Bible Baptism (June 2012)

By Matt Dabbs

By Chris Gerber

The subject of baptism is often misunderstood just as Naaman misunderstood the instructions from Elisha the prophet in 2 Kings 5. It is not the power of the water that saves, but obedience to God (Mark 16:16).

God can and will do everything for us to give us salvation, but He does not do it unconditionally. We read in Ephesians 2:8 that we are “saved by grace through faith.” God paid the price for our salvation when Jesus suffered that terrible death on the cross. Jesus died for all the world (John 3:16) but all the world will not be saved. He became the “author of salvation to those that obey Him”. (Hebrews 5:9)

Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3-5 that “unless a man is reborn, he cannot see the kingdom of God”.

Rebirth is when one recognizes his own sinful state, repents of it, and dies to it to be reborn into a newness of life. (The same as did the prodigal son in Luke 15). In Romans 6:3-6, the apostle Paul explains how this new life is born when one is baptized into Christ and raised to a new life. There is no other scripture that explains the rebirth by a different means in the New Testament.

In Galatians 3:26-29, we read that one becomes a child of God when our faith motivates us to baptism and we are clothed with Christ. The result is the inheritance as was promised to Abraham. (v. 29) Again, there is no other method of becoming a child of God.

There is only one baptism commanded in the New Testament. (Ephesians 4:5). The baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and 10 was a miraculous event and was a promise not a commandment. Every case of conversion in the book of Acts was concluded with baptism just as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19. See Acts 2:38, 8:37-38, 10:48, 16:31-33, 22:16. Note that the forgiveness of sins followed the baptism just as was promised in Acts 2:38 and which is a necessity for rebirth to be complete.

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Disobedience is sin. The gift of eternal life is given freely to those that love and obey the Lord. (John 14:15) Jesus said that His words will be our judge. (John 12:47-48)

Did you obey Him? If not, whose authority do you obey?

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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