IN THE WORD

As essential as the needs for belief and repentance, so is the need for water baptism and Spirit baptism. We will go over water baptism in this chapter and then we will cover Spirit baptism in the following chapter. For the sake of the moment I want to direct your attention to Ephesians 4:5. It reads quite simply, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism". Through the aid of scripture, we will establish the oneness of baptism as stated above. God has provided to us the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He has also given to us baptism by water. These two works are one in the regenerative process. When we use the term "regeneration", we are referring to the "new birth". They are interchangeable terms. They are used together to bring about the new nature. As II Corinthians 5:17 states: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". Water baptism and Spirit baptism work together in that aspect. They bring about the new birth in a unique oneness. Belief and repentance are separate works that also have the same unique oneness as baptism. A person can believe in the existence of God and not be saved. Belief alone is unacceptable, for even the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19). A person who truly believes, also applies the apostolic teachings to their lives because of their belief. Thus, a true believer will repent and a repentant person is a believer. So you see, belief alone is not possible and repentance alone is not possible; but the two work together to prepare the believer for the regeneration process. Let's move up to the next step.

The Necessity of Water Baptism


Belief comes first, followed naturally by repentance. After repentance comes water baptism. Repentance and water baptism are tied together in a unique oneness. Peter said in Acts 2:38 "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...".
bibleSo we know that remission (removal) of sins comes through repentance and water baptism. Peter did not say "Repent for the remission of sins" nor did he say "Be baptized for the remission of sins". He said "Repent, and be baptized...in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins". He joined these two together under divine direction to teach the world that remission of sins comes only through repentance and water baptism in Jesus name. Where did he receive the authority to say such a thing? Jesus gave him the authority in Matthew 16:19 when he received the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus went on to tell him "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven". Peter was also there in Matthew 28:19 when Jesus told the disciples "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them...". Another account in Mark 16:16 records Jesus as saying "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...". Luke 24:47 records Jesus as saying "...repentance and remission of sins should be preached...". Jesus began these preparations in his earthly ministry. He told Nicodemus in John 3:5 "...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". Through this, we know that Water baptism and Spirit baptism are one. Through these scriptures we know that Jesus endorsed the necessity of water baptism. The apostles endorsed it as well. To discover New Testament salvation, the book of Acts is the place to look. The Old Testament gives "types" and "shadows" of New Testament salvation. The gospels give "hints" and "tips" for New Testament salvation; but the church did not begin until Acts chapter 2. To discover the need for baptism, we need to look to Acts.

The Apostles Baptism


The first reference to the apostles baptism (for a full account, it will be necessary for you to read it on your own) occurred in the second chapter of Acts. The Holy Spirit had just been poured out, and several Jews had questions concerning exactly what it was they were hearing. Then Peter, having the keys to the kingdom of heaven, preached the first apostolic sermon, using scriptures from the Torah (Old Testament), he declared unto them that it was the Lord whom they had crucified and who had shed forth His Spirit, which they could now "see and hear" (vs. 33). At this, verse 37 says that they were pricked in their hearts. They immediately questioned Peter as to what they should do. Their belief was manifested at this point, so Peter proceeded to the next step. He said "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...". Peter continued to preach to them and those who accepted his message were gladly baptized (vs. 41). Baptist dogma (teaching or belief) holds this scripture as a tenet of joining the church body after salvation has already been attained through belief. At this point we must be sure to emphasize the fact that belief alone is not equivalent to salvation. Because a person believes in Jesus Christ does not make him/her saved. Salvation cannot come through belief alone. God gave us repentance, water baptism, Spirit baptism, His word and holiness as necessary means to attain and maintain salvation. Are all these things all vain? Of course not. However, they would be if belief is all it took. Allow us to justify what we have claimed.

The next baptism occurred in chapter eight, beginning with verse 14: "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." The Samarians had received the word of God and were baptized in Jesus name, so apparently they "believed" in Jesus.
bibleA notable fact is that it was not enough that they "believed" and was baptized, because they sent to them Peter and John who prayed for them to receive the Holy Ghost. According to man denominations, the sinner receives the Holy Ghost at the moment of "believing" after they have prayed the sinners prayer and "accepted" Christ. However, in this chapter we see that a man named Simon, a sorcerer of Samaria, believed and was baptized but was not accepted by God. Instead he was ordered to repent because his heart was still not right. So you can see that it takes more than "belief" and that it is not us that accepts Christ, but Christ that accepts us. We will need the full gospel to be saved....belief, repentance, water baptism, the Holy Ghost and holiness (without which no man shall see the Lord -Hebrews 12:14).
In Acts 8:36-38 we see that belief must precede water baptism as the next conversionary experience takes place. In Acts 9:18 we see the infamous Saul's conversion to Christianity as he is baptized in Jesus name (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:1-11). In Acts 10 the Holy Ghost is poured out on the Gentiles as they received the word (they knew it had been poured out because they heard them speak in tongues). It was necessary for them to be baptized and Peter "commanded" them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. In Acts 16:14-15, a woman named Lydia believed and was baptized. In acts 16:31 Paul and Silas told a prison guard that he must believe in order to be saved. The man believed and was baptized. Please note that to believe is to keep God's commandments (John 14:15, 21; 15:10; I Cor. 7:19; I Thes. 4:2; I John 2:3-4).
directive Jesus gave a directive to His disciples to baptize. The apostle Peter commanded baptism. You will be saved if you believe because you will adorn the full gospel of Christ. Men and woman of Corinth believed and followed through with baptism as commanded (Acts 18:8). In Acts 19:1-6, we see that the disciples of John the Baptist had to be re-baptized because they were not baptized in the name of Jesus.
Many believe that the term "in the name of" means "by the authority of". This is true. Which is why scripture is so adamant concerning the use of Jesus name in baptism. Trinitarians, in particular, use this as an excuse not to use the name Jesus in water baptism; preferring to use the tri-title formula of Matthew 28:19, which also says "...in the name of...". Jesus told them to do something and they did what they were told. They did not simply repeat the statement that was made, but they heard, understood and obeyed what was said.
no repeat They baptized in Jesus name under His authority. There's authority in His name (Ph'p. 2:10; Col. 3:17; Acts 4:12). This is why scripture teaches us to baptize in His name. Everything done in word and deed should be administered in the name of the Lord. We bless in Jesus name; we pray in Jesus name; we eat in Jesus name; we heal in Jesus name; we cast out devils in Jesus name; but when we baptize we say "Father, Son and Holy Ghost"? No. We use Jesus name for that too!
John the Baptist baptized under the authority of God. He told his followers to believe on Jesus (Acts 19:4). It's safe to assume that he baptized "by the authority of" Jesus. Yet, Jesus name was not administered over the baptism (Acts 19:4) until they were re-baptized the proper way in the name of Jesus (vs. 5). Finally, in Acts 22:16, Paul tells his conversionary experience and we see again how baptism is an important element in the remittance of sins: "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord".

Conclusion


Water baptism is not a magical formula that is used to cleanse us from sin. It is an act of obedience to both the Lord's command and His burial. We are commanded to be obedient to His gospel in II Thess. 1:8. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection according to I Cor. 15:1-4. We are obedient to His burial through baptism in His name. By this, we are buried with Him (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12).
Jesus commanded baptism in His name; the apostles baptized in His name and commanded such to be done. As such, it is not optional or done "after the fact", but for the fact. Water baptism is as necessary as obedience to repentance and the "belief" factor. We cannot believe except we hear the word; we cannot believe without repentance; and we cannot have our sins remitted without baptism.

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