WATER BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION
WATER BAPTISM BY IMMERSION IS REQUIRED FOR SALVATION
MARK 16:16 -- -- "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
MATTHEW 28:19 -- "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,..."
JOHN 3:5 -- "Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
COLOSSIANS 2:11-12 -- "and in Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, and the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
ROMANS 6:4 -- "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
There are several issues that the Scriptures bring up that we must address.
All of these questions have to do with the significance of water baptism.
Within the institutional church there are several ways that water baptism occurs. There are some denominations that believe babies should be baptized. This type of baptism is performed simply by sprinkling water on baby's forehead or pouring some water over the baby's forehead. If you search the Scriptures you will find no justification for this kind of baptism.
You will also find many denominations that believe baptism in water must be done by immersion, or completely dunking under the water. This method of water baptism is the only example of water baptism that we find in the Scriptures. It was the example that was given to us when Jesus was actually baptized in water by John the Baptist.
Some believe that baptism in water is not essential and therefore it is your choice whether to be baptized or not. There is only one Scripture in the entire Bible that is used to support this position. That is the Scripture about the thief on the cross where Jesus told him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." This was a very isolated example and it is not the norm that is taught in Scripture, but I do believe that if you yield in your life to Jesus Christ on your death bed and you had absolutely no way to be baptized when he died that you would be saved. That would be an extremely rare situation.
Total submersion under the water is the only way that water baptism can be compared to be being buried as is indicated by the Scriptures.
WHY IS WATER BAPTISM BY SUBMERSION SO SIGNIFICANT?
In Mark 16 "he who has believed" and "shall be saved" have to do with the persons response to the message that Jesus Christ is Lord and that the kingdom of God is at hand. When one believes that the kingdom of God is at hand and yields his life to Jesus as Lord by rejecting his participation in the kingdom of darkness he makes a quality decision to enter the kingdom of God and to begin a new life of obedience to God. When this is done the Scriptures say he "shall be saved".
The question is saved from what? The answer: Saved from the consequences of his rebellion to God by living in the kingdom of darkness that is ruled by Satan. Living in the kingdom of darkness is in essence a life of total "self willfulness" just like the prince of darkness, Satan. Satan, or the Devil, are the names most used when we refer to the fallen angel that was named Lucifer.
Put all of the Scriptures together and you begin to form a picture of something that is very significant. The basic significance is that baptism by immersion under the water is a public outward demonstration to the world and to spiritual forces that because of your decision to make Jesus the Lord of your life that your life has been changed from this moment forward. Your allegiance is no longer to the kingdom of darkness and Satan's influence over your life. You have literally died to it and going under the water symbolizes that death to and burial of the old life.
When you are raised up from under the water it represents your new birth into the kingdom of God. The Scripture says that you have been raised up into a new life. This new life is a life of loving obedience to King Jesus for loving us enough to seek us out, tell us the truth about the two kingdoms, and deliver us from our enslavement to the kingdom of darkness and the consequences of our former allegiance to that kingdom. Once you have experienced water baptism after bowing to King Jesus, He allows you to become a part of the Church He is building called the "ekklesia" and you become a new creation as a child of God.
This whole process of being presented with the "good news", with the gospel of the kingdom that declares the kingdom of God is at hand, you then acknowledged making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, and then you being baptized in water was all done to demonstrate how much God actually loves you.
The Scripture in Colossians 2 deals with a significant spiritual truth that is called the"circumcision of the heart". That is a significant act when when someone enters into a covenant relationship with another person. It is called the "mark of covenant".
The Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we have actually become a "new creature" because of our covenant relationship with Jesus.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 -- "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
According to Scripture as soon as someone makes a commitment to follow Jesus and reject the kingdom of darkness in their life, they need to be baptized in water as soon as possible - not a month away in a special ceremony at a church meeting when it's convenient.
If we're simply doing a "religious" thing then don't concern yourself with it because nothing has really changed. You are still doing what you want to do rather than what He is saying for you to do.
Remember, in covenant, there is an exchanged life -- you exchanged the lordship of your life to Him and He became the Lord of your life and He gave you His righteousness so you could reign in life through Him.
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"Declaring the New Covenant and that the kingdom of God is at hand"
Rob Board Ministries
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