|Volume 19 Number 7 July 2017||
E. Claude Gardner
A popular television personality stated that a doctrine that would substitute for baptism is “baptism by desire.” If a person failed to be baptized, then by reason of a good life and character, it would be equivalent to “baptism by desire.” This was a novel and heretical theory, new to me. This farfetched plan joins numerous false ideas for rejecting a plain and simple command of God.
The venerable Marshall Keeble was wont to say, “The Bible is right,” and this is true about baptism. Here are facts about baptism.
It saves from sin. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).
It is commanded. “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38); “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48a).
It is for the remission of sins. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
It saves and gives a good conscience. “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).
It then adds one to the church of Christ. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b).
It is a burial, not a sprinkling. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of live” (Romans 6:3-4).
It is essential in the new birth. “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
It enables one to “rejoice” after the baptism. “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
It places one into Christ, the Savior. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
Clearly, baptism requires more than just a “desire.” Baptism cannot be rejected and substituted by the “Sinner’s Prayer,” faith only, good morality or fraternal orders. Why do you wait?
Ernest S. Underwood
You and Saul of Tarsus are good friends. Your hatred for this new religion of one called Jesus is the same at that of Saul. You travel with him on the road to Damascus. You are there when the light shone about him. You hear him ask, “What would you have me do.” You hear the answer of Jesus, and you travel with Saul into the city. You remain with him as he prays, fasts and waits for someone designated by the Lord to come and tell Saul what he must do. Finally, a man by the name of Ananias comes and tells Saul, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Immediately you grab Saul by the arm and urge him to leave this man. “After all,” you tell him, “You were saved out there on the road. Don’t listen to this man. He believes in water salvation by telling you to be baptized. Don’t you know that baptism has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s salvation?”
If this scene had happened back there in the first century, what do you really believe that Saul would have done? After all, wasn’t it he who said, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”? The real question is, “What did Saul actually do when he was told what to do?” Have you done the same thing?