In view of the laxity, which exists regarding the ways of God, we urge the reader to place popular opinion upon one side when considering this matter and to let the scripture decide whether or not truth is propounded.
A prevalent idea in Christendom, that baptism is not essential in order to avail oneself of God’s offer of salvation, but is optional, violates the Bible teaching on the subject.
Jesus Christ, commissioning his disciples to continue his Father’s work said: – “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth AND IS BAPTISED shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned”. (Mark 16 v 15-16). The apostle Peter, fulfilling this divine instruction of his Master at a later time, declared to some who desired to be reconciled to God, “Repent, AND BE BAPTISED every one of you for the remission of sins”. (Acts 2 v 38).
“Then they that gladly received his word WERE BAPTIZED”. (Acts 2 v 41).
Why was Peter insistent upon this point? Because he knew that baptism was necessary for salvation. Therefore concerning the preservation of the lives of Noah and his family in the ark, the same apostle described this as: – “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 towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. (1 Peter 3 v 21).
Paul, after being converted was baptized (Acts 9 v 18), Lydia -of Thyatira with her household (Acts l v 15), the keeper of the prison… and all his (Acts 16 v 27, 33) and the twelve men at Ephesus (Acts 19 v 5).
Jesus himself was baptized to fulfil all righteousness, and he has said: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you”.
Baptism is an act of obedience required by God, and is therefore valid only if undergone in accordance with divine instruction.
An intelligent understanding of the Gospel (the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ) must be shown, and an entire belief therein affirmed, before it is performed.
In Acts 8 v 5, we read: “Then Philip went down to the City of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them”, and in verse 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”. The Ethiopian eunuch, being enlightened by Philip’s preaching of Christ, asked the question (Acts 8 v 36), “What doth hinder me to be baptized?” And Philip said: “If thou BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART thou mayest”.
Thus it will be seen that the baptizing of “all and sundry”, including irresponsible infants, is useless, and has no scriptural support whatsoever. The Bible tells us that all people are dying because of sin (Romans 5 v 12) and that the Son of God died, that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John 3 v 16). A contemplation of the hopeless position of humanity, apart from this Divine provision (wherein “they who seek may find”), again leads us to the vital importance and indispensability of Baptism.
By it the repentant person, “showing the answer of a good conscience towards God” (1 Peter 3 v 12), partakes of a figurative burial with Christ. “Know ye not”, says Paul, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” 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”. (Romans 6 v 3, 4). Henceforth, such a one has “put on Christ”, (Galatians 3 v 27), his past sins are entirely expunged (Colossians 2 v 13) and he is called upon to serve sin no longer, but to become the servant of righteousness (Romans, 6 v 17, 18). A careful perusal of the scripture herein cited, will show that as there is “One Faith”, there is “One Baptism”, (Ephesians 4 v 5) which must be as that administered by the apostles of Christ. Such is essential to salvation.
Baptize is an English form of the Greek word baptizo, and is left untranslated, being simply transferred into our own language. It is used in scripture to give the idea of bodily immersion (see Acts 8 v 38; Matthew 3 v 16) but never that of sprinkling, which can avail nothing.