Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

Does Water Baptism Save Us From Anything Or Simply This Is A Command To Be Obeyed?

Question : I agree I look at baptism as obedience, for Jesus commanded us to do so in Matthew 28:19 and Hebrews 5:9 says Jesus Christ is the author of our eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Thank you anyway, I save and study all from you. I started a new ministry when this present Church of ours folded up. I need more knowledge to feed others. I will study more of the related baptism link to this following link : which you sent that conveys that baptism does not save but only confirms salvation already received by faith. I received the gifts of the Holy Spirit at my second baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you. One last thing I agree with, I just follow what the Bible says. What is your take on it?

Answer : Greetings to you in Jesus name! Jesus said first make disciples who are followers of His Word and then baptize people for the proof of their discipleship and their faith, and not for salvation but through salvation (Matt 28:19-20). In the Gospel of Luke Jesus told His disciples to preach the gospel for repentance towards God and the message of the remission or forgiveness of their sins, here Jesus spoke nothing about Baptizing people in water, but then in a couple of verses afterwards He speaks about waiting to be baptized by the Spirit to become powerful witnesses of what they have seen and heard about Jesus (Luke 24:46-49). In the gospel of Mark it is written those who "believe and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16), which clearly reveals to us that believing the gospel is the only precondition to salvation, but once saved when the believer chooses to follow Jesus and be His disciple to live a godly life with faith, then they are given water baptism by the mature Church believers before the Church as a external confession of the their inner faith they have. And also through water baptism a person proclaims himself as a learner student of Jesus to follow Him and declares that he wants to live a life of good testimony to the world around him, so that by living a godly life they will be saved from sin and death to righteousness and life in their day to day lives (1 Tim 4:16). And there is no taking of baptism being told here as a precondition to salvation instead it is said to be taken as a proof of salvation.

He who is baptized then according to his internal faith will be saved from all all external and internal infirmities that keep them from walking in that fullness of God's Spirit, but it does not affect their eternal salvation that they have received by faith in the only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ in their heart which has brought them salvation once and for all eternity (John 3:16; 10:27-29; Heb 5:9; 10:11-18), never to be taken back at any time which has been guaranteed by God depositing a small measure of His Spirit within the believer as a seal that they will one day be saved from sin, death and mortality completely for the Glory of God by Jesus Christ when He returns back to take the Church to the Father's house (Eph 1:13-14; John 14:1-41; 1 Cor 15:53-54) . No apostle ever told about God unsealing the guarantee of the Spirit based on a believers behavior after salvation, and this is the true grace of God which makes us as believers not to boast about our salvation before others but stay humble before God and men which God requires from all true believers so that He could bless them more and more in all aspect of their lives (Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Peter 5:5-6). But as believer who are becoming heirs according to the hope that get conceived more and more about the future wealth, power and glory of the eternal life ahead as we work out our salvation, we are exhorted to be careful to maintain good works after salvation so that the name of the Lord will be glorified and not brought low with ungratefulness for the free salvation we received from God (Titus 3:7-8). We might have received salvation for free, but to God it had cost His everything (Rom 8:32). Apostle John speaks about no great commission of Jesus to baptize people in water, but he revealed that his disciples and not Jesus was actually baptizing the believers in water as they wanted to follow Jesus, this also reveals that baptism has not been insisted as a precondition to salvation but a proof of salvation which people obeyed as they wanted to live for Jesus (John 3:22-23; 4:1-2).

Baptism of the Spirit may be received even before water baptism in some cases, or after water baptism in some cases and during water baptism in some cases (Acts 10:44-48; 19:1-7; 2:38-39, 41-42). So we cannot say when God will give the baptism in the Spirit through Jesus as we seek Him to fill us (Matt 3:11; John 7:37-39), but we have to take the Baptism in water as an act of obedience to the Words of Jesus to receive the power to live an overcoming life over sin, self and Satan (Acts 9:15-22). In your case, you have taken baptism again in the name of Jesus during which time God filled you with His Spirit. Praise the Lord for His marvelous gift of the Spirit that He has given you freely. But this can be done by laying on of the hands of the elders after we have taken the Baptism in water for our belief the first time itself, and the Lord will honor such instances to release the Baptism of the Spirit which comes with an external confirmation through tongues of what has taken place inside (Acts 10:45-46; 11:16-17; 1 Tim 4:14). The gifts of Spirit given to each person according to His will always accompanies with the Baptism of the Spirit to make the disciple who receive it to become a clear and mighty witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

Then Jesus spoke about another Baptism of suffering that He wanted to fulfill which was described by Him as a cup which later led Him to the Cross (Luke 12:50; Matt 26:39, 42, 44). Jesus told that the believers and apostles will also drink this cup willingly if they are His true disciples who will follow all His commands, which will make them reject their own will and suffer in God's will to learn obedience to the voice of the Father God (Matt 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 9:23-24; Heb 5:7-9; 9:12). This baptism of suffering should not be mixed with both Baptism in the Spirit or water Baptism to become more confused about this topic of Baptism. This baptism of suffering is a willing choice of the disciple to accept the chastisement of our Heavenly Father to learn obedience through suffering and thereby be blessed by the Father to reign in this world of the spirit and in the world to come (Php 3:8-11; Acts 19:15; Matt 19:27-29). If we suffer with Jesus now, we will reign with Him from now on (2 Tim 2:12-13).

Baptism of John is a baptism in water which was done by him under a specific command from God the Father as a sign of baptism of repentance to accept the Messiah as their Lord and Savior which was a must for all those who want to be saved at that time (John 1:25-26, 33; Matt 3:6, 11; Mark 1:5, 8-9; Luke 7:29-30). This Baptism of John which was done for those of his contemporary time believing Jews and gentiles who wanted to receive eternal life through Messiah who was coming to save them, those who took humbly this baptism of John were saved by God at that time itself but it became obsolete once the universal command of God to baptize the believers in water was given to the Church which also gave every believer a right to receive the power to live eternal life on earth itself by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2-5, 6). So John's water baptism also should not be mixed with the baptism in water given to a believer by any mature believer as an act of obedience of the command of Jesus which will again cause confusion.

Finally, there is a baptism of belief that the Holy Spirit gives to all those who first come to believe Jesus and receive Him as their Lord and Savior (2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:13-14). The one baptism that is the same for all believers when we come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is the Baptism that the Holy Spirit does in baptizing all believers into one body of Jesus Christ which is the universal Church (1 Cor 12:13), this is a spiritual baptism which is mystically done by the Holy Spirit automatically without any of the self-effort of the one who receives Jesus as His Lord and Savior for life (Eph 4:5). Baptized in to Jesus Christ doesn't mean water baptism but it is this baptism of belief that we have seen above (Col 2:12-13; Rom 6:1-14; Titus 3:5). This is what apostle Peter also spoke about in his first letter by saying that this baptism of belief that which the Holy Spirit works will give us a good conscience but does not remove our old sinful soulish nature, it will make us enter in to the ark of the Church like Noah entered the ark to enter in to the new creation of God by His good choice to hear the voice of God (1 Peter 3:20-21; 2 Cor 5:21, 17). In other words, Peter the apostle was saying that because Jesus was resurrected on behalf of us, now we are no more in our sins of our past, present or even future which gives us a good conscience towards God to live fully for His Glory on earth as it is in heaven (1 Cor 15:1-4, 17; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13). This baptism of belief is something to be believed in order to identify ourselves with the death and resurrection of our Lord as a living reality in our lives in Jesus Christ which symbolizes that our old soulish sinful nature has died and a new nature of God has risen within us to let it out to influence our soul by our positive choice daily and therefore thereby grow spiritually and live a victorious life over sin. But it should never be confused with the water baptism which a believer receives from another believer to confess externally of one's internal faith before the Church to the world.

The following are a list of those who were saved apart from baptism. The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism. Also no record of even one apostle being baptized is recorded, and also Jesus pronounced forgiveness of sins for them all to be forgiven of their sins and that is what gave them their salvation and not the baptism they might have taken according to the very testimony from Jesus Himself (John 15:3).

In Acts 22:16, Paul recounts the words of Ananias to him following his experience on the Damascus road: "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." Some people wrongly interpret such passage to say that water baptism is the one thing that washes our sins away. But common sense must strike to connect the phrase "wash away your sins" with "calling on His name," with out which our sins are not really washed, as there will be no faith without calling on in faith to God to save us from sin. But according to Paul, he already called Jesus as his Lord even in the vision during which he was thrown off from his horse in which he was traveling to persecute the Church, and thus proving by his own teaching that he was already saved before he met Ananias the disciple (Acts 9:5; 1 Cor 12:3). Ananias the disciple used such language because he never knew what happened to Paul the persecutor and was still not sure whether he was truly saved or not (Acts 9:17-19). So to use such phrases to justify one's doctrine of baptism in water as a means for forgiveness of our sins is to go out of context to prove in Scripture something that it does not meant to convey. But actually baptism in water is a means to an end to spiritually grow in the Lord and be blessed from above to make us a blessing to many for the Glory of God. Once a person is convinced about his faith of salvation, then he must obey the Lord's command to take water baptism to be greatly blessed in his spiritual life and must not take it lightly which will deny him the heavenly blessing that is supposed to be his.

So the bottom line is, there is no precondition to salvation except believing that one's sin has been paid in full by the Lord Jesus and receive Him through confessing by one's mouth as their Lord and Savior (John 6:28-29, 39-40; 19:30; Rom 10:9-10, 13). After that instance of belief, immediately as a follower of Jesus if they have the faith and assurance at that time itself they can boldly take baptism externally in water as a confession to the world about their internal faith (Acts 8:35-38). If they needed some time, they can wait and take water Baptism after receiving the inner assurance from the Holy Spirit that they are saved (Rom 8:16; 1 John 3:24; John 14:21, 23). It is not wrong to check one's faith and then go to take on Baptism (2 Cor 13:5-6). This is the reason, Paul went on preaching the gospel to save people for eternity, but yet the Holy Spirit did not insist him to give baptism immediately for all the converts except a few instances where he had given as he did for the believers in Ephesus (1 Cor 1:14-17, Acts 19:1, 5). As we know that God is only pleased with our faith (Heb 11:6), the apostles and disciples in the first century because of their great faith took no time for waiting to given Baptism after someone believed, but immediately did it most of the time except Paul who gave freedom for the believers to understand their faith and then take it publicly (Acts 8:12-13, 14-17). The positive freedom that Paul the apostle gave to the hearers of the gospel to know for sure that they are saved and then take Baptism in water after that was seen to be good in the case of a Sorcerer who heard the gospel and came forward to take Baptism immediately after he heard about it from Philip the evangelist and continued to be with him also, but yet he did not have true freedom from his old habits of iniquity from the old sinful soulish nature which had bound him in the past because of being poisoned by pride and arrogance due to practicing sorcery [i.e. magic arts] (Acts 8:9-11), and therefore he needed more time for repentance to live in the faith of salvation at that time and so could have waited to take baptism until an inner assurance of faith so that he would not be a stumbling block for other because of his old behavior after salvation (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42), so that this man was later rebuked by Peter the apostle to repent and be truly saved from his soulish nature and old habits to become an example to believers around him (Acts 8:12-13, 18-24). It is all about belief that is needed to be saved, and baptism to grow thereby in the Lord.

Thanks and Much Blessings.....





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