November 1, 1987 Issue
Gerald Barrett

The question at hand is a very controversial subject among what is called the "Christian religion." Many would say, "No, it is not necessary to be baptized because you are saved already" and the few would affirm its necessity. Baptism is not a subject hard to understand, but is very simple. Through the years men have been listening to other men and their words have taken the place of Gods work in many hearts today. Who is the authority in these matters? We need to recognize who is the authority on baptism. If the authority states it is a necessary item for salvation then we need to heed and obey the command (perfect faith, James 2:21 -22). If not, however, to bind such on others as law would be wrong just as it would be to say, "No, its not necessary" when God commands baptism. What is the truth?


In John 17:17, Jesus stated something about truth as He prayed to the Father. He said, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." We learn three very important concepts from this passage of scripture. One, that the disciples were to be sanctified by God. Two, that sanctification was through truth. And three, that the word of God is truth.

I doubt there are very many people who would argue that God's word is not truth. Also, I doubt, there are very many who would argue that sanctification is not by God Himself. But many would argue how it is we receive the word the truth from God. It is obvious and very evident to most that we no longer live in the age where miraculous gifts work as an important part in confirming God's truth even though the deception is fast at work. Anyone with a good and honest heart would soon understand through a diligent search into the Book that the age of confirming God's word has passed and we live in the age of the confirmed word. What a vast difference between the two. We live in the days where John the apostle speaks to us from holy writ, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (See also the address to Theophilus in Luke 1:1-4). Why was this book written? That we might "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." Our faith is built by this Book called the Bible which God has provided for us. We stand or fall on what is written in the Book. And this being the fact of the matter, what does the Book say concerning baptism?


Beginning with our Lords command in Mark 16:16, Jesus told the apostles before His ascension, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Our Lord stated baptism is a requirement to be saved. A requirement of His to be obeyed. You know, I can just picture the audacity of some living today who would rise up and say, "Lord that's not quite right. You know we can be saved after believing only. And later, if we want to, we can be baptized to show to the world we are like you." Nay!!! The Lord stated baptism is essential to one who would be saved. So essential was the command that even the Lords disciples understood what He said and meant.


Peter in Acts 2:38 answered the question concerning salvation to those who were convicted of their sins with these words, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Notice what this man said; the man who held the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16:19). A man who sat before the Master when he gave the great commission to the apostles in Mark 16. Peter didn't have to tell those men and women of Acts 2 to believe in God because they were Jews, men of Israel (vs. 22), God's chosen people. But he did have to convince them to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that they had crucified their Lord and Christ. Peter in his sermon "preached the gospel"; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. They were to believe that gospel. In the gospel was preached baptism and its necessity to be saved. Yes, Peter understood the Lords command.


The next example of conversion that the Book provides for us is in Acts 8:4-13. Prior to this conversion, the Jerusalem church was under severe persecution and many were scattered throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria. The Bible tells me that in this scattering of the church at Jerusalem those who went abroad went everywhere preaching the word the gospel of Christ. We are told that Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them. In preaching Christ unto them he preached baptism as an essential act of faith for both men and women (vs. 12). Simon the sorcerer understood Philip when he preached baptism in the gospel as being essential. Twice we read that people heard God's word and twice we read that they obeyed from the heart and were baptized.

Again, Philip was told to go to Gaza and on his way the Spirit bid him to join himself to a chariot with a man from Ethiopia reading out of the book of Isaiah aloud. Philip after a little discussion began to preach unto him Jesus at the same scripture. Philip had preached the gospel to this man and in that gospel was preached baptism, If not, why did the Ethiopian ask what would hinder him from being baptized? The Ethiopian understood that baptism was essential to his being saved. (Acts 8:26-39).

In all the examples of conversion the Bible provides, baptism is preached to all. See Acts 9:1-20; 22:6-16; 10:1-48; 11:1-18; 16:13-15; 16:23-24; 18:8. I believe these examples from the Book, the confirmed word of God, show that baptism is essential to one's salvation.

Other OPA Article Links:


Gerald Barrett      1987        OPA Main Page        Home



Hit Counter