Is Baptism a Work?

Stick Figure Cartoon - Stickman with a Question Mark Icon. Looking For Solutions.

The inspired scriptures plainly, clearly, undoubtedly and unmistakably teach that a person is saved from his sins and becomes a Christian when he is baptized in water.  A person is not saved before he is baptized; nor is he saved without being baptized.  Yet, the necessity of baptism as a requirement of salvation is still disputed, debated, and denied by many.

One of the main arguments against baptism as a requirement of salvation is “Baptism is a work, and we are not saved by works.”  My question is, “What verse in the Bible calls baptism a work?”  If baptism is a work, wouldn’t there be at least one verse in the Bible that calls baptism a work?  Actually, there is a verse that calls baptism a work (the King James Versions uses the word “operation”) but it teaches that baptism is a work of God, not man.  “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).  Notice that baptism is a work of God!

Why does the Bible call baptism a work of God?  Because, when a person is being baptized there are a lot of things being done.  But God, not man, is the one doing them.  First, consider Mark 16:15-16: “And he said unto them, 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.” When a person is baptized, he is saved from his sin.  But who is carrying out this work?  Who is doing the saving?  God, of course!

Second, consider Acts 2:38.  When those present on the Day of Pentecost asked what they must do to be saved, Peter answered, “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.”  When they were baptized, they received the remission, or forgiveness, of their sins.  But who was carrying this out?  Who was doing the forgiving?  God, of course!  It’s helpful to consider what Peter did NOT tell them to do to be saved.  Peter did not tell them to repeat after him as he recited the “sinner’s prayer.”  He did not tell them there was nothing at all for them to do since they were saved by faith only (a doctrine not taught anywhere in the scriptures).  No, Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins.  Peter did not tell them they needed to be baptized because their sins had been forgiven.  Peter told them to be baptized so their sins could be forgiven.  Notice the use of the word “for” in Acts 2:38 along with Matthew 26:28. When Jesus said “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins he did not mean he shed his blood because our sins were already forgiven.  He shed his blood so our sins could be forgiven.

Third, notice Acts 22:16 where Ananias told Paul, “And now why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  When a person is baptized, his sins are washed away.  Who washes them away?  God, of course.  Not man!

Fourth, notice Romans 6:3. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”  When a person is baptized, he is placed into Christ.  But who puts him in Christ?  God, of course.  “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Notice the scriptures teach a person is added to the church, and thus placed into Christ, when he is baptized.  To be placed into Christ is the same as to be added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:23). Baptism is the only means by which a person is placed into Christ.  If a person is saved from his sins without being baptized, he is saved without being in Christ.  Who would dare affirm such a statement?  We know all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Is it any wonder the scriptures call baptism a work of God?  When a person is baptized, God is saving him, God is forgiving his sins, God is washing his sins away, and God is placing him into Christ.  What is man doing all this time?  He is willing submitting to God. He is allowing God to carry out his work.

For more on the question of “Is Baptism a Work” go to my recent sermons section of this blog to listen to the audio.

 

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

I16_they-lowered-the-bed-downn Mark 2:1-12, I read about four men who carried their paralytic friend to a house where Jesus was staying.  I’m sure these men did not know at the time that, approximately two thousand years later, they would be teaching us lessons about faith.  First, notice that Jesus saw their faith.  Jesus saw their faith by their actions.  Without being accompanied by action, their faith would have been a dead faith and of no help to their friend.  The kind of faith that is pleasing to God is always accompanied by action, by obedience, by works.

Second, their faith was demonstrated in their care for their friend.  They had faith that Jesus was able to heal their friend.  They knew that Jesus had a power that no ordinary man had.  Also, they had faith Jesus would heal.  They knew Jesus was capable and compassionate.

Third, these men had a persistent, determined faith.  When they saw the crowd around the house and realized they could not even get near the door they had to make a decision.  They could have simply given up and gone home.  They could have waited, hoping the crowd would thin out.  Instead, they were determined not to let anything prevent them from bringing their friend to Jesus.  They went to the roof of the house, broke a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down to Jesus.  Jesus announced that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven and then healed the man of his palsy.  As Christians, we need to posses that same type of faith – a faith that is accompanied by actions, is demonstrated in our care for others, and is persistent, not allowing anything, or anyone, to stand between us and Christ.  Want to hear more of the story?  Go to the recent sermons page of this blog, and listen to “Jesus Heals a Paralytic.”