Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation, Pt. 4

Scripture: Romans 6:3-6, Psalm 37:20
Baptism is a special event, but are all baptisms genuine? Has everyone who has been baptized understood what was happening? There is a preparation for baptism that is important. This talk looks at what the Bible says about 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'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Gary, I wonder if you've ever heard a story like this, I suspect you have, lately on Bible talk we've been talking about baptism. Reminds me that some years ago I was speaking to a fellow, his name was Billy, and he said, "John, I want to know if I've been baptized." This is a pretty curious question to ask somebody, you think a guy would know. "Well, tell me what you're talking about, Billy." He said, "Over the back of my farm there's a preacher and for the longest time he was bothering me to get baptized."

Telling me I should get baptized, he came by the house one day, encouraged me to be baptized. Finally had enough of it, I said, "OK, baptize me." So we went down to the back of the farm to a big pond, the guy baptized me, hugged me, and slapped me on the back. I've never been to church, I've never seen him again, and does this mean I've been baptized?

What that shows is that many people, even ministers aren't considering what baptism really means. It's a very deep, meaningful, special event, perhaps we ought to talk about that.

Gary: Well, I think the answer to the question is - he had been baptized. Was he properly baptized? According to the forum - yes, he was. He was dumped underneath the water but baptism is so much deeper than that and more sacred than that.

John: The Bible makes it really very clear of the importance of baptism. Jesus said, "You ought to be baptized." He said to the church, "Go out and make disciples of people and baptize them." You see examples in the New Testament of believers accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and upon doing that, the very next thing they did was turn around and be baptized. Clearly it's tremendously important and so we go to the Bible, we ask ourselves what does it mean, what's it all about? I think a good place to start and maybe there are many, a good place to start might be the book of Romans.

Gary: Romans 6 is an excellent place John, and I want to encourage our listeners, if you've not been baptized, seriously consider this and thoroughly study it. We have a special book; a resource that we want to make available to you for free called 'Baptism - Is it Really Necessary?' We'll be giving that phone number and address at the end of the program and you want to call in or write, so we can send that to you and you consider whether you need to be baptized.

John: Romans 6:3, why don't we do a little Bible study here? Verse three of Romans 6, "Don't you know, or know ye not..." As it says in my Bible in front of me, "...that so many of us as we're baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death." Now what does that mean, baptized into Christ's death? We'll go on and read it and this thing will start to fatten up for us and we'll understand it. Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death.

According to the Bible, when a person is baptized, they are entering into that experience with Jesus Christ, they have become one with him, they have died a certain death, and not literally of course but they have died a spiritual death where they are dead to sin and they are being freed by Christ from the power of sin and been made new.

Gary: Jesus died on the Cross not just to pay the penalty for our sins, even though that's what's often emphasized the most and typically the discussion between a pastor and a new convert would be. Do you believe Jesus died on the Cross for your sins? Well. Yes I do, it's a historical fact number one that Jesus died on a Cross. A Muslim could say that, "Yes, I believe that." Now do you believe he died for your sins, that gets a little deeper and now you have to say, "Well, I believe that he died, he paid the penalty for my guilt of my sins so that my record of guilt is erased and I'm clean now."

But he goes further than that and this is where I think we often in the church neglect to take it further. It goes to what we're reading here in Romans 6, do we also believe that Jesus broke the power of sin so that we can live a different type of life today, so his death on the Cross was... He took my man of sin, my old man of sin.

He neutralized its power right there on the Cross. Do I accept that he pay the penalty for my guilt? Yes. Do I also accept the fact that he wants to live in my life and neutralize the power of sin over my life?

John: This is dynamite. This is something that people don't really understand. We ought to get a little bit excited about this, this is dynamite. I'm going to jump down to verse seven to redirect the point that you just made. The Bible says, and you know so many people listening today are... I'm willing to wager, I would, if I was a betting man but the point I'm making is this, don't understand what the Bible says here for it says "He that is dead is free from sin." Many people just have never been told and certainly have never experienced that Jesus Christ is able to free a person from the power of sin, man, that is powerful.

Gary: And that's where verse 6 just above that says, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away with it, we should no longer be slaves of sin." We still live in this body of sin. What it means, there is it's rendered inoperative. The body of sin no longer controls us. Now we have new motives and those are Spirit-led motives.

John: I'm glad you mentioned that because it talks about in the Bible not walking after the flesh but walking after the Spirit, not fulfilling the lust. It's says, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh when you are guided by, governed by, impelled by this power of the Holy Spirit. It has what we call sanctifying effect and now you're the servant of a new master. You're not in bondage to the devil and in slavery to sin and bound to stay on the same old drudgery and the same terrible lifestyle. Christ Jesus will enter your heart and make a new creature out of you and give you a new life to live, that's powerful.

Gary: So, baptism is a symbol that we are accepting Jesus, atoning death in our behalf to erase our guilt but also to live in our life and give us a new life. But are we saying John, that once you're baptized, you're never going to sin again? You're never going to be tempted?

John: Oh, man, I wish that were true. I hate... Now let me say something that I suspect someone will disagree with. Once you're baptized, you don't have to go back to sin. Is there anything that sentences you to carry on in sin? No, there's nothing that God says that, "You must carry on continuing to sin." Nevertheless our practice is because we are growing in grace, that's that sanctification thing that we tend to slip and fall.

Back to answering your question very directly, does it mean baptism that we're not going to sin again? No, it doesn't. It means that you've given your heart to Christ, you've died that death but then you see who you're going to die that death on a daily basis or maybe even by a moment-by-moment basis and to remain surrendered to God you've got to continue to have your will surrendered to Him.

What we learn to do as Christians is, surrender the will and surrender our choices to God because we haven't learned that perfectly and that really is a work of a lifetime. We tend to sometimes fall into those mistakes.

Nevertheless an immoral person who is baptized need not commit any kind of immoral act again. The drunk need not drink again, need not to smoke and need not smoke again. The profane person need not swear again, there's power in Jesus to deliver you from this stuff.

Gary: It really is. It makes me think about my children, when they've learned to walk. They didn't just up one day and just start walking like an adult does.

John: Now that's a good analogy there.

Gary: They walk and they take a couple of faltering steps and fall. They have to hold on to things and do the cruising bit and it's like that when we're first baptized and we give our lives to God. We have to learn how to walk with God and that's what Paul is talking about in Colossians 3. He says, "If then you are raised with Christ..." After baptism I believe he is talking about here, " those things which are above where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth for you died and your life is hidden with Christ."

John: Now that's powerful, isn't it?

Gary: And that's what Paul is talking about in Romans, this text that you're walking us through here. We are dead in Christ, we are buried with him in baptism, now we're going to set our mind on things above and we have to learn how to think on the things of Heaven, how to live the Heavenly way.

John: I wouldn't anyone to say this gives you license to learn very slowly but if you're thinking spiritually, what this does do is that it gives you some understanding and maybe a little bit of patience with yourself. I've met people who have become very impatient, "Why am I continuing to do this, why am I stuck with this." It may be some good reasons but allow yourself some sanctified patience to give God the opportunity to help you grow and learn to make good choices.

Look at how Romans 6 does it. It says, "We are baptized, verse three - we are buried, verse four - planted, verse five - put a seed in the ground, it dies you know, verse six - crucified." Again and again and again it says baptism equates to a spiritual death and just as excitingly a spiritual rebirth.

Gary: You mentioned a moment ago, John, that we're learning to walk, we're learning to live this new life and we might mistakes but that's not to be a license. Bible Talk's about that one John 21, "My little children, I write these things to you that you sin not." That's the intent but if a man sin, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, so the intent is to go out and do no sin and you might be tripped up, you might stumble, you might fall but you don't want to go out there and intentionally say, "Well you know what, I know this is a sin but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway." Maybe you have a real conversion issue going on.

John: And the Bible encourages us in several ways... I'm reminded by what you said Psalm 37:20, I think it is, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. He delights in His way though he fall, he will not be utterly cast down." God is a compassionate God, remember in the Psalms it says, "He knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust. He knows what we're made of and God isn't looking to rub you out or eradicate you, He's looking to save you."

That's what God is passionate about is saving you into His kingdom, loving you in a sort of an improving your life and your quality of life right now and preparing you for a life that we can barely only imagine right now.

Gary: John, someone's listening here and thinking, "I've accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I've been baptized, once I'm saved, aren't I always saved? I've made the decision, I've done the right things, aren't I saved now from here on out? Does it really matter what I do, isn't that works?"

John: The Bible says, "Walk in the Spirit" and that's what it says we ought to do. It says when you walk in the Spirit you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The converted person who loves the Lord will not even think "Oh now, it doesn't matter what I do, I'm always going to be saved." That will not be your motivation, now you'll be saying "I love the Lord so much. My desire is to please Him and serve Him." Should you sin, fall into something, even something terrible?

It doesn't mean that you can't be saved; it doesn't mean that God doesn't love you. You get on your knees and pray to the Lord Jesus as quickly as you can and confess those sins and you can be sure that God for Christ's sake will forgive you but let's never so presumptuous as to say, "Well I've been baptized and that's seals it forever."

Remember we have choices and should you choose to give back this gift of God, should you choose to walk in a way contrary to the will of God, God will honor that decision. He's not going to force anybody to go to Heaven who chooses not to go.

Gary: What if I find though I am struggling with the same sin all the time after my baptism?

John: Well, praise the Lord that you're struggling and you haven't just given up the fight and falling straight back into it. There might be a number of things you can do, you're going to pray about this thing, you're going to plead with God and then ask yourself what that sin is. If you're having trouble with looking at dirty websites, don't go in the Internet. If you're having trouble with alcohol, don't go to the bar. You know what I mean? There are some ways that you can keep from this stuff.

If you're struggling, struggling, struggling with the same issue, work it through with the Lord. A time doesn't permit us to walk through all of those steps but you go to the Lord and you demand, "Oh Lord, I need deliverance. You said you can make me clean, you've got to do it, you've got to free me." You know there's power in God to set you free, you're not bound to stay stuck to sin forever.

Gary: We aren't friend, if we accept Jesus as our Savior we live with accountability within the body of Christ. We can learn how to walk successfully with Christ.

John: Praise the Lord. He wants to give you a new life. God is so good and I want you to hear more about this when we're here next time, join us then on Bible Talk. [music]

Announcer 2: If you'd 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've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free, informative, Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for 'Baptism - Is it Really Necessary?' The toll free number is 866-Biblesays. That's, 866-2425372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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