Questions and Answers About Baptism
Though forms of the word baptism occur more than 100 times in the New Testament, most people are not convinced of its importance. They do not see it as a vital element in man's obedience to God. In fact, the majority of people would tell you that baptism has nothing whatsoever to do with salvation. But what does the Bible teach? Consider with me a few questions and biblical answers related to baptism.
Can we reject the stated desire of the One possessing all authority and still be saved? "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:18-20).
How could anyone who has refused baptism feel a complete confidence in their salvation when Jesus, the Savior Himself, linked baptism to being saved? "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16).
Since "for the remission of sins" meant to bring about the forgiveness of sins in Matthew 26:28, doesn't it seem most likely that when Peter used the same expression about fifty days later he intended it to have the same meaning? "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). "Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38). If baptism for the remission of sins is unnecessary, was the blood of Jesus shed for the remission of sins unnecessary?
Is there an important difference between suggested and commanded? "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48).
Since Lydia was baptized after her heart was opened by the Lord, does the refusal of baptism not suggest a closed heart? "Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us....The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay'" (Acts 16:14, 15).
If the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are the very core and essence of the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:1-4), and baptism is directly tied to all three, what are we to conclude about the importance of baptism? "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3, 4).
Is it important to be in Christ where all spiritual blessings are found (Ephesians 1:3)? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26, 27).
When we talk with folks about baptism, in a spirit of love, we need to ask these questions and do all we can to get them to consider God's answers to them. And if you have never been baptized in the name of Jesus, please consider carefully the question asked of Saul of Tarsus three days after the Lord had appeared to him. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).