BAPTISM, cont.

IV) BAPTISM OF FIRE

A) THE BAPTISM OF FIRE IS A BAPTISM OF JUDGMENT OF UNBELIEVERS INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE

1) [Mt 3:11-12, cp Lk 3:16-17]:

(v. 11) "I [John the baptist] baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One Who is more powerful than I, Whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

[Here John the Baptist mentions two baptisms in addition to his baptism of water: the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire]:

(v. 12) His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Verse 12 then gives the details of what the baptism of fire is about. It indicates that the exercise of that fire has to do with the bringing of judgment by Jesus Christ upon unbelievers at the end of the Tribulation era and at the end of time.

2) [Compare Mt 25:31-33, 46]:

(v. 31) "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He sill sit on His throne in glory.

(v. 32) All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

(v. 33) He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.

(v. 41) Then he will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'

(v. 46) Then they [referring to the goats on His left which were not believers and therefore not faithful by definition, (cp Jn 3:18; Mk 16:16; 1 Jn 5:12)] will go away to eternal punishment....."

This is a description of judgment upon the unbelievers in the Tribulation world. And those who are described as sheep are the believers who were faithful and survived to the end of that terrifying period. Unfaithful believers and those whom God elects to be martyred will have died and gone on to heaven. Faithful believers who survive the Tribulation period will thus begin living in the Millennial era in their physical bodies. Those who are described as goats in Mt 25:33 will be the unbelievers who survive the Tribulation period. They will be put to death by our Lord, cast into Hades awaiting their judgment at the final Great White Throne Judgment at the end of our Lord's Millennial rule. They will receive the baptism of fire which is judgment and expulsion into the Lake of Fire.

Click here for a full exegesis of this passage in Mt 25 []

3) [Compare 2 Thes 1:7-9]:

(v. 7) "And give relief to you who are troubled and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire [the beginning of the baptism of fire] with His powerful angels.

(v. 8) He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey [do not believe, cp Jn 6:27-29] the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

(v. 9) They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you because you believed our testimony to you."

This refers to the Second Coming of Christ as opposed to the Rapture

[] - when our Lord comes to this earth at the end of the Tribulation to judge the tribulation world with fire. The nonbelievers, the rebellious people who are judged at the end of the Tribulation, are identified with judgment of punishment - the judgment of the condemnation to the Lake of Fire.

So the baptisms of Moses, the Cross, the Holy Spirit, and of fire are all dry baptisms; and all of them are actual identifications. In the case of the baptism of fire, this baptism is actually what the people are going to be identified with. They are going to be identified with the fires of Hell and the torments and punishments directly from fire. The baptism of fire is the divine judgment that comes upon all unbelievers for not ever having trusted alone in Christ alone as Savior.

This doctrine of the baptism of fire we can read about in other passages in the Gospels: There is the description of what will happen at the end of the Tribulation using the comparison of what happened in the days of Noah in Mt 24:37-41. In this passage in Matthew, one is taken in the flood and is drowned, (unbelievers who will ultimately end up in the Lake of Fire); and one is left to survive in the ark and on the earth, (believers who will ultimately end up in heaven). Then there are the parables of the baptism of fire in the Gospel of Matthew: the wheat and the tares, (Mt 13:24-30); the good fish and the bad fish, (Mt 13:47-50). When people face God, those that are unbelievers face the baptism which identifies and immerses them into the Lake of Fire.

Now to a second category of baptisms, wet baptisms. The first category was the group of real baptisms: four of them, actual identifications, all of them dry. The second category is the group of ritual baptisms: three of them, representative identifications as opposed to actual identifications, all wet, all use water.

V) THE BAPTISM OF JOHN THE BAPTIST:

Israel is to repent, i.e. believe, in her Messiah Who has arrived in order to bring in His Millennial rule of the kingdom

A) JOHN'S BAPTISM WAS A SYMBOL OF A JEW'S REPENTANCE, I.E., OF CHANGING ONES MIND TO BELIEVING IN THE COMING MESSIAH, JESUS CHRIST FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND OF BELIEVING THAT HE WAS ABOUT TO BRING IN HIS KINGDOM RULE UPON ACCEPTANCE OF HIM BY ISRAEL

John's baptism was not entirely unique. Jews required Gentiles wanting to be admitted into Judaism to be baptized by self-immersion as a symbol of their new identification with the faith of Abraham and the nation Israel. The startling new element was John's baptism for God's covenant people, the Jews, and it required their repentance in view of the coming Messiah:

1) [Compare Mt 3:1-2]:

(v. 1) "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea

(v. 2 ) and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,' "

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"

"at hand" = imminently ready to begin.

Dr. John Danish states, (Pastor-Teacher, Berean Memorial Church Irving, Tx; Audio Tape on Romans Chapter 6):

"The King is here, the messianic promises of a kingdom where the Jews are to be the ruling nation of the world is imminently ready to be fulfilled. Finally, our Messiah Savior is here and the basis upon which He will come to His authority and lead us into the position that God through the prophets of old has promised to us is national repentance which begins on an individual basis. Everywhere in Israel there were Jews who said, 'Praise God, in our day we will see the promises to Abraham fulfilled, (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:1-21; 17:4-8; 22:15-24; 26:1-5; 28:10-15); the promises expanded later in the Palestinian Covenant, (Dt chapters 29 and 30), relative to possessing the land, and the promises of the Davidic Covenant, (2 Sam 7:5-16; 1 Chr 17:3-15), relative to the throne and a world ruling authority from Israel, and the promises of the New Covenant relative to the Holy Spirit descending upon the people of Israel, (Jer 31:27-40; 50:4-5; Ez 34:25-30; 36:all; 37:21-28; Isa 59:20-21). John the Baptist is saying that all of this is to be fulfilled in our day and I am ready to receive it by repentance, (changing my mind about believing), in the Messiah Who is now here."

Every Jew in the nation of Israel who had trusted in the Messiah to come at that time to save him from his sins indicated this trust by going to John the Baptist and receiving John's water baptism. So what were those people who were baptized in John's baptism saying then? That they had been united to Christ? Obviously not! That wasn't the issue! What they were saying with the Baptism of John was that they were ready to be identified with the Messiah Savior and the offer of His Kingdom - His earthly Kingdom. In other words, the Millennium was ready to be inaugurated right then 2000 years ago! It was only waiting upon the acceptance of the Jewish people of the King which God had provided: God Himself, God the Son, the One Who was born on that first Christmas day and Who now had grown to Manhood and had just begun His ministry. So the baptism of the Christian we will find out is very different from John the Baptist's baptism. The only similarity is that John used water and had people walk down to the river so that he could baptize them. But the symbolic meaning of that water was totally different, it had nothing to do with Christian baptism, even though it was wet. John's baptism was not the same as Christian baptism, for it was a religious rite for Jews only, signifying faith in a coming Messiah unto eternal life, confession of sin and commitment to a holy life in the anticipation of that coming Messiah. It never occurred outside of Israel! No one hearing John preach asked him what he was talking about relative to the kingdom of heaven, for the concept of Messiah's rule over the kingdom of earth was a common thread in Old Testament prophesy. The requirement for the Messiah's coming was that the nation Israel repent. However, not all believed that repentance was required. (Repentance = changing one's mind about trusting in the Messiah to resolve one's sin problem ). Not all believed they even had a sin problem). The Pharisees and Sadducees and many others who came to see John rejected his preaching. They believed that they, as physical sons of Abraham, were automatically qualified for Messiah's Kingdom:

2) [Compare Mk 1:4]:

"And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

Notice that the baptism of John is stipulated as a baptism relative to forgiveness of sins.

B) JOHN'S WATER BAPTISM SYMBOLIZED THE HOLY SPIRIT'S REGENERATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL

1) [Compare Mt 3:3, 6-9]:

(v. 3) '''This is He Who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.' "

(v. 6) Confessing their sins, they [the Jewish people, (vv. 3:1-5)] were baptized by him [John the Baptist] in the Jordan River.

(v. 7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

(v. 8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

(v. 9) And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I [John the Baptist] tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." '''

Passages relative to John's baptism are speaking about the Jewish people, (compare Isa 40:1-3 & Mt 3:3), who came to John the Baptist in order to come to a point of repentance relative to faith in the coming Messiah for their entrance into the kingdom of God, (i.e., salvation unto eternal life, Mt 3:1-2); and then to a point of confession of their sins to God, (Mt 3:6); and then to water baptism in the River Jordan, (Mt 3:6). This water baptism in the River Jordan symbolized their condition of having exercised their faith in the coming Messiah unto eternal life in the kingdom of heaven and having thereby been cleansed of their sins by God the Holy Spirit's action of the washing of regeneration = rebirth:

2) [Compare Titus 3:5]:

"He saved us, [even in those ancient times] through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit," [cp Ez 36:26-27; Dt 30:6; Ro 2:29]

This washing of rebirth and renewal by God of an individual was the actual Holy Spirit regeneration which an individual symbolized afterward by the water baptism performed moments later by John the Baptist. Each of the three wet baptisms use water and in each case the water represents something. The particular baptism of John the Baptist is a representative identification as opposed to an actual one.

The actual identification can be found in the message that John the Baptist preached:

C) THE PURPOSE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST'S MINISTRY WAS TO TESTIFY TO ISRAEL AS TO WHOM THE MESSIAH, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS SO THAT THROUGH HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT JESUS ALL ISRAEL MIGHT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL LIFE. THEN WOULD BEGIN THE KINGDOM RULE ON EARTH

1) [Jn 1:6-7]:

(v. 6) "There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.

(v. 7) He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe."

So the purpose of John the Baptist's ministry was to testify as to Who the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ is so that through his testimony about Jesus all men might have the information of the Gospel of salvation and then have the opportunity to believe in Him unto eternal life:

2) [Jn 1:29-34]:

(v. 29) '''The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!

(v. 30) This is the One I meant when I said, 'A Man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.' [in time - He is eternal - He is God]

(v. 31) I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel."

[Notice that John's water baptism ministry focused on the nation Israel. And John testified that his water baptism had something to do with the revelation to Israel of the Messiah Jesus Christ - that He was the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world]

(v. 32) Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him.

(v. 33) I would not have known Him, except that the One Who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on Whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'

[Notice the differentiation between baptizing in water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit - one is symbolic and one is real]

(v. 34) I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God. " '''

And John's testimony is that Jesus Christ is the Messiah - the Son of God, (Isa 9:6; Pr 30:4) - Who came to take away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of His own life, (Isa chapter 53 esp vv. 5 & 12).

"Lamb of God" = Lambs were sacrificed by Jews under the Mosaic Law system as symbolic of the atonement via confession for sins committed - sins which were previously confessed, (Lev 5:5-6). This sacrifice was a picture of the coming Messiah Who was the Instrument of Atonement for the Jew's sins unto eternal life. The Jew who trusted in the Messiah trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ Who would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the whole world in the future, once for all time, (Heb 7:27; 9:11-15, Isa 53:5, 12; I Jn 2:2).

"The Son of God." = John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the Son of God. Old Testament Scripture, which the Jews would be familiar with, refers to the Son of God especially in the sense that He is God:

3) [Pr 30:4 (author - Solomon)]:

"Who has gone up to heaven and come down?

Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of His hands?

Who has wrapped up the waters in His cloak?

Who has established all the ends of the earth?

What is His name [God the Father] and the name of His Son [God the Son]?"

In the Hebrew this passage literally asks:

"Who are the Holy-Ones Who ..."

["Who" = "Who are the Holy-Ones Who ..." ? PLURAL.

So God the Father and God the Son have gone up to heaven and come down, gathered up the wind, wrapped up the waters and established the ends of the earth - They are the Creator God of the universe, (including of course God the Holy Spirit Who is not specifically spoken of in this particular passage). Here right in the Old Testament we find a clear statement that there is more than one Personality in the Godhead: So the Son of God is God - God the Son!!

D) AS PROPHESIED ISRAEL BY & LARGE WOULD REJECT HER MESSIAH AND JOHN'S BAPTISM SO THE KINGDOM RULE WAS POSTPONED

For the most part Israel ignored clear passages in the Old Testament about trusting in God to provide for their sins and not in themselves - not in keeping the Mosaic Law, (Gen 15:6, cf Ro 4:1-3 & Gal 3:17-19; Ez 36:24-33; Joel 2:32, etc.). John warned that Judaism was in danger of being removed from God's blessing, [temporarily - compare Ro 11:1-end)], unless there was productive fruit in keeping with repentance.

1) [Mt 3:6-10]:

(v. 6) "Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

(v. 7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

(v. 8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

(v. 9) And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

(v. 10) The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

And God did indeed remove the 'fruit tree' which provided blessing to the nation; and Israel would be under severe discipline, (Mt 3:10; Lk 3:9). This did happen, but God is faithful to the covenants with Israel which are unilateral and unconditional, (Isa 55:3-5; 2 Sam 7:8-19; Ps 89:20-37, cf Ro chapter 11); so He will restore Israel as promised, (Ro 11:25-32). When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next event in prophesy as they understood it should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom with the Messiah as King. Yet God had predicted the rejection and crucifixion of the King, (Ps chapter 22; Isa chapter 53).

E) JOHN'S BAPTISM DIFFERS FROM HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM

1) [Acts 19:1-6]:

(v. 1) "While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples

(v. 2) and asked them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?'

They answered, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.'

(v. 3) So Paul asked, 'Then what baptism did you receive?'

'John's baptism,' they replied.

(v. 4) Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.

(v. 5) On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

(v. 6) When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."

Acts 19:1-6 describes Paul's meeting with a number of believers who had undergone John's water baptism. Paul notices that there is something incomplete with them with respect to their being church age believers - members of the body of Christ. Paul notices that these people have not transitioned over from the Old Testament era to the New Testament church era. Paul says, 'Didn't you receive God the Holy Spirit when you were baptized?' And they said, 'No'. Then Paul says, 'What baptism have you had then.' They say, 'The baptism of John', which symbolized that these men had trusted in the Messiah for their eternal life Who would bring in the kingdom. Thus they were identified with the Messianic Kingdom Age as part of Israel and not as part of the body of Christ, the church. So Paul proceeded to have them baptized with the Holy Spirit by laying his hands on them. This was an actual baptism which identified them with Christ as members of His body, the church. Note that this was a unique circumstance at the time - not to be done later on in the church age when there were no longer any Jewish age believers to be transitioned over into the Church age as members of the body of Christ. Therefore, John's water baptism had nothing to do with Christianity as evidenced by Paul's actions.

Dr. John Walvoord wrote, ("The Millennial Kingdom", Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mi; 1971, p. 226):

"...saved Israelites under the old economy [under the Mosaic Law system] were placed into the body of Christ at Pentecost."

2) [Gal 3:28]:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Now that Holy Spirit baptism was inaugurated, a new creation has come out of the mass of Jews and Gentiles that inhabit the earth, (cp. Gal 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17):

3) [Eph 2:14-15]:

(v. 14) "For He Himself is our peace, Who has made both groups [Jew & Gentile, vv. 11-13] .................

(v. 14 cont.) "For He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

(v. 15 N.A.S.) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two [kinds of people] into one new man, [into one new and unique kind of man - a member of the Body of Christ] thus establishing peace,"

And this is precisely what happened when the Israelite believers who were water baptized by John came upon the Apostle Paul, who thereupon layed hands on the Israelites and they were at that moment baptized by God the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ - the church (Acts 19:1-6).

F) JOHN'S BAPTISM WAS A BAPTISM SYMBOLIZING REPENTANCE = CHANGING ONE'S MIND TO TRUSTING IN THE COMING MESSIAH FOR FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND ADMISSION INTO HIS KINGDOM

1) [Acts 19:4]:

"Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, Jesus.' "

The word "repentance" is translated from the Greek word = "metanoias" which means a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought. In order to turn to the Messiah for forgiveness of sins...which means that you believe that He can and will forgive you ...you must turn from your rejection of Him - turn from the belief that your sins are something you yourself can and will deal with. So instead of rejecting Christ you turn to faith placed alone in Christ alone as Savior. That is what the Bible defines as 'repentance for the forgiveness of sins'. []

John lived in the period of the Jewish Age - the dispensation of Israel. He preached personal repentance in preparation for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant because the "Seed" of Abraham, (Gal 3:16), the Messiah Savior, was at hand - He was ready to set up His kingdom. When a Jew repented then John took him down into the water, usually the Jordan River, and he baptized him with water symbolizing this change of mind toward faith in the coming Messiah. What was the meaning of placing an individual into water? Water always represented something. In the case of John's baptism, the water represented an individual Jew's identification with the Messiah and the Jewish Messianic Kingdom. It represented the fact that the person was ready to receive the Messiah promised to the Jewish people and that he was ready to receive the kingdom that the King of the Jews was to bring. The believer was put under the water identifying him with the Messiah kingdom - he comes up out of the water ready to enter the Messianic Kingdom. This baptism was not an identification with the body of Christ. This baptism identified with the Jewish Messianic earthly Millennial Kingdom - it was for Jews, not for Gentiles.

G) AT FIRST, JESUS CHRIST CONTINUED THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

Like John the Baptist, our Lord's ministry began with the continuance of John's message and baptism exclusively of Israelites. At the time of John the Baptist the Lord Jesus Christ also baptized Israelites in the Jordan River and preached the same message as John the Baptist: the message of the good news of the kingdom of heaven:

1) [Mt 4:17]:

"From that time on [from the time when John the Baptist was imprisoned, Mt 4:12-16] Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. ' " Cp. Mt 9:35-38; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:43-44.

Jesus told the disciples to only go to the lost sheep of Israel and preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

2) [Mk 6:6b-12]:

[Preach that the people should repent]:

(v. 6b) "Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

(v. 7) Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.

(v. 8) These were His instructions: 'Take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.

(v. 9) Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.

[Notice that the context of this passage indicates local towns - within Judea - within Israel]

(v. 10) Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.

(v. 11) And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.'

(v. 12) They went out and preached that people should repent."

And in the parallel passage in Matthew, our Lord issues the following instructions to His disciples:

3) [Mt 10:5-7]:

[Go only to the lost sheep of Israel and preach that the Kingdom of Heaven is near]:

(v. 5) '''These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.

(v. 6) Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

(v. 7) As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' " '''

Notice that our Lord commanded His disciples not to preach the gospel of the kingdom to Gentiles. The message was exclusively for the nation Israel - if they accept Him as their Messiah our Lord was ready, right then, to bring in the Millennial kingdom. So the water baptisms that our Lord had His disciples perform were for the same symbolic purpose as the baptisms that John the Baptist performed: identification by each individual Jew with the nation Israel and with the bringing in of the kingdom by repentance and trusting in the Messiah Jesus Christ:

4) [Jn 4:1-2]:

[Jesus and His disciples continued the baptisms of John]:

(v. 1) "The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,

(v. 2) although in fact it was not Jesus Who baptized, but His disciples."

5) [Jn 3:22-30]:

(22) '''After this, Jesus and His disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where He spent some time with them, and baptized.

(v. 23) Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.

(v. 26) They [some of John's disciples] came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man Who was with you on the other side of the Jordan - the One you testified about - well, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him."

(v. 27) To this John replied, 'A man can receive only what is given Him from heaven.'

(v. 28) You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of Him.'

(v. 29) The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for Him, and is full of joy when he he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

(v. 30) He must become greater; I must become less." '''

So John the Baptist testifies here that the Messiah, Whom he announced as the "Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world", (Jn 1:29), is here, ready to usher in His kingdom. Our Lord also preaches to and water baptizes individuals of Israel so that they would "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Messiah's kingdom is imminent and only awaits Israel's changing its mind and accepting Christ as Savior and Messiah.

H) ISRAEL FINALLY IS DELIVERED AT THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST BY A DIVINELY PROVIDED FOUNTAIN OF CLEANSING AND OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD INDIVIDUAL ISRAELITES TO REPENTANT FAITH IN JESUS AS THEIR MESSIAH

1) [Zech 12:10, 13:1]:

(12:10) "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son."

(13:1) "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and impurity."

[The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Walvoord & Zuck, Eds; Victor Books; 1988; p. 1567]:

"Israel's spiritual deliverance at the Second Advent of Christ will be accomplished only by a divinely provided foundation of cleansing (13:1) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to lead individual Israelites to repentant faith in Jesus as their Messiah (12:10-14).

(1) The outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 12:10a. Both leaders (the house of David) and commoners (the inhabitants of Jerusalem) - thus excluding no Israelites (cf. 13:1) - will be the objects of the outpouring of the divine spirit of grace and supplication. This is most probably a reference to the Holy Spirit... so called because He will minister graciously to Israel in her sinful condition and will lead her to supplication and repentance.

(2) The mourning of the nation Israel (12:10b-14). 12:10b. Thus Israelites will receive divine enablement to look on Me, the One they have pierced. The Lord refers tot he nation's action of piercing Him, a term usually indicating 'piercing to death.' The piercing evidently refers to the rejection of Christ (as God Incarnate) and crucifying Him, though the word does not specifically refer to the Crucifixion. The 'looking' could be either physical vision (sight) or spiritual vision (faith). Probably it refers here to both, for this will occur at the Second Advent of Christ when Israel will recognize her Messiah and turn to Him. The change to the third person (mourn for Him), rather than 'mourn for Me') is common in prophetic literature. The mourning for sin that is prompted by the outpoured Spirit is illustrated by a private act of mourning (v. 10) and a public act of mourning (v. 11). The loss of an only child or of a firstborn son was aggravated by the felt curse associated with childlessness and the lack of an heir to continue the family name and property."

VI) THE WATER BAPTISM OF JESUS

A) THE WATER BAPTISM OF JESUS SYMBOLIZED HIS IDENTIFICATION WITH HIS MISSION OF PROVIDING SALVATION FOR THE WORLD AND ESTABLISHING HIS MESSIANIC KINGDOM UPON THE EARTH

1) [Mt 3:13-17]:

(v. 13) "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

(v. 14) But John tried to deter Him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?'

(v. 15) Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Then John consented.

(v. 16) As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that ;moment heaven was opened, and he......................

[John the Baptist who related this through his disciples the Apostles John, Andrew and Peter, etc. to Matthew the Apostle who wrote this passage]

and he [John the Baptist] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. [Jesus]

(v. 17) And a voice from heaven said, 'This is My Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.' "

What did the water symbolize in the case of the baptism of Jesus? The water in this case represented the Father's will for Jesus Christ which was His mission of providing salvation for the world and establishing the Messianic Kingdom upon the earth.

John was at first reluctant to water baptize our Lord because Jesus was the Messiah. Others were being baptized in order to be identified with Him as Messiah. John knew that Jesus did not need to be baptized in that way - He was the Messiah Himself! So Jesus answered John's reluctance by explaining:

"Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.'

So Jesus said to John, 'It is an act of fulfilling all righteousness that I should take at your hands this baptism with this water representing My Father's plan - My Father's mission for Me as Savior of the world and Fulfiller of the messianic promises to the Jewish people.'

And then John says, 'Now that I understand. That kind of a baptism I can indeed perform upon you. And so John took the Lord and he baptized Him in identification with His mission to the cross and to the nation of Israel and the Kingdom."

Our Lord's water baptism therefore symbolized His mission which was to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world and then be raised from the dead in victory over sins.

B) ON THE OTHER HAND, BELIEVERS' WATER BAPTISM SYMBOLIZES AN ACTUAL HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM THE LATTER OF WHICH IS AN ACTUAL IDENTIFICATION WITH AND APPROPRIATION OF FORGIVENESS OF SINS AS A RESULT OF CHRIST'S DEATH TO PAY THE PENALTY FOR OUR SINS

1) BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN BURIED WITH CHRIST THROUGH HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM WHICH IS SYMBOLIZED BY WATER BAPTISM

a) [COMPARE RO 6:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized [identified with the results of] His death?

(v. 4) Therefore we have been buried with Him [Jesus Christ] through baptism into [His] death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."

So just as our Lord's immersion into water by John the Baptist symbolized His death on the cross for the sins of the whole world and His burial; and His coming up out of the water symbolized His resurrection; so the believer's water baptism, his own immersion, symbolizes the believer's death, burial and resurrection with Jesus having already received forgiveness of sins as a result of a moment of faith in our Lord did for that believer on the cross.

C) WE DO NOT AND CANNOT FOLLOW OUR LORD IN WATER BAPTISM

On the other hand it is incorrect for one to state that they are following the Lord in water baptism. The only way one can follow Jesus Christ in baptism is the mode - the fact that He used water and was immersed. But one certainly cannot follow Him in the meaning of that water in His case. It was a unique baptism - only one of its kind - specifically and exclusively assigned to Him: to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world. The water baptism by John of Jews was, of course, functioning before Jesus came on the scene. It was the purpose of Jesus Christ to have His herald, John, baptize Him in order to signal the start of His public ministry - His mission, at age 30. In John's baptism of, Jesus the water had a different meaning. Here the water represented the Kingdom of God on earth which Jesus Christ had come to rule and His role as King of the Jews. Furthermore, our Lord's water baptism represented His mission as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, (Jn 1:29). So when Jesus said, 'John, I want you to baptize Me.' Jesus was saying, "I want you to place Me in these waters which will represent My identification with My mission - to be the Messiah Savior and to be the King of the Jews and to set up the earthly Kingdom which was promised to Abraham and then expanded to king David and then expanded in the Palestinian covenant of the land and the covenant of a new heart - the New Covenant. So John took Jesus and baptized Him for this purpose. Jesus entered the water of His baptism - He was signifying that He has come to die for the sins of the world. Then when Jesus came up out of the water - He was signifying that He had come to rule as King of the Jews in a resurrected humanity. So, you and I as church age believers don't follow Jesus in baptism because His baptism was unique.

VII) THE BAPTISM OF CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS

A) CHRISTIAN WATER BAPTISM DEFINED

This is the third of three wet baptisms. Three which are symbolic - representative identifications.

1) [Mt 28:19]:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"

Here is the commandment - very clear and definitive - that we as the representatives, the ambassadors of Jesus Christ as we go through the world explaining the Gospel of salvation to people, "winning" them to the Lord, that they should identify themselves symbolically, i.e., they should portray their actual identification with Jesus Christ in a symbolic way with water baptism. In other words, water here represents the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a church age believer is immersed in water he is portraying symbolically that he has been placed into Christ. The water represents Jesus Christ, you go into the water, you portray that you have been joined to Christ. When you come up out of the water, that action is representative of a new lifestyle. Water baptism portrays the reality of what Paul is talking about in Romans 6:3-4 which reality is Holy Spirit baptism into Christ and which water baptism portrays symbolically:

2) [Ro 6:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

[Note that this portrays an actual baptism/indentification into Christ Jesus and His death = Holy Spirit baptism]

(v. 4) We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

So, when you are water baptized as a Christian, you go under the water - you associate yourself symbolically with the actual Holy Spirit identification with the death of Christ. Thus you are saying, 'I am through with attempting to do human good in order to work my way into heaven, my trust is in Christ alone for that.' You come up from the water and thus you are associating yourself with the resurrection of Jesus Christ with your current position in Him and the result now is divine good production in your life. So that this is the testimony you are making when you get water baptized.

The church age baptism with water is a ritual baptism. It is the baptism of believers in the church age who have already been identified with Jesus Christ via Holy Spirit baptism. What has been previously taught about the baptism of the Holy Spirit is illustrated by the water baptism of the church age. When a believer is placed into the waters of baptism today, those waters represent retroactive positional truth: Those waters represent the believer having been associated with the death of Christ on the cross. When the believer is placed into those waters he is symbolically represented as being buried with Christ Who paid for the sins of the whole world, (1 Jn 2:2). When the believer is brought back out of the waters, he is representing his current positional truth: that he is now representing himself as having eternal life credited to his account - as having God's absolute righteousness credited to his account, (Ro 3:21). He now stands as one who is absolutely perfect in his standing before God; and that is portrayed symbolically by water baptism; but it has been previously accomplished by Holy Spirit baptism. Therefore, Christian church age water baptism identifies a believer symbolically with Jesus Christ in His death, His burial and His resurrection - and that's all it is - it's just a picture. The placing into the water is not the cause of any divine accomplishment - but symbolic of what God has already done.

For this reason we say that water baptism represents two things about the Christian:

a) It represents retroactive positional truth - having been identified with the death of Christ on the cross.

b) It represents current positional truth - having Christ's perfect righteousness credited to one's account along with the immediate reception of eternal life.

So you see, there is only one baptism which does bring about a relationship of eternal life with God in heaven: Holy Spirit baptism.

B) WATER BAPTISM IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION

1) INTRODUCTION

The subject of Christian water baptism is a highly controversial one. Many insist that it is a requirement for being saved.

[Dave Hunt states, ('THE BEREAN CALL' periodical, Bend, Oregon, March 1995 issue, in an article entitled 'Baptismal Regeneration')]:

"Christ commanded His original disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mk 16:15). Those of every nation who believed in Christ as their Savior were to be baptized 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost' (Mt 28:19). These new disciples were to preach the gospel everywhere and to baptize those who believed (v 20) through their testimony as Christianity spread worldwide.

Baptism in the early church was by immersion: 'they went down both into the water...[W]hen they were come up out of the water' (Acts 8:38-39), etc. Why? Because baptism symbolizes the believers's identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection: 'we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead... we also should walk in newness of life' (Rom 6:4).

Unfortunately, various innovations and heresies were gradually introduced regarding baptism: that one must be baptized to be saved; indeed, that baptism itself saves the soul even when administered to infants. These heresies became known as the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Most Protestants holding these beliefs today are not aware that they originated with the Roman catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

The Council of Trent (1545-63) stated that while Christ 'merited for us justification by His most holy passion... the instrumental cause [of justification/ regeneration] is the sacrament of baptism... If anyone says that baptism is... not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.' Vatican II (1962-65) reconfirms all of Trent and reiterates the necessity of baptism for salvation, as does the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church released by the Vatican in 1993: 'Baptism is necessary for salvation... the Church does not know of any [other] means... that assures entry into eternal beatitude...'

Trent anathematizes all who deny that 'the merit of Jesus Christ is applied... to infants by the sacrament of baptism' or who deny that by baptism 'the guilt of original sin is remitted...' Today's Code of Canon Law (Canon 849) declares that those baptized are thereby 'freed from their sins, are reborn as children of God and.. incorporated in the Church.' Canon 204 states: 'The Christian faithful are those who... have been incorporated in Christ through baptism' and are thereby members of the one, true Catholic Church.

For centuries before the Reformation, baptismal regeneration was rejected by Bible-believing Christians, whom the Roman Catholic Church therefore persecuted, tortured and slaughtered by the millions. Non-Catholics taught from Scripture that baptism was only for those who had believed the gospel: 'teach all nations... baptizing them [who have believed]' (Mt 28:19); 'Then they that gladly received his word were baptized' (Acts 2:41); '[W]hat doth hinder me to be baptized? ...If thou believest [in Christ] with all thine heart, thou mayest' (Acts 8:35-37). Infants can't believe in Christ.

Consider Cornelius's household: they heard the gospel, believed it and were baptized. That there were no infants baptized is also clear, for they had all gathered 'to hear all things that are commanded thee of God' (Acts 10:33). '[T]he Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard [and, obviously, understood and believed] the word' (v 44); and they spoke with tongues' (v 46). That they had 'received the Holy Ghost' (v 47) convinced Peter that they were saved. Therefore, he baptized them (v 48).

Nor can infant baptism be supported from the case of the Philippian jailor who 'was baptized, he and all his' (Acts 16:33). Again there were no infants present because Paul and Silas preached the gospel 'to all that were in his house,' (v 34) and were then baptized.

The early Reformers such as Martin Luther were Catholics who, unfortunately, retained some Catholic dogmas, among them baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. These heresies are still held by some Protestant denominations today. The issue is a serious one. If baptism is essential for salvation, then to reject that gospel is to be damned. But if salvation is through faith in Christ alone, then to add baptism as a condition for salvation is to reject the true gospel and thus to be eternally lost.

2) EARLY CHURCH PRACTICE DELAYED NEW CONVERTS FROM BEING WATER BAPTIZED UNTIL THEY STUDIED THE BIBLE

The early Church, 100 A.D. through 300 A.D., gradually began in many areas to require that the converts would spend 3 years learning all the doctrines and letting others watch their lifestyle to make sure they were grounded and maturing Christians before baptizing them. Baptism was practiced during the church age as the means of becoming a member in the local church body for those who were already members of the church universal, the body of Christ by faith alone in Christ alone. During this time the converts began to be called by a Latin term meaning infants because they were considered to be infants in the faith or babes in Christ, hence some of the confusion relative to the concept of infant baptism.

This practice has continued throughout the Church Age period. Today local churches especially in rural areas wait for an appointed time, based on the progress of the new convert's study of the bible, when the local body can be gathered to celebrate the individual's new birth, and when there was availability of a preacher.

So if the inclusion of a waiting period for nearly 2,000 years has with it the implication that millions upon millions of believers are condemned to hell for not having the right attitude about water baptism - that it is essential to be saved and thus an urgent matter not to be delayed; then their attitude would of course cancel it out as acceptable by God and thus cancel out the benefit of it, condemning literally millions upon millions of believers into the Lake of Fire because they purposely waited not considering it essential to their salvation. Attitude is as important, even more important, than the deed. If you are taking a casual attitude about water baptism not being that essential or essential at all re: receiving eternal life do you think God will accept it?

On the other hand, maybe the sovereignty of God, having permitted such a waiting period for the church all these years, (recall Paul had a less than urgent attitude about baptizing converts as did our Lord), is sending the message that water baptism is not essential to the receipt of eternal life; but it is an act of obedience after one is saved in order to demonstrate one's understanding of one's identification with Christ and the church having already been completely saved - this requiring a period of study, availability of a preacher to officiate at the baptizing and the availability of an audience of fellow believers to testify to the new converts faithful act.

[Compare information found in "History of the Christian Church," Vol. II, pp. 256-57, by Philip Schaff]:

"During the period of 100-311 A.D. it became the practice to place converts on a probationary period of teaching for approximately two years before baptism to make certain that their conversion was genuine"

[Also, compare Eerdman's "Handbook to the History of Christianity", (Tim Dowley Organizing Ed. Consulting Editors Briggs, Wright, & Linder. Copyright 1997 Lion Publishing. England. Reprinted 1987 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. of G.R., Mich.; Library of Congress: BR146.E35 270 77.5616 ISBN 0-8028=3450-7]:

[pp. 9-10]: Baptism originally time of giving witness to faith, entrance to local church identifying with Christ, considerable preparation was necessary first. Often 3 years!

[p. 11]: Easter was popular time for baptizing in early church after a period of instruction.

[p. 115-116]: Instructions before baptism which took 3 years. Hyppolytus of Rome. Includes statement from Justin: baptizees must believe what was taught them to be true first.

[p. 125]: "At first when a person was baptized he or she affirmed a creed which was concerned mainly with statements about Christ..."

[p. 198]: Augustine's Confession, his baptism was delayed not right at belief.]

3) SALVATION IS NOT BY FAITH + ANY WORKS SUCH AS WATER BAPTISM

[Dave Hunt, cont.]:

"The Bible declares that it is wrong to teach salvation by faith in Christ plus anything else, such as keeping the Jewish law (Acts 15:24). Paul cursed (anathematized) those who taught this false gospel that damns the soul (Gal 1:8-9). A gospel of salvation through Christ plus baptism is equally false.

When Paul reminded the Corinthians of the essential ingredients of the gospel which he preached and by which they had been saved, he made no mention of baptism (1 Cor 15:1-4). In fact, he distinguished between the gospel and baptism: 'Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel...' (1 Cor 1:17). He hadn't baptized most of the Corinthians, couldn't remember whom he had baptized, and was thankful that it had been very few (1 Cor 1:14-16) - a strange attitude if baptism is essential to salvation! Yet without baptizing them, Paul declared that he was their father in the faith: 'in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel' (1 Cor 4:15).

Then what about Mark 16:16: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved'? All who believe the gospel are saved, so of course all who believe and are baptized are saved; but that does not say that baptism saves or that it is essential for salvation. Scores of verses declare, with no mention of baptism, that salvation comes by believing the gospel: '[I]t pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' (1 Cor 1:21; see also Jn 3:16, 18, 36, 5:24; Acts 10:43, 13:38-39, 16:34; Rom 1:16, 3:28, 4:24, 5:1; 1 Cor 15:1-5; Eph 2:8, etc.). Not one verse, however, says that baptism saves.

Numerous verses declare that whosoever does not believe is lost, but not one verse declares that whosoever is not baptized is lost. Surely the Bible would make it clear that believing in Christ without being baptized cannot save if that were the case, yet it never says so! Instead, we have examples of those who believed and were saved without being baptized, such as the thief on the cross and the Old Testament saints (Enoch, Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, et al.) to whom Christian baptism was unknown... [Ref Hebrews chapter 11].

[Dave Hunt, cont]:

"Then why does the Bible say, 'There is ...one baptism' (Eph 4:4-5)? The explanation is simple but carries profound consequences: Baptism of any kind occurs only once and is never repeated. In that sense, then, there is only one baptism. Whether one believes that baptism itself saves, or that it symbolizes salvation through identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, the fact that it cannot recur proves that one's salvation can never be lost. For if one must get saved again as a result of losing one's salvation, then baptism must be repeated each time - but there is only one baptism.

This dogma of 'falling away,' like baptismal regeneration, also comes from Roman Catholicism. No Catholic can be certain he is saved; for salvation, which is by works in Catholicism, could be forfeited at any time by failure to continue to perform the works prescribed. Trent declares: 'If anyone says that he will for certain...have that great gift of perseverance [in the faith] even to the end...let him be anathema.' While rebaptism is not practiced in Catholicism, the sacraments of penance and the Mass are said to restore saving grace and are thus repeated endlessly.

Yes, but Romans 6:4 states, '[W]e are buried with [Christ] by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead...even so we also should walk in newness of life.' That Paul is not speaking of water baptism, however, but of the spiritual reality it symbolizes, is clear, for he says that through baptism 'our old man [sinful nature] is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed.' As a consequence, he urges believers to 'reckon' themselves 'to be dead indeed to sin...[L]et not sin therefore reign in your mortal body' (vv 6-13).

Paul uses similar language concerning himself when he says, 'I am crucified with Christ' (Gal 2:20). He is obviously speaking of that same spiritual 'baptism' by which we have been placed in Christ and have thus passed with Him through death into resurrection life. If we were literally dead to sin, then we wouldn't need to 'reckon' it true or love the new life by faith; we would automatically never sin again. That a Christian may sin shows that water baptism doesn't effect a literal crucifixion with Christ. It portrays a spiritual baptism into Christ which the believer must live by faith...

...Significantly, though Paul baptized a few, Christ never baptized anyone (Jn 4:2) - very odd if baptism saves. The Savior of the world must have deliberately avoided baptizing to make it clear that baptism has no part in salvation.......

~~~ro10v17

a) [Compare Jn 6:40]:

"For this is the will of My Father, that every one who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

If one concludes that water baptism, (Mk 16:16), or confession, (Ro 10:9-10), is an essential part of salvation, by extraction of a verse out of context then we must use the same extraction process in Jn 6:40, above, and conclude that only those living at the time of Christ, and that only those who actually saw Him can be saved.

b) [Consider Mk 1:4]:

This verse, when taken out of context, appears to teach that forgiveness of sins comes only through John the Baptist's water baptism - which was strictly for Jews, leaving the Gentile world totally condemned without a chance for salvation:

[Mk 1:4]:

"John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

c) [Consider Gen 15:4-6]:

In the same way, one might take verse 6 out of context and conclude that only the descendants of Abraham will be eligible for salvation. Most Jews believe this way:

[Gen 15:4-6]:

(v. 4) "Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'This man will not be your heir; but One shall come forth from your own body, He shall be you Heir.'

(v. 5 ) And He [God] took him outside and said, 'Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.'

(v. 6) Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."

One might even falsely conclude in Matthew chapter 10 that Gentiles are entirely excluded from being saved by our Lord Himself:

d) [Consider Mt 10:5-7, 32]:

(v. 5) "These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, 'Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;

[One might conclude here that salvation was exclusively for the Jews]

(v. 6) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

(v. 7) And as you go, preach, saying, '''The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'''

(v. 32) Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in heaven.' "

So by the method one uses in falsely interpreting Romans 10:9-10 in order to conclude that one must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in order to be saved one must also conclude that one must be a Jew who saw the Lord Jesus Christ as a Man 2000 years ago, (Jn 6:40), and one must have been water baptized by John the Baptist himself, (Mk 1:4), and have been a believer in the Abrahamic covenant as well as a descendant of Abraham, (Gen 15:6), etc. etc. This is however only the beginning. There are dozens of passages which, one might conclude, add even more to what must be done in order to be saved. The truth is, however a different matter. Paul answered it best when the frightened jailkeeper in Philippi asked him:

e) [Acts 16:30b-31]:

(v. 30b) " 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' "

[And Paul's simple and complete answer was]:

(v. 31) 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved....' "

So it is belief and belief alone in Christ alone as Savior that is the way to heaven - nothing else can be added. If anything else was required, then Paul was lying to the frightened Philippian jailer. Anything else such as confession of Jesus as Lord, water baptism, Lord's Supper, leading a repentant lifestyle, etc. etc. may immediately accompany a person's first time expression of faith in Christ; yet these spiritually important things in a believer's life also contribute nothing toward that believer's salvation, (Eph 2:8-9).

All of the passages in Scripture relative to salvation might be likened to following a recipe. Many recipes contain nonessential instructions such as suggesting a number of ways to serve the results. Once a recipe has been followed and a successful outcome is obtained, further action such as serving it on a dish in some special way merely demonstrates what has already occurred. In like manner, once salvation has occurred by a single moment of trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior, (Jn 3:16, Eph 2:8-9), actions such as public confession, water baptism, divine good works, etc., serve to demonstrate to man what has already occurred. So the water baptism or the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord demonstrates the successful results of the faith which has been exercised in Christ as Savior, such faith resulting in salvation even before there is the slightest confession or any other deed.

The passage which includes Ro 10:9-10 therefore indicates that it is faith alone which results in salvation and thereafter what is expected to take place in the believer's life, (but not guaranteed), is confession that Jesus is Lord. The point here is that an if-then passage in Scripture, (and in every day conversation for that matter), may include statements in the 'if' portion of the passage that are not necessarily essential to the outcome of the 'then' portion of the passage.

The key to understanding what is essential is context and the examination of parallel passages which rule out the non-essential elements. There are numerous passages which clearly stipulate that faith alone in Christ alone as Savior is the exclusive way to salvation unto eternal life: Jn 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 20:31; Ro 1:16; 3:21-28; 4:4-5; Eph 1:3-14; 2:8-9; Acts 2:21, 38; 10:43; 13:38-39; 16:30-31; Gal 3:22; 2 Thes 2:13-14; 2 Tim 1:9; Isa 28:16, 49:23; Joel 2:32; Titus 3:5, etc.

C) THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PASSAGES IN SCRIPTURE WHICH ARE OFTEN MISINTERPRETED AS TEACHING THAT WATER BAPTISM IS REQUIRED FOR SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

1) [JOHN 3:5-6]:

"BORN OF WATER" REFERS NOT TO WATER BAPTISM, BUT TO HOLY SPIRIT REGENERATION []

 

2) [1 PETER 3:18-21]:

WATER SYMBOLIZES THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM THAT SAVES YOU

Consider also the following passage which is often misinterpreted to mean baptismal regeneration. Notice that Noah and his family were not saved by immersion/baptism in the flood waters but by floating on top of them! And the text describes this action as a "figure" - a similar picture to that of being eternally saved by God the Holy Spirit and not as a water baptism, i.e., that of being immersed in water:

[1 PET 3:18-21]:

(v. 18) "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

(v. 19) through Whom [the Spirit, v. 18b)] also He [Jesus Christ, (v. 18a)] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah, (v. 20)] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are NOW in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel in Noah's time]

(v. 20) who [the disbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e. disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,

(v. 21) which [Noah being physically saved] [is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the response to God of a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

[]

3) [ACTS 2:37-38]:

"REPENT & BE BAPTIZED FOR FORGIVENESS OF SINS" TEACHES FAITH UNTO FORGIVENESS OF SINS THEN WATER BAPTISM

Another passage which is often misread to prove that forgiveness of sins comes from water baptism is Acts 2:38:

[Acts 2:37-38]:

(v. 37) "Now when they [Jews, (vv. 22, 29)] heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, [Jews, (vv. 22, 29)] what shall we do?'

(v. 38) And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." []

4) [ACTS 22:16]:

"BE BAPTIZED, WASH AWAY SINS, CALLING ON HIS NAME" TEACHES WATER BAPTISM AND CONFESSION OF SINS FOR THE ALREADY SAVED.

And we review another passage which is often misinterpreted as saying that water baptism is necessary for washing away ones sins relative to eternal life []:

D) INFANT BAPTISM IS NOT BIBLICAL

["DISTINCTIVE BAPTIST PRINCIPLES" by P. Lovene. Baptist Conference Press: Chicago. First printing 1943, third printing 1954]:

"In the latter part of the second century the idea became very common, especially in North Africa, that baptism was a saving ordinance, without which none could enter into heaven. Logically, the next step was to baptize first children and then infants. The first church council called to discuss this subject took place in Carthage in 252. This proves conclusively that it was a new thing. Why need to discuss it if it had come from the Apostles?" (p. 38-39)

"It seems evident, that Christ would have given a clear commandment regarding some ceremony or sacrament to save the children, if He had wanted our help." (response to Mk. 10:14 as meaning to not keep children out of the kingdom). (p. 40)

"Had the Apostles been accustomed to baptizing children, they would not have rebuked the parents who brought them to Jesus. That time ... would have been the golden opportunity for Him to institute infant baptism, proclaiming it to take the place of circumcision... Why did He not do it, if infant baptism had been His intention and of such immense importance? " (p.40-41).

"As we read the four instances where household baptisms are mentioned, we realize that this fortress is untenable. The gospel was first preached; they believed, and spoke with tongues; they were called brethren, and they set themselves to minister unto the saints. None of these things can apply to infants (Acts 10:44-47; 16:15, 33, 40; I Cor. 1:16; 16:15)." (p. 42).

"According to common law a contract made with a minor is void or illegal. How then can the most solemn covenant before God concerning the most holy and important decisions in life be made for the helpless babies?...And how can any sponsors promise to do for other children a thing which they may be utterly unable to do for their own children, doing for others a thing to which they often are strangers themselves?" (p.44)

"Any act, to be of moral value, must be an act of free choice, and that must especially be true of our obedience to God. But the infant is robbed of that decision for himself. He has no experience of it, he had nothing at all to say about it.....how can parents decide for their children to become Christians, when they know nothing about Christ?" (p 45).