«Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Even though baptism is one of the fundamental building blocks of ...»
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin (Rom. 6:5-7).
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col. 2:13).
As Paul continued, he lets us know that our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins are conditional. Verse 5 starts out with the Greek word gar, which means Paul was explaining more about what he said in the previous verse. Notice the conditional word if. We can only be united with Christ in the likeness of His death if we are baptized. It is at the point of baptism that our old self is crucified with Christ. At that point, we are freed from our sins and made alive with Christ by our faith in the working of God. Paul said: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.
2:20). It was only when Paul was crucified with Christ in baptism that Christ lived in him (Acts 9:18).
Just because we have been freed from our past sins does not mean that we cannot sin any more. Instead, it means that we should not sin any more. It is also important to note, that once we have been baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins, we do not need to be baptized every time we sin. Instead, we have been given the privilege to come boldly before the throne of grace in prayer to repent and confess our sins
to God (Heb. 4:16; 1 Jn. 1:9). Consider the following verses:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore
put to death your members which are on the earth:
fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:1-11, see also Eph. 4:20ff).
Once again, we have the conditional word if. Paul is saying, if we were raised with Christ in baptism, we should be seeking those things which are above. When he said, “you died,” he is referring to when we died in baptism, which was when our life became hidden with Christ. It is only when we have died and been raised with Christ in baptism that we have the hope of appearing with Jesus when He appears at His second coming. Then Paul encourages us to put off all these sinful deeds that cause us to be separated from God. He tells us why we should do this when he wrote, “…since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:9-10). Again, Paul teaches us in Romans 6 that putting off the old man happens at the point of baptism. Paul told Titus: “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11). Notice, the only way we can live with Christ is by dying with Him, which happens at the point of baptism.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:8-11).
Verse 8 is the same conditional statement that Paul made to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:11). We can know with all confidence that if we die with Christ in baptism and we remain faithful, we will live with Christ in heaven forever. We can know this fact because Jesus was raised from the dead, and He has put sin in its place. Just as Jesus lives for God, we are supposed to live our lives for God and consider ourselves dead to sin but alive in Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:12-14).
This passage proves we can resist sin. However, we are human and sometimes we will sin (1 Jn. 1:8, 10), which is why Paul taught us not to let sin reign in our bodies. As Christians, we are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12) and keep sin out of our lives (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 3:9; 1:6). When Paul said: “We are not under law but under grace,” he is saying that we are not under the Law of Moses in which perfect lawkeeping was required. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
Some seem to think there is no law under the system of
grace, but this is not true. Consider the following proof:
Isaiah prophesied that the law of Jehovah would go forth from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3), which happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). When the new covenant was made through Jesus, Jeremiah prophesied that God would put His law in their minds and write it on their hearts (Jer. 31:33). The fact that we are under a new covenant proves that we are under a law, and the Scriptures make it clear that we are under a law.
For instance, the covenant we are under is called a law of faith (Rom. 3:27), the law of God (Rom. 7:22, 25), and the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2). Paul said he was under law to Christ (1 Cor. 9:21), and he taught other Christians to fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). James called it the perfect law of liberty and the royal law (James 1:25; 2:8, 12). Besides, if there is no law, then there is no way we can sin (Rom. 4:15).
However, Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). If there are commandments we can keep, then there is a law for us to keep. There are many other verses that show that we must obey God’s law under His system of grace as well (Mt. 7:21-23; Rom. 6:17-18; Col. 3:5-6; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Heb. 5:8-9; James 1:22; 2:17, 20; 1 Pet. 4:17; 1 Jn.
2:3-4, 17; 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:22; Rev. 21:7-8; 22:14).
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness (Rom. 6:15-19).
Once again, Paul is teaching us that grace is not a license to sin. When we were baptized into Christ, we made ourselves slaves of righteousness. We are no longer supposed to be slaves of sin because it leads to spiritual death. Notice how they became slaves of righteousness, which caused them to be set free from sin. They obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered to them. What doctrine was delivered to them that they obeyed? It was the same doctrine that Jesus told His disciples to teach in The Great Commission (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16). When they went around teaching, they taught that a person must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24; Acts 8:37), repent (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38), confess Jesus as Lord (Mt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Paul continued to encourage these brethren to be servants of righteousness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:20-23).
As Paul summed up this chapter, he pointed out that being a slave of sin will end in spiritual death, but being a slave of righteousness will result in inheriting eternal life through Jesus our Lord.
In conclusion, Paul has taught us with clarity the necessity of baptism. When we are baptized into Christ, we die to sin and we become slaves of righteousness because we obeyed that form of doctrine that has been delivered to us. If we have not been baptized into Christ, then we are still a slave of sin. If we die physically in this condition, the Word of God teaches that we will not make it into heaven. What about you, dear reader? Are you a slave of righteousness or a slave of sin? If you desire to be a slave of righteousness, then why not be united with Christ in baptism today (2 Cor. 6:2)?
1. Does God’s grace give us a license to sin?
2. Name six important things we learn about baptism from Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:11-12.
3. After we are baptized, do we have to get rebaptized every time we sin?
4. What did Paul mean when he said, “We are not under law but under grace?”
5. How do we become a slave of righteousness?
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? (1 Cor. 15:29).
It has been said there are thirty to forty different interpretations of this text. For instance, the Mormon Church uses this text to teach the false doctrine of proxy baptism. Joseph Smith is the founder of this denomination. He claimed to receive a new revelation from God, and the book of Mormon was born. He also claimed that Paul was teaching that we can be baptized in place of another that has passed on so they can be saved.
According to H. David Burton:
The first public affirmation of the ordinance of baptism for the dead in the Church was Joseph Smith's funeral sermon for Seymour Brunson in Nauvoo in August 1840. Addressing a widow who had lost a son who had not been baptized, he called the principle "glad tidings of great joy," in contrast to the prevailing tradition that all un-baptized are damned.
The first baptisms for the dead in modern times were done in the Mississippi River near Nauvoo (“Baptism for the Dead”).
According to Joseph’s doctrine, I could be baptized for my friends and loved ones that have died so they can be saved.
However, the Scriptures do not support his view, nor does most of the religious world. This false doctrine is based on this one verse because no other verses in the Bible talk about being baptized for the dead. As we examine what Paul was talking about in this verse, we cannot make him contradict other clear passages on this topic, and we must examine the context of 1 Corinthians 15.
The first thing I want to prove is that Paul was not teaching that Christians could be baptized for the dead because this would contradict other clear passages, which teach that once
a person dies, salvation cannot be obtained. Paul said:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God. "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10-12).
This same thought is seen in Romans 2:6, Revelation 20:12 and 22:12, which states that all will stand before Jesus and be judged based on what they have done whether it is good or bad. This is why Paul said: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phi. 2:12). We cannot be saved or lost by what somebody else does for us because we are accountable for what we do (Ezek.18:20), and there are no second chances because the writer of Hebrews said: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). These Scriptures prove that we must stand or fall by our own deeds, and no matter how many times we get baptized or do a good deed in the name of those that have passed away, it will not change their judgment.
Another great example that teaches against this false doctrine is the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-31). The rich man found himself in Hades, and Lazarus was in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man was in torment, and Lazarus was in comfort. The rich man cried out to Abraham and said: “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Lk. 16:24). The rich man wanted some relief, and this is understandable but
notice Abraham’s response:
But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us’ (Lk.