1) Bible Quiz: Water Baptism (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
The following is part one of a two-part quiz on Bible baptism that I had also made for the Internet many years ago, as well as for the bulletin in November 1998. It is primarily for those who do not realize the purpose and need for water baptism, but also to help us in better learning the Bible verses on this subject and with brief comments.
First, the questions:
1. Which of the following men made the statement in one of his epistles that “baptism now saves you”? Was it a) Paul, b) Peter, c) James, or d) Jude?
2. Who in the book of Mark declares that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”?
3. What two conditions are specified in Acts 2:38 that one must do in order to have sins forgiven?
4. According to Romans 6:3,4, baptism is for which one of the following reasons: a) to show our sins have already been forgiven, b) to be able to walk in newness of life, or c) to become a member of a particular denomination?
5. In Galatians 3:26,27, Paul shows how one is put into Christ. What two conditions are necessary for this to happen, according to this passage?
6. In John 3:5, Jesus teaches that a man must be born again before he can enter the kingdom of heaven. What are the two things one must be born of in order to make this possible?
7. “Paul’s sins were forgiven after having met the Lord on the road to Damascus and prior to his being baptized.” True or False? (For help on this, see Acts 22:16, which occurs 3 days after Paul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.)
8. In Colossians 2:12, does Paul speak of baptism as a) a sprinkling, b) a burial, or c) a pouring?
9. The “WHEREIN also ye are risen with him” (KJV) or, as the NASB renders it, “IN WHICH you were also raised up with Him” (Col. 2:12) is referring to which one of the following? a) baptism, b) faith, or c) the Spirit?
It is in 1 Peter 3:21 where Peter declares that “…baptism now saves you….”
Here is the verse in the Revised Standard Version:
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
“Appeal” has been defined as “a call for aid, support, mercy, etc.; an earnest request or entreaty; to appeal is to ask earnestly for help or support….”, which helps us to understand how that people are “calling” non-verbally on the name of the Lord by the act of baptism (see Acts 22:16). They are making their “appeal to God” by that act. Similarly, it can be said that a person had called on his friend by pushing a doorbell button. That would not have been a verbal call, but a calling through the act of pressing that button. To become a Christian, after we have believed, repented, and confessed faith in Christ, there still remains that final step of baptism to call on the Lord.
Consider also Acts 2:21, 36-38. In this first verse, Peter quotes Joel’s prophecy that “…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”; but according to the account, the way this was done was not by merely praying a “sinner’s prayer.” Rather, it was accomplished by their faith in Jesus (v. 36), along with their repentance and water baptism (v. 38). They sought God’s mercy and forgiveness by meeting His conditions. And though not mentioned, confessing their faith in Christ was also necessary (cf. Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
The KJV states in 1 Peter 3:21 that “…baptism doth also now save us…” and does so as “the answer of a good conscience toward God….”
However, the Greek word rendered as “answer” in this verse is defined as “a question, an asking; enquiry after, seeking by enquiry” (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament by E. W. Bullinger).
So, clearly, baptism is not for those “already saved”; but rather for penitent believers who want to make their appeal to God for salvation. (Baptism is part of the condition one must meet to benefit from the death of Christ.)
Yes, it is the Lord Himself who states in Mark 16:16 that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….”
Surely, if this were the only verse in all the Bible that placed baptism in connection with salvation, that would suffice — but it is not! There are various others that also remain consistent to this truth. For instance, just to show a few, people must be baptized in order to…
* be saved (1 Peter 3:21)
* receive the “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38)
* “wash away” sins (Acts 22:16)
* “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)
Throughout the New Testament, water baptism is seen as part of the plan to have sins forgiven and become a Christian, which is all in harmony with what Jesus declares in Mark 16:16 that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….”
“Repent” and “be baptized”
Contrary to the thinking of many people today, Acts 2:38 shows that one must do more than merely repent to be forgiven — one must also be baptized!
In 1977 I became a Christian. Prior to that time, I had been in various religious denominations that taught salvation by “faith only,” or by praying “a sinner’s prayer.” I can remember reading Acts 2:38 way back then and knowing that it did say I had to also be baptized; but, at the time, I would have to blot out from my mind that “be baptized” part because it wasn’t in harmony with what the denominational preacher and the others there were teaching. How wrong I had been!
I heard a story once about a Christian who was trying to teach a woman the need for water baptism. It seemed that he was not getting anywhere, so he asked the woman to merely read Acts 2:38, while he would not say a thing. After reading the verse, the woman looked up to the silent man and said, “But that’s your opinion.”
Still another non-Christian once said during the course of a Bible study, “You can’t get baptism out of Acts 2:38!” “That’s right, ma’m,” the Christian gladly replied. “It’s there to stay!”
“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins….” (Acts 2:38, NASB).
And could this verse be any clearer than how it is worded in the 1973 edition of the New International Version? “Peter replied, `Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ SO THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN….” (emphasis mine).
Baptism is “…in order that… we too might walk in newness of life.”
What is this “newness of life”? Isn’t it obvious that it would be referring to the time when one becomes a Christian? Jesus had said that He had come in order that people might have life and have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). This is received when one is “born again” (Jn. 3:3-5), which enables the person to be a “new creature” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). By far, it is much more than merely “turning over a new leaf.”
Again, it is evident that baptism must be performed before one can receive this new life.
Faith and baptism
Just as Jesus said in Mark 16:16 that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” Paul is showing the same need for faith and baptism in Galatians 3:26,27.
It is good to see all the wonderful things the Bible has to say about being “in Christ.” For example, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1); “redemption” is “in Christ” (Rom. 3:24); one is “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11); “eternal life” is “in Christ” (Rom. 6:23); and there are many other verses as well, along this line. And here in Galatians 3:26,27, one learns the important answer as to how a person can get “into” Christ for all these blessings; and it is through faith and baptism.
“water and the Spirit”
It was Jesus who told Nicodemus of the need for man to be “born again,” to be “born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5).
The only way in which we ever find water in the New Testament used in connection with salvation is in water baptism for the remission of sins.
Surprisingly, I once heard a preacher say, “How much water is in baptism?” After a several-second pause, he then answered his own question by declaring, “Not one drop!” This truly got the attention of the audience. He then went on to point out that the Greek word “baptizo” (from which “baptize” is a transliteration) simply means “to dip or immerse”; but there is no indication in the word itself as to what the element is to be in which the immersing is to be performed.
It is only from other verses in the Scriptures that we learn that Bible baptism is to be in water, so that our past sins will be forgiven (cf, Acts 8:36-38; Acts 10:47,48).
In order for Paul to be forgiven, he had to first be baptized in water, as we see in Acts 22:16. Therefore, Paul wasn’t saved by merely “faith only,” after having met the Lord on the road to Damascus. Nor was he saved by his faith and repentance only, which is manifest in the way he conducted himself after having met the Lord: for three days, Paul fasted and prayed, while he waited in Damascus in obedience to the Lord’s command — for there, Paul would be told what he needed to do.
The only thing that Ananias revealed to Paul that he had not already heard from the Lord was the need to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins….” (Acts 22:16).
During his three days of fasting and praying, and regardless of how many times Paul must have asked God to forgive him for the wrongs he had committed in his ignorance, he did not obtain forgiveness through prayer. Rather, it required his faith, repentance, confession of faith in the Lord, and baptism before his sins could be blotted out.
For if his sins had been washed away by prayer, then there would have been no need for Ananias to command Paul to be baptized to “wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16).
b) a burial
Paul speaks of baptism as being a burial in Colossians 2:12, just as he also does in Romans 6:3,4. Therefore, we do not even need to know the meaning of the Greek word to understand that baptism is to be an immersion or submersion — and not a mere sprinkling or a pouring.
If sprinkling or pouring were intended, then the Greek word “rhantizo” or “ekcheo” could have been used, respectively. But neither of these terms is used; nor do they convey the idea of a “burial,” as “baptizo” does.
Though many people believe that it is merely some type of “spiritual baptism” — apart from the water — which saves, Paul shows that the baptism involved is one in which a person can be buried in and raised up from — water baptism. And that one is raised up from this baptism in order to be with Christ. As Paul also shows in Romans 6:3,4, one is raised up from water baptism to “walk in newness of life.”
(concluded next week)
— via The Gospel Observer (slightly edited), November 15, 1998
News & Notes
We rejoice in the conversion of Victoria (“Tori”) McCarthy who was baptized into Christ March 24! Let us pray that God will help her to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and may we each do our part toward that as well.
About a week after his release from the hospital, following the removal of his left kidney, due to a malignant tumor that had been attached to it, 14-month-old Easton Cox had to return to the hospital because of a fever of around 103. For a while, Tylenol would reduce that; but after a few hours, when the medicine wore off, the fever would return. Finally, however, Easton was able to maintain a normal temperature for 48 hours. So after another treatment of chemo, he was able to return home March 31. He is now eating well and even playing; and, so far, the chemo has not been giving him any trouble.
Let those of us who are Christians also be remembering the following in prayer:
Carol Drain, who is also undergoing chemo treatments.
Mandy who has been diagnosed with a mass on her brain and breast, and Barbara Sutherland (Marie Pennock’s niece) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Arthur Robertson had recently been hospitalized due to foot problems and blood clots in the same leg, which were taken care of; but before he was released to go home, the need of two stents for his heart was also discovered. So that procedure was carried out at St. Joseph’s Hospital on March 30 in Savannah, Georgia. Arthur is now improving.
There will be a Gospel Meeting at the North Valdosta church of Christ April 3 through April 8, with guest speaker Steve Peeler (of Monticello, Florida). Sunday services will be 9, 10, and 11 a.m., and the Monday through Friday services will begin at 7:30 p.m. The church meets at 4313 North Valdosta Road in Valdosta, Georgia. For additional information, call (229) 244-8630.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)