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Author Topic: How should we view baptism? An act of faith or a meritorious work?
Carol Swenson
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Christian Baptism


This may be considered under two heads: Baptist and non-Baptist views.

Baptist Views . Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water as a sign of his previous entrance into the communion of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In other words, baptism is a token of the regenerated soul’s union with Christ.

Obligation . Baptism is an ordinance instituted by Christ (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16), practiced by the apostles (Acts 2:38), submitted to by members of NT churches (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12), and subsequently practiced as a rite in Christian churches. No church hierarchy has the right to modify or dispense with this command of Christ because only the local church (no other visible church of Christ) is known in the NT, and it is purely an executive, not a legislative body.

Significance . Symbolizing regeneration through union with Christ, baptism portrays not only Christ’s death and resurrection and their purpose in atoning for sin in delivering sinners from sin’s penalty and power, but also betokens the accomplishment of that purpose in the person baptized (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:3). By that external rite the believer professes his death to sin and resurrection to spiritual life. He also gives witness to the method by which God’s purpose has been wrought for him, namely, by union with Christ. The rite sets forth the fact that the believer has received Christ and in faith given himself to Him (Romans 6:5; Colossians 2:12).

Proper Subjects of Baptism . Only those who give credible evidence of regeneration, and who thus by faith have entered into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection, are considered proper candidates for the rite. Biblical authority for this view is given in the command of Christ that those are to be baptized who have previously been made disciples (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41), or previously repented and believed (Acts 2:37-38; 8:12; 18:8). It is also proved from the nature of the church as a company of regenerated believers (John 3:5; Romans 6:13) and the symbolism of the ordinance itself (Acts 10:47; Romans 6:2-5; Galatians 3:26-27). Since it is intended only for the regenerate, baptism can never be the means of regeneration. It is the appointed sign, but never the condition, of forgiveness of sins.

Mode . This is immersion only as confirmed from the meaning of the original Gk. word baptizo in Greek writers and church Fathers, and in the NT. Immersion was a doctrine and practice of the Greek church.

Administration . Many Baptists, and others practicing believer’s baptism, require the rite to be performed properly as a prerequisite to membership in the local church and participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Non-Baptist Views . The views of other Christian groups on the subject of baptism vary from those like most Quakers, who deny the present-day validity of the rite at all, to Roman Catholics and others who attach to it regenerating efficacy.

Obligation . Most Christians believe that the rite, in one form or another, for one purpose or another, is permanently obligatory and rests upon Christ’s command (Matthew 28:19) and the practice of the early church.

Significance . The Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches, most Lutheran bodies, and many in the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal church hold that baptism is the direct instrument of regeneration. Roman Catholics subscribe so strongly to this view that, accordingly, they also hold that all adults or infants who die unbaptized are excluded from heaven. Many evangelical churches believe that baptism is not only the rite of initiation into the church of Christ but a sign and seal of divine grace symbolizing spiritual cleansing or purification (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4-11; Titus 3:5). For example, the Westminster Confession, art. 28, says: “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life; which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.” As circumcision was the sign and seal of the Abrahamic covenant and practiced under the Mosaic covenant, so baptism is construed as the sign and seal of the New Covenant of the gospel. Baptism, under the new economy, takes the place of circumcision under the old (Colossians 2:10-12).

Proper Subjects of Baptism . In contrast to those holding Baptist views that exclude all except adult believers from the rite, many believe it should be administered to children who have believing parents or sponsors to care for their Christian nurture. This is contended to be scriptural since Paul expressly teaches that believers in Christ are under the gracious provisions of the covenant that God made with Abraham (Galatians 3:15-29). Under the Abrahamic covenant circumcision was administered to children as a sign of their participation in the relation in which their parents stood to God. It is contended that children of Christian parentage have a similar right to the ordinance, which is construed as having replaced circumcision.

Mode . Non-Baptists deny that immersion is the only valid mode of baptism and admit sprinkling, pouring, and immersion as legitimate. All that is held essential is the application of water “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Administration . The administration of baptism is commonly regarded as exclusively a prerogative of the ministerial office. The wise and proper observance of church order has deemed this necessary, although in extreme cases it is held that a layman (or even a laywoman) can perform the rite. The same view is held among Lutherans and others who hold strongly to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

(Unger's)

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Carol Swenson
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The Jews baptized Gentile converts, but John was baptizing Jews! His baptism was authorized from heaven (Matt. 21:23-27); it was not something John devised or borrowed. It was a baptism of repentance, looking forward to the Messiah’s coming (Acts 19:1-7). His baptism fulfilled two purposes: it prepared the nation for Christ and it presented Christ to the nation (John 1:31).

But John mentioned two other baptisms: a baptism of the Spirit and a baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11). The baptism of the Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 1:5, and note that Jesus said nothing about fire). Today, whenever a sinner trusts Christ, he is born again and immediately baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, the church (1 Cor. 12:12-13). In contrast, the baptism of fire refers to the future judgment, as Matthew explains (Matt. 3:12).

Jesus was not baptized because He was a repentant sinner. Even John tried to stop Jesus, but the Lord knew it was His Father’s will. Why was Jesus baptized? First, His baptism gave approval to John’s ministry. Second, He identified Himself with publicans and sinners, the very people He came to save. But mainly, His baptism pictured His future baptism on the cross (Matt. 20:22; Luke 12:50) when all the “waves and billows” of God’s judgment would go over Him (Ps. 42:7; Jonah 2:3).

Thus, John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and also as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Because of John’s witness, many sinners trusted Jesus Christ (John 10:39-42).

It is unfortunate that the translation of Acts 2:38 in the King James Version suggests that people must be baptized in order to be saved, because this is not what the Bible teaches. The Greek word eis (which is translated “for” in the phrase “for the remission of sins”) can mean “on account of” or “on the basis of.” In Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist baptized on the basis that people had repented. Acts 2:38 should not be used to teach salvation by baptism. If baptism is essential for salvation, it seems strange that Peter said nothing about baptism in his other sermons (Acts 3:12-26; 5:29-32; 10:34-43). In fact, the people in the home of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized! (Acts 10:44-48) Since believers are commanded to be baptized, it is important that we have a clean conscience by obeying (1 Peter 3:21), but we must not think that baptism is a part of salvation. If so, then nobody in Hebrews 11 was saved because none of them was ever baptized.

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Carmela
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The word baptize is only used when referring to being baptized of water (which we saw John doing because he was obedient to the Holy Spirits leading). Then, we see John teaching that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Ghost. To me, that is quite literal.
quote:

Baptism is simply a step of obedience to the Lord following our repentance and confession of sin.
Our obedience— water baptism, prayer, good works, fellowship, witnessing, etc.—issues from our faith in Christ.

Jesus went to John Himself to be baptized with water, so shouldn't we be following His lead? When Jesus was baptized it had nothing to do with repentance or confession of sin, so I am not quite sure how we perceive baptism as being a way of confession of sin and repentance. I think that those that were confessing their sins were probably convicted of current sins in their lives or just becoming Christians.

Matt 3:7
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
(KJV)

It were the Pharisees and Sadducees that were told to repent because they weren't following Jesus. They came with wicked hearts and probably wicked motives.

Mark 1:1-4
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Luke 3:3
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
(KJV)

These were mentioned as two different types of baptism.

Rom 6:1-14
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
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:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
(KJV)

This is why we get baptized. It's a symbol of dying as Christ died and being given a new resurrected life. As we are baptized in the physical life, we are dying on the cross in the spirit. It's more than just a symbolic gesture in the spirit. It's a choice. It's life changing.

I'm sorry Kindgo if I'm not understanding what you are saying here, but from what I am reading, scripture is saying something different.
quote:
While we should preach that all men are commanded to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), adding any other requirement to salvation by grace becomes "works" in disguise.

Even though numerous Scriptures speak of the importance of water baptism, adding anything to the work of the cross demeans the sacrifice of the Savior.

Baptism means dying with Jesus and living again. We don't have to die literally as Jesus did, but in the spirit we die and become resurrected again.

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www.pinecrest.org

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Carol Swenson
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Please tell me you didn't mean to say "superstitious".
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oneinchrist
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Hi Carol,
You stated that water baptism cannot put a sinner in Christ. Now from a superstitious perspective I would agree with you. The water cannot place an individual into Christ. But faith in Jesus can. So if an individual who is going for a water baptism comes with faith, who are we to say that God cannot place him in Christ by His spirit at that time? Jesus stated "Where two or more are gathered in my Name, there I am in the midst of them".

Now as far as the baptism of the spirit. There need not be any formalities per se. It can come to man at any time God sees fit. It could be upon initial acceptance of His message, or it could be at a later time. It could be in church or it could be at home. It could be once or several times. The Holy Spirits main function is to glorify Jesus so it only operates according to the will of God for that purpose. Now some may say, "but the Holy Spirits function is also to let me know I am saved"...........Yes, it is true that the spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, but the main purpose for the spirit doing that is to help make us bolder in our witness of the Lord Jesus.......not just so we can tell others that we know that we are saved.

With love in Christ, Daniel

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Carol Swenson
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The Greek word baptizo has two meanings, one literal and the other figurative. The word literally means “to submerge,” but the figurative meaning is “to be identified with.”

The baptism of the Spirit is that act of God by which He identified believers with the exalted Head of the church, Jesus Christ, and formed the spiritual body of Christ on earth (1 Cor. 12:12-14). Historically, this took place at Pentecost; today, it takes place whenever a sinner trusts Jesus Christ and is born again.

When you read about “baptism” in the New Testament, you must exercise discernment to determine whether the word is to be interpreted literally or symbolically. For example, in Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:27-28, the reference is symbolic since water baptism cannot put a sinner into Jesus Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; see Acts 10:44-48).

Water baptism is a public witness of the person’s identification with Jesus Christ, while Spirit baptism is the personal and private experience that identifies the person with Christ.

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becauseHElives
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Amen Daniel, there is no work involved in obedience, something many have a hard time comprehending!

but the same people have a hard time comprehending that Yahweh will not violate the free will of man to make choices of obedience.

many want to enter at the door which is Yahshua but only a few except the fact that after they enter there is a straight path to walk.. the straight path to them is considered works...it is sad people make their own gospel and forget Yahshua's Gospel.

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Strive to enter in at the strait gate:for many, I say unto you will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. ( Luke 13:24 )

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oneinchrist
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Hello all,

When Peter says "Repent, be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the emphasis is not on baptism, but rather the emphasis is on the Name of Jesus Christ.......for it is through His Name and faith in His Name by which we receive forgiveness of sin and the Holy Ghost.
I believe that Jesus commanded baptism as a means to a desired end, more than as an end in itself. If an individual comes forth confessing faith in the Lord Jesus and believing with all his heart, then God gives His seal of approval by His Spirit. Jesus says, "If you will confess My Name before men, I will confess your name before My Father in heaven"

Encouraging baptism is the way to go. It gets us to reflect on own personal convictions about Jesus and then we can discover how strong or weak those convictions may be.

If it is commanded, it must be commanded for good reasons.

To make the claim "It doesnt matter if you get baptized" is to disregard Jesus and His Word.

With love in Christ, Daniel

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Kindgo
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While we should preach that all men are commanded to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), adding any other requirement to salvation by grace becomes "works" in disguise.

Even though numerous Scriptures speak of the importance of water baptism, adding anything to the work of the cross demeans the sacrifice of the Savior.

It implies that His finished work wasn’t enough. But the Bible makes clear that we are saved by grace, and grace alone (Ephesians 2:8,9).


Baptism is simply a step of obedience to the Lord following our repentance and confession of sin.
Our obedience— water baptism, prayer, good works, fellowship, witnessing, etc.—issues from our faith in Christ.

Salvation is not what we do, but Who we have:

"He that has the Son has life" (1 John 5:12).

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God bless,
Kindgo

Inside the will of God there is no failure. Outside the will of God there is no success.

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Aaron
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Wait. Which baptism are we talking about?

quote:
Hbr 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Hbr 6:2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Aaron
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WildB
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All believers are made members of
the Body of Christ by One Divine
BAPTISM

(I Cor. 12:13), For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

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That is all.....

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Betty Louise
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Baptism is important. Jesus even allowed himself to be baptized. Being baptized does not save us, but it is an act of obedience.
betty

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Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

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oneinchrist
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If baptism is supposed to be a juncture point where God meets man in his expression of faith (Confessing Jesus as Christ and Lord), isnt baptism important?
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