Monday, 8 June 2020

Does Water Baptism Save You?

Can someone be saved when he or she is baptized in water?


Does being baptized in water make someone saved?

Does water baptism save you

The answer to these questions generally borders around the concept of salvation. An understanding of what salvation is and how it is gotten would help us identify if water baptism can save a man.


There are various school of thoughts on the concept of water baptism by different Christian groups and sects. 


The Liberals believe that repentance is the means for salvation. Evangelicals say believing and having faith in Jesus makes you saved. Sacramentals preach baptism as the key to salvation. The Pentecostals say you must be baptized in the Holy Ghost before you can be saved.


All of the views sustained by these sects are correct in the several fronts the conclusions were drawn. The truth about salvation is that it comes from all of the above means believed which makes holding on to one means as an imbalance in doctrine.


What I mean is that, the concept of salvation encapsulates the beliefs of the Liberals, Evangelicals, Sacramentals and the Pentecostals alike. Setting balance in the body of Christ is a necessary ministry today when sound doctrine seemed to have escaped through the backdoor.


The need for truth, sound and complete doctrine can never be overemphasized. All of the thoughts from the various units of the Christian faith on the subject of salvation are correct from the perspective they were drawn from but they lack completeness and due to the half-baked nature of their assertions, discourses like this have brought division to the body of Christ.


This ought not to be so. It is for this purpose Gospelcaster was established – to give every believer regardless of his or her denomination, the whole truth, articulating sound doctrine drawn from the balanced perspective of the Word of God.


For us to fully grasp the concept of salvation, we will need to look upon the words of Jesus and the practices of the early church. First, let's see what salvation is about.


What is Salvation? 


I would define Salvation as the sum total of what God did for us by sending Jesus His son to die for us. It is God's gift to mankind as Romans 6:23 puts it thus; 


For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord


By virtue of the fall of man recorded in Genesis 3, man became condemned to death. A verdict of destruction and condemnation was placed on all of mankind. But God was not completely comfortable with it hence His plan of redemption.


Redemption is God reaching out to mankind – you and I and bringing us back to Himself through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus. Sin made us separate from God. It built a tall fence between us and God – we had no access to God whatsoever.


The goal of Jesus' death was to save mankind from the verdict of death and destruction and to redeem us back to God.


While on Earth, Jesus taught on God's love for mankind and how He intended to bring man back to Himself since we were now being condemned to destruction as a result of sin "For the wages of sin is death..." – Roman 3:23


Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, condemned every single one of us to eternal death and destruction as Apostle Paul puts it in Romans 5:19 but Jesus came to correct the mistake of Adam by being obedient even unto death thereby restoring our original stand with God – giving us access to God and saving us from condemnation.


So salvation is everything Jesus came to earth to do which encompasses terminating our appointment with eternal death, giving us eternal life and restoring our lost access to God.


HOW SALVATION ACTUALLY WORKS

The concept of salvation is perfected in four thresholds. These thresholds are the four opinions the Liberals, Sacramentals, Pentecostals and Evangelicals hold on to. 

Salvation is gotten through 

  1. Repentance 
  2. Believing on the Lord Jesus 
  3.  Baptism in water 
  4.  Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Notice that each one of the thresholds of salvation is what a sect holds as the basis for salvation. Even though, it is correct you would agree with me that it is imbalanced right?, Yes!

The process towards salvation begins from repentance. Repentance is turning away from your former ways and accepting a new course.

Jesus as Mark records in his gospel began preaching in Mark 1:14 and 15 and Jesus' message was "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

This is the first step towards salvation – repentance. The process of salvation begins when a man realizes he has been on the wrong path and has decided to switch sides and follow God.

Even John the Baptist told the people who came to him for baptism in Matthew 3:8 that they should bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. There is no salvation until repentance is observed. 

In Simon Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost recording in Acts 2, he told the people who asked what they should do (Acts 3:37) to first of all repent (Acts 3:38). Any salvation message that excludes the place of repentance is not complete.

Jesus preached repentance. John the Baptist preached repentance. The Apostles preached repentance. Salvation begins when repentance has been observed.

After repentance, what follows is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. One must believe by faith that Jesus Christ died and resurrected on the third day to save mankind from condemnation and death. 

Only Jesus can save. In His words, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" – John 14:6 

Repenting without believing that Jesus is the son of God who died to bring you back to God will not amount to getting saved. Believing on the Lord Jesus is an important requirement for salvation.

Jesus explained the overwhelming love of God in John 3:16 when He said 

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is when we believe on the Lord Jesus that salvation is actually promised. Jesus further said;

"For God did not send His son into this world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him (Jesus) might be saved" – John 3:17

Also, a man asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. Paul and Silas answered thus; 

...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. – Acts 16:31

See what Apostle Paul told the Romans

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved  –  Roman 10:9

It is until a person repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ which is proven by the confessing of Jesus as Lord and Savior, forsaking sin and resolving to live holy, that he or she is fit for water baptism.

Water baptism is the third process of salvation after repentance and believing on Jesus. Water baptism is the act of complete immersion in water.

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 saying;

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He also told Nicodemus in John 3:5 that except one is born of water he can not enter into the kingdom of God. Baptism in water is an event that must take place to consolidate the process of salvation. 

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said; 

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Believing followed by water baptism consolidates salvation. Water baptism must not be trivialized. It must be observed as it is an important threshold for being saved.


Read: The Essence, Requirement and Significance of Water Baptism


After water baptism then the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' discourse with Nicodemus, He told the Pharisee that anyone who wants to enter into the kingdom of God must be born of water and also of the Spirit.

The baptism of the Spirit is very important for a believer. Water baptism cleanses you from your sins while the Holy Spirit baptism helps you live the new life of Christ.

It is as this stage – baptism in the spirit – that your salvation becomes complete. But there is something that would interest you, the order which I have listed may be broken.

Repentance and believing on Jesus Christ are constants – they must take place but some persons get baptized in the Spirit before they become baptized in water. I am an example.

I got baptized in the Holy Spirit long before I got baptized in water. I actually got baptized in water when the window was opened in my local Assembly.

This does not invalidate my salvation neither does it make me less a believer to the person who duly followed the processes outlined.

This is seen in the Bible when Peter went to preach in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10. In verse 44, the Bible records that while Peter was still speaking the Holy ghost fell on them. In verse 47, Peter asked "can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

So it is very possible that someone having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, gets baptized in the Spirit before being baptized in water.

It will also interest you to know that the thief who hung on the cross with Jesus was saved by only believing on Jesus. There was no chance to be baptized in water or in the Spirit. 

These examples I am citing are not to negate the place of the process but to tell you that it must not be a holistic approach. The order must not be followed but must be maintained.


Conclusion 

On the question whether water baptism can save a man? 

The truth is no one begins the process of salvation by being baptized in water.

Water baptism is never the first requirement for getting saved.

One is entitled to be baptized in water only when he or she has repented and believed on Jesus. Baptizing someone who is a sinner – has not repenting and does not believe in Jesus – will not get that person saved.

In Acts 8:36, after Peter finished preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch, the man told Philip "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"

And Philip told him, only if you believe with all your heart – (Acts 8:37) and the man having believed confessed Jesus as the son of God.

It was then Philip baptized the eunuch in water. This must be the pattern before baptism in water. There must first be repentance and believing on Jesus before water baptism.


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