Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation, Pt. 2

Scripture: Mark 16:16, Colossians 2:12, Matthew 3:16
Is it necessary to be baptized in order to be saved? This talk deals with this question and looks at what the Bible says about baptism. We ought to know God's will and desire to follow it. It also speaks about modes and methods of baptism.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I am John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I am Gary Gibbs.

John: The last time, Gary, we were here, we talked about baptism. Did we find the Bible said baptism was necessary?

Gary: We did. The Bible says in Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized, the same shall be saved.” Jesus told the Church in Matthew 28:19 "Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

John: But as you read the Bible, do you find that baptism is a necessary prerequisite for salvation. Now what I am saying here does baptism save you. There is a fine line because someone's going to say well if it doesn't save me, why do I need to do it. But we find in the Bible there is only one way of salvation. What's that?

Gary: That's through Jesus Christ. But that relationship with Jesus will lead us to follow and obey him. If Jesus says be baptized by water, you'll be baptized by water. If you don't, then that shows that you haven't surrendered your life to Jesus.

John: You see there is something about the attitude of a person that says I see what the Bible says but...I know what God's will is, however... This thing doesn't pop up just in the area of baptism but any number of subjects where people say, "OK, I know what I really ought to do, but I am not going to do it."

Gary: Salvation is a matter of us surrendering our will to God where we are saying I am not going to try to beat my own God. I am not going to try to live life my own way. I recognize there is a God up above who created me, and I am going to give my life to him. If he says to do x, y, z, I am going to do it because He loves me. He knows what's best for me.

As soon as we started saying we are going to choose what we are going to do at each point along the way and we start cutting up the Bible and saying, "Well follow this but not follow that." I really believe that reveals that we haven't been converted yet.

John: There is certainly a lack of surrender and the Christian surrenders to the will of Jesus Christ. For all kinds of reasons, people step back or stand back. They'll say, "Well, we don't do that in my church,” or "My family doesn't believe that way,” or "I wasn't raised that way." On any number of subjects, people try out these excuses. But for the Christian, we don't say the church, the family, my traditions and what-not. We say, what does the Bible say? What is God's will? Because as a child of God responding to His great love in sending Jesus to die for me, I want His will to be done in my life.

Gary: And if you'd like to know God's will on baptism, we have a special free offer to make available to you. It's called Purity and Power. It's a complete thorough Bible study on the topic of baptism. We are going to give you a telephone number and an address and email address that you can contact us at the end of the program. We are happy to get that too for free. It's our gift to you.

John: How should a person be baptized? That's a good question. When I was a child and I was... Well, I had some water sprinkled on me. Priest sprinkled water or poured water on my forehead.

Gary: You remember that, do you?

John: Oh, vividly. No, actually, I don't remember a thing about it. I was about seven or eight days old. That's very, very young at the time. Later on, when I read about baptism in the Bible and someone suggested being baptized. I thought to myself, no, I don't need to be baptized because I've been baptized. I was baptized as a child.

But then I read more and I discovered that what I experienced didn't square with Biblical baptism. It just didn't measure up. It wasn't the real thing. You come to the Bible. The Bible reveals the real thing, the real method and it does so because there is some tremendous symbolism involved. Gary, where does the Bible lead us in this?

Gary: The manner of baptism is very important because it symbolizes a specific meaning. For instance, in Colossians 2:12, the Bible says we are buried with him in baptism, buried. Wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the working or operation of God who raised him from the dead. We have the symbolism of being buried.

That's why baptism has to be by immersion. You have to be put totally under the water so it represents you've accepted Jesus' death in your behalf and that now you are letting your old life of sin be buried with him. But then you come up. You are not going to stay under the water, if you got a good pastor baptizing you.

John: If he likes you.

Gary: You are going to come up out of the water and that represents now living the resurrected life. You have the power of Jesus in you, his resurrection power to enable you to live a new life. John, when I was baptized, before I was baptized, I was unconverted. My language had profanity in it. My thoughts, my whole life was just profane in the sight of God, and it just wasn't in honor and glory to God.

When I gave my life to Jesus, things started changing. And when I was baptized that symbolized that the old way of life was being changed now and I came up out of the waters of baptism to live a life that sought God's glory.

John: You've mentioned did the pastor want to hold you under there too long. I was witnessing a baptism where several people were being baptized. The first fellow decided that he had lived a pretty rough life. And without me knowing or anyone knowing, he went to the pastor and he said, you know would you hold me under, just keep me under until I squeeze your hand and then you just lift me up and it won't too long but I want to know that I am being good and baptized, really gotten wet and really wash these sins away.

So the pastor baptizes him. I've heard stories where they hold them under so long that everyone in the congregation gets nervous and the deacons start running and hollering. It didn't get like that. But he stayed under there for quite a long time. Eventually, he squeezed the pastor's hand and up he came. The next person didn't want to get baptized. You can't hold me under there that long. This guy went first. He should have gone last.

Gary: He should have gone last.

John: Anyhow...

Gary: I can hold my breath for a minute. I would be an interesting person to be baptized.

John: Yeah, the person coming after you would be really worried, right. The Bible makes it clear. Baptism ought to be by immersion. Look at some of the simple things that make it clear. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. The Bible says, in fact why don't we read it. I think we'll pick it up in Matthew 3.

The Bible says that Jesus went down into the water, or at least he and John the Baptist went down into the water. Verse 16, Jesus, when he was baptized I should say it says, he came up out of the water. But you don't come up out of the water unless you first went down into the water, which is what Jesus did. John the Baptist baptized, where he baptized so he could baptize people by immersion.

If all he needed to do was shake a little water on somebody's head, he could have got himself a little jug of water and taken down in the wilderness, baptized people right out in their homes. But instead they came to the river where they were buried signifying the death of the old life, resurrected to walk in a new life.

Gary: Right. If you look at some of these movies on the life of Christ and a lot of people, this is where they get their understanding of the Bible from. They watch these movies on a life of Christ and they'll see John the Baptist there and he does. He has this shaker of water or a pitcher and he is pouring in on people's heads. Well, that's not the picture you get in the Bible. As you mentioned, Jesus went down in the water and he was baptized and the word baptized literally means to immerse, to submerge under.

There's a different word for sprinkling. But he went down in the water and he was immersed if you transliterate it. Now, there was a reason John was baptizing there in the Jordan. John 3:23 says, John was baptizing at Aenon near Salem because there was much water there. He needed a lot of water to be able to immerse, to baptize people.

John: What's going to happen if you try to bury your dead cat or your relative or somebody by sprinkling a little [inaudible 08:14] on them? That wouldn't work, would it? Baptism isn't about a burial. It is going to be an immersion. I like what you said. Even the word itself means immersed. I wasn't baptized because I wasn't immersed when I was a little child. You can't be baptized without being immersed. That is just the way it is.

Gary: If you go to Acts chapter 8, you have another example of the baptism. Here's Philip, he meets this guy from Ethiopia. We call him the Ethiopian eunuch. He is baptized and if you read here in Acts chapter 8, around verse 35, Philip teaches this man the scriptures, points him to Jesus and then the guy sees a body of water and he says, "What hinders me from being baptized?" In other words, he is saying, what hinders me from being immersed in this body of water?

Philip says, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." He says, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." In verse 38, it says both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he immersed him. He baptized him.

John: 39, in case you weren't convinced. When they were come up out of the water, down they went in, up they came out. They were baptized and baptized by immersion.

Gary: And if sprinkling would have sufficed, it would have been a lot more convenient. I mean these people that travel with bathing suits and towels and multiple changes of clothing. I mean they are coming up soaking wet and they've got to go travel, rest, I think.

John: Hop back in their chariots soaking wet, filling that whole thing with water.

Gary: He may have disrobed when he went in. Let's get back to this thing about children being sprinkled as infants.

John: Yeah. Infant baptism which is a bit...

Gary: It is called baptism. Where do you think that came in to the church? You don't read about it in the Bible, do you?

John: It's not anywhere in the Bible. You'll read several different opinions as to how this thing came about but it did not come about as a result of anything written in the Holy Scriptures.

Gary: But, John, what about the Philippian jailer when Paul was in that jail. Doesn't it say there in Acts that he came out and he baptized he and his family?

John: Oh, yeah, no question. He and all his house. It says his house. You think they baptized his house? They baptized his entire family but it doesn't say anything there that he had infant children. In fact, there's every likelihood that his children were a little older in so much as he had a job like a jail keeper, he was probably retired from the army already, a little bit older. His children were probably older just looking at it from that point of view.

But you are not going to find Paul and Silas baptizing babies. All right? It doesn't say how old they were but they certainly were not infants because infants wouldn't be baptized. Why? Because the Bible says you got to repent before baptism. You got to believe before baptism. You got to accept Jesus Christ before baptism. Infants just couldn't do that.

Gary: And it says there in Acts 16:32 that Paul and Silas spoke unto them the word of the Lord until all that were in his house.

John: Yeah.

Gary: So, they were taught?

John: Yeah, no question. According to the Bible, if a person is considering being baptized and you really ought to be, the manner really matters. It really matters because without that manner, it isn't baptism. You go call it something else. Well, I was christened. Well, I was sprinkled. Well, I was dampened. But if you are going to be baptized which is what Jesus asked then baptism is to be by immersion.

Gary: But there is something you can do for your children and I think every parent wants to do this and that is they can dedicate their child. Jesus was dedicated as a child, wasn't he?

John: Yes, he was and what a beautiful service. Dedication services are often very touching. You commit this child to the Lord and you commit yourself to raising your child in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Gary: Now, what if the baby though dies without having been baptized?

John: Well, there's really very little problem salvationally because we are not saved by baptism. This child simply hasn't tragically hasn't got to the age where he or she can make a decision to be baptized. God understands that. You don't want that child being baptized until he or she can make an intelligent decision to accept Jesus Christ up until then you've committed that child to the Lord. Trust your little ones with Jesus.

Gary: God is the God of love and He wants to save people not leave people out. I know there are some people whose child hasn't been baptized and they are worried about that. God marks the grave of that little one and that child will come up in the resurrection.

John: You pray and speak to the Lord about this and friend, why not enter into that wonderful experience with Jesus Christ where the old you is gone, a new you is made by faith in what Jesus Christ has done for you. Get our free offer. Details in just a moment and be sure to join us for more next time here on Bible Talk.


Man 1: If you like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discuss. It expands on this subject including information you want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Purity and Power.

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