Written by David P. Nolte
From Dave's Den:
Perhaps there are those who ponder, "Why do we insist on water baptism by immersion for forgiveness of sins? The simple answer is, "That's just what the New Testament plainly and clearly teaches!" But consider this:
1. The meaning of the word "baptize" is "immerse, dip or plunge." When Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, they went down into the water which you would scarcely need to do to sprinkle or pour on water. Paul likens baptism to a burial in Romans 6, and this is only properly enacted in immersion. Have you been buried?
2. Jesus Himself saw fit to be immersed by John in the River Jordan. There was no sin for which He had to repent, but He declared baptism "righteousness." I.e. it is the right thing to do! Jesus declared baptism right in Matthew 3:15. Now, if baptism is right we ought to do it! James said, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17). It is right, have you done the right thing?
3. It is a command of the Lord Jesus Himself and of the Apostles who spoke by conferred authority. Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples and to baptize them and teach them to observe all He had commanded them (Matthew 28:18-20). Peter commanded baptism for those who believed on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:38.) Now, if it is a command, we ought to do it! John writes, "And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." (I John 2:3-6). He commanded it, have you obeyed?
4. Baptism is clearly linked with salvation, forgiveness of sins, and being in Christ. Note respectively these scriptures: Salvation: "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." (Mark 16:16). No need to say, "but he who has disbelieved [and has not been baptized] shall be condemned -- it makes no difference at all if one has been baptized of not if they disbelieve. Forgiveness: "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38). Annanias to Saul after his belief in Jesus: "And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." (Acts 22:16). Being in Christ: "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3).
Jesus, of course, is the only Savior and apart from Him baptism merely wets a sinner. But He chooses to save those who meet Him in faith. Faith includes belief, trust AND obedience. He has clearly commanded baptism by immersion for forgiveness of sins. If you have not followed Him at this point, do so quickly. If you have been buried and risen, then appropriate and appreciate all the deepest meaning of what Jesus has done for you when you surrendered yourself to Him.
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