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«Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Even though baptism is one of the fundamental building blocks of ...»

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This conversion also teaches us that we must understand what we are being baptized into. So, if we were baptized for the wrong reason, then we need to be baptized for the right reason. For instance, if we were baptized as an infant, our baptism is invalid because we did not believe, repent, or confess, since these are impossible for an infant to do. If we were taught that baptism was an outward sign for inward change and we were “saved” before baptism, then we could not have been baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), which makes our baptism invalid. If we were baptized to join a manmade denomination, then we did not understand that baptism puts us into Christ and that God adds us to His church. It is critical that we examine the reason we were baptized. If we discover that we were not baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins, then we need to follow the example of these twelve men and be baptized in accordance with God’s will.

And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6).

Just like the conversion of the Samaritans, these men were baptized in the name of Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them so they could receive the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, which gave them the ability to speak in tongues and prophesy.

In conclusion, these three conversions Paul was involved with have remained consistent with all the other conversions.

Once again, they confirm that we must hear about Jesus, believe in Him, repent, confess Him, and be baptized for the remission of sins. Finally, these conversions do not offer any support for the false doctrines of infant baptism, “faith only,” or the Calvinistic view of the Holy Spirit directly operating on the heart of a sinner, making God’s grace irresistible.


1. Discuss Lydia’s background.

2. How was Lydia’s heart opened to the truth?

3. Can babies be scripturally baptized?

4. Discuss the demon possessed slave girl.

5. Was the Philippian jailor taught that he could be saved by faith alone?

6. Why was the Philippian jailor’s household baptized in the middle of the night?

7. What do we learn about baptism from the conversion of the former disciples of John in Acts 19?


Romans 6

In Romans 6, Paul gives a detailed description of what happens when we are baptized in water. This chapter is full of rich information that will prove that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. In the previous chapter, Paul taught the Romans they were justified by an obedient faith to God and that justification comes through Jesus. Even though we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23), grace, which came through Christ (Jn. 1:17), will always have the power to overcome our sins.

Again, this requires an obedient faith (Heb. 5:8-9; 1 Jn. 1:7).

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Rom. 6:1-2).

Grace is not designed to be a safety net in which we are allowed to sin freely. Grace can be perverted (Jude 1:4), and we can fall from it (Gal. 5:4). Notice how firm Paul answered his own question. He said, “Certainly not!” He wanted them to understand this truth because some had been twisting what he had been teaching.

And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?

-- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say (Rom. 3:8).

So, Paul put the rumors to rest; grace is not a license to sin.

His next question is an important one. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Later, we will see that a person is either a servant of sin or a servant or righteousness. If a person is a servant of righteousness, then he is a Christian and he has died to sin, which means he should do his best to never become a servant of sin again.

When we become a Christian, we die to sin, but the temptation to sin is still there. So, we must continue to stay away from sin. Once we die to sin, we should rejoice because we have overcome sin and are no longer separated from God (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 59:2). So, we must die to sin if we ever hope to be saved.

How and when do we die to sin? Paul answered this question

in the following verses:

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 (Rom. 6:3-4).

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (Col. 2:11-12).

We can learn several things from these verses:

1. Baptism is what puts us into Christ. Paul taught the same thing to the Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27, emph. mine). So, being baptized into Christ means a person has clothed himself with Him. To show the significance of being in Christ,

notice the following things that are found in Christ:

• Every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).

• Forgiveness of sin (Eph. 1:7).

• No condemnation (Rom. 8:2).

• New creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

• Grace (2 Tim. 2:1).

• Salvation (2 Tim. 2:10).

• Eternal life (1 Jn. 5:11).

Obviously, if we want to be saved and possess all these things found in Christ, we need to be put into and clothed with Christ. None of these benefits are found outside Christ. Paul taught that baptism is how we get into Christ where all these wonderful blessings are found. If we have not been baptized into Christ, then we are lost.

2. Paul pointed out that baptism is the point we die with Christ, which is not a physical death, but a spiritual one. He also pointed out that baptism is a burial, which fits perfectly with the definition of baptism from the Greek: “To dip repeatedly, to immerse, submerge (of vessels sunk)” (Thayer). This definition describes exactly what happens when we are lowered under the water because we are completely immersed, which emulates being buried with Christ. Since we are the ones that are being immersed and buried, this rules out sprinkling or pouring. Besides, sprinkling (rhantismos) and pouring (ballo, epicheo) have their own Greek words, and they have nothing to do with the meaning of baptism (baptizo).

Another way to illustrate this definition is by giving an example that we will all agree on. When a person passes away and he is buried in the graveyard, do we pour or sprinkle a little dirt on him and call him buried? Of course not! Everyone understands that buried means he is completely covered with dirt, which is the same idea we are given with baptism. Since baptism is a burial in water, John was baptizing where there was much water (Jn. 3:23), and Philip and the eunuch went into the water (Acts 8:38).

3. Another interesting point comes from the word buried, which is the Greek word sunthapto. This Greek word only occurs two times in the Bible (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). Notice how

this word is defined and viewed by the following Lexicons:

Bury (together) with or at the same time; figuratively, of identifying with Christ through baptism in accepting his death and burial as one's own (RO 6.4) (Friberg).

To bury someone along with someone else to bury together with.' 'by our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared in his death' Ro 6.4 (Louw-Nida).

Of the believers being buried together with their Lord in baptism (BDAG).

To bury together with: together with Christ, passive, namely, Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12. For all who in the rite of baptism are plunged under the water thereby declare that they put faith in the expiatory death of Christ for the pardon of their past sins; therefore Paul likens baptism to a burial by which the former sinfulness is buried, i.e. utterly taken away (Thayer).

Even A.T. Robertson, renowned Baptist Greek scholar, who taught that baptism was not necessary for salvation agreed

with Thayer:

Thayer's Lexicon says: "For all who in the rite of baptism are plunged under the water, thereby declare that they put faith in the expiatory death of Christ for the pardon of their past sins." Yes, and for all future sins also.

This word gives Paul's vivid picture of baptism as a symbolic burial with Christ and resurrection also to newness of life in him as Paul shows by the addition "wherein ye were also raised with him". In the symbol of baptism the resurrection to new life in Christ is pictured with an allusion to Christ's own resurrection and to our final resurrection (Robertson).

Mr. Robertson admitted that water baptism is what Paul is talking about. He also admits that it is the point at which we are buried with Christ, which is the point our sins are taken away. However, as he continued, he tried to justify his belief,

which contradicts what he just said:

Paul does not mean to say that the new life in Christ is caused or created by the act of baptism. That is grossly to misunderstand him.

The Gnostics and the Judaizers were sacramentalists, but not so Paul the champion of spiritual Christianity. He has just given the spiritual interpretation to circumcision which itself followed Abraham's faith (Ro 4:10-12).

Cf. Gal 3:27. Baptism gives a picture of the change already wrought in the heart "through faith" (Robertson).

A.T. Robertson had a great understanding of the Greek language. However, he admitted in his massive Historical Grammar book that sometimes grammar must give way to theology (Jackson, The Preposition “Eis” in Acts 2:38 www.christiancourier.com).

In other words, no matter how clear the Bible teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation, Robertson was willing to ignore it so he could hold to his Baptist doctrine. Every time the Scriptures talk about the necessity of baptism, Robertson tried to explain it away. Based on these Greek Lexicons and the Bible, we can see that Paul was teaching that being baptized in water is necessary for our salvation.

4. Paul confirmed that baptism is the point at which we die to our sins because we are buried with Christ in His death. Paul compared baptism to circumcision. Under the Law of Moses, a male child had to be physically circumcised on the 8th day to enter the covenant made by God (Lev. 12:3). However, under the new covenant, both men and women are spiritually circumcised when they are baptized. At that point, they enter the covenant made by God. The word circumcised has the basic meaning of being cut off, and that is what happens to us in baptism because our sins are cut off from us. Paul will make this point even stronger when we examine verse 5 and following.

5. Paul taught that baptism is not a work of man, but a work of God. However, it is a response on our part in the sense that we decide to submit to water baptism. However, what happens at our baptism is done solely by God, which can be

proven in several ways:

(1) Every time the Word of God speaks of someone being baptized, it is always in the passive tense, which means baptism is something that is being done to us. Someone might say this is referring to the person who is baptizing the other person. However, we need to realize that when a person is helping another person with his baptism, he is simply making sure that person is fully immersed because that person has nothing to do with the work that happens to the person being baptized.

(2) Paul said: “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12, emph. mine). Notice, it is by our faith in the working of God that we can know God is causing us to die to our sins and that He is uniting us with Christ in baptism. It is at the point of baptism that God adds us to His church (Acts 2:47), which is only something God can do. There is nothing magical about the water itself. It is simply the place that God has appointed in which we contact the saving blood of Jesus (Rev. 1:5) and our sins are washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

(3) This idea can be seen in the Old Testament as well. In 2 Kings 5, we learn about a commander of the Syrian army named Naaman. He was a successful military leader, but he had leprosy. His king wanted him to be healed, so he sent a letter to the king of Israel to let him know he was sending Naaman to him to be healed. The king of Israel could not help him with this request, but Elisha could. So, Naaman was sent to Elisha’s house and Elisha sent a servant out to tell him: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (2 Kgs. 5:10).

At first, Naaman was furious, and he refused, but his servant talked him into obeying Elisha’s command, and he was cleansed of his leprosy. There was nothing magical about the Jordan River, but it was the place that Elisha said he would be healed from his leprosy. It was not until he obeyed that command and dipped seven times that God cleansed him from his leprosy. Again, the water itself did not cure him, just like the water itself does not wash away our sins. Instead, it is the working of God combined with an obedient faith that healed Naaman and causes us to have the forgiveness of our sins.

6. Once we have been baptized into Christ and we are raised from the watery grave of baptism, we are supposed “to walk in newness of life.” Notice, our walk in newness of life does not begin until we are buried with Christ in baptism. Paul said: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). Again, the only way we can become a new creation is by being baptized into Christ.

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