“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Bible Quiz: Water Baptism (part 2 of 2) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
Bible Quiz: Water Baptism
(part 2 of 2)
In today’s lesson, we will consider a few more questions concerning water baptism. If you would like to see the questions covered in part 1, they can be accessed at the following website: https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com. Once there, just go to the bulletin for March 27.
For today’s lesson, we will again first ask a group of questions and then answer them, along with some brief comments, in the answer section that follows.
10. How many baptisms does Ephesians 4:5 teach are for today?
11. About what hour of the night was the Philippian jailer baptized? (See Acts 16:25-34.)
12. “Both the Ethiopian eunuch and the Philippian jailer rejoiced in Christ before they were baptized.” True or false? (For help with this, consider the previous passage along with Acts 8:38,39.)
13. Must one be baptized for the right reason? (See Acts 19:3-7.)
14. How many “infant baptisms” do we read of in the New Testament?
15. As we examine the Scriptures, baptism is shown as being something one must do for which of the following reasons: a) to have sins washed away and become a Christian; b) to join a particular denomination; or c) to show that sins have already been washed away, prior to being baptized?
Ephesians 4:5 shows that there is only “one” baptism. “Which baptism is this?,” someone might ask. “Is it Holy Spirit baptism?” “How can we know it is pertaining to water baptism?”
These are good questions. Actually, there are only two cases of individuals being baptized in the Holy Spirit during the New Testament Age: The first would be that which the apostles themselves received in Acts 2, as the Lord had promised them (Acts 1:8). The only other incident is that which happened about 10 years later at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10,11), as a special sign to the Jews that “…God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18). God had also previously given Peter a vision to help him see that the gospel should be taken to the Gentiles, even though it had been unlawful for Jews to associate or visit them during the Mosaical Period. For the Gentile then was perceived as being “unclean.” But now it was to no longer be that way (cf. Acts 10:28,29); and to show that, God had His Holy Spirit to fall upon them before they were even saved from their past sins. Afterwards, they obeyed the gospel plan of salvation and became the first Gentiles to become Christians, about a decade after the church had been established. So this outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Cornelius’ household took place around A.D. 43.
The writing of the Ephesian letter, in which we read of there being just “one baptism,” was written about A.D. 61.
Now what is the “one baptism” we see occurring after A.D. 61? In 1 Peter 3:21, which was written about A.D. 63, Peter declares, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience….” Without question, the baptism that saves, which Peter is speaking of here, is water baptism. This is the one baptism that is to continue as long as time lasts.
Furthermore, no one was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was a promise given to the apostles, and it appears that those at the house of Cornelius had no idea that the Lord would cause His Holy Spirit to fall upon them. But, as noted above, the Lord did so as a sign to the Jews that He was granting to even the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18).
Water baptism, however, is commanded; and it is part of the plan of salvation for any penitent believer who wants to have sins washed away and become a Christian (cf, Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3,4).
About the midnight hour
Acts 16:25-34 shows that it was around midnight when the Philippian jailer obeyed the command to be baptized. Why so late at night? Why not wait until morning, or some other time to be baptized that might be more convenient? Was not his immediate response because he learned that baptism was part of God’s plan to receive salvation in Christ? The Bible shows that the jailer was baptized within the “same hour” that Paul had been preaching to him (v. 33).
Yes, Jesus had said that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….” (Mk. 16:16); thus, coupling faith and baptism for salvation.
As we read about baptism in the New Testament, never do we see of anyone — who truly wanted to be forgiven — postponing his baptism until some more convenient time. Have you ever wondered about that? I imagine many were probably baptized during the colder months, too.
We don’t read of any of these even taking the time to eat or sleep before his or her baptism. Doesn’t that in itself tell us something about the importance of it?
All these people understood that their sins would not be forgiven until they met the conditions God Himself had stipulated to become a Christian; and that is that one hears the word (Rom. 10:17), believes in the deity of Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repents of sin (Acts 2:38), confesses faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and is baptized in water for sins to be forgiven (Acts 22:16; Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Neither the Philippian jailer nor the eunuch rejoiced in Christ until after baptism. Why? Because it is not until one comes up out of that watery grave of baptism that he is then able to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3,4), and be a “new creature” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17).
Yes, they rejoiced after their baptism because that is when their sins had been forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and they were, thus, saved from them (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21).
One Must Be Baptized For the Right Reason
From what we learn in Acts 19:3-7, one must be baptized for the right reason. In this passage, there were some men who did not know about the baptism Jesus commanded. They knew only of John’s baptism. They, therefore, had to all be taught, which Paul did; and then he also baptized them into Christ.
Though there are similarities between John’s baptism and the one the Lord commanded, there are also differences. For example, the baptism of Romans 6:3-5 puts us into the likeness of Christ’s death and resurrection, so that we might benefit from the atonement He made by His death. John’s baptism, therefore, could not have been for this purpose, since Jesus was still living at that time. This is also why the penitent thief on the cross was saved without having to receive that baptism Jesus spoke of after His resurrection (Mark 16:16). For it was by the Lord’s death that he not only did away with the Old Covenant, but also established the New Covenant, which includes the need to be baptized to be forgiven and become a Christian. So in baptism we not only figuratively put to death the old man of sin, as Jesus was literally put to death on the cross; but we are also spiritually risen to walk in newness of life, as Jesus was literally risen from the dead.
As we think about the seriousness of doing things for the right purpose, consider 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 about the Lord’s Supper. Paul shows that the one who would not take of the Lord’s Supper in a proper manner would be “guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (v. 27) and would be eating and drinking “damnation to himself” (v. 29, KJV).
We have learned that baptism is a “burial or an immersion in water”; but just because a person is dunked completely under water, does not necessarily mean that that person has received Bible baptism. For what about young boys swimming in a pond and dunking one another, just for fun?
Obviously, baptism must be received for the right purpose: and that is so that one may be baptized into Christ and have sins washed away by the blood of Jesus.
Not a One!
There is no passage in the New Testament that speaks of infants being baptized.
Actually, there is no need for their being baptized, since they are in a “safe” or “innocent” state, which Jesus indicates in Matthew 18:1-4, and refers to the kingdom of heaven as belonging to them in Matthew 19:14. We, therefore, must also become like little children to enter God’s kingdom (Matt. 18:3); which does not mean that we act immaturely, but that we become “innocent” (through the blood of Christ) and also have a childlike faith and dependence upon God in heaven. For being childlike with the right qualities is one thing — but being childish is another.
Not only infants, but also anyone who would pass away before reaching an age of accountability, will be safe with God and spend an eternity in heaven.
a) to have sins washed away….
After considering what the Bible says about water baptism, how could anyone reach any other conclusion than that it is necessary in order to have our sins forgiven and to become a child of God?
For to sum it up, the Bible shows that baptism…
* is so one can be “saved” (Mark 16:16).
* is so one can enter the kingdom (John 3:3-5).
* is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
* is to “wash away…sins” (Acts 22:16).
* is to bury one with Christ (Rom. 6:3).
* is so one can rise up with Christ to walk in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
* is so one can be put “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26,27).
* is to make one a child of God (Gal. 3:26,37).
* is so one can be buried and raised up with Christ (Col. 2:12).
* is so we can be saved (Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21).
Baptism is for the penitent believer who has acknowledged faith in Christ and wants now to benefit from the Lord’s atonement by submitting to water baptism for the remission of sins. If you are needing to make your soul right with God, then why not do so this very day, according to His word?
— Via The Gospel Observer (November 15, 1998) (April 2016 revised version)
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)