Many Christians pride themselves in their distinctives; that is, their theological positions that set them apart from other Christians. I am not one of them. I see Christ’s Body as one. Our distinctives are caused by our limited or faulty knowledge. Our denominational differences are caused by our foolish pride in that limited knowledge.
Our only glory should be in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul emphasized this in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” Nothing in this sin-cursed world system meant anything to Paul, nor should it mean anything to us. Knowing Christ and living our lives 100% for Him is all that matters.
Paul did not glory in the number of baptisms and he evidently kept no records of who he baptized. Knowing who or how many he baptized was not that important to him. That’s the message of I Corinthians 1:10-17. Verse 17 should forever settle it in our minds that baptism is not a part of salvation. One can be saved and go to Heaven without being baptized.
IS BAPTISM IMPORTANT?
Yes it is. Though it does not save you nor insure your salvation, it is the first step of obedience for a new Christian. Every Christian ought to be baptized in order to declare to the world that he is now a Christian. Every preacher who wins people to Christ should teach them to take that first step of obedience to Christ. Baptism, though not a part of salvation, is a part of the Great Commission. When we win people to Christ, we should teach them the importance of taking this first step of obedience to Christ.
Read the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, Read the historical account in Acts 2 of the first church service after the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven and spiritually baptized and united into one body those who believed and received the Gospel as Peter preached it. Note that when the people believed the Gospel, they were baptized in water. Continue reading through Acts and you will see that baptism in water always followed salvation.
WHAT IS THE PREREQUISITE TO BAPTISM?
According to Acts 8:36-37 the only prerequisite to baptism is to believe the Gospel and receive Christ as your Saviour. A full understanding of the Bible or spiritual maturity are not necessary in order to be baptized.
If one is truly saved, he will hunger to know God and His Word. He will have an insatiable appetite to know the Bible and he will have a desire to obey it. That’s why a new Christian needs to be active in a church where the Bible is clearly preached. If you have recently been saved, I encourage you to read and devour this HIDDEN TREASURES web site and then find a church that preaches God’s Word in harmony with what you are learning here, as long as you find it to be in harmony with the Bible.
If you find that I am not in harmony with the Bible, then you need to part company with me as a false teacher.
SHOULD BAPTISM BE BY SPRINKLING, POURING OR IMMERSION?
I’m not going to tell you. What I think, is not the issue. What the Bible says, is what counts. Two examples of baptism should suffice to help you determine how to be baptized. The example of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17 and of Philip baptizing a new convert in Acts 8:26-39.
Oh, I should give you a hint. The Greek word translated baptize literally means to immerse or dip.
Often when a father or mother is saved, the entire family follows the parent and is saved and baptized. That was the case in two examples in Acts 16. Read Lydia’s story in 16:13-17 and the Philippian jailer’s story in 16:19-34.
In both case the entire family came to faith in Christ and in both stories the whole family was baptized. If you want to believe that the little children who were saved were sprinkled or water was poured on them, I have no problem with that. What is important to me is that baptism does not save and that believing in Christ as Saviour is prerequisite to being baptized. according to Acts 8:36-37. Note the clear question in verse 36 and the clear answer in verse 37. Also consider from the account in verse 38, why would Philip go down into the water with the eunuch, if he was only going to sprinkle or pour water on his head? I have found that it is quite impossible to immerse a person in water unless I am in the water with them.
However, if you come to me as a Christian, who after trusting in Christ was sprinkled or poured upon, I am not going to ask you to be immersed, unless you are convinced that’s what you ought to do.
WHAT’S HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM?
When one puts his trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit instantly baptizes the new believer into the Body of Christ, the Family of God. That has nothing to do with denominations or a local church. Instantly you know, recognize and love other Christians as part of the Body you have just entered. You recognize other Christians as your brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13-27 teaches this.
It is normal for a new believer who senses he is now in God’s family, to want to follow the Lord in water baptism and get involved in a local church where the Bible is faithfully preached.
My warning to you would be to be very careful where you settle in a church. Make sure you measure what you hear and experience by the plumb line of God’s Word. That’s why I encourage you to get into HIDDEN TREASURES and get acquainted with the Bible. Read the articles with an open Bible. Then visit churches and test everything that is said and experienced by the Bible. When you find such a church, get baptized and be faithful in your attendance and share the Good News with everyone you meet.
One day I will meet you in Heaven and we will have all the time in the world
(for we will be in a realm where time is no longer measured) to get acquainted and learn how God has worked in your life.