Quibbles about Baptism

Quibbles about BaptismText: Acts 10:47

Even when there was a question in the early church about accepting the Gentiles, agreement on baptism was expected. This is not true today. Religious people have different ideas about baptism and quibble as to its meaning. In this lesson, we are going to look at some passages that are commonly misused/targeted. We will see what they mean and what the Bible teaches about baptism.

Misused Passages

  • Mark 16:16 – Argument: since baptism is not in the second clause, it is not necessary for one to be saved; yet Jesus said those who believe AND are baptized will be saved; one who does not believe will not be baptized (cf. Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Luke 23:39-43 – Argument: the thief on the cross was saved without baptism; yet we do not know that he was not baptized (John 3:22-23; 4:1), but it is also irrelevant; this was before the new covenant went into effect (Hebrews 9:16-17; Colossians 2:14)
  • Acts 2:38 – Argument: we are baptized FOR (because of) the remission of sins (already happened); yet the same phrase is in Matthew 26:28, and we know that Jesus did not shed His blood because we were already forgiven; no one in the audience would have concluded they were already forgiven (Acts 2:36-37)
  • Acts 10:44-45 – Argument: they received the Holy Spirit, so they were saved before baptism (Acts 10:48); yet the Holy Spirit falling on them was a sign to the Jews who were present (Acts 10:46-47; 11:15-18); they were still ordered/commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48)
  • Acts 16:30-31 – Argument: the jailer was simply told to believe to be saved, not be baptized; yet he first needed to know WHAT to believe (Romans 10:17; Acts 16:32); when he was taught, he was baptized the same hour of the night (Acts 16:33), which was inconvenient/dangerous if it was unnecessary
  • Romans 10:13 – Argument: we are just to call on the name of the Lord to be saved; yes, but we do not get to define how we do this; we call on the name of the Lord when we are baptized into Christ (Acts 22:16; cf. 1 Peter 3:21)
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 – Argument: we are saved by grace, not works, and baptism is a work; yes, salvation is by grace because we cannot earn it (Romans 3:23; 6:23), so we have no reason to boast (Luke 17:10); but the saving work in baptism is done by God (Colossians 2:11-13)

What the Bible Teaches about Baptism

  • Baptism is FOR (in order to obtain) the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16)
  • Baptism puts one into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27)
  • Baptism puts one into His body (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • Baptism puts one into the church (Acts 2:41, 47)
  • Baptism now saves us (1 Peter 3:21)

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