I confess I used to have a struggle in trying to understand why I have received so many emails from people confused by such a simple thing as baptism. To bless them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, dunk them under water, and bring them back up; what is so difficult to understand? The reason this needs an explanation is not because the commandments in Scripture are difficult to understand, but rather, because there are near-countless cults, feigning themselves to be Christians, who brainwash unsuspecting people with false doctrine.
I also confess that it took nine years after being born again before I was baptized, and that was simply because I didn't realize it was a direct commandment. That sounds strange to many people, especially since I grew up going to church buildings where they talked about it and believed in it, but not only was I never shown the verses which explained the commandment to do so, I had also never (as far as I can remember) seen it done in any of the churches I had attended when I was growing up. (i.e. They talked about it and believed in it, but never seemed to do it.)
The Lord God knows that I am the type of person who needs to know why I'm doing something in order to dedicate myself to it, and thus, I needed to understand why I was supposed to be baptized. Don't misunderstand; I still did it, even though I didn't understand it, because I then knew it was a commandment, but I also needed to know why. In this teaching, I will do my best to explain the what, when, how, and why of baptism, and I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would bless all Christians reading this to understand the matter fully, so they would not be deceived by the many cults Satan has put in place to lead us astray.
I struggled for a long time to try and define the word 'baptism' because I'm not sure where the word came from in Scripture. This is bit dangerous for new Christians to research by using search engines because when I started looking online for general overviews, there were articles coming up from Mormons, Evolutionists, Catholics, and an assortment of other false and leavened ministries. We need to stick to Scripture on this topic because, as far as I know, there is no single-verse, single-sentence definition for this in the Bible; we have to read everything in its context and piece it together:
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
We also need to make sure that we define the word 'repent', which is often taught by leavened preachers to mean "turn." The word 'repent' can mean "to turn" in some instances in Scripture, because that's one of the definitions of the word, but it is far more often used to mean "grief and sorrow." There are numerous false teachings on the internet and in church buildings that claim repentance for salvation is a works-doctrine, but the Bible does not define repentance as works because God gives men repentance.
(Read "Is Repentance Part of Salvation?" here at creationliberty.com for more details; They often falsely define words in Scripture because they turn to unbelieving authors for definitions, rather than going to the context of the Word -- Read "Dangers of Using Lexicons and Concordances" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
-2 Timothy 2:25
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
-2 Corinthians 7:8-9
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
(Read "False Converts & Eternal Security" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ started up the church of the new dispensation after He died on the cross and raised Himself from the dead (John 2:18-21) to go to the right hand of the Father (1Pe 3:21-22). As the head of the church, Christ set an example for us to be baptized:
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.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel... [the next few verses give details of each sacrifice]... And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 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.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
ritual (n): the performing of a divine service or solemn duty
(See 'ritual' & 'rite', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved July 18, 2017 [webstersdictionary1828.com])
|Baptism is NOT a ritual FOR salvation; it is a ritual OF salvation.|
There are many false churches (i.e. cults) that have taught baptism is required for saving grace. If that is true, then Jesus was a liar when He spoke to the criminal hanging next to Him on the cross.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him [i.e. mocking], saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
|Blood provides atonement, not water.|
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
-2 Peter 3:9
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
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.
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.
Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued [i.e. flowed] out of the womb?
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
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.
If we say that baptism is the cause of salvation, then we say that water has the healing power of God. It takes the glory from Christ and gives it to water, and it is ridiculous for any student of the New Testament to claim that after Christ has gone to the cross; that water now has the healing power of God and the capability to forgive sins, or worse still, that God refuses to forgive and give grace to those who have not had their heads dunked under water in a ritual.
Many of those in the new-age cults believe that baptism is a law (i.e. commandment) of Christ that saves peoples' souls and can make them righteous. (e.g. Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses/Adventists, etc) Of course, they also believe you must belong to the right organization, and follows all the laws of that organization. (e.g. baptism, tithe, Sabbath, etc) The New Testament doctrine teaches us that righteousness is given to us by Christ, not by the deeds of the law.
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Righteousness is imputed to us through Christ by our faith in Him alone, as Paul continues to write to the Roman church. Notice that he does not say that righteousness and justification comes unto all those who are baptized:
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Although it took me nine years before I was baptized, because of that time frame, I was able to see a difference before and after. I'll get to that in a moment, but there are some who teach that the Holy Spirit is received through baptism, and they claim that's what the Bible teaches in Acts 2, but (at the very least) they are not reading it slow enough to make sure they understand it.
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.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
What I will say about baptism is that blessings come with obedience to God; when we are obedient to His commandments, we are blessed by Him for it. God rewards obedience to Him. I don't know what baptism does for every single Christian, but for me, it was the lifting of a vail off my eyes.
After I was baptized, that was when I first saw that the one-pastor church system was found nowhere in Scripture, and I began to write about it. The Lord God opened my eyes to the truth about tithe, "Christian" rock music, respect of persons being a sin very common among church buildings, pagan holidays like Christmas, and He has been revealing more to me ever since.
I don't know that things will work out that way for everyone, but for someone that took far longer than I should have to be baptized, at least through that experience I was able to see the difference. For those of you who may never have been baptized, please understand that it is a commandment from our Lord Jesus Christ, and that you should do it as soon as possible because He may also open your eyes as a reward for your obedience to His Word.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
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 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.
A lot of Christians I've talked to have questioned who should baptize them? In Matthew 28, Jesus commanded all of us to do so. The only requirement I've seen is that one must be born again in Christ to baptize.
This brings up an interesting topic because the church buildings of America are jam-packed full of false converts all over the place, and filled with many false preachers and pastors who are doing baptisms, so who can Christians go to? I have heard numerous people claim that one must be baptized in an official church building, some have taught that only men can baptize, and others claim that one must be baptized by an ordained pastor, but again, none of these claims are found in Scripture.
I had no one else to baptize me at the time I realized I needed to be baptized, so I asked my wife to do it, because she had previously been baptized when she was younger. It was nearing winter when I asked her, so we did it in our bathtub. I've had people in email write me and accuse me of being a false Christian because I had Lorraine baptize me, and because I didn't do it in an official church building by an official "pastor," but again, those accusations are all based on conjecture (i.e. opinions without research or evidence).
Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
(See "Rebuking New-Age 'Project Life' Ministry" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
My reasoning on this comes from when Paul had talked about whether or not it was acceptable to eat meat offered unto idols in 1Co 10. If someone invited you to a meal to eat, and you accept the offer, there's no need to question the matter (1Co 10:27), but if they openly say they've sacrificed the meat unto idols, don't eat it because we serve God first and foremost (1Co 10:28). There are many Christians, newly saved, who were baptized in some leavened church building by a preacher who may not have been of Christ, but if you didn't know, it's alright; you got baptized out of obedience to God.
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.
I would also say that if anyone had the "holy water" of the Catholic Church sprinkled over their heads as a baby, that is also not of Christ. If that was done to you, and you considered that your baptism, then I would rebuke it. There is no such thing as the baptism of babies in Scripture because they do not have the capacity to repent, and there is an age of accountability for them where they have no need to be saved before they are aware of sin because they do not yet have the capability to understand. (i.e. Without needing to be saved, there is no need for baptism.)
(Read "The Age of Accountability Concerning Children" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
If someone was once a Jehovah's Witness, for example, they were baptized into the Watchtower Society specifically (i.e. that's what they say when they baptize people), which is a cult, so under that circumstance, I would say they need to be baptized under the authority of Christ. On the other hand, if someone was in a leavened system, meaning that they claim to be on the Word of God, but they are hypocrites to which you can't tell if they're of God or not, your faith in baptism is the main point God sees in your heart, so don't worry about it. Baptism is meant to be done once, but it should be done on a foundation of faith in Christ and His Word.
Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ with repentance and faith, and then being baptized in His name, is really not hard to understand. It's very simple, quick, and easy. However, the reason I believe so many people struggle in understanding such a simple thing is because of all the false doctrine and pagan practices that have entered into various cults and leavened church buildings since the start of the church in the Book of Acts. I hope this article has been a help to you in understanding the simple foundation of baptism in the Word of God, and if it has, please share this article with others so they can know the truth and be freed from the shackles of false traditions.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.