This is the command about water baptism that Jesus left with His disciples just before He went back to the Father.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The definition for for Baptize is found in the The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words.
“to baptize,” primarily a frequentative form of bapto, “to dip,” was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another, etc. Plutarchus uses it of the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl
This is a subject that has been debated by many and there are some who still feel that water baptism saves a person. We are going to follow this scripture and se where it leads us to!
My fist comment is this, if you can be saved by water baptism, it is of works and not of faith that you are saved! This denoted legalism and that is not according to scripture.
What can you do or offer God to save you? If baptism saves one then baptism has become a means of salvation and anyone can do it and now it has become a work of man to get baptized to be saved!
This just does not sound right does it? There is a reason why this does not sound right!
Acts 4:12 (KJV)
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The name of Jesus is who we call upon to be saved! We first have to render or submit our authority to God’s authority and make Him Lord of our lives before we can be saved! Salvation is only a part of the process of making Jesus Lord in our lives. We don’t just get saved by saying, hey, Jesus, I want to be saved so I am confessing you! That is not the meaning of Romans10: 9.
Romans 10:8-10 (KJV)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
First, this scripture does not mention baptism. It does not say if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and be baptized you will be saved. It says we have to confess Jesus. There is another part of this verse that is necessary in confessing Jesus! V. 10. It is believing unto righteousness! Or accepting God’s word for what it says and accepting it!
Jesus was and is the righteousness of God. We must believe God’s way is the right way and accept this! Meaning we must submit our will to His! When we do this, meaning we make Him Lord and and King of our lives, we are made righteous in His sight! This comes through the work Christ performed on Calvary! He paid for our sins by His death, when we accept this we are covered by His righteousness and our sins are forgiven.
There are many scripture throughout the New Testament that refers to Jesus as Lord. It makes it clear He is Lord before He is Savior!
All of the above scripture mention Jesus as Lord or Jesus the Lord or Lord Jesus! You can’t have one without the other!
Salvation is a result, a product of accepting Jesus as Lord!
So, salvation comes by grace and faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ and not by works. If water baptism saves us, Jesus died in vain. If this were the case, all we would need to do is confess that Jesus is Lord and be baptized and we would be saved. We would not have to submit or believe His word is truth!
It would leave out the entire concept of surrendering our hearts to a divine creator and making Him Lord and King of our lives!
Water baptism is a symbol of us surrendering our lives to God, being buried with Jesus in His death and being raised a new creature!
Romans 5:1 (KJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 2:8 (KJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Romans 4: 1-11 (KJV)
speaks of Abraham believing God and it being counted unto him for righteousness!
One last note here on this is what the Apostle Paul said:
1 Cor 1:17 (KJV)
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Now, if Paul was not sent or called to perform water baptism, he even said it was not a primary job of his, but to preach the gospel, why would we think it necessary for salvation? It is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that enlightens and the power of God’s grace brings salvation.
I guess the best way to sum baptism up is to say, “It is a ceremony that represents an outward representation of an inward reality.”
Here is an exerpt from Matthew Henry’s Online Commentary of the Bible: “Noah’s salvation in the ark upon the water prefigured the salvation of all good Christians in the church by baptism; that temporal salvation by the ark was a type, the antitype whereunto is the eternal salvation of believers by baptism, to prevent mistakes about which the apostle,I. Declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but it is that baptism wherein there is a faithful answer or restipulation of a resolved good conscience, engaging to believe in, and be entirely devoted to, God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing at the same time the flesh, the world, and the devil. The baptismal covenant, made and kept, will certainly save us. Washing is the visible sign; this is the thing signified.II.
The apostle shows that the efficacy of baptism to salvation depends not upon the work done, but upon the resurrection of Christ, which supposes his death, and is the foundation of our faith and hope, to which we are rendered conformable by dying to sin, and rising again to holiness and newness of life. Learn, 1. the sacrament of baptism, rightly received, is a means and a pledge of salvation. Baptism now saveth us. God is pleased to convey his blessings to us in and by his ordinances, Acts. 2:38 Acts. 22:16 . 2. The external participation of baptism will save no man without an answerable good conscience and conversation. There must be the answer of a good conscience towards God.”
To better understand baptism you need to understand how the new covenant or testament works with god! This is a very good article that covers the baptism and New Covenant also. If you are still struggling with this issue give this article a few minutes of your time and see if it can help!
Thank you for coming on this journey with us of trying to reveal The Kingdom Message to the world