Recently a person commented on one of my posts which was a
general call to salvation. I distinctly remember not intending to write the post and in fact, had another article planned. I was doing my own personal study and was moved to really post the gospel. By the grace of God several people responded to it and wondered about salvation, praise God. The commentator summed up the article as being fatally deficient…the fact that baptism wasn’t mentioned.
Before I go onto what he says, please realize that I will continue calling him brother until he proves otherwise. In all honesty, if I don’t know you personally I have very little to go on besides your written word—when the Bible explicitly tells us that we will know who is what by the fruits they bear. I don’t know you, I don’t know your fruits so my first take is either Brother, Sister or Friend. If someone seems to understand the gospel but is confused on a point (as is seems to me in this matter) I will continue in kind and thank God that we’re not saved by 100% understanding either. Mind you, don’t read into this more than I’m saying as if “Hey, if you say you’re saved by works that’s cool with me.” I’m saying no such thing.
Now, Rory makes a case for salvation necessitating baptism
and I pray that I am honest to his view of salvation. Firstly he points out that that he is deeply convicted by what he has read in the Scriptures so with that understanding I take his concerns very seriously. The only thing that spurs my answering is the fact that it was during the presentation of the Gospel. He then lays out a chain of salvation as he sees in Scripture.
Firstly, a person is convicted by the word of God and he points
to Romans 10:17 in support of this position. Secondly, he then says that a person is to believe the word of God and for this he looks to Heb 11:6 and Romans 3:22.
Thirdly a person is to repent of their sin to which he looks at
Romans 3:23, Luke 13:1-5, Acts 3:19 and 2 Co 7:10. Fourthly a person is to be baptized in the name of Jesus to which he refers to Matt 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21, Romans 6:1-4 and Colossians 2:12 while simultaneously confessing Jesus as Lord of your life (which he supports with Acts 22:16, Romans 10:9, 1 Tim 6:12 and 2 Tim 2:19). He points out that baptism is specifically for the forgiveness of sins and that other things are needed also (which he didn’t mention) and refers to Romans 6:1-4 in support. To my statement that baptism is a public confession he mentions that this phrase is not talked about in the Bible and supports how there is only one baptism and that one is for the forgiveness of sins which he bolsters with Ephesians 4:4-5 and Acts 2:39. He ended his position with the words “1 Pt 3:21 ‘and [Noah’s flood] water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also’ Notice, noahs [sic] flood symbolizes[sic] baptism, not the other way round” and his signature in the love of Christ.
Now, in the next few days I plan to cover some ground with
baptism and also hope that it can edify some of the younger believers in my assembly as they themselves are about to be baptized. I will likely have touch on some much debated positions though I don’t consider it necessary to do so when studying what the Scriptures teach on baptism.
Looking at some of those verses quoted above, I’m sure some
of my readers will start pointing out how the context doesn’t support the interpretation of the verse. In some cases, the verse itself speaks against the position taken in the interpretation and in other cases the verse might is not being used to support the defense either positively or negatively.
One point I’d like to consider in this introductory post is the idea that there is only one baptism and that one baptism is for the forgiveness of sins supported by Ephesians 4:4-5.
Mind you, I’ve seen this passage used to support the following: that there is no Trinity; that all faiths lead to one God; that God is in everything and we are all Little Gods; that the one body is humanity; that the one body is Judaism. Here are a couple of others that one can try to read into the text: that God is risky and our calling was hopeful, that God is the Father of both good and evil equally, that the world is the church.
Now, if a person was to show that there is more than one
body and more than one spirit and more than one lord and more than one faith and more than one baptism and more than one god would it make the text null? I don’t think so, for the text in this portion of Ephesians is not talking about the fact of other bodies walking around the earth nor of other spirits or principalities nor even of other hopes or callings or other (false) lords or other (false) faiths or other baptisms or other gods. The text is dealing (in this portion) with the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Start reading it with that understanding then the text starts to deal more with what was given to the body to perfect it, to help it to grow to the full stature of the Head who is Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is important regarding baptism because the Bible does
speak of other baptisms. For instance there was the baptism of John where many publicans were found being dipped and justifying God (Luke 7:22). There was the baptism of Christ which the Trinity was manifested (Matt 3). There was the baptism of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost which was void of water but not of power (John 1:33, Acts 2). John the Baptist even speaks of a baptism with fire (Luke 3:16). These different baptisms do not speak against Ephesians 4 because Ephesians 4 isn’t dealing with baptisms but Unity.
So is Ephesians 4 lying? Since there are multiple baptisms and not one baptism is it a Contradiction? How do you personally resolve this or has it never been an issue with you? I offered my preliminary solution but do you have other ideas? I’ll get into the specific differences in baptisms in my next post.
original comments by Rory regarding my salvation post:
Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
One Baptism Versus the Many?
Baptism and Big Problems
Baptismal Regeneration (Acts 2:28)
Deluge of Baptism Questions (Acts 1-22)
Baptism and Romans (Rom 6:1-11)
Noah and Baptism (2 Peter 3:20,21)
Paul On Baptism (1 Cor 1:14-18)