Jesus answered, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." This means baptism in Jesus name and the receiving the Holy Ghost. Realize Jesus said water and the Spirit. He didn`t say "THE WATER", He only said water but he clarified Which Spirit. There is a specific Spirit we must be born of, the Holy Ghost, but there is no specific water. If He had said "THE WATER", as he did with "The Holy Ghost". But He made it clear that He simply meant physical, literal water-- baptism. " There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother`s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee , Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." ( John 3:1-7 )
It`s so important that Jesus, knowing that He is our example, told John to baptize Him. Matthew 3:13-15 " Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." Baptism was part of what was to to fulfill all righteousness, so he did it as an example.
One last thing, Mark 16:15-16 says, " And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Why did Jesus say, "... and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'' Is baptism essential? YES Jesus was, in other words, saying, whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved. But if one doesn't believe , then baptism will do him no good, since he doesn't even believe on my name. Don`t even worry about baptism unless your willing to repent and believe. It`s so important that Jesus told us not only to preach the word, but to baptize them that repent of their sins. Realize in all these scriptures, the Bible says that believing Jesus is God is not ACTUALLY BELIEVING; but actually turning to Him in repentance and faith. Then baptism will wash away our sins, because His blood won`t cover us without us first turning to Him with our hearts. ( Hebrews 10: 22 ) When we repent, we are forgiven; and when we're baptized, our sins are washed away.
-- So in short, YES! baptism is essential to salvation.
Jesus' Name or Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Jesus' Name or Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Since baptism is essential, how do you get baptized? Is it in Jesus` name or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
Throughout the Bible we see that the name of God is what saves us, through His blood. Everything is to be done in His name. The apostles preached, healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils all in Jesus` name. When Goliath came to battle David he brought weapons with him. Yet David came against him in the name of the Lord. ( 1 Samuel 17:45 ) . David being a mere boy killed Goliath with a simple stone through God`s name. Jesus constantly tells us to call upon His name; that those who believe can work miracles in His name. Mark 16:17-18, " And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Everything in the Bible has been done in Jesus` name. So wouldn`t baptism be done in His name as well?
In Acts 4:12 it says, " Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." The Bible says that no other name can save us but Jesus; we MUST use His name or we are simply not saved. There is only one way to Heaven ( John 14:6 ) In Luke 24:47, it says, " And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nation, beginning at Jerusalem. " You can cross reference the part that says " ... remission of sins should be preached in his name..." with Acts 2:38, where it says baptism in Jesus` name is for the remission ( removal ) of sins. " Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. " It clearly says to baptize in the name of Jesus.
Jesus, while praying to the Father , said to sanctify His children through His word. ( John 17:17 ) " Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Revelation 19:13 says that Jesus` name is the Word of God. " And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of
God." We are sanctified by God`s word, and the Bible is clear that Jesus` name is the word of God; we are sanctified by His name.
The Bible is very clear that throughout scripture, we must be saved by Jesus` name alone. ( Acts 4:12 ).
The one part people get caught on is Matthew 28:19, which says, " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: " So which is it? In Jesus` name, or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Listen to these key words Jesus said that will answer that: 1) Jesus said to baptize them in the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He said NAME, singular. He didn`t say baptize them in the names of, but in the singular name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He was merely clarifying that the Father, Son, And Holy Ghost have one name and are one God. ( Deuteronomy 6:4 ) " Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: " The disciples understood this quite clearly; they only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was merely giving us the name of the God head. And 2) notice that again, he said, NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names, they are titles.
He told the disciples to baptize them in the singular name of God, not in titles. Titles can not save us.
We must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which is Jesus. Remember whose blood was shed for many - Jesus`.
So, baptism is in Jesus` name alone for remission of sins; an important part of being born again.
Sprinkling or Submersion?
John 3:23 says John the Baptist was baptizing in AEnon , because there was much water there. " And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. " He knew one must be fully submerged in baptism. If it was just sprinkling he would not have needed " much water ". ( Matthew 3:16-17 ) "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. " For Him to come up out of the water he had to be in it. When Philip baptized the Eunuch In Acts 8:38-39, " 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. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." Romans 6:4 says, " 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. " This verse says we are buried with Christ in baptism. Buried means to be completely covered in dirt, not just sprinkled by it. " Hebrews 10:22 says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." The word sprinkled is used, but notice something: Hebrews 9 and 10 weren't giving instruction on how to be baptized, nor was it telling the Hebrews to be baptized . These chapters were simply saying that the old testament sacrifices were a shadow of things to come in Christ Jesus. That, as once animals had to be killed, now Jesus laid himself down as the spotless lamb, being the final sacrifice. That, as once they needed animal's blood as a temporary covering, they now needed Christ's blood alone. It was showing that Jesus Christ had fulfilled all the old testament ordinances. But notice in Hebrews 10:22, it says, "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." When it did speak on literal baptism it said, "and our bodies washed with pure water." It put a difference between the two words "Sprinkled" and "Washed". It says our bodies are to be washed in pure water. In order for the body to be washed, you have to go down into the water, you can't just sprinkle your head. Every time someone is baptized, it's shown to be under water in the Name of Jesus.
When to Baptize and Who can baptize
The Bible is very clear that once somebody repents and puts their trust in Jesus Christ, they are ready to be baptized. Acts 22:16 says, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." In this chapter, Paul had already repented and put his trust in Jesus Christ. When Ananias came to Paul, he knew that Paul was already a Christian, so he told him to not wait any longer, but to be baptized. There was nothing more to wait for. Throughout the Bible, we see many instances where the apostles met other Christians who hadn't been baptized yet. Immediately they would be baptized (Acts 19:1-7; Acts 16:14-15; Acts 18:7-8.) Many of these Christians actually did not know that they had to be baptized. Several years went on before they actually got baptized. But Jesus promised to finish His good work in them (Philippians 1:6.) So weather one is a new convert or if they have been a believer for sometime, there is never the "right time'' for a Christian to be baptized. They don't have to wait for anything else. Once you repent and trust in Jesus you are forgiven, and you are then ready for your sins to be washed away by his blood in baptism. Scripture never shows anyone other than a believer baptizing a believer.
Some people don`t understand that babies don`t need to get baptized. Baptism is only for those who repent and trust in Jesus. Babies and children ( usually up to about six to seven years old ) are too young to be able to make that decision on their own. They don`t understand sin.
"Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it."
~ Deuteronomy 1:39
The Bible says that if one does not understand sin, then sin is not held against them.
" Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. "
~ John 9:41
Baptism is to wash away sins. If Jesus doesn`t hold sin against babies and children, then there is nothing to wash away. The Bible says that they are innocent and belong to God.
" Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,
(21) That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? "
~ Ezekiel 16:20-21
" Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. "
~ Psalms 127:3
" Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
(14) But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. "
~ Matthew 19:13-14
Jesus said that we must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.
" And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
(3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. "
~ Matthew 18:2-3
The Bible is clear, children do not understand sin, therefore God does not hold it against them. And because of this, they belong to God.
So, children do not need to be baptized.
Baptized In Running Water:
Some think that one must be baptized in running water to be saved, but the Bible doesn`t say that. Running water is never mentioned as being necessary in baptism. The Bible is clear that the saving power of baptism isn`t found in the water, but in Jesus` Name. It is His blood by His name that we are cleansed in baptism, being completely submerged.
If Someone Receives the Holy Ghost Before Baptism, Does that Mean Baptism Isn't Essential?
There are several scriptures that show some people are baptized before they receive the Holy Spirit, and that others receive God's Spirit and then were baptized. There is no specific order for these two. In the book of Acts, Paul received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized. This also happened several times throughout Acts (Acts 10:44-48) But in other scriptures, some were baptized first, then received God's Spirit (Acts 19:1-6.) In both cases, baptism was necessary.
Outward Sign of an Inward Change?
Is Baptism a Works Trip:
Many people think that baptism isn`t essential because we are saved by grace through faith. They consider baptism to be a works trip. The Bible actually says the opposite. Yes, we are saved by grace though faith alone, but that doesn`t eliminate the need to repent. Just the same, we are saved by grace through faith; but that doesn`t eliminate the need to be baptized.
Galatians 3, Paul explains that we are saved by grace; no works at all. But then, at the end of the chapter he correlates baptism with faith.
" For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
( 27 ) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
( 28 ) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
( 29 ) And if ye be Christ`s, then are ye Abraham`s seed, and heirs according to the promise. "
Baptism is literally an act of faith. Just as repentance is, baptism is faith. Just as you have faith in Christ to forgive you when you repent, you have faith in Christ to wash away your sins when you are baptized, being covered in in His righteousness. This is faith with works, not works. Our "act" of baptism has nothing to do with our salvation. " Our getting " baptized doesn`t save us; it is the blood of Christ that we are buried in through Jesus` name in baptism by faith in His blood. It is not a works trip, it is applying God`s blood by faith.