043 – Acts 2:38

Baptism leads to salvation.

Acts 2 holds one of the clearest and most detailed explanations of water baptism in the New Testament. It’s the first time in history we see Christian baptism occur. As we know from our previous podcasts, theologians go to great lengths to explain why this passage of scripture is not about water baptism by parsing prepositions and verifying verbs. But, I think the passage is pretty easy to understand and completely uncomplicated. There is no need to dive into Greek linguistics and confusing explanations. Just read the passage with the heart of a child and it will all make sense.

So, what’s the context of our Acts passage? Peter is preaching the very first Gospel message. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and is quite bold! His audience is thousands of Jewish pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, which is just 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Peter presents a great deal of information about Jesus and explains all about the Messiah by offering proofs from the Old Testament scriptures. At the end of his sermon, in verse 36 he places the guilt and the blame of killing the promised Messiah, squarely on the shoulders of the onlookers. Let’s tune in and listen as he concludes his sermon.

The First Baptisms Ever

Acts 2:36-41
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Peter tells these people, “You killed the Christ!” Now, let’s stop right here. Isn’t that a little presumptuous of Peter? After all, many of these folks were not even in Jerusalem 50 days earlier and even if they were, probably none of them had anything to do with the execution of Jesus. In fact, the argument could be made that it was the Romans who actually killed the Christ. What’s going on here?

Some clues are found in what happens next.

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042 – 1 Peter 3:18-22

The Flood wiped away all the sin in the world. Baptism does the same thing.
Noah’s Ark (1846), Edward Hicks.

Here is our next scripture which speaks specifically about baptism using that word and even references water as integral in the process. It’s 1 Peter 3:18 and following.

1 Peter 3:18-22
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Let’s start with the Gospel Message!

When Peter begins teaching us about water baptism, he begins in a really great place. He begins by reminding us about the Gospel. Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous or the unrighteous to bring us to God. That’s awesome. He leaves no doubt in our minds regarding Jesus sacrifice for us and he does it in a succinct and thorough manner. He’s almost poetic and lyrical in his presentation of the Gospel!

Next, he says something curious. He tells us Christ was made alive by the Spirit and it is through this Spirit he goes and preaches to “the spirits in prison.” Which spirits are those? They are the spirits “who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”

Wow, that would have been a very long time ago! We don’t know exactly who these spirits were and there is tons of speculation we might offer but when we think of the who, what, when, where, how and why, we have most of it locked down. We just don’t know specifically why Jesus went and preached. Now, regarding these spirits there is one thing we know for sure… we do know they had been disobedient! Also, with certainty, we know their time in history. They were from a time during the construction of Noah’s Ark.

Then suddenly, Noah’s Ark becomes the central figure in Peter’s lesson. He goes on to explain… “In it, only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.”

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041 – Galatians 3

Baptism is clothing yourself with Christ.

Galatians 3 offers a very short, very to-the-point, two verse lesson on baptism; in which nearly every word is absolutely packed with germane information. Let’s read it.

Galatians 3:26-27
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Paul, in this letter to the Galatians, is writing once again about an event which happened in the past. He is reminding them about something… and what is that something? It is the Galatians’ baptisms. Let’s get some context.

The Judaizers

The Galatian church had been infiltrated by dangerous teachers and Paul is over-the-top ticked about it. No other letter in the New Testament demonstrates the Apostle’s wrath better than Galatians. These false brothers had persuaded some in the church to fall back into Old Testament rituals which depended on “works of the flesh,” namely, circumcision. These “Judaizers,” as they were called, taught people they must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses in order to become Christians. Paul, in furious manner, declares, trying to obey the Old Testament Law for salvation, was of absolutely no value. In fact, he tells them, if you give into this teaching, your relationship with Christ is worthless.

Galatians 5:2
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Back in Galatians 3, Paul spends a good amount of time explaining the Galatians must have faith in Christ, not circumcision. And, it is in this context, he makes his statement about baptism.

He tells them, “You are all sons of God…” This means they are saved. Their sins were already forgiven. They could not be “sons” if they had not been adopted into the family. He next explains exactly how that happened. “Through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Steps of Faith

The only way people become “sons of God” is through this thing Paul calls “faith.” But what kind of faith is this? Is this simple, intellectual belief or assent? Does the kind of faith Paul is talking about stop at mental cognition and agreement with the message of the Gospel? No. Faith is never faith until there is some kind of commitment or action which backs it up. Listen, even the best Evangelical agrees with that statement. Let me show you.

In the Evangelical world, preachers present a final step of faith, necessary to become a “son of God.” Some churches teach that we simply and quietly need to accept Christ into our heart. Some churches use “The Sinner’s Prayer” as the final step of faith. Some ask people to raise their hand in the service or come forward during an alter call. Once the person has performed the prescribed method, this “step of faith,” they are considered saved. They would never be considered saved prior to this step of faith. So, even in the denominational world where human works are decried as invalid, we see some step of faith is required before salvation. No one claims these are rituals or works of man. We are told they are acts of faith or steps of faith.

Paul points the Galatians back to a different step of faith. He says…

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040 – Colossians 2

Baptism is where the circumcision done by Christ happens.
Baptism: The circumcision done by Christ.

During our last podcast about Romans 6, we saw that baptism is a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the final step of faith a person takes who is ready to completely surrender their life to the Lordship of Jesus. To be sure… baptism is an act of faith, it is not a human work.

In this podcast, let’s take a look at Colossians 2:11-13. Here, we will see the forgiveness of sins referred to as a “circumcision.” This scripture, probably more than any other, leads people to the erroneous conclude baptism is “like” circumcision or there is some kind of metaphorical link between baptism and circumcision. We’ll talk about that shortly. Now, let’s listen to…

Colossians 2:11-13
“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…”

Clear and Simple

Honestly, this scripture is pretty straight forward. First of all, it is about baptism (among other things) and it specifically uses that word. Notice, Paul is talking to people who have previously experienced everything he is about to review. It has already happened to them. This entire passage is written in the past tense. So, what happened?

First, in Christ, they were circumcised. Ok, so… What, when, where, why and how? What did this circumcision do? What was the effect? Paul said it, “put off the sinful nature”… it cast off their sins. Was this a physical circumcision? No. It is a spiritual circumcision. Who does the circumcision? It is “done by Christ” not by human hands. This is how we know it can not be a physical circumcision because Jesus was not physically there. Is this a symbolic circumcision? No. It is something Christ really does to the obedient believer. It is the exact moment sins are forgiven.

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039 – Romans 6

Romans 6 - Death, Burial and Resurrection with Christ

Here is the first scripture we use to argue that water baptism is necessary for salvation. It’s Romans 6:1-11. This is a long passage holding wonderful treasures, the first of which harkens back to our lesson about the correct method of baptism. Let’s listen to it.

Romans 6:1-11
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 6 – Verse by Verse

Wow. What a rich passage of scripture. Let’s dissect this verse by verse.

Verse 1-2
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

The first part of this verse addresses a misunderstanding in the early church where some people thought that if they sinned more, God’s grace was revealed even more. Paul says, in effect, “That dog don’t hunt so stop thinking that way.”

But notice something. Paul is addressing people who are already saved. How do we know this? Because all of it is in the past tense. He identifies them as people who have (past tense) “died to sin.” If someone has “died to sin” that means that their sins have been forgiven and they are no longer living a life of sin. These are people who have died and been raised again to their new life in Christ. They have been Born Again. Let’s dig a little deeper and ask the critical questions: “When did this happen and where did it happen.” Paul answers these questions in verse three.

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”

Baptized into His Death

In this sentence, Paul tells us this “death to sin” occurred when these people were baptized into Christ. He tells us they were “baptized into his death.” Ah… two critical truths! First, we get “into” Christ through something called “baptism.” Second, we learn this “baptism” places us “into Christ’s death.” These are important truths to understand.

There is no other way, in all of scripture to get “into” Christ or “into his death.” And to be clear… these are not symbolic things. These are, what I like to call, “reality things;” things which are really happening. At the time of baptism, we are put into Christ and into his death by the Holy Spirit. But the process does not stop there. We are not left dead and buried, just as Christ was not left dead and buried.

Verse 4

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Buried with Him

There is a lot here! This verse begins with the word, “therefore.” In my early years as a disciple, I was taught that whenever you see the word “therefore” in a scripture, you should always back up a few verses and find out what it is there for! If we do that, we must read verse four in light of verses 1-3.

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038 – Introduction to Baptism

Introduction to water baptism.

Hello and welcome to A Faith that Obeys Podcast. If you are just joining us here, let me bring you up to speed on where we are in our lengthy series about water baptism which we started back in Podcast 012 – The Proponents.

We began by reviewing a good number of objections to baptism as a part of the salvation experience, then we looked at infant baptism and original sin, followed by the methods of baptism in our last podcast. Today, we enter the home stretch of our series as we begin to discuss the purpose of water baptism as revealed in the New Testament.

In our last Podcast, we learned the correct method of baptism is by complete immersion in water. A person submits themselves to this activity after they experience the four other steps in the Biblical Plan of Salvation. In this plan, we see that someone who wants to become a disciple of Jesus must hear the Gospel, accept the Gospel, repent of their sin, confess with their mouth (and with their repentant lifestyle) “Jesus is Lord,” and then make the decision to take the final step of obedience to Christ’s command and be baptized.

Before we begin our study about the pro-proponents side of the argument, I want to do a little reset and take a 30,000 foot review of our debate topic and then move into the scriptures which teach us about the nature and purpose of water baptism.

As we have seen in our study about the debate of whether water baptism is necessary for salvation, we find two clearly defined responses to that question. “Yes it is.” And. “no it is not.”

A Quick Review

In the first part of this series, we took a long, careful, honest and thoughtful look at the reasons our first group of proponents say “No, water baptism is not necessary.” We used a really good article from GotQuestions.Org as our framework. I think the author did an admirable job of presenting the classic argument and used a good number of scriptures to support his view. Even before I discovered his article, I was very familiar with each of the claims and very familiar with the approach. The information was nothing new or surprising. He used the same common answers and common scriptures evangelicals usually employ for this debate but I think it was organized very well.

Three Problematic Tactics

In this debate, Evangelicals use three tactics to form their conclusions. The first tactic is they label baptism a “work of man” and dismiss it as a requirement based on that claim. As we have seen, it is impossible for baptism to be a command of Christ and a work of man at the same time. The two are mutually exclusive. If we start our reasoning with that false premise, “baptism is a work,” the conclusion is false as well.

The second tactic involves the scriptures they choose to explain why baptism is not necessary. These scriptures, by-and-large, are not about baptism at all. In fact, in all but one of the scriptures our author used in his presentation, the word baptism was never even mentioned. Anti-baptism proponents tend to avoid the multitude of scriptures which speak directly and specifically about baptism. How can we possibly build a credible case while avoiding the very scriptures which speak clearly on that topic, using that word?

Continue reading “038 – Introduction to Baptism”

037 – Methods of Baptism

Methods of Baptism

Well, welcome to this very short podcast about the methods or modes of baptism. When we survey the methods of baptism used in the Christian world we count three. Some churches symbolically sprinkle water on the head as a form of baptism, some pour the water and others baptize by fully immersing a person in water. As you can imagine, this is another one of those areas of debate which has raged for centuries. Is there a right way to baptize and a wrong way? Does it even matter?

Let’s dive into it.

Definitions

In this podcast we’ll quickly review definitions used in the baptism debate and then we will peruse the details about baptisms in the next few podcasts as we close out our lengthly series on baptism.

The Bible, specifically, the New Testament uses the word baptize in its various forms over 60 times. Every time it is used in connection with conversion, it is derived from the Greek word “bapto” which means to dip, dye, plunge, overwhelm, cover completely, submerge, etc. The Greek word “Bapto.” does not mean sprinkle or pour. This Greek word bapto is not native to the Bible there is nothing spiritual about it at all. It was a common word used in ancient Greece and we have a very similar word in today’s Greek. Dozens of authors from Biblical time periods including Polybius, Plutarch, Galba and others used it outside of the Bible and it always meant to submerge.

If you want to dunk yourself in the definition of the word bapto, there is a deep, rich study of this topic at BibleHub.com and here is the link to the article. https://biblehub.com/greek/907.htm

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036 – Infant Baptism – Part 3

Infant Baptism - The great misunderstanding.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

In our last Podcast 035, we discussed in detail the doctrine of “Original Sin.” If you have not listened to that podcast yet, I want to encourage you to go back and listen to it before we finish up with the topic of Infant Baptism in this podcast.

Millions of people believe they were baptized as an infant and this poses a particularly thorny problem.

Infant Baptism becomes one of the strongest objections to obeying the Gospel as an adult. The argument is pretty simple, it goes like this. “I don’t think I need to be baptized as an adult because I was baptized as a baby.”

This issue becomes a huge stumbling block for people who are discovering the Biblical Plan of Salvation for the first time because they have gone to church all their life and lived pretty righteous and decent lives. They believe their sins were washed away when they were baptized as an infant. They point back to their infant baptism, recognizing they have lived this life of respect for God and this becomes the proof it their faith.

Now that we understand there is no such thing as Original Sin and therefore no need for infant baptism, the way is clear and paved for the individual to obey the Gospel as an adult.

Let me restate something from our last lesson. Please listen carefully! The doctrine of “Original Sin” is not found in the Bible. Therefore, the entire doctrine of Infant Baptism crumbles under that weight. Infant baptism is just something men made up because they had to have a response to the perceived problem of Original Sin. Without the problem, there is no response required.

Let’s Make a New Tradition!

Infant baptism is a massive tradition, practiced for over a thousand years. In our modern era the doctrine has radically morphed into something new and even further outside the Biblical realm. Check this out. What I am about to tell you will graphically depict just how easily people buy into completely unscriptural teachings.

Continue reading “036 – Infant Baptism – Part 3”

035 – Original Sin

Original Sin - A Misunderstanding.
Masaccio – Banishment

Well hello there. If you are just joining us to learn about the topic of Original Sin, please note that we are in the middle of a discussion on Infant Baptism. The doctrine of Original Sin plays a crucial role as the impetus behind Infant Baptism so the two are inextricably linked. Since this is a pretty big topic, I decided to break out this part of the study as a separate podcast so it might be easier to find in searches when future folks just want to learn about the topic of Original Sin. So, when you hear me reference Infant Baptism in this Podcast, that would be the reason why. The next podcast, 036, will conclude our discussion regarding Infant Baptism. If you’re listening to the podcasts sequentially, we have not strayed from the topic at hand, you are still right on track.

The Doctrine of Original Sin

The doctrine of Original Sin basically states that man inherits the sin and guilt of Adam and Eve and because of that “Original Sin,” all men are condemned to destruction unless something happens to save them. This doctrine teaches; the sin of Adam and Eve has been passed down from generation to generation and there is no escaping its damning power. Everyone who has ever been born has “Original Sin” because Adam and Eve are the parents of us all.

So, the real question we must pursue, “Is there really such a thing as ‘Original Sin?’”

Defining our Terms

Let’s look at some popular scriptures used to support the doctrine of Original Sin. We’ll work through them and ask some questions as we always do. I think we are going to find they are not very convincing.

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034- Infant Baptism – Part 2

Infant Baptism is not necessary.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

The Anabaptist arguments of the 1500s pitted a deeply entrenched religious system which taught babies should be baptized, against the Anabaptist belief that only adults could make that decision for themselves.

Three Reasons for the Anabaptist’s View

Now, there are a three important facets of the reasoning behind the thinking of the Anabaptists and it seems like we never hear anything about these reasons; we just hear the summation, “babies don’t have faith.”

So, why did the Anabaptist’s considered only adults as valid candidates for baptism? Well, it was because of the additional qualifications. The adult had to hear the Gospel, believe it, accept, confess Jesus as Lord, repent of their sins and decide to be baptized; all of which infants can not do. Just being an adult did not make you a candidate, you had to be an obedient believer in Christ. Their baptisms became known as a “Believer’s Baptism.” This term is still used today in churches which have their roots in the Anabaptist movement, even though the meaning has changed significantly. This one is important so let me explain.

In the 1500s, these Anabaptist believers understood the requirements regarding obedience to the Gospel, which included baptism and only a person who accepted the Gospel was a candidate for baptism. Thus, baptism was done… only to a believer. They did not think they were already saved by their profession of faith; they knew they had to obey. Now, some my argue with this assertion so I will give you proof, shortly.

Believer’s Baptism

Today, the term “believer’s baptism” has shifted in meaning. It reflects the the Modern Plan of Salvation’s view that all believers are saved. Today, we are taught that anyone who makes a sincere profession of faith in Christ, is a Christian. By definition, the word “Christian” means sins have been forgiven. When a baptism occurs under the Modern Plan of Salvation, believers are being baptized in obedience to Christ but this baptism is just a ceremony. The evangelical world has even coined a phase to describe this doctrine: “Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace.”

Continue reading “034- Infant Baptism – Part 2”