Paul On Baptism -tmp(1 Cor 1:14-18)

After looking at baptism as used in the Peter passage we
could rule out the idea that Peter is making a statement about salvation and
the nature of water.
Of course, we could easily see how pulling something out
of context can establish a false doctrine (baptising saves, baptising
the dead, or infants). But, before I move onto those types of things
I want to look at something Paul said regarding baptism which shouldn’t
minimize the mandate but it should, in the very least, put it in its
proper
perspective.

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, and an apostle to the Gentile,
who is eventually sent to preach the gospel to the heart of the gentile world…what’s
his opinion on this? Entrusted with the message of the gospel and carrying it
with its due reverence. If anyone could tell us how baptism and the gospel line
up it would be Paul. I will assume the role of one who believes in baptism
saving people while I question him.

Hey Paul, how are you doing? Hey, I’m getting into a
discussion here and some people are of the opinion that baptism doesn’t save.
What do you think?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and
Gaius. ({{1 Cor 1:14}})

What Paul? Were you avoiding your duty as an evangelist? How
could you have gone to Corinth
and baptize only two people?
Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond
that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. ({{1 Cor 1:16}})

Paul, come on now. You have a long list of people you pray
for after they had received the gospel ({{Eph 1:16}}; {{1Thes 1:2}}; {{Philem
1:4}})…how is it possible that you don’t have a long list of names of people
you baptized? And how is it possible that you regard baptism so little if that
is an integral part of the message?  If
baptism is necessary for salvation how did you not perform that part of your
duty?
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…
({{1 Cor 1:17}})

How can it be that Paul’s duty of “preaching the gospel” is
only speaking the words and not sealing the deal, as it were? If the gospel is
“Salvation by Water Baptism” it would have been an integral part of his
ministry. His sermons would quickly been followed by baptisms, believers
joyfully singing and clapping their hands as youths were handed up to receive
salvation…and yet Paul seems to view it as a secondary aspect of his ministry
and not as important as the preaching of the gospel.

In fact, this preaching was done in such a manner so that
the recipients could hear of the harshness of this message clearly. No slick
word, no happy singing, no altar calls or flashy displays to make this message
more palatable. The message preached so that the first century unbeliever could
realize the full implications.

The only Living God became flesh and died at the hands of
his creation, the Jew who rejected Him and the Gentile who pierced Him,
according to Scripture, so that all could be saved but rose from the dead and
is coming back to judge. A message of outright foolishness to the enemy ({{1
Cor 1:18}}).

Why foolishness? This Jesus (supposed God) was convicted by
Rome and the Jew and currently, the man (Paul) preaching the message bears all
the marks of one who has summarily been often beaten and probably stoned for
saying this Jesus lives. Not only that, apparently this crucified Jesus is
coming back to judge rightly.

This is hard message…not about water that magically makes
people into new people or about dedication to a new community…this is the Truth
found in a crucified person who now lives. In believing this Crucified One,
this 1st Century person is automatically become part of a single
body by the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ and the baptism of the Spirit
who has promised salvation to they who believe ({{Eph 4}}; {{1 Cor 12:12}}). The believer subsequently identifies
the Rejected and Crucified One as true and as vindicated by God and therein
must take his stand with that One.

So this first century believer stands before the naysayers
of the world and is immersed in the baptismal waters. Before the eyes of men he
justifies God and simultaneously shows that this is being done by the authority
of the Crucified One and in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
That person states that the death penalty the naysayers rewarded Jesus the Son
is a penalty which they are under as well for they deny Him as true. That
person states that the life the believer now has is not of his own power but of
the tender mercy of Christ who lives.

That person is publicly taking the side of perceived
foolishness by standing up with the Crucified One and now fully expects to be
treated no better than the Crucified One. That person, in the eyes of the world
is turning against the world and saying “You are wrong and damned for it”.

I think there’s a lesson in there for us when we now think again
of Peter’s illustration of the Noahic flood. Noah fully intended to be
persecuted for what he was doing…and so should the person being baptized. Too
often we invite other believers to baptism meetings for songs and joy…but in
fact, we should be getting dipped before the eyes of the unbeliever with the
whispering or outright shouts of “idiot!” ringing in our ears as we stand with
the Lord hearing the truth that “they have persecuted Me, they shall surely
persecute you.”

I think we’ve left baptismal justification and regeneration
long behind. The topic is not tenable in its literary or soteriological context
as presented in the Scriptures. But in so studying this topic perhaps you can
look at these words and question the outworking of baptism of the dead or
infant baptism to see how they line up with the unadulterated and harsh reality
of the gospel as seen on a cross. We will be touching on paedobaptism (infant baptism) in our
next post.

-r- 

The Full Series
1. Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
2. One Baptism Versus the Many?
3. Baptism and Big Problems
4. Baptismal Regeneration (Acts 2:28)
5. Deluge of Baptism Questions (Acts 1-22)
6. Baptism and Romans (Rom 6:1-11)
7. Noah and Baptism (2 Peter 3:20,21)
8. Paul On Baptism (1 Cor 1:14-18)

9. The Error of Infant Baptism


10. Remember Your Baptism (Rom 6:1-11)

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