Bible Baptism

When I study about baptism by way of the Scriptures, I am at a loss to explain why Bible commentaries seem to struggle with the truth that baptism as a necessity for the remission of sins and the hope of eternal life. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). What could that possibly mean except that a man who believes must then be baptized in order to be saved?  If I say, "He that goes to the store and brings me a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk shall be rewarded" - how would you interpret that? "Well," someone says, “it also says that ‘he that believeth not shall be condemned’–nothing about baptism.’" Now I ask you, does the last part of the verse negate the first part? And would it not be foolish to be baptized when you didn’t even believe? And would you even entertain being baptized if you didn’t believe?  To adopt that argument makes Jesus speak against Himself.

As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches that baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. In Acts 22:16, Ananias came to Saul and said, "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." In 1Peter 3:21, Peter said, "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you – not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  Peter, in that first recorded gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost, told the people to "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins..."

What do you do with these most important inspired words? Did Ananias, who was chosen of God to preach the gospel to Saul of Tarsus – did he tell him to do something that he did not need do?" Did Peter, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, affirm that baptism was for the remission of sins, when indeed it was not? And did Peter, who was given the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), tell people who heard him to do something that was contrary to the Holy Spirit which prompted him?

Actually, in all nine cases of conversion recorded in the book of Acts, baptism is either directly commanded or necessarily implied as being absolutely necessary for salvation. Scriptural baptism – that which is taught by the Bible - is necessary for salvation.

It also needs to be noted that baptism is for believers – those who have faith in Christ and believe the words of the Scriptures. Religious groups who "baptize" babies (most of them don’t baptize babies at all, they sprinkle them), do so without the authority of the Scriptures. Baptism is never mentioned for non-believers, but for those who have heard and have the maturity to believe the gospel. Notice the passage in Mark 16:16 again. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," it says. If belief is all that is necessary, then it would be good to take some kind of strong group and go out into the streets and forcibly baptize people so they could be saved?  Little babies and children have nothing at all to say about whether or not they want to be "baptized".  Bible baptism is for those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:36-37).

Furthermore, Bible baptism is a burial. People have no right to change the word of God to fit their own whims and fancies.  Bible baptism is immersion - not sprinkling or pouring. In the Biblical account of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, Luke states "And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him." (Acts 8:38)  Paul said, in Romans 6:3-4, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.This same apostle, again writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said in Colossians 2:12, we are "buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."  Again, I ask you: what will you do with the inspired words of God? Are the words of God in the Scriptures clear on the matter of the mode of baptism? Do they give any indication as to how God expects baptism must be administered?  Surely, we can easily see this. Scriptural baptism is immersion – and that’s a fact that God gives.

These simple statements of Scripture cannot be ignored.  Any person who takes it upon themselves to follow some church’s traditional view on baptism runs the risk that is not only dangerous, but absolutely foolish.  God emphatically states that every person is responsible for listening to His word to find the means for their salvation from their sins.  Jesus said, "and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)  We cannot–and we must not–put our confidence and trust in the creeds and traditions of men. The Bible is the final authority on any religious matter (1Peter 4:11).

Let us not put our confidence in human wisdom (I Corinthians 1:18-24). Human creeds serve only to divide, confuse, and cause trouble. The word of God is totally sufficient and is without any need for addition or subtraction (II Timothy 3:16-17).  And Paul said any additions or subtractions to the gospel of Jesus Christ is not another gospel, but it is false doctrine to distort the truth. (Galatians 1:6-9).  This tells us what God expects and it is not what men have devised. It tells us His way (Isaiah 55:8-9). We should never rely on any doctrine or practice for which we cannot find a "thus saith the Lord" – by Book, Chapter and Verse.