Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Biblical Presentation On The Sacrament Of Baptism

  • Defining The Purpose Of Water Baptism:
          -The purpose of baptism is to make a public profession of faith and discipleship. In other words, water baptism is the sign of dedication to serving Christ. It is symbolic for the Lord's burial, death, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5). It signifies the forgiveness of sin and spiritual cleansing that comes to us through faith. In this ritual, we are identifying ourselves with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, which also means that we already had faith in Him. People who got baptized were putting their very livelihood, every cherished thing, at stake in serving Jesus Christ. In getting baptized, one places Him above all else in this life. This is the reason for baptism being so closely associated with salvation in the New Testament. Baptism is not a mere formality. It serves as a reminder of our new identity in Jesus Christ. It is a picture of our salvation. Jesus took the Jewish ritual of immersing converts and imported to it a new meaning. Baptism signifies being a new person in Christ, which is brought about by the regenerating power of the Spirit of God.
  • Infant Baptism:
          -The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and various Protestant churches advocate the practice of baptizing babies. They believe that the ritual itself removes the stain of original sin.
           *There is no command or example of infant baptism found in the New Testament. The consistent pattern of those who get baptized in biblical history is believing on the gospel and repenting of sins beforehand (Mark 1:15; 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41; 8:12; 36-37; 16:14-15; 30-33; 18:8).
           *People who were baptized as children may apostatize from the faith when they grow up. In that case, the baptism served no good purpose. It is better reserved for adults.
  • Baptismal Regeneration:
          -Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and various sects within Protestantism maintain that people must get baptized in order to be saved. These people believe that baptism is essential for salvation, with exceptions being infants or those who desired baptism but died before getting a chance to go through that ritual.
           *The concept of baptism is not mentioned in several passages associating faith with salvation (John 1:12; 5:24; 20:30-31; Romans 1:16-17; 3:20-28; 4:2-8; 5:1; 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 2:16; 21; 3:1-3; 5:4-5; Ephesians 2:4-9; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:9; 3:15; Titus 3:5). Scripture says that we cannot earn a right standing before God on the basis of good works.
           *To add baptism (or any other ritual) as an additional stipulation to believing on Jesus Christ for salvation is equivalent to saying that we must be circumcised to get saved. Thus, the "baptismal regeneration" teaching falls into the same category as the Judaizing heresy (Acts 15:1; 23-24). Baptism in certain respects corresponds to (but is not equivalent to) circumcision in the Old Testament (Colossians 2:11-12). However, circumcision did not save anyone (Romans 4:9-12), even though it was commanded by God (Genesis 17:10-14). This indicates that we are not saved by water baptism. We are not saved by these rituals because they are works.
           *We have biblical examples of people who were saved before they got baptized in water: 1.) the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:35-38); 2.) the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:17-18); 3.) Cornelius (Acts 10:42-48). Having heard the message of the gospel, these people had received the Spirit of God prior to getting baptized. They placed their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. No one in Scripture is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yet unsaved.
  • Baptism By Sprinkling Water:
          -The Roman Catholic Church, along with various Protestant churches, baptize by sprinkling a little water on people, rather than fully immersing converts into water.
           *The Jews at Qumran, as well as others, practiced baptism by immersion.
           *The New Testament describes the ceremony of baptism as being a "burial" into water (Mark 1:5; 9-10; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5).
           *The Greek word for baptism ("baptismo") literally means immersion. There are separate words in the Greek language for sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. But only the Greek word for immersion is used for baptism in the New Testament.
           *This does not mean that there are no situations in which baptism by sprinkling water is acceptable. Nor is it being suggested that people who were baptized in ways other than immersion in water have to get re-baptized or that their baptism is invalid. 

    No comments: