Sunday, May 1, 2011

Water Baptism

Note: All Scripture quotations found in this article are from the text of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

There are a total of seven baptisms found in the scriptures.

1. Moses in the Old Testament - water and cloud (1 Cor. 10:1-4).

2. John the Baptist's water baptism to Israel (Matthew 3:11).

3. The baptism of suffering, which was Jesus on the Cross (Matthew 20:22-23).

4. Peter's water baptism to Israel (Acts 2:36-40).

5. The Gentiles' Believer's Baptism (Matthew 28:19).

6. The baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13, Acts 1:5).

7. The baptism of fire, which is the Lake of Fire (Matthew 3:11-12, Revelation 20:15).

In this article, we will focus on one of the seven baptisms. The baptism that we will focus on is the Believer's Baptism with water. Water baptism for the Born Again Christian does not have anything to do with salvation since salvation in this dispensation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Water baptism cannot cleanse you from any sins in this dispensation, only the precious Blood of Jesus Christ can take away sin (Colossians 1:14, 1 John 1:7).

Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."

1 Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." 

If water baptism is essential for salvation in this age then why did Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles, who preached the gospel of the grace of God, say he was not sent to baptize.  If water baptism was essential for salvation then Christ would have sent him to both preach the gospel and baptize.

For the believer, water baptism is done after salvation and is a figure/type of what has already taken place in our heart when we were born again of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).

1 Peter 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

Water baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Standing in the water shows that you are crucified with Christ, immersion shows that you are buried and raising out of the water represents the resurrection (Colossians 2:12). Water baptism is simply an outward and visible testimony of your faith in Christ.

Romans 6:3 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

Water baptism also proclaims our faith in the Trinity (1 John 5:7) because when we are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Notice the below verses says "all nations", showing that water baptism is not only for the Jews as the Hyper Dispensationalists/Dry Cleaners teach.

Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

The Bible teaches that after someone receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is salvation, then they should be baptized in water. Water baptism does not have anything to do with salvation, rather it is command after salvation showing obedience of the believer.

Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

Acts 8:36 "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? 37 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."

Acts 10:47 "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"

Water baptism is by full immersion in water, not unscriptural sprinkling like the Catholics and some Protestants teach. We know this because in Romans 6:3-6, we saw that water baptism must picture the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Also, we know that it is by immersion because Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-16, Mark 1:9-10). Water baptism is described as done with "much water" and people are said to go "down both into the water".

John 3:23 "And John also was baptizing in ├ćnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."

Acts 8:38 "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."

Before I close this article, I want to take the time to further rebuke the Hyper Dispensationalists that teach that water baptism after salvation is not for this age. Their big claim is that they follow Paul (1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1). This is a joke because Paul was baptized in water and baptized his converts that were baptized in water (Acts 16:33, 18:8, 1 Cor. 1:14-16).

The below verse shows Paul being baptized in water after salvation. We know this because in verse 17, he is called "Brother Saul" showing that he had already been saved.

Acts 9:18 "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."

The Hyper Dispensationalists are wrong about water baptism because they believe it was only for the Jews. The Campbellites (Church of Christ) are wrong because they believe water baptism is part of salvation. The Catholics and some of the Protestants are wrong because they also teach it is a part of salvation, while only sprinkling and also practicing infant baptism, which is found no where in scripture.

In conclusion, water baptism in this age is a command that pleases the Lord. It is only for believers after they are Born Again by the Holy Spirit. It is not a sacrament because it has nothing to do with salvation. Water baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and also is a public testimony for believers. If you have been saved and have not baptized in water yet, I encourage you to do so.