All most all religions teach that baptism saves, helps to save, or is in some way essential to salvation. This cannot be sustained by the Scriptures. Baptism is NOT essential to salvation.
I. Some Scriptures used to prrove that baptism is essential to salvation.
A. Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised 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.”
Examine the verse: In the previous verse Peter had been asked: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Notice it is not “what shall we do to be saved?” Peter told them what they must do. “Repent” is second person plural. “Every one of you” is first person singular: thus, only those who had repented were instructed to be baptised. “For the remissi9on of sins” refers to those who were to be baptised. This does not indicate that through baptism they would receive remission of sins but that they were to be baptised with reference to remission of sins received through repentance. The Greek word “eis” is the word translated FOR. In this case it means “with reference to.” See Matthew 12:41 where the word is translated “at.” The same word is used in I Corinthians 10:2; “And were all baptised unto (eis) Moses.” Scripture must not be made to contradict scripture.
B. Romans 6:3; “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into (eis) Jesus Christ were baptised into (eis) his death?”
The teaching is that of being baptised with reference to Jesus and with reference to His death. Surely none believe that a person is literally baptised into His death. The Israelites (I Cor. 10:1) were baptised with reference to Moses and not literally into him.
C. Galatians 3:27; “For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.”
The same Greek word “eis” is translated “into” and means the same as in the previous verses, “with reference to.” The argument put forth by some is that the phrase “have put on Christ” speaks of a spiritual birth and therefore it means baptised into Christ or baptismal salvation. There is a similar phrase in Romans 13:14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” This is admonition to a people already justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), and a people already baptised (Rom. 6:3,4). They were to put on Christ in their daily walk and daily life. (Rom. 6:11-13), therefore the phrase “put on Christ” does not mean salvation by baptism.
Those addressed in this verse had become children of God by faith (Gal. 3:26). They had put on the livery of a Christian; had dressed up that Christ might be seen in them – that is, in their obedience.
II. If Baptism is essential to salvation then the following is also true.
A. It would make the preacher the mediator between God and man. There is one mediator (I Tim. 2:5).
B. It would make it impossible for one to be saved in a hospital, on the battlefield, or any place away from a preacher and water for baptism. No matter how much one might repent, pray, or believe on Jesus, he would be lost forever if he were not baptised.
C. It would make Paul to leave out something in his address to the Athenians. Acts 17:30; “And the times of this ignorance God winked at but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Why didn’t he add “and be baptised”?
D. It would make Paul guilty of rejoicing that he had left off an essential part of the salvation of some of the Corinthians. I Corinthians 1:14: “I thank God that I baptised none of you, but Crispus and Gaius.”
E. If baptism is essential to salvation then salvation must be both by works and by grace.
Baptism is an act or work of righteousness. Matthew 3:15: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”
(See also Titus 3:5; Eph 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6).
The unregenerate man cannot be subject to the law of God, for he is under the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2-8. He must repent and believe in Jesus.
F. Some object that baptism is an act of faith, therefore acceptable to God though the candidate be unregenerate. If it is an act of faith, who had the faith? If the one being baptised has it before he goes into the water, then he is already saved, before baptism. I John 5:1: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” If the one going into the water does not have faith, then the very act would be sinful. Romans 14:23: “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
This puts the “baptism essential to salvation” advocate in a dilemma. If he baptises one who says he has faith in Christ then he baptises one who is already saved. If he baptises one who says he has no faith in Christ then he baptises one to whom even baptism is a sin.
G. If baptism is essential to salvation then the following examples are meaningless.
PERSONS SAVED WITHOUT BAPTISM
1. Thief on the cross (Luke 23:42,43). Where is paradise? (II Cor. 12:1-4; Revelation 2:7; I John 5:4).
2. The publican (Luke 18:14).
III. Scriptures which teach salvation but which make no mention of baptism.
Rom. 1:16,17; 3:21-26; Eph. 2:8-10; Acts 10:43; John 3:14-16; 3:18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40; Acts 13:38,39,48; Rom. 5:1,2; I Cor. 3:8; Gal. 3:26; Phi. 3:9; Rom. 10:4,8,9-11. In all of these passages baptism is omitted. if it were necessary to salvation surely it would have been mentioned.
IV. Baptism’s Message.
A. Baptism affirms that Jesus died and rose again (Rom. 6:4).
B. Baptism is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection (I Peter 3:21).
C. Baptism is a pictorial ordinance (Rom. 6:4-12).
D. Every Christian ought to submit to scriptural baptism (Matt. 28:19,20).Technorati Tags: baptism, regeneration, essential, Peter, Paul Lord, Jesus Christ, death