New Episode of Spiritual Court: Scriptural Baptism on Trial
Introduction: Today we will hear the case/ arguments that much of the denominational world has against scriptural baptism.
A. The Prosecution will try to prove that baptism is not essential or necessary to a person's salvation.1. Baptism is only a symbolic act and has no direct, or essential connection to receiving the remission of sins.
2. How a person is baptized: As a baby, sprinkled, poured, etc. is a unimportant and foolish
to debate, it is the thought that counts.
to debate, it is the thought that counts.
3. The prosecution plans to prove that baptism for the remission of sins is a false teaching, a heresy and a complete misunderstanding of baptism.
B. The Defense (Scriptural Baptism) will defend himself using only the Word of God, teachings of Jesus and the Apostles as his witnesses.1. He wants to acknowledge that God, in His great mercy has made salvation available to the world through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
2. He will attempt to prove that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"; that baptism is "for
the remission of sins"; "that we are buried with him by baptism into death" and "that as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ".
3. He will attempt to show that God has made baptism His ordained way to request and receive the
salvation which has been made possible through the death of Christ.
C. Today, let us enter the courtroom where baptism is on trial and listen in as the prosecution attempts to make its case against baptism for the remission of sins.1. Today’s Judge will be the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever (1 Pet 1:23; John 12:48).
John 12:47-50 ""As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.""
1 Pet 1:22-23 "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God."
Bailiff to Baptism: Do you promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God??
Baptism: I Do
Prosecution: We intend to prove today that Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but that it is merely the outward sign of salvation which has already occurred at the point of belief alone.
Baptism: In my own defense, I do not claim that my water has any power to save a person, but I do assert that I am God’s ordained way for a believing sinner to request and receive salvation. As God and His Word are my witness. If I (Baptism) am the outward sign of an inward faith, then not being scriptually baptized is the outward sign of no inward faith in God's Word.
Prosecution: Let us begin by noting that perhaps the majority of the religious, who claim to follow Jesus, accept sprinkling or pouring water on a baby as God approved "baptism." Would you cast doubt on this practice accepted by a multitude of people and suggest they have not complied with God's command to be baptized?
Baptism: I guess I could say "I Do" again and here is why. First of all, the majority of scholars agree that my Greek name (baptizo) would be most accurately translated by the word "immersion." Biblically speaking the word means to dip, to plunge or to immerse. A few versions actually call me "Immersion" instead of "Baptism." The Bible speaks of me also as a burial. Is sprinkling dirt on top of a body the same thing as a burial? God, in the scriptures, used a word which means immersion and this is easily proven. The question is not what did God say, the question is will God accept men substituting something else in the place of what He has ordained? The only reason why the English Bible contains the word "baptism" is because the original translators held to a religion which did not teach immersion. So instead of translating the word "baptizo" accurately, they did what is called "transliteration." This means they brought a Greek word spelled with English letters into their Bible. By doing this they essentially hid the meaning of what God's Word says so their human practice of sprinkling would not clearly contradict what God required.
I should also point out that God requires that to be baptized, one must believe (Mark 16:15,16). He must understand enough of God's Word (Rm 10:17) to make a personal decision to put his faith in Jesus. There are no commands in the Bible to immerse those who do not believe. Infants are not acceptable candidates for faith or baptism.
God said literally: He that believes in Jesus and is immersed shall be saved. Millions have never done the very first thing God has required to demonstrate true faith. It is a matter of simply believing what God has said or not believing what God has said. Did God mean what He said? The Bible teaches "believer immersion", not unbeliever sprinkling.
Prosecution: We have witnesses who say that you are merely a Jewish ceremonial washing which the early Jewish Christians imposed on one another and then on the Gentiles. You are only symbolic and have no essential role in a person’s salvation.
Baptism: I must confess that I am very symbolic, but my role in God’s plan of salvation did not arise out of custom for I was sent directly from God who inspired men to baptize those who were ready to receive the kingdom of heaven:
1. John first preached me because God told him to:John 1:33: "And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."
2. Jesus, who only taught what God gave Him, taught and baptized even more disciples than John.John 4:1-2: "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)"
Prosecution: Aha! So Jesus did not do the baptizing Himself! That proves that it is not essential to salvation!
Baptism: All it proves is that Jesus devoted Himself to teaching the people their need to be baptized for the remission of sins and assigned His disciples to do the actual baptizing. Jesus may also have been trying to avoid the tendency for people to place too much significance on who it was that actually baptized them, like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians chapter 1.
Prosecution: So you became very popular in the days of John the Baptist, but didn’t John tell the people that your days were numbered when he said that he baptized with water, but that the one who came after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This meant that you were to step aside and be replaced by Holy Spirit baptism!
Baptism: Yes, it is true that Jesus would immerse His disciples with God’s Spirit, which John could not do. But, John did not say that water baptism would come to an end or no longer have a place in God’s plan to save mankind. In fact, Jesus Himself preached water baptism for the remission of sins after His resurrection from the dead, He commanded that His disciples preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Mat 28:19-20: "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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
In Mark, Jesus commanded that the Gospel be preached to every person in the world, adding that those who believed and were baptized would be saved. Jesus gave His disciples a clear command that they were to continue practicing baptism all over the world. His instruction is simple: Belief plus Baptism were made essential to receiving Salvation.
Mark 16:15-16: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Prosecution: Objection! He did not say that those who believed and were not baptized would be damned?
Baptism: But He did say that those who believe and submit to baptism shall be saved. Could you add the word “not” and still have an accurate statement from Jesus: “He that believeth and is NOT baptized shall be saved.?”
Prosecution: Let us move on to the day of Pentecost, where you again showed up to confuse the disciples into thinking that you had something to do with the remission of sins, when in fact the people were already forgiven before they were baptized!
Baptism: Things did not happen that day as you say. In reality, the Apostles were simply preaching the message that Jesus had commanded them to preach. They told them that Jesus was the Christ who God raised from the dead and exalted as King. When the people heard and believed in Jesus, they asked the Apostles what they should do now that they understood who Christ was. The Apostles told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins, promising them that God’s Holy Spirit would be with them. That day three thousand souls gladly received the divine instructions and were baptized, God adding them to the church as they were saved.
Acts 2:38-41: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Acts 2:47: "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Prosecution: We have expert witnesses in the Greek language which say that “for” the remission of sins should really read “because of” the remissions of sins, meaning that baptism was only a symbol of the remission of sins that they had already received.
Baptism: Starting with John, the Bible clearly says that the purpose of baptism is “for the remission of sins.”
Mark 1:4: "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."
The prophet Ananias told Paul that he should be baptized to wash away his sins in Acts 22:16:
Acts 22:16: "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
No major translation of the Bible, old or modern translates this passage with the words “because of.” To show that you are twisting the scriptures consider what would happen if you translated the same Greek word (eis) to say “because of” in Matthew 26:28.
Mat 26:28: "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Did Jesus shed His blood “because of” the remission of sins or because their sins had already been forgiven? Not hardly. Acts 2:38 simply reveals to believing sinners God’s ordained way to receive remission of sins in Jesus Christ by being baptized in His name.
Prosecution: Those who are deceived into thinking you are essential to salvation have often been accused of preaching the plan and not the man! God does not want us to preach baptism, He wants us to preach Jesus. You have become more important to some than Jesus Himself.
Baptism: The truth is that you cannot “preach Jesus” without telling people how to receive the remission of sins through His blood. Consider how Philip “preached...Jesus” to the Ethiopian Eunuch. After hearing an inspired version of the Gospel, the Eunuch immediately desired to be baptized in water and the inspired teacher baptized him, sending him on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:35-39: "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
Prosecution: Baptism is not necessary for salvation. It is well documented that most denominations do not see the necessity of baptizing people immediately and require that the person desiring to be baptized go through some sort of training. This delay in baptizing them surely does not place them in danger of being lost!
Baptism: I must differ with your opinion. If a person is led to believe that they have received remission of sins without submitting to Christ in baptism, they have put their faith in a false gospel and even when they get around to being immersed, it would not be a scriptural baptism. In every example of conversion recorded for us in the Bible, the believing sinner is immediately baptized for the remission of their sins. Consider the Phillipian Jailer who was baptized “the same hour of the night.”
Acts 16:33: "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."
Prosecution: Salvation is a free gift of God, if a person is required to do something (like being baptized) it is no longer a “free” gift and they are trying to earn their salvation through some work.
Baptism: Sorry to differ again, but baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation, it is simply the point of time in our faith when we humbly submit to God, asking Him to forgive us of our sins. How can you believe that you have no part in your receiving salvation? Do you not have to believe? Is not repentance also something you must do? Faith is not saving faith until it has received the remission of sins in the waters of scriptural baptism.
Prosecution: Baptism is not essential to salvation! What if a person learned of the Gospel in the desert and there was not enough water to be immersed, would they be lost?
Baptism: If God has established that baptism is for the remission of sins and His revealed way to receive salvation in Christ, then I could not scripturally offer any alternative, God would have to judge such a situation. I would recommend to all who have not received baptism for the remission of sins, that they obey the Gospel now while they have the opportunity.
Though I do not like to be emphasized so much, I must stand up for the place that God has given baptism in His ordained way of receiving salvation. I conclude my case by noting some other important things which occur at the point of baptism.
1. It is at the moment of baptism that a person enters into the death of Christ and is raised to a new life:Rom 6:3-6: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
2. It is at the moment of baptism that a person is put “into” Jesus Christ.Gal 3:26-27: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
a. Note that “all spiritual blessings” are to be found “in Christ.” (Eph 1:3).
3. Immersion in water is the point of time when we are buried with Christ and forgiven of our sins.Col 2:11-13: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"
With the scriptures as my witness, I have shown that God has made baptism the point of faith where salvation is granted to the repentant believer. Satan (accuser) is surely behind the teachings which reject baptism for the remission of sins. The truth is that those who gladly receive the Word of God will be baptized immediately just like those three thousand souls who were saved on the day of Pentecost. Remember the Words of Jesus when He said:
Mat 7:21: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Baptism: Each individual must choose what they believe about me. Does God mean what He says, thus requiring all true believers to be baptized as He has required for the remission of sin. Or, will they put their trust in the teachings of men which have refused to comply with God's Word. One choice demonstrates trust and confidence in God and His Word. The other demonstrates trust in the ideas of men more than the Word of God.
Mark 7:7-9: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. (9) And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."