Monday, March 05, 2007

Just Add Water (part 1)

When you plant your garden and you want it to grow, what is an essential ingredient? Simple…just add water. The same is true for Christians. If we are going to grow as Christians, one of the most basic ingredients is to follow the Lord in water baptism. Have you followed the Lord in water baptism since you trusted Christ to be your savior? Do you even know what baptism is all about? Let me spell it out for you. Let’s take the word “baptism” and use each letter to stand for a phrase that describes it. These phrases will help us learn the answers to the questions, Who should be baptized? When should you be baptized? Why should you be baptized? How should you be baptized? For example:

B = Believers only
A = After salvation
P = Picture of spiritual cleansing
T = Trine immersion
I = Identifying with the Trinity
S = Symbolizes dying to sin and being raised to new life
M = Mandate for all believers

Let’s look at each one a bit closer. The letter “B” stands for “Believers only.” It answers the question, “Who should be baptized?” Baptism is for believers in Jesus. Baptism is not for the person who is seeking eternal life, but rather for the person who already has eternal life because they have trusted the death and resurrection of Jesus alone for their salvation. This is especially seen in the book of Acts where believing or receiving the Word always comes before baptism as seen in the following passages:

· “Those who received the word were baptized” (Acts 2:41)

· “”When they believed they were then baptized” (Acts 8:12)

· “If you believe you may be baptized” (Acts 8:35-38)

This means that being baptized is not necessary for salvation. In other words, you don’t have to be baptized to be a Christian but you do need to be baptized to be an obedient Christian. The vast majority of verses in Scripture teach that salvation is solely by faith with no mention of baptism as seen in the following verses:

· Those receiving Him become His children (John 1:12)

· Those who believe in him shall not perish (John 3:16)

· Paul told the jailor to believe and he would be saved (Acts 16:31)

· We are saved by faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9)

· See also Romans 3:21-30; 4:5; 10:9-10, 13; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:16

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