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Baptism Is Not Necessary for Salvation
Victor M. Eskew
A. A myth is a fictitious story.
B. From time to time, we have been looking at the theme: “Tackling Religious Myths.”
C. In this lesson, we want to tackle another religious myth: “Baptism Is Not Necessary for Salvation.”
D. We could have done an entire series just on myths connected with baptism.
1. Infants should be baptized.
2. Baptism can be sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.
3. For a baptism to be valid, one must use the phrase, “in Jesus’ name.”
4. For a baptism to be valid, one must speak in tongues after being immersed.
5. All baptisms “for the remission of sins” are valid.
E. The one we will be discussing in this lesson is taught by many denominational churches.
1. Only a few religious groups believe that one must be baptized in order to be saved.
2. Most of them boldly declare: “Baptism does not save.”
I. CLAIMS THAT BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE
A. www.gotquestions.org: “It is our contention that baptism is an important step of obedience for a Christian, but we adamantly reject baptism as being required for salvation.”
B. www.backtothebible.org, “Repent and Be Baptized,” by Robert Gromacki: Fifth, the doctrine of salvation, taught throughout all of the Scriptures and evidenced in all dispensations and ages, stresses that only repentant faith is necessary to be justified and to receive divine forgiveness.”
C. www.bibleinfo.com, “Is baptism necessary for salvation?”: “Strictly speaking, the answer is “No.” A person can be saved who has not been baptized.”
D. Other claims they make about baptism.
1. It is not essential for salvation, but every Christian should be baptized.
2. In baptism, one identities with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
3. Requiring baptism in order to be saved is baptismal regeneration.
4. Baptism is a work that is added to faith. We are not saved by works but by faith alone through grace alone through Christ alone.
5. Baptism is the outward display of an inwrought grace.
6. Baptism is essential for church membership.
II. BIBLE VERSES THAT PROVE BAPTISM IS PART OF THE SALVATION PROCESS
A. Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
1. Question: “What does Jesus say a man must do to be saved?”
2. 3 x 5 card: Check the box that is true:
_____ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.
_____ He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved.
3. Illustration: The old elder who debated the subject of baptism being essential to salvation.
B. Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized very one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1. If one is to repent for the remission of sins, he must also be baptized for the remission of sin because of the conjunction “and.” The word “and” ties two things together of equal rank.
2. In Matthew 26:28, Jesus tells us that His blood was shed “for the remission of sins.”
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
a. The words “for the remission of sins” clearly mean “in order to obtain” the remission of sins.
b. This is the exact same construction found in Acts 2:38. One is to repent and be baptized “in order to obtain” the remission of sins.
C. Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
D. I Peter 3:21
The like figure where unto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
III. THREE COUNTERS MADE AGAINST BAPTISM
A. If baptism is necessary to salvation, then salvation is not solely by faith.
1. In a previous lesson, we saw that salvation by faith only is a false doctrine.
2. Faith is involved in the action of baptism.
a. God’s Word commands it (Acts 10:48).
b. We hear the command and faith obeys.
c. Faith is made perfect when it is wrought with works according to James 2:21-22.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.
B. Baptism is a work, and works do not save.
1. One of their “proof-texts” is Ephesians 2:8-9.
2. Let’s assume that we believe that no works save us. Now let’s look at each of the elements in the gospel plan of salvation.
a. Hearing is something that we must do. Is it a work?
b. Repentance is something we must do. Is it a work?
c. Confession of the name of Christ is something we must do. Is it a work?
d. Baptism is not something we do. It is the only act that is done to us. Another person baptizes us.
e. NOTE: Even Jesus said that believing is a work (John 6:29)
Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
3. The Bible teaches that there are three different kinds of works.
a. The works of the law of Moses that do not save (Rom. 3:28).
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
b. Works of righteousness that men devise that they believe will save them (Tit. 3:5).
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
c. Works of righteousness, that is, the commands of God that He has given in order to be forgiven of our of sins (Acts 10:34-35).
The Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
C. According to Paul, baptism was not the reason he was sent by Christ (I Cor. 1:17).
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…
1. There are three responses we could give to this argument.
a. If Paul was not sent to baptize, why did he name some he had baptized in Corinth? (Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, I Cor. 1:14, 16).
b. Many believe that a figure of speech is contained in this verse called an ellipsis. There is a word missing, but it is understood. “For Christ sent me not to baptized (only), but to preach the gospel…” (NOTE: If Paul were carrying out the Great Commission, he was sent to baptize, see Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16).
c. Those at Corinth were elevating one person’s baptism over another and dividing into groups over the matter.
1) Because of this, Paul was glad that he had baptized only a few in that city.
2) Paul preaching was important also. Sometimes he would preach. When another minister came into the city, he would build upon Paul’s efforts and baptize those Paul did not. Paul knew that his teaching was still vital to their salvation. He had planted a seed in their hearts.
2. This is an example of taking a passage out of context and making say something it was never intended to say.
D. The thief on the cross was not baptized, but he was saved.
1. The thief was the penitent one who defended Jesus as he hung on the cross. He asked to be remembered when Jesus came in His kingdom. Jesus had an interesting response (Luke 23:43).
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
a. He was a criminal.
b. Because of his faith, Jesus said he would be in paradise.
c. We do not read that he was baptized.
a. Those who reject baptism in the salvation process assume the thief was not baptized.
1) They cannot prove it in any way.
2) NOTE: I could assume that the thief was baptized.
a) He knew the Christ. He may have heard him preach.
b) He knew about His coming kingdom and asked to be remembered.
c) I could assume that he had been baptized with John’s baptism.
3) Are people really willing to base the salvation of their soul on an assumption?
b. While on earth Jesus had the power to forgiven sins in any manner He desired (Matt. 9:6; Mark 2:10).
c. The Lord’s baptism did not become effective until Jesus died on the cross of Calvary (Col. 2:14).
1) This act of pardon happened before Jesus died.
2) Once the New Testament was effective, then baptism was an essential element in God’s plan to save mankind.
IV. THE BAPTISM OF MOSES PROVES BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL
A. The Old Testament is filled with types and shadows (Heb. 10:1).
1. They are not the very image of something in the NT, but they are the shadow thereof.
2. It is a representation, a likeness, a similitude of something to come.
B. Moses’ baptism is a type of New Testament baptism (I Cor. 10:1-2).
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
1. Pharaoh = Satan
2. Bondage of Egypt = bondage of sin
3. Moses = Jesus Christ
4. Waters of sea and cloud (Moses’ baptism) = waters of baptism (Lord’s baptism)
5. Freedom on the other side = freedom on the other side
C. The type is a perfect picture of the process by which men are made free from sin today. NOTE: It is AFTER baptism, not before.
A. Men have misread and misinterpreted the Word God which has caused them to reject baptism for the remission of sins.
B. It is sad this is the case. They are rejecting the “ line of faith” established by God that one must cross in order to be saved.
1. Naaman had to wash in the Jordan River and was cleansed of leprosy.
2. The blind man washed in the pool of Siloam and was cleansed of blindness.
3. We are washed in the waters of baptism and are cleansed from sins.
C. The eunuch knew its importance and pleaded for it (Acts 8:36).
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
1. Those who desire initial salvation should be asking that same question.
2. My friend, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, there is absolutely nothing hindering you.