What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Forwarding comments by Dave Y. of TruthForFree.com: This morning when I decided to post the following article, I knew there would be a good chance it may concern some readers… The subject concerns water baptism and what is its proper application for the true follower of Jesus. To make an attempt to not offend anyone deliberately, I will simply add that this involves my opinion; an opinion which is derived from my own personal study of Scripture and my relationship with the Holy Spirit. That having been said, I am not suggesting that my opinion is infallible so, as always, I invite sincere responses from readers who may have alternate perspectives. Part of why I decided to share this view is because I have a loved one that has struggled with understanding water baptism (coming from a background that did not involve church, Christianity, or even knowledge of the Gospel story until recent years).

There are, I’m sure, those that would prefer that I not dive too deeply into the waters of specific doctrine with this website… While I realize the importance of letting each person come to conclusions about various aspects of Christian practice according to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives, I have never been one to suggest that doctrine is not important. I have often said that organized religion, in my opinion, often muddies the waters concerning sound doctrine by imposing its own legalistic ideas and very often imposes itself as being the grand defender of ultimate truth when, sadly, its arrogance and ignorance can actually cause masses of people to be led away from truth and into spiritual bondage as the truth is distorted and replaced with religion.

Today we have churches and Christians that talk about the subject of water baptism and they generally call it a “sacrament”. A sacrament is basically a religious ceremony or rite that is believed to confer some specific grace on the person who receives it. Protestants (not unlike Catholics) typically believe there are sacraments, which are obligatory to faith. The subject of water baptism is no exception. The common assertion is that this is an ordinance Jesus imposed and that it must be observed literally if one is to be considered a true follower of Christ. However, as most of us are aware, there are many interpretations among Christians concerning what baptism really means and how it should be actuated (whether by literal sprinkling with water, immersion, whether as a child, infant, adult, or not necessary at all). Some say you are not truly saved if you’re not physically baptized in water. Other say that it’s not required for Salvation but it is commanded by Jesus to follow Salvation so… do it anyway bub. Some say it is the very mark of salvation. Some say that its significance is primarily spiritual. So what’s the right answer? Certainly something that surrounds the very subject of Salvation is important! So, I’m gonna stick my neck out here and share an article that I find much agreement with.

The following article wasn’t written by me; however, I really appreciated how this brother answered the question about baptism. I also have not reviewed every other article on this brother’s website so I am not suggesting I will necessarily agree with on every subject (I mention this because the author does make reference to other articles he has written which I have not yet had the chance to read). The actual source website for the article is listed at the bottom. Please exercise Spirit-led discernment as with all things (including this website).

Finally, please know that I have no objections to water baptism. In fact, I will never forget the day I was water baptized as a teenager and the significance it held in my life. I still believe water baptism is a beautiful way to directly identify with the words of our Lord; however, I do not believe that it is the full realization of what our Lord intended. Water baptism is a symbol of a much greater revelation. Since my own exodus from institutional churchianity, I’ve often looked on the “sacrementizing” of Jesus’ teachings discouragingly (including things like water baptism and the Lord’s supper). I’m simply not a fan of Christians taking some beautiful instruction or example by our Lord and then putting it into the form of an obligatory religious ritual or ceremony. I really think this misses the mark. Jesus was regularly agitated by the Pharisees because they bowed to the letter of the Law while violating the spirit of the Law.

If you have questions, comments or even objections to the following article, please feel free to share them in the comment area below the article. I am very interested to hear how this article speaks to different people, whether they may agree or not. Ultimately, I really do believe that rightly understanding baptism is just one more truth that will take us further from the stale, lifeless ritual imposed by religion and closer to the purpose of our Lord Jesus.

In His grip,
Dave

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Is Water-Baptism Required for Christians?

Question: I am struggling with some matters on baptism and was wondering if you could help me settle some issues in my mind. A very doctrinal friend of mine argues against believer’s water baptism being practiced in the church age after the completed canon of Scripture. He has also stated “there is not one command in the New Testament commanding the believer to be baptized”. Subsequently, I went home and pulled out a few books to consider his claim. After looking for a while (and developing a headache), I came across several NT passages where the command to be baptized in water is given:

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized [aorist/passive/imperative] in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized [aorist/middle/imperative], and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
Acts 22:16

The first passage (as you are aware) is where Peter is preaching the first message in the church age. The clear command to be baptized is obvious. Does this command still carry weight for the believer today? The second passage is where Paul is recounting his Damascus road experience and where the Lord commands him to be baptized. I think it is strange that the Lord would command him to be baptized before calling on His name. There are other passages to consider too (Acts 10:48; Matt.28:16-20; – where a command seems to be in view, and the latter by our Lord; and 1Cor.1:17; Eph.4:5 – with neither of these last two passages seeming to rule out water baptism). What do you think? Do these commands fall into our own day?

Thank you for your service.

Response: Thank you for your thoughtful e-mail. I well appreciate the godly fear of wanting to do right by scripture in every way, and whether this answer strikes you as right or wrong, I want to commend you for keeping yourself open to what the Bible has to say (whether or not it confirms or confutes previous opinions). The day we lapse into comfortable views and stop listening to the Word itself – really listening – is the day our spiritual decline begins. True spiritual growth is not an easy process, but all those who respond from an open heart to our Lord’s words in Matthew 7:24-27, both to listen to Him and to put into practice what He commands, are those who truly “build on the rock”.

To begin, I should make it clear that ichthys.com is not connected with any other ministry or any other personality, either officially or unofficially. Nor does the teaching presented here reflect anything but my own individual exposition of the Word of God. Naturally, I have antecedents (see “antecedents of Ichthys”), as we all do, but none of the teaching from this ministry (to include this response) should be construed as anything but my own (i.e., I don’t represent anyone else) – although I do hope, and pray, and strive to ensure that they accurately reflect the truth of the Word of God (this is my sole concern).

The above is certainly germane to the topic of baptism. For there are few other subjects in the history of the Church which have been more divisive, and that fact is a reflection of the rapidity with which organizations in particular jump from careful consideration of scripture to defense of tradition (a charge from which few Christian groups are immune, even those whose tradition is very recent).

Let us start with some pertinent principles. First, Paul’s statement in 1Cor.1:17 that he was sent to preach the gospel not to baptize is very telling. It certainly does not say that water-baptism is wrong, but it is indeed a very strange statement to make if it were, in Paul’s view of things, a mandate that all believers must be water-baptized. It is also true as you say in regard to Eph.4:5 that this verse does not rule out water-baptism. It does, however, state (on a par with there being only One Lord Jesus Christ) that there is indeed only “one” baptism. At the very least, this ought to mean that there is only one baptism of any true spiritual consequence, and, if that is true, no serious Christian would venture to place water-baptism in this premier position over and against the baptism of the Spirit.

Clearly, water-baptism is not and could not be any sort of means or requirement for a salvation that is based upon grace through faith (Eph.2:8-9) – which begs the question of why then there should be a mandate to be baptized with water, especially since it is the Spirit baptism to which John and Jesus looked forward and told us to esteem (Mk.1:8; Lk.24:48; Jn.15:26; 16:5-15; Acts 1:4-5; 1:7-8), and since water baptism has been so historically divisive, so prone to the inducement of guilt and fear for the un-baptized, and so engendering of false confidence in works and rituals for the baptized.

In the early church-visible, yes, there is no question that water-baptism was the rule, and that is evident as far back as the apostolic fathers (cf. in particular the “Didache”). But that first Church era, the era of Ephesus, was very clearly one of stagnancy in spiritual growth (they had abandoned this “first love” of the truth), and was truncated after a bare 12 years as a result (see The Coming Tribulation, part 2A: “The Seven Churches of Revelation”). In light of this, to build doctrine on what we know of the practices of this early, transitional era, is a major albeit common fallacy. It is also worth pointing out that for much the greater part of the past two millennia, infant baptism by sprinkling has been by far the dominant form of baptism and was for the most part accepted as valid and the only baptism needed. So that for the perhaps the majority of the Church Age’s Christians, the question “should I be water-baptized?” never came up at all. Even in the case of those who now find a need for adult water-baptism by whatever method, I would imagine that even they would be reluctant to cast a universal shroud of doubt over the depth or genuineness of the faith of nearly all the believers who lived from the earliest days down until the fifteenth century (and many since as well, of course).

As to the examples you cite in the book of Acts, it is likewise a major fallacy to build doctrine exclusively upon the historical reports therein. Luke reports the truth through the Spirit – even when it is an accurate account of wrong-headed behavior (cf. the election of Matthias: see Peter #2). This is certainly true in the case of water-baptism. The assumption on the part of even the apostles in the early going that water-baptism is a natural thing to do for those who accept Christ proceeds from an as yet incomplete understanding of the new reality of the cross and resurrection on the one hand, and of the consequent baptism of the Spirit on the other. A good example of this is that fact that even on a subject as critical as bringing salvation to the gentiles – the main point of this current age of the Church – even well after Pentecost Peter still required special instruction, circumstances and help before he realized the truth that this salvation was not only for Jews (and had to defend his actions later against others: Acts 10-11). Paul, too, was at first most solicitous of the elders in Jerusalem, but would come to stand with the truth against all tradition and authority in due time (cf. Gal.1-2; esp.2:11-14). And so it would seem imprudent to conclude that just because believers, even apostles, are occasionally involved in water-baptism, that the practice was necessarily the result of specific instructions as opposed to the continuing of a ritual tradition which had already been superseded by reality (my own view as it is no doubt clear by now).

One of the passages you mention, Acts 22:16, clearly falls into this category, for it is not a quote of the words of our Lord, but of Ananias’ conversation with Paul. It therefore reflects Ananias’ (as yet not completely enlightened) thinking on these matters.

This brings us to the consideration of Matthew 28:19-20, which is really the crux of the entire issue. For, no matter what we might feel about it, even if water-baptism does not seem to make theological sense, if our Lord were really commanding us to be water-baptized, that would certainly settle the issue. In fact, that is not at all what this passage, an admittedly difficult one to interpret, really relates. What this passage actually commands is for us to “make disciples” (the only imperative in the Greek), that is, to teach mankind about Jesus Christ, how to come to Him and how to follow Him. The two participles (“baptizing” and “teaching”) are clearly instrumental in nature (i.e., they show the method of carrying out the order: “by baptizing” and “by teaching”). “Baptizing” and “teaching” therefore reflect the means to these two parts of the process, namely 1) entering into Christ, and 2) properly following Him thereafter. “Baptizing them into the Name of …” thus must refer to the mediation of the gospel message by which we all are baptized by the Spirit through faith into all three Persons of the Trinity (Rom.6:3; cf. Is.30:27), while “teaching them” clearly concerns the post-salvation process of growth and discipleship which is equally essential. Beyond all question, it is the baptism of the Spirit which places us into union with God, union with Christ – and it is the indwelling Holy Spirit which is the pledge of this (2Cor.1:21-22; Eph.1:13-14; 4:30). Water-baptism has nothing to do with either. Therefore, in my view, the main point behind the baptism referred to in Matthew 28:19 is the same as the one made in 1st Corinthians 12:13 where we are all “baptized into one Body (of Christ, His Person, His Name)”.

It is well to note here that Matthew 28:19-20 is not our Lord Jesus Christ’s last communication with His disciples. For that mandate was given in Galilee. But we know that Jesus ascended into heaven from Jerusalem, from the Mount of Olives, the very place to which He will return at the end of this Age at the conclusion of the Tribulation (Lk.24:48; Acts 1:4-5; 1:7-8). Here are Christ’s final words to them and to us before He returned to the Father:

And He said to them, “It was written for the Messiah [the Christ] to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day in just this way [that it has happened], and for repentance [leading] to the forgiveness of sins on the basis of [faith in] His Name to be preached to all the nations. Once you have begun [to do so] at Jerusalem, you are [My] witnesses to [all] these things. And behold, it is even I Myself who is about to send the promise of My Father upon you (i.e., the Holy Spirit). So stay in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are endued with power from above (i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit).
Luke 24:46-49

And gathering them together [Jesus] commanded [the disciples] not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father (i.e., the Holy Spirit) “which you heard about from Me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Spirit not many days from now”.
Acts 1:4-5

And He said to them, “It is not for you to decide the times and occasions which the Father has ordained on His own authority (i.e., the Second Advent et al. will happen on His time-table, not yours). But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.
Acts 1:7-8

The significance of the symbolism of water-baptism (excluding the unique case of the water-baptism of Christ which portrays His death for our sins) is essentially two-fold: 1) it portrays the individual’s repentance, turning away from sin and death and toward God instead (cf. Acts 22:16); and 2) the pouring out of the Spirit which “baptizes us” into Christ (cf. Acts 19:5). But in the passages above our Lord is talking about actual repentance and the actual pouring out of the Spirit – the reality in each case clearly being the only really important thing (not the ritual which represents them). In Acts chapter 10, the gentiles who were listening to Peter repented and believed just as soon as the gospel message passed his lips, and the Spirit fell upon them in dramatic fashion (Acts 10:39-46). To which Peter remarks “can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water now? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” To which we may well ask, what was the added benefit of water-baptism now that these gentiles had 1) repented and believed and been saved, and 2) been baptized with the Spirit, baptized into the Person of Jesus Christ? Certainly in this case (and in every subsequent case I might add), it was a matter of mere ritual following powerful reality, and while a consideration of this passage does not necessarily mark out water-baptism as improper, it certainly does at least suggest that it was an after-thought that could in no way compare with the baptism they had already undergone.

Taking all this into consideration in light of our Lord’s final words in the Luke and Acts passages quoted above where He stresses the reality of repentance-faith and the reality of Spirit-baptism (with no mention of water-baptism), I believe we would be in great and dangerous error to take the clearly parallel Matthew 28:19-20 passage “baptizing them into the Name” as purely or even predominantly concerned with water-baptism (and should instead see it, as explained above, as mediating the baptism of the Spirit by proclamation of the gospel). All indications are that this passage is referring to the reality of our union with Him and with the Father and with the Spirit through faith and through the baptism that really makes a difference to our Christian lives and eternal futures, the baptism of the Spirit. This, after all, is exactly what John had predicted: “I baptize you with water for repentance …. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit – and with fire” (Matt.3:11).

1st Peter 3:21 is also pertinent here, a passage which indicates exactly what we have been discussing above. Later in his life, Peter came to understand this issue very clearly (as Paul had: 1Cor.1:17), and was prompted to discuss the matter, possibly also as Paul had from personal observation of the questionable influence that the continued use of this ritual was having in the Church:

And it is this true baptism [of the Spirit] which saves you (lit. as an “antitype” or analogy to the ark’s bringing of “salvation through water”). Not any [literal] washing away of filth from your flesh, but an appeal to God for a clean conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (i.e., repentance and faith result in Spirit baptism).
1st Peter 3:21

We may compare Paul’s injunctions against the continued participation in Jewish temple ritual which is the whole theme of the book of Hebrews. No true restoration is possible for those who “continue to crucify the Son of God afresh, exposing Him to open shame” (Heb.6:6). This is a change for him, of course, with Hebrews having been written after the incidents in Jerusalem which led to Paul’s captivity. He may not have fully understood that sponsoring those young men and their vows and making sacrifice was wrong at that time, but he certainly proclaims it as wrong in Hebrews. There is a parallel here to baptism, for just as continuing with animal sacrifices has the effect of saying Jesus’ death was of no effect, so there is a sense in which water-baptism seems to be saying that the baptism of the Spirit never happened (in both cases the ritual looked forward to a far greater reality). Once this principle is understood (as it was not at first in the earliest days of the Church), are we to operate as if we did not in fact understand?

Therefore there is a sense in which water-baptism may indeed be an offense for those with knowledge (e.g., Paul and Peter after the early days: 1Cor.1:17; 1Pet.3:21). It can also be dangerous for those without it. For the early Church may be forgiven for failing to understand that this was a ritual now replaced by reality, a shadow of the true pouring out of the Spirit (cf. Heb.10:1). But for us, how can it be justified, especially if all we are really operating on is fear? The fear of the Lord is indeed healthily (Ps.19:9; Prov.1:7; Eccl.5:7; Is.11:2-3), but our faith in Him and His Word must be strong enough to give us the courage to triumph over all other fears (Rom.8:28-39). Nearly two millennia of tradition across the board can still be wrong (and, sadly, that is more often the fact than not). This, then, is my main objection to a point of view that water-baptism is something we ought to indulge in as Christians. For, whether overtly expressed or not, it is essentially a means of providing a “feeling” of security in salvation. That is a terribly dangerous proposition in and of itself, and is especially so when one considers that this “security blanket” is always administered by an organization (a fact which has the effect of shifting loyalty and confidence away from Christ and to that organization instead; see Peter #27, “Three Doctrines which Threaten Faith”). Indeed, over the course of history the controversy and the false teachings revolving around water-baptism have led many astray from the faith.

Walking in the Spirit with whom we have been baptized is not always easy. Jesus, after all, told us to count the cost before making the commitment to follow Him (Matt.7:14) – there would be costs. To submit to water-baptism in order to fit into a particular organization is easy enough, for it is always easy to rely on some ritual well within one’s own control. What is often not so easy, however, is following the Lamb wherever He leads, even when this takes us as it took Him outside the camp to suffer at the hands of those who place false traditions in the place of truth.

Let me close by returning to the words of that most famous “baptist”, John, in Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you with water … He [the Messiah] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. For, indeed, it is exactly this ministry of the Spirit which is so important in Jesus’ life and ministry, and it is not water baptism, but the baptism of the Spirit which Jesus emphasizes over and over (e.g., Lk.4:18; 11:13; 12:12; 24:48; Jn.7:39; 14:15-26; 15:26; 16:5-15; 20:22; Acts 1:4-8, etc.). The emphasis in the epistles is also consistently focused upon Spirit baptism rather than water baptism (which is hardly even mentioned). Even in our famous passage on Paul’s regrets about water-baptism, we find in 1st Corinthians 2:4 a clear contrasting of the power of the Spirit on the one hand with earthly wisdom as demonstrated by earthly proofs such as water baptism on the other (cf. with 1Cor.1:17). Against this universal emphasis and testimony (once we take the examples in Acts as historical rather than dispositive), there is really only Matt.28:19, the meaning of which we have discussed at length above. All things considered, it would seem prudent for us as followers of Christ to place the emphasis where He placed it, where the Word of God places it, namely, on the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I apologize for the fact that this is not an exhaustive exposition of the topic. Eventually, that will be available in part 6 of the Bible Basics series (a long time in the future at this point, I fear). However, you may also find the following e-mail responses helpful to supplement the details:

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Bob Luginbill

Article Source: //ichthys.com/mail-water%20baptism.htm

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12 Responses to Water Baptism and the Followers of Jesus

  • Well, I have to strongly disagree with the brother. I seem to understand him saying water baptism to be “essentially a means of providing a “feeling” of security in salvation.” He disregards scripture by dependence upon the writings of early church fathers; circumvents the Word of the LORD by stating: “(once we take the examples in Acts as historical rather than dispositive)”

    I cannot trust his conclusions at all.

    IF we stand SOLELY upon the Bible – we will find the truth. I think all of us here are fully aware of how off base the “church fathers” (and their descendents) have been over the last 1800 years, making their conclusions questionable.

    In John 4:1, Jesus Himself is overseeing His disciples baptizing believers. This affirms His authorization. He even said in Mark 6:16, that a Believer who is not baptized will be damned. Going from on to Acts, we do find Peter commanding water baptism to those who believe. The Ethiopian convert understood the Gospel enough to halt the chariot when they came to water. Peter himself commanded Cornelius & party to be baptized AFTER they had already received Spirit Baptism.

    It is imperative to recall that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” {2 Timothy 3:16} That means every instance of recorded baptism and every command to water baptize come from GOD, not the whims or traditions of the Disciples. Scripture is very clear regarding the importance and necessity of water baptism for those who believe upon the Lord Jesus.

    The Epistles do not record baptisms or conversions at all because they are letters of instruction written to Saints already repented, water baptized, and hopefully, Spirit baptized. Paul says baptisms (plural) are foundational principles of the doctrine of Christ. Foundations are laid first. We often refer to this as .

    Brethren, any basic research in the Bible will solidify – without a shadow of a doubt – the necessity of water baptism for a Believer in Christ. I cannot hold to his conclusions in any way.

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  • Thanks for your comments Jerry. I know this can be a sensitive subject and I certainly don’t wish to imply that I take the matter lightly or that it’s “religious” (with a negative context) to investigate the matter. I guess, for me, I didn’t take the author’s comments as meaning to only assert that water baptism is a means of providing a “feeling” of security in salvation, but that it is a symbol and not the full realization of what that symbol represents. What do you think about Peter’s comments in the following passage of Scripture (this seems to agree with the author’s perspective):

    1 Peter 3:21 – And that water is a picture (a symbol) of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    It seems to me that Peter is pointing out that water is only SYMBOLIC of actual baptism (as Paul said, there is only ONE baptism), and that it is not the water that saves you in the physical act of being water baptized, but ACTUAL baptism (immersion) into Christ.

    What do you think about what John said when he told the people, “I baptize you with water, BUT He that comes after me with Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire!” There seems to be a definite suggestion here in plain language that THAT WAS THEN, BUT THIS IS NOW.

    I have often wondered if we tend to place far more importance on the element of water, rather than the actual meaning of the word Baptism, which means immersion. It seems, as Peter pointed out, it’s not actually about immersion in water, but immersion into Christ Jesus!

    John 4:2, in the Greek, infers that “it was not the habit of Jesus to baptize”. The passage even states that Jesus did not baptize. The passage only states that His disciples continued this practice. I will agree with you that we see Him overseeing them in this. It’s perhaps interesting, the immediate story that follows this bit about baptism show the Lord starting up a discussion with a Samaritan woman at a WATER WELL. Isn’t it curious that Jesus neither mentions baptism to her, nor actuates it (even with water right there). Instead He offers her living water… Once again THE REAL AND THE ACTUAL rather than the SYMBOL. The woman then runs to tell all her friends and, so it seems, a mini-revival is started, yet no further mention of baptism at all. In fact, many people came to follow Him and He stayed with them for two days, yet no baptism ritual was introduced for them. That passage also records that it was the woman who pointed out prescribed ritual to Jesus and He responded saying:

    John 4:21-26 – Jesus replied, “Believe Me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the One you worship, while we Jews know all about Him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the One who is called Christ. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

    I’ve often said that this passage also reveals the end of religion… The woman points out prescribed methods and locations for worship and yet Jesus says, “God’s not really concerned about all that anymore. I AM THE FULFILLMENT! God is Spirit and wants you to respond accordingly – in spirit and truth.”

    You referenced Mark 6:16. I think you actually meant Mark 16:16. I’m not sure how many Christians realize that this section of the book of Mark is actually in some dispute by scholars and there seems to be some evidence that it was added much later by a scribe. As with any passage of Scripture, context is of utmost importance and Scripture must be verified by Scripture. To take this one verse alone and ignore the importance of the many other passages surrounding baptism (such as the ones I mentioned) would be irresponsible in my opinion. It’s hard to fathom that Christ actually believed someone would be damned to hell if they had not been baptized, otherwise how did the thief on the cross next to Jesus receive His promise to be with Him in paradise if there was no way for him to be baptized? Again, what about the woman at the well and all those she shared the Good News with? If none of them were led to baptism, were they not otherwise damned if we take one single passage and disregard the broader context of Scripture?

    But let’s assume that Mark 16:16 was not added by a scribe and let’s presume that Christ really did give this instruction. I have no problem with that. So then, what does the passage actually say?

    The passage does NOT say that he that is not baptized will be condemned at all (as you said). The passage says “anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” It is clear, even by this passage, that the lack of baptism in water does not condemn anyone! For proper reference I will quote the entire verse below:

    Mark 16:16 – “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

    Again, if we know Jesus, we know that He is interested in the ACTUAL, not merely the symbol. Notice that Jesus also NEVER uses the term WATER in this passage. We are making assumptions. He essentially says, “Anyone who believes and is immersed into Him will be saved.”

    The following is a lengthy excerpt from another article (by Dr. S. Michael Houdmann) addressing this subject and the particular usage of Mark 16:16:

    [Begin Quote]
    Those who try to use Mark 16:16 to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation commit a common but serious logical fallacy that is sometimes called the Negative Inference Fallacy. This fallacy can be stated as follows: “If a statement is true, we cannot assume that all negations (or opposites) of that statement are also true.” In other words, just because Mark 16:16 says that “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” it does not mean that if one believes, but is not baptized, he will not be saved. Yet, this is exactly what is assumed by those that look to this verse to support the view that baptism is necessary for salvation.

    Often when considering logical fallacies, it can be helpful to look at other examples of the same fallacy. This will help us see the fallacy that is being committed more clearly. In this case let’s consider two different but similarly structured statements. The first one is made considering the devastating hurricane that destroyed much of New Orleans in the fall of 2005. As a result of that hurricane, many lives were lost, and whole areas of New Orleans were destroyed. With that scenario in mind let’s consider the first statement that is very similar in structure to what we find in Mark 16:16. “Those who left their homes and fled from New Orleans were saved; those who stayed in their homes perished.”

    Now, if we use the same logic on this statement as those that believe that Mark 16:16 teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation, then we would have to conclude that if both the first conditions were not met (1—leaving their homes, 2—fleeing from New Orleans,) then everyone else would perish. Yet, in real life we know this was not true. Some people did stay in their homes in the low-lying areas and did not perish. In this situation it is easy to see that while the first statement is true, it is not true to assume that all those that did not flee New Orleans perished. Yet, if we use the same logic being used by those that say that Mark 16:16 teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation, that is the conclusion that must be reached. Yet, it is clearly an erroneous conclusion.

    Another example we might consider would be this statement: “Whoever believes and lives in Kansas will be saved, those that do not believe are condemned.” Again take note of the similar structure as is found in Mark 16:16, and yet once again, it becomes clear that to say that only believers who live in Kansas are saved is an illogical and false assumption. While Mark 16:16 does tell us something about believers who have been baptized (they will be saved), again, it says nothing about believers who have not been baptized.

    “Whoever believes and lives in Kansas will be saved.” “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). While both of these statements are true, we should notice that the first statement says nothing about people who believe and don’t live in Kansas. And in the same way, Mark 16:16 tells us nothing about believers who have not been baptized. It is a logical fallacy and false assumption, to make the first statement say that you have to live in Kansas to be saved, or the second statement say that you have to be baptized to be saved.

    It is important to realize that just because Mark 16:16 has two conditions relating to salvation (believe and be baptized), it does not mean that both conditions are requirements for being saved. This would also hold true if a third condition was added. Whether it is two or three conditions in a statement about salvation, the fact is, that does not mean that all three conditions must be met for one to be saved. In fact, we can add any number of secondary conditions to belief, such as if you believe and are baptized you will be saved, or if you believe, are baptized, go to church, and tithe you will be saved. However, to imply that all these conditions are requirements for salvation is incorrect.

    This is important to realize because in order to know that a specific condition is required for salvation, we must have a negation statement as we have in the second part of Mark 16:16: “whoever does not believe will be condemned.” In essence what Jesus has done in this verse is give us both the positive condition of belief (whoever believes will be saved) and the negative condition of unbelief (whoever does not believe will be condemned.) Therefore, we can say with absolute certainty that belief is a requirement for salvation. Even more importantly, we see both these positive and negative conditions over and over in Scripture (John 3:16; John 3:18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:53-54; John 8:24; Acts 16:31).

    While Jesus does give the positive condition of baptism (whoever is baptized) in Mark 16:16 and other verses, nowhere in the Bible do we find the negative condition of baptism being taught (such as whoever is not baptized will be condemned). Therefore, we cannot say that baptism is necessary for salvation based on Mark 16:16 (or any other similar verse). Those that do so are basing their argument on faulty logic.
    [End Quote]

    You might also remember the story of the Eunuch that Philip baptized in water… Philip explained the Gospel to him, but it was the Eunuch who wished to be baptized.

    Acts 8:35-38 – So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” [“You can,” Philip answered, “if you believe with all your heart.” And the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

    Please understand, I do not have any intention to belittle the significance of water baptism as a symbol; however, the act of baptism is actually much older than the time of Jesus in the first century. It might be important to come to an understanding of why the Jewish people placed so much significance in the act. Wikipedia notes the following:

    [Begin Quote]
    Although the term “baptism” is not used to describe the Jewish rituals, the purification rites in Jewish laws and tradition, called “Tvilah”, have some similarity to baptism, and the two have been linked. The “Tvilah” is the act of immersion in natural sourced water, called a “Mikvah”[80][81] In the Jewish Bible and other Jewish texts, immersion in water for ritual purification was established for restoration to a condition of “ritual purity” in specific circumstances. For example, Jews who (according to the Law of Moses) became ritually defiled by contact with a corpse had to use the mikvah before being allowed to participate in the Holy Temple. Immersion is required for converts to Judaism as part of their conversion. Immersion in the mikvah represents a change in status in regards to purification, restoration, and qualification for full religious participation in the life of the community, ensuring that the cleansed person will not impose uncleanness on property or its owners (Num. 19 and Babylonian Talmud, TractateChagigah, p. 12).
    [End Quote]

    In other words, the people of the first century understood baptism as one of the most significant displays of being fully initiated as a disciple… not merely of Jesus but of any guru or system of faith. It was a very public and profound means of declaring, “I HAVE LEFT BEHIND MY OLD LIFE ENTIRELY AND AM NOW FOLLOWING A NEW PATH.” In fact, judging by what I have studied thus far, I don’t think I can even adequately put into words how profound this symbol was understood by folks in the first and second century.

    Indeed baptism may still hold this significance for many today; especially if this continues to be taught as such so that people understand. My only point was to say that I think a lot of folks tend to over-emphasize the ritual and think that it is significant in and of itself. If baptism is a requirement of Salvation then the Gospel is not really about being saved by Grace through Faith and not of works. Baptism is a “work”. Works are not wrong, but they are not the means by which men are saved. Therefore, it does not seem to me (not by anything I read in Scripture) that the act of dunking one’s self under water can actually save anyone. Nor will the lack of dunking condemn anyone to hell. Jesus NEVER said any such thing and not a single apostle in Scripture ever stated such a thing.

    As a follower of Jesus, my desire is to do all that He instructed and because I long to identify with my Master, I desired to be water baptized as a symbol of my immersion into Christ. But, even that having been said, I really struggle with being able to conclude that the Bible teaches a commandment to engage ritual over reality (especially since even Christ did not do this). Symbols are important and, in their proper context, beneficial… but whether or not they are always essential…. I don’t know about that and I’m having a hard time making any such conclusion based on what I read in Scripture.

    I very much appreciate your feedback brother and I hope others will join in the conversation also. I have no desire to trample on anyone’s conscience at all and please don’t take my conviction and opinion as being a prescription for everyone to copy. My heart is simply to remove any shred of legalism and man-concocted religiosity from my walk with Christ. He is my Master and my closest friend. Everything in my life as His follower, I believe, should be actuated as the byproduct of our relationship. I am motivated by the revelation of His incredible love for me and so I willingly submit myself to Him as my Lord and Master.

       4 likes

  • Hi Dave :0)

    Boy my Brain aches…all this reading…ouch…However loved it great break down and more power to all of you. I agree totally as I have experienced it all…Yes, John was just the mail man until Jesus came onto the stage..before all that it was the law and thats another topic LOL…But simply Jesus Came fulfilled all those OT Profs , then Died and up to the point of His death Man still lived in fear as they all scattered when he was gone and even after he showed up again they still feared.. after all they were meant to….Ok you know all this :0)

    I like yourself was water baptized and it was fun..in the Irish ocean JaN 14 1985…it was snowing and cold…but as soon as i entered the water..out came the sun and the water became warm…sounds like a new version Of Einsey spider :0) after we were all finished back came the snow and cold north wind!!!!

    3 weeks previous I had asked Jesus in my life or more likely surrendered and 5 mins later was baptized in the holyspirt sealing the deal…it was a powerful moment I spoke in the crazy controversial language of tongues..yep I,m a real head case now ..fool for Jesus…..love it best power tool a guy can have never runs out of Gas or gets repossessed…:0)

    Since that Time I have seen people get filled with the spirit before they accepted Jesus ……basically before during or after salvation…after all the holyspirit knows best and his timing his perfect…and if somebody desired water baptism…hey we would do them in the bath tub..lake or pond…most of the time it was just a public declaration of their faith in Jesus..not evidence of salvation…No it’s the holyspirit who draws us to jesus and salvation…I have seen so many things these last 29 odd years…but the one consistent factor is the wonderful power of the Baptism of the holy spirit, I would be at a total loss with out him…he is my best friend…Ok I,m going on just got in…need to eat…my brain aches Dave!!!….Thansk for a great read and topic
    Your co- worker In Jesus
    Mike :0

    Ps ..love how you guys do all the resarch!!!

       1 likes

  • You seem to want input, so I will oblige.
    I don’t want to write a whole paragraph here on my own experience, :D—but I do not feel that anyone is “damned” if they are not baptized.
    Due to circumstance, sometimes this cannot be done (like the thief on the cross).

    I am not dismissing water baptism at all, but I’m not so certain that the lack of it will affect one’s salvation.
    Good article.

       0 likes

  • Dave,

    You make good logic. Yet, if water baptism was not essential to all Believers –just 1st Century ones – then why would the LORD even issue the commandment & record the manner and instances in the Book of Acts?

    The answer: He wouldn’t.

    Water baptism is no more “works” than repentance is; even though the Church is full of people who think that is not necessary either. An unbeliever will not get baptized. Neither will he repent, receive the Holy Ghost, and live a holy life pleasing to GOD. But a believer will do all those things in obedience to His commands.

    The thief on the cross and the woman at the well do not enter into this. We have no proof of their baptism or lack thereof. They were still under the Law until Jesus died and instituted the New Covenant by His blood. What we have to consider obeying or disobeying are the commandments after His resurrection.

    Forget articles by trusted brothers in Christ. Forget articles by first century saints. What does the Bible say? That must be our source of true instruction. That is the word by which we will be held accountable.

    The Book of Acts records the instructions for post-resurrection/ascension Believers in Christ. Peter – filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking as directed by the Spirit – preaches Christ Jesus and Him crucified. The listeners respond by asking what they must do. Peter says they must repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and {then} they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Scripture says: “Then they that gladly received {believed} his word were baptized.”

    The Book of Acts repeatedly records water baptism immediately following belief in Jesus as Saviour. Nothing ethereal about it, simply a physical action in responsive obedience to the Word of GOD. Yes faith in Christ’s sacrifice does save us, but w/o repentance we will still be damned. Continually living a sinful life after conversion is a sign of unbelief. Jesus said unbelievers would not inherit the Kingdom of GOD, but have their part in the Lake of Fire. The commandment is to believe and be water baptized. Efforts to explain that away -through the logic/spirituality of the flesh, or any other means – are signs of unbelief in the revealed, written Word of GOD.

    While there are some things in scripture that are seen through a glass darkly; water baptism is not one of them. It is plainly laid out in words and examples that anyone can understand.

    Water baptism is not a prerogative. It is a commandment.

       0 likes

  • Great article & comments! I enjoyed reading them all.

    I can’t say this subject has been one of particular speculation for me, though it’s relevance is clear enough. I WAS baptized as a young adult, &, yes, of course, it was significant to me, but then any ceremony symbolizing an actual transition can be such.

    In my heart, I simply wanted to honor the Father, following Jesus’ example when He “constrained” John “the Baptist” to baptize HIM. The REALITY is indeed profound (our immersion into God through Christ! wow). I had received the Lord into my heart many years prior, so this, for me, seemed analogous to having a certificate framed that I’d already had, but now could look at–kind of a heightened sense of reality, if you will.

    I’ve often found myself returning (as now) to Jesus words in John 6:29: “…’The Work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'” Simple yet so profound.

    I believe the baptisms recorded in Scripture were certainly of historical & symbolical significance at least.

    John said, particularly to the Pharisees & Saducees (in Mt 3:7) but also to the crowds (Lk. 3:7), to “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Mt. 3:8).” The circumcision of the heart (spiritual rebirth) should be evidenced by a change of attitude which in turn should be clear in a change of course (i.e., repentance, generally speaking) but I’m not convinced that WATER baptism (as has been said above, speaking of our immersion into Christ Himself) was meant to be a stumbling block, or necessary “work” to “get us IN” so to speak, but a type that was literally fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He Who was “with” them, was to be “IN” them! And so it came about…

    BELIEF IS the key, which IN TURN may indeed be evidenced by “good works,” but the very reality itself that Christ HAS COME to set up residence within the believer, is nothing more nor less than a free gift with the ONLY condition (from our point of view) to it’s reality is: OUR ACCEPTANCE, evidenced in its most basic form, is demonstrated simply by our “confession of faith” with ensuing “good fuit” as that salvation is worked out through our new hearts.

    Romans 10:10 (NIV)- “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

    “Whoever BELIEVES on him shall not be ashamed(vs.11b).”

       3 likes

  • Great Study,
    I believe, the Messiah will baptise with Spirit and fire (conviction). We can choose to take an outward statement of faith and be baptised by water, but it is as being circumcised, of no consequence (not necessary).
    It is an inward conversion that is from God, a circumcision of the heart(mind).
    Thank You for your efforts,
    David

       4 likes

  • Thanks for your response Jerry. I respect your passion for truth and I, in no way, mean to trample on your conviction about water baptism. In my perspective, however, I am not so certain that Jesus actually commanded water baptism as a requisite of salvation.

    What Jesus did say was that UNBELIEF condemns a person. Secondly, He said that “unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” I believe it is false to presume that Jesus was talking about water baptism in this passage (John 3:3-7). In fact, Jesus even defines what He means by “born of water” in the same passage; He says, “for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Remember that this is the passage where Nicodemus was having trouble understanding how a man could be born twice and this was Jesus’ answer – “Once by water (in the flesh – physically) and once by the Spirit (spiritually).” There is not one single passage of Scripture (in the entire Bible) where “born of water” is a reference to water baptism.

    I find it interesting that, on virtually every occasion of healing, deliverance, forgiving sinners or calling others to follow Him, not once (that I am aware of) did He instruct them to be baptized. Jesus, instead, talked repeatedly about FAITH – about BELIEF. Not merely a professing of faith but genuine faith – conviction – spirit and truth abandonment to the call of the Father to enter into relationship. If a water baptism ritual was essential to salvation, don’t you think our Lord would have taught it at least once? Yes, I realize that His apostles baptized people… and Jesus did direct them to baptize into His name. As I said before, baptize literally means to IMMERSE. I whole heartedly believe that this kind of spiritual immersion is what was in focus. The symbol of water was just that; a symbol. As I pointed out before, Scripture even plainly explains this!

    1 Peter 3:21– And that water is a picture (a symbol) of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Now, just for grins, think also about this… We have the story of Simon the sorcerer, whom the Scripture says BELIEVED and was BAPTIZED, yet the following was pronounced on him: (Acts 8:21-23) “You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”

    Notice how, even though Simon believed and followed through with the ACT of baptism, HE REMAINED HELD CAPTIVE BY SIN AND WAS NOT RIGHT WITH GOD! The act of professing belief and participating in baptism alone did NOTHING for him at all!!!!!!! God saw through to HIS HEART! The point being that God was interested in TRUE IMMERSION (baptism). Water didn’t do it. Merely professing faith didn’t do it. Yet these are the two things that the organized church system declare is all you have to do to be saved… They count numbers of so-called “salvations” based on these two elements that they point to in Scripture and say, “see! Command followed equals Salvation guaranteed!” In other words they are trusting in legalism and missing the spirit of the letter. The reality is that it must come from the deepest place in the soul. It must be real and true! As Jesus told the woman at the well: SPIRIT and TRUTH! These are those God seeks to worship Him! True baptism is SPIRITUAL. Water may be used as a means of professing faith and a symbol of conversion, but it has no power in and of itself to save anyone!

    I realize Jerry that you think I’m explaining away things in the flesh, yet you have no actual evidence of that beyond you stating an opinion. I presented clear logic based on sound biblical reference and reason. The fact that you simply disagree with me does not automatically mean I am in the flesh! I am sharing perspective food for consideration and, yes, I appreciate you sharing yours as well. I offered a very sound argument on the passage of Mark 16 that was in keeping with overall context of Scripture.

    I have no desire to trample on your conviction or conscience. I freely acknowledge the positive symbol of baptism; yet I merely mean to highlight the more important spiritual meaning of the word and, what I believe, is the fulfillment of it (moving from shadow to substance – as was the consistent message of Christ and His apostles). I still think baptism is WONDERFUL! I really do! I also cannot imagine how that anyone who has been truly born again, would not want to also identify with Christ in this way, but I understand how it is confusing for some because they have not really understood it. I think this is, in part, because we have been so used to preaching LEGALISM rather than TRUE FAITH!!! We’re so infected by religion that we often can’t seem to tell the difference. God help us!

    Let me put Mark 16:16 in another way to maybe make my point clearer there… Say you attended an event where a raffle was taken up and you bought a ticket… Now let’s say that you stepped out for a moment to use the toilet, and while in the toilet they called out the raffle numbers. Suppose the announcement also played over the loud speakers in the bathroom and then the person reading off the numbers made this special remark:

    “All of you in the bathroom who have raffle tickets that meet the numbers I am reading off will win the raffle… but anyone who doesn’t have a raffle ticket cannot win.”

    Being in the bathroom has NOTHING to do with winning the raffle, despite the fact that a special address was made to those using the toilet. Having the correct raffle numbers is what guarantees a win!

    I realize this is a crude way to explain what I have already explained (and I’m not great at analogies), but I hope it makes some sense. I think some folks may be hyper-religiousizing this passage, while missing its very simplistic statement.

    Again, please understand (as if I haven’t reiterated this point enough), I am not suggesting that water baptism holds no significance. Nor am I saying the Lord disapproved of it. Nor am I telling anyone not to do it. I am simply saying that I do not believe it (water baptism) is a requirement for salvation. Indeed I believe the Lord recognizes the heart of those who have embraced water baptism and actuated this practice as a sincere declaration of their faith and the decision to identify with Christ in His death and be resurrected with Him in life – and God knows each heart. But, ultimately, it is the heart response of NOT believing that condemns a person… Failing to be water baptized does NOT condemn anyone and I believe Scripture is very plainly clear on this! I wholeheartedly believe that God is far more interested in the baptism of the Spirit which happens BY FAITH more than He is some ritual act. I know I have said it before, but if your perspective is correct Jerry, then the thief who was crucified next to Jesus was condemned regardless of Jesus’ words that he would be with Him in paradise. However, I don’t believe he was condemned at all, because I don’t believe that water baptism is a requirement for salvation and I believe that Jesus’ message was consistent in that it is by FAITH we are saved – PERIOD.

    As for getting all worked up about Jesus’ “commandments”, why not approach the whole subject of Jesus’ commandments, not just baptism… Jesus also commanded us to love one another exactly the way He loved us… I’m quite positive that none of us (or at least most of none of us) have this one down pat yet…

    So does that mean if we don’t love others perfectly and unconditionally just as Jesus did that God is going to send all of us to hell? How about the command to “be PERFECT just as your Heavenly Father is perfect…” (Matthew 5:48) Are you perfect? No??? Are all of us imperfect ones going to hell then? Is that what the Gospel really teaches? I think it’s obvious that the answer is no (even though we may certainly deserve it). Not that God does not continue to call us to that higher place of loving others as He does and conforming our lives to His way, but He knows we fail often… YET HE REGARDS OUR FAITH and carries us through. He credits our faith as righteousness just as He did for Abraham. His grace overcomes our faults and, day by day, we continue to be formed into His image.

    So how is the matter of baptism any different? Immersion into Christ is far more involved than merely saying, “I believe” and then splashing in water. Sometimes people are like the man who told Jesus, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,” which is such a wonderful statement of humility and acknowledging our weakness. God looks at the heart in all of these things and judges us accordingly. He is looking for true faith! He desires true baptism. Water, I think it’s fair to say, is optional. Even if you don’t believe it’s optional, I think it’s more important that we agree on the truth that we ought to immerse ourselves in Christ. If anyone is compelled to water baptism, ESPECIALLY IF BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD OR WHAT YOU READ FROM SCRIPTURE, by all means obey that conviction and follow Christ!!! 🙂 God bless!!!

       1 likes

  • Right now I’m more challenged by Jesus when said we must “eat his flesh & drink his blood” lest we have no life IN us, than I am by whether immersion in water is essential. 😉

    I wholeheartedly agree, David, with your respectful assessment of a time-honored tradition & it’s much higher significance to us beyond the ritual.

    I laughed aloud at the “raffle/toilet analogy,” Dave–(esp. as I clean them for a living, humbling as that can be to admit). You put the point HOME, for me (again) and I thank you. God bless you for keeping the spotlight on “The Way:” JESUS, The Truth, Who IS our LIFE!!!

    p.s. – I’d like to read more about “The Lord’s Supper” & “Communion.” Plain Truth Magazine’s Spring ’12, opening article by Brita Miko, got me thinking about things concerning I Cor. 11:25–the cup of the New Covenant–and Jn 6:55-57.

       0 likes

  • Please know that water baptism was used and given to believers for a reason. If we study our way out of the simple instructions from the apostles and our Savior what good has come from the study. Do you weap to see the water grave? Does your soul cry when you partake of his body and blood. Do not study your way out of all religious acts. As you would call these

    rites. When love and honored rememberance is
    involved the knowledge you gleened may be a
    loud cymbal. Remember his death until he
    comes. Men forget so easy. Leaving organized
    religion puts a certain bitterness of heart to find
    every act useless and crude. Prayer. Are we to stop praying because their prayers are cold.
    Please know I have lived a life in and out of
    religion. My savior lives. Jesus is lord. God is
    almighty and powerful. I pray your hearts
    approach this subject prayerfully. Know the
    words spoken by apostles have not grown stale
    or out dated What would stop these people
    from being baptized? Is this a question that in
    urgency you ask? Please know that I write these words with loving care. The gift of His Holy Spirit comforts and guides me. May the live and grace of our Father sustain you. Lord come quickly.

       0 likes

  • When I think of baptism, I think of this music video with Nick Vujicic (who was born with no arms or legs). The latter part of the video makes me think of baptism and I love how it’s portrayed in this video.

       2 likes

  • I hadn’t known of Vujicic before…thanks, David–I’m amazed at God’s wisdom!

    I’m having to recalibrate my view of myself as HAVING purpose (again), but ONLY IN The Lord, AND I’m reminded of the much bigger picture of HIS TRUE greatness, eclipsing the sometimes “painful details” of this life–that HE IS MY reason for being, & is INFINITELY worthy of MY total, faithful, loving, allegiance, as He also is MY eternal DESTINATION!

    Speaking of baptism, since you mention it in that context, it’s such a refreshing illustration of the joyous freedom of abandonment to the will of God, that dying to self isn’t loss, it’s GAIN! It’s a birth, & a whole new future of our REAL selves that only have their intended significance in relationship to their Source.

    So I gladly “die” to sin, that I might “LIVE” unto God through Jesus Christ…and if I then be “risen with Christ” I will seek those things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. I AM dead, & “my life” is HID WITH Christ, IN God…..and God IS Love…

       1 likes

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