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Sunday, February 3, 2013

(64) Baptism

Two years ago this lesson was posted:  http://ideasoftimbible.blogspot.com/search/label/Baptism

Some who had read that had and others may have questions about those who say faith only is what you need to be saved.  Some have said that saying baptism is needed is legalism at its core because they think it means someone's works can earn them salvation.  Some have said that to teach baptism as being needed is borderline cultish.  But what is baptism?  And why is it in the scripture?

Baptism-  as with most translations this word comes from the Greek word baptismo.  Those who teach baptism would stress that it means "immersion"and would add that with Acts 2:38, for the forgiveness of sins.  Read the lesson posted above and you will see that baptism in and of itself is more than just these two terms and verses.  But this lesson is not about what it is.  It is about is it needed or not.

Faith is where it all starts.  Believing in Jesus Christ is the first step towards salvation.  But faith is more than just belief.  Faith is action.  Faith will cause us to do things.  Being a Christian means you are Christ-like.  This means that you take on the qualities of Jesus Christ.  "Taking" is a verb.  Verbs are action.  It is not about earning salvation.  It is about following the life of Christ and emulating what He did.  We are called to repent.  Without repentance are we saved?  No.  But some will ask about the thief on the cross since he wasn't baptised.  Well what they fail to consider is did the thief have a chance?  Who knows how long he was in prison as a thief?  He may have been there for all three years of Jesus' ministry and just heard about him right before he was hung on the cross.  Maybe nobody brought water to him.  In certain cases it would like God to allow circumstances to offer other options.  Or maybe he was baptized before he was thrown into jail.  The Bible does not say it either way.  In any case, the thief on the cross repented.  He may not have said the "sinner's prayer", whatever that is.  But nevertheless he told Jesus he wasn't worthy and wanted Jesus to save him.  That is repentance.  But, it is also an action.

Jesus also told us to worship, pray, take communion, teach.   Will these save someone?  More than likely no.  But are they commanded to do?  Yes.  If Christians do not do these things will they still make it to heaven?  That is up to God and God alone to decide.  But if we do not follow a command, then we are sinning.   These actions are commanded.  Saying no to a command is a sin.  You make the call.
Is baptism commanded?  If it was not important as a command then why would Jesus tell his followers to baptize people when He said goodbye to them?  Why did He do it Himself?
Hebrews tells us all about faith.  Once the book describes what it is it gives examples.  Abel brought a gift.  Noah built an ark.  Abraham left his home and traveled.  It says they were living by faith.  Living is an action.
Baptism may not be the thing that saves you.  But having faith only is not an excuse not to do things.  Faith takes action.  Baptism is part of your faith.  So in this case faith only means you do all that is commanded.  If that is the case then yes, having faith only will save you.

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