“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Heb. 2:1). Peter, in his second epistle wanted us to be reminded (II Pet. 1:12-15).
When we believe in God, repent of our sins, confess faith in Christ, and are desirous of obtaining forgiveness of our sins, we are charged to be baptized. Study carefully these scriptures: John 8:24, 21; Hebrews 11:6; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:35-40; Acts 2:38; and I Peter 3:21. Baptism is an act that is sometimes ridiculed, often neglected, and greatly misunderstood.
The Bible says that baptism:
(1) Puts one into Christ. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). There is no other way to get “into” Christ, and since redemption is “in Christ” (Eph. 1:7), and “all spiritual blessings” are also found only “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), the necessity of being baptized becomes apparent.
(2) Puts one into Christ’s death. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). Jesus’ blood was shed in His death (John 19:34). To be baptized into His death is to contact the blood which was “shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:11-26). Because of this, we are raised from the water with our sins “washed away” (Acts 22:16). The blood of Christ washes our sins away (Rev. 1:7); baptism is the time and place when that is done (Acts 22:16).
(3) Puts us into Christ’s church. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13). This one body is the church (Col. 1:18, 24; Eph. 1:22-23). In Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised to build His church. This church came into being on the first Pentecost following the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 2). Paul identifies Christ as both head and Saviour of the church which is His body (Eph. 5:23). Thus we must be in the church of Christ, having been baptized into it, to have Jesus as our Saviour. Outside of the church there is no salvation. On the day of Pentecost, and “daily” since then, the Lord added to the church such as were being saved (Acts 2:43, 47).
(4) Puts one into the name of Christ (Matt. 28:19 ASV). This is the act that brings one into the authority of the God family, and permits us to wear the name “Christian” (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; I Pet. 4:15-16). “Into the name” means by the authority. Thus one is brought under the authority and into the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in the act of baptism.
It is important that those who serve the Lord keep these fundamental facts in mind. Older Christians tend to think these are so elementary that all must know them by now. But they are as new to our children and many of our friends as they once were to us.
Paul M Wilmoth