--“That which is born of the flesh is flesh” – Physical life by our Mothers (childbirth)
--“that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” – Spiritual life by the Holy Spirit (baptism)
Every First-Century Believer was Baptized
Let me begin by making a few concise statements of what the Bible affirms concerning baptism:
1. The word baptism is a transliteration of a Greek word that literally means immersion
2. Every believer in the first century was baptized, and those who weren’t were commanded to
3. *The Bible affirms that baptism is our only guarantee of salvation
Will someone be saved that was not baptized? I don’t know . . . Probably . . .
The Bible affirms in the book of Acts that there were some people who received the Holy Spirit that had not been baptized, but we must admit that they were/are the exception, not the rule. Let me explain why I teach that baptism is our only guarantee (and of course I am assuming that the baptized individuals that we are talking about are true believers who have repented of their sins and confessed Christ as Lord and Savior).
Eph 1:13-14 states what as the guarantee of our inheritance? The gift of the Holy Spirit
When does the Bible teach that you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Baptism Acts 2:38
In Rom 5:20 we can see that the Law was given that sin may be known. And it has been proven by the Apostle and by our experience that humanity is made up of sinners. Sin has abounded to the present time. But the New Testament teaches that grace has met every sin. Not only does grace reverse sin, but it does much more. The question now becomes, should we continue in sin that grace may abound? The answer is non-negotiable and firm – Certainly not!
The main point of chapter six and the chief concern for the Christian is that we are dead to sin. Why does the Apostle want to use the language of death on this point? First, it creates an immediate tie with the death of Christ. Second, it marks a decisive and final break in one’s state of being. Christians have a decisive break with sin. We are not only spared from the penalty due to sin, but we are no longer controlled by the power of sin.
The main question today is, when can we say that we died to sin? The Apostle says in baptism.
As sin has the power to control us, so does the death of Christ. His atoning work has the power to save us from the wrath of God.
When I was baptized, and I can probably safely assume that when you were baptized, we didn’t know exactly everything that was taking place. We had a good idea of what God was doing, but as we have grown in Christ we have a better idea today. There are many that claim that baptism is nothing more than an act of obedience. I beg to differ! Something special happens at the time of baptism. The New Testament affirms the continual practice of baptism and it describes the significance of it. The great Reformer, Martin Luther, said, One is baptized so that he “may receive in the water the promised salvation” (Cottrell). God meets us in the water to do a mighty work in our souls. Baptism is neither a work on our part nor on the part of the minister, but it is a work of God Almighty.
You may be surprised to find out that, “. . . the entire Christian world for the first 1,500 years of its history was in agreement: water baptism is the God-appointed time when he first gives saving grace to sinners” (Cottrell). The common view of baptism today began around A.D. 1523. What is it that we usually hear from denominations on the subject? Something to the effect of, baptism is an outward sign of an inward work. Most denominations today claim that baptism is not necessary for any part of salvation. The only importance that it has is its representation.
Yet, we want to teach and practice everything the Bible teaches about baptism. We are not interested in making it more important than Scripture does, but we are not going to “water it down” either (excuse the pun). Therefore, baptism is not simply for church membership, or obedience, or to illustrate new birth (it does all those things), but it is primarily to unite us with Christ Himself. Baptism is the extraordinary moment when we break with sin and become united with Christ as His Spirit comes to dwell within!As you stand in the waters of baptism with a repentant heart- you die with Christ; as you are immersed in the watery grace of baptism- you are buried with Him; and as you come out of the water- you are raised to a new life in the likeness of His resurrection. If you believe, but have never been baptized, then let’s do it today. Give your self to Christ and receive life.