Aug 23

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The preacher says, “Baptism is not necessary to your salvation,” do you believe the teaching? Did you know that the word “baptism,” the Greek “baptizō” appears at least sixty-three times in the New Testament? It is most interesting to notice the context where this word appears. Of course, only a few will be looked at in this article due to space and only those which are in the teaching of Christ.
The Greek word appears nineteen times in “The Acts of the Apostles,” and this is important because this book is the history of the apostles of Christ fulfilling their commission. Jesus said unto them: “… All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20). Luke wrote of those who heard the sermon on that first Pentecost after the ascension of Christ, as he describes their heart: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked (to pain the mind sharply, frw) in their heart, …” Those who were “pricked in their heart,” then “and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter in answer to the question said: “Repent, and 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 Spirit” (verse 38). Clearly baptism has a part in “remission of sins,” just as does “repent.” For the command was: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you.” So, what is the relationship of baptism to “remission of sins?” Before answering this question, it is necessary to look at the word “for,” which is the Greek “eis” and means: “into, unto, to, towards.” This word always looks forward, never backward. Therefore, both repentance and baptism are looking toward the “remission of sins!” If baptism is not necessary to receive remission of sins, neither is repentance. However, the truth is that both are necessary in order to receive remissions of sins!
Let us follow this case and see what we can learn. Luke followed with: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (41) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:40-41). In these words we have obedience to the preached word. Notice that Peter said, “Save yourselves,” which means there was something for them to do for themselves. What was it? Let Luke answer: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.” Did those who were “pricked in their heart” believe the teaching of Peter? Yes indeed, and it was to the saving of their souls! So, just how is it that some continue to say that baptism is not necessary in order to be saved? It appears they do not believe the teaching of the apostles! Let us here notice what Luke wrote of those saved souls: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (verse 42). These 3,000 souls believed and “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching,” which was just what Jesus had commanded the apostles to teach!
Now, let us look elsewhere and see what we can learn about baptism being necessary to being saved. Here is the evidence: 1) the men and women of Samaria (8:12); 2) Simon the Sorcerer (8:13); the Ethiopian Eunuch (8:36-39); Saul (Paul) (9:18; 22:16); Cornelius the centurion and his household (10:47-48); Lydia and her household (16:14-15); the Philippian jailer and his household (16:33); Crispus the Synagogue ruler, and his household, and other Corinthians (18:8) and the Ephesians twelve who had John’s baptism (19:3-5); all were baptized. Here is the history of baptism in “The Acts of the Apostles.” So, why did all these get themselves baptized? Peter will answer the question: “The like figure (Noah being saved by water, verse 20 frw) whereunto 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” (1 Pet. 3:21).
The question remains, do you believe the teaching of Christ, or the preacher who says; “Baptism is not necessary to being saved?” Friends, your salvation depends on your answer!

— Frank R. Williams

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