Now we come to the “Doctrine of Baptisms”. In the last 2 messages I explained the necessity of repentance of sins and turning from dead works and the necessity of faith that Jesus will save his people FROM their sins as He promised. At this point many people will be confused because they have been taught that they are saved by “grace alone through faith alone”. Let me take a moment to explain how that is not the Gospel but a demonic counterfeit heresy which leaves the believer just as condemned as every devil (James 2:19-20).
First, I am not contradicting the scriptures.
Baptism itself cannot save on it’s own otherwise every baby and every sinner who is baptized would be saved from sin, and almost everyone has the experience of knowing some person who has been baptized but is clearly not saved from sin. I will get into this more, but first let me expose the “grace alone through faith alone” heresy.
1. It is by God’s grace that a sinner can be brought to repentance and faith because grace is a work of the Holy Spirit and repentance and faith are gifts from God, not of our own works. Grace is the Holy Spirit of God choosing to strive with man like a lifeguard in order to bring him into surrender and obedience.
2. Salvation itself is also a work of God. Apart from Jesus’s work on the cross man cannot be saved FROM his sins. But how does this get applied to man? Clearly it is not just by God’s work otherwise the whole world would automatically be saved from sin and that is not the case. Man has to be able to enter into the work of God, but it cannot be by the law.
We see this dilemma arise when a person tries to understand the letters of Paul to the Romans and the Galatians vs the epistle of James. Famous Protestants have debated these issues often throwing out one or the other doctrine, not perceiving that there is no difference between justification through faith not of the works of the law and justification by the work of faith and works done in that faith.
Abraham was justified by faith apart from his works (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6) but he was also perfected by his works done in faith (James 2:17-26). Even so even Jesus had to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15), though there was no unrighteousness in Him.
There is also a difference between the baptism of John unto repentance for the remission of sins, (Mark 1:4) and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). As Paul told the Ephesians, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4) repentance and baptism cannot save one from sin but Jesus can. That is what He came to do and John prepared His way before Him preaching repentance from dead works and baptism for the remission of sin.
It is like a man who cannot swim discovering that he is drowning in deep water.
He cannot save himself from drowning. Struggling cannot save him. The lifeguard won’t try to save him until he is ready to give up and let the lifeguard do what is necessary to save him. The man has to trust the lifeguard to save him.
Remember what the eunuch said to Philip and what Philip said in reply?
“… the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:36-38)
And remember the preaching of the disciple Ananias to the soon to be Apostle Paul, “… why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)
This hearkens back to the promise of God in Ezekiel 36:25-26,
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
In Mark 16:15-16 Jesus gave to His disciples the great commission saying,
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Did you catch that?
1. If you don’t believe, it doesn’t matter if you get baptized or not, you will still be damned.
2. If you believe without being baptized you will not be saved.
Now I am not saying that God is not merciful towards those who are truly unable to be baptized as the thief on the cross was, but it seems so clear that it is a requirement for salvation that at least one of the early churches practiced baptism of the dead and were not rebuked for it (1 Corinthians 15:29). Now I don’t mean to imply that they were correct to baptize for the dead. The reasoning here is that it has something to do with the resurrection. I would not therefore make a doctrine that God would not make an exception for those who died in faith unable to be baptized, nor would I make a doctrine that it is unnecessary for the living who repent and believe to be baptized.
Even in Acts 10 in the case of Cornelius and his household who received the Holy Spirit having both repentance and faith were quickly baptized in water in the name of the LORD Jesus. Peter also later referred to the Flood of water that saved Noah and his household from the violent sinful world of his time relating it to baptism which he says, “now saves us”, not physical washing of course but the washing of the conscience from dead works and trusting in Jesus to save us from sin by the destruction and burial of our carnal fleshly sin nature whereby we were subject to the devil and his angels (1 Peter 3:20-22).
Let’s go on, as I have only barely touched on the mountain of scriptural evidence for this doctrine.
In John 3:5-7 Jesus said,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Protestants generally know that the Catholic church’s practice of baby baptism does nothing to save the soul because a baby cannot repent, (having not yet committed sin with knowledge), nor can they believe in Jesus to save them from their sins. What many Protestants don’t understand is that a “sinner’s prayer,” (as used by evangelists in only the last 200 years), is equally pointless, in that it does not bring in repentance FROM sin, faith in Jesus for freedom FROM sin or baptism for the remission of sins.
All 3 components are necessary in the process of salvation FROM sin.
Salvation cannot be separated from freedom FROM sin. It is what repentance is about and it is why Jesus came to die. He didn’t die so sinners could go to heaven. On the contrary Jesus went for the root of the problem. He died to save His people FROM their sin nature so that they wouldn’t go to Hell. Only those who turn FROM sin to believing in Jesus to save them FROM it have the promise that they will be saved.
Let’s go on a bit and look at what Paul said in light of what we heard Jesus say in John 3 about the flesh and the Spirit.
Remember that Paul said in Romans 7:5 that when we were formerly in the flesh, “the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
Romans 6:3-7 and Colossians 2:12-15 make it clear that baptism is where we enter into Jesus’s work on the cross. Baptism is where the circumcision of the flesh happens. It is in baptism that or old man of sin is crucified/destroyed and buried with Christ and we are born again of God in Him. It is where Satan and his forces are spoiled of their puppeteering ability and the works of the devil end.
In Galatians 3:26-27 Paul tells us that by faith people become a child of God, and having been baptized they have put on Christ.
This is why Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
And in Romans 13:11-14 Paul tells us,
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul says,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The Apostle John took this a step further in his first epistle chapter three when he declared,
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Did you catch that? John says that he who is born of God, or born of water and spirit as Jesus also described it, CANNOT sin.
Now obviously I am not saying that the act of being baptized in water alone can save one FROM sin, for one only has to look at the story of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) to see that he did not have repentance FROM sin. Quite the contrary for the author of Hebrews and the Apostle Peter make it clear that those who enter in by knowledge rather than by faith will also have a worse fate than those who never knew the truth if they sin afterwards.
(Hebrews 10:26 KJV)
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
(2 Peter 2:20-22 KJV)
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
There is another aspect to salvation that I have not specifically addressed as yet and that is the work of the Holy Spirit of God.
I may go into this a little deeper in a future message but for now I want to give you faith for receiving the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2:38, when he was asked by the Jews what they must do to be saved FROM their sins, Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Here we see that Peter is listing out these 3 essential components that I have previously endeavored to share with some context.
1. Repentance is something that you must do when you realize that you are in the wrong. It is turning from that wrong. The ability to do that is a gift from God.
2. To believe is to put your trust in Jesus to save you FROM your sins. That ability is also a gift from God.
3. In being baptized in water you submit and/or surrender fully to God, at which point Jesus and you are bound together. Together you were crucified and buried and rise together. In rising the Father declares you His beloved son.
The final component is something that the LORD pointed out to me shortly before I got baptized. He made it clear that I had to believe Luke 11:10-13 where Jesus said,
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Oh, that I could speak to all ears here without sounding blasphemous but only those who have the Holy Spirit can receive this mystery.
In 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 Paul asks the question, “… know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
If you have been born again then you CANNOT sin because you have been joined to God. You are ONE spirit with Him. If you are ONE spirit then you CANNOT sin without Him being responsible for that sin. This is why the Holy Spirit was given, not to be your help meet (submissive spouse) but to be your Helper (husband).
In Isaiah 54:5 it says, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
In Hosea 2:16&19-20 the LORD says,
“… it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. … And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.”
Knowing here is spiritual intimacy.
Remember Ezekiel 36:25-26. I intentionally left out verse 27 in order to illustrate this point now, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
We see the contrast in Matthew 7:23 where Jesus tells how He will address the wicked saying, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Paul also told Timothy, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
Again this knowing that Jesus and Paul are referring to is spiritual intimacy.
Let’s look again at 1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” This is extremely intimate spiritual language referring to the state of a Born Again person.
Remember how John the Baptist talked about Jesus in John 1:33 and said that the Holy Spirit had told him, “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”
Did you notice that it says “remaining” even as it says “remaineth” there in 1 John 3:9 . Remember what Jesus said in John 14:16-17, “… I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Spiritual Intimacy through freedom FROM sin was the promise of the New Covenant to all who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus to save them FROM their sins and are baptized in Jesus name for the remission of their sins. They shall also receive the Holy Spirit according to the promise of Ezekiel 36:27, and according to Jesus’s words in John 17:22-23, “… the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” And this is also the fulfillment of Jesus’s promise at the end of Matthew, “… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)
Do you have #FreedomFromSin ?
If not, there are only 3 logical Biblical conclusions that I can come to.
- You have not yet repented / turned from your sins.
- You have not yet believed in Jesus to save you FROM your sins.
- You have not yet been baptized for the remission of your sins in the name of the LORD Jesus.
Otherwise you would be free FROM sin and have the Holy Spirit remaining in you.
You now have the foundation for the doctrine of Christ. Every other doctrine of Christ must be built on this foundation.
Be blessed in Jesus’s name.