Articles From Our Bulletins
Essentials Of Scriptural Baptism
From Melrose Memo, 1/24/16
The Right Subject:
Many believe they are in a right relationship with God because they were “baptized” as infants. This is not the right subject for scriptural baptism. Acts 2:38 says “repent, and each of you be baptized…” Repentance is a decision to turn away from sin. This requires that the subject be able to recognize sin in their life and be able to make a decision. An infant can do neither of these.
The Right Means:
Some who have already been baptized have not done so by the right scriptural means. They may believe they en-tered a right relationship with God based on a baptism of the holy Spirit (such as with the apostles in Acts 2 and Cornelius in Acts 10). This disagrees and ignores 1 Co-rinthians 13, which teaches miraculous gifts of the Spirit have ceased. Others point to a sprinkling of water or a pouring of water upon their head that is referred to as a baptism. Scriptural water baptism is always an immersion in water. The word baptize is a transliteration from the Greek word bap-tizo (an English word made to sound like the Greek).
The Greek word baptizo means to immerse. It origi-nated in the process of dying a piece of cloth which would be submerged in the color. A literal translation of the Greek would be “repent, and each of you be immersed…” (Acts 2:38). Jesus said, “unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). If a person has not been baptized with the right means of immersion, then scripturally they have not been baptized. They have not yet entered a covenant relationship with God. They yet remain in their sins.
The Right Reason:
Some are baptized in order to join a religious group or as an outward sign of the salvation they believe took place at the moment they believed. Some were baptized to please their parents, or because a friend was. Some are baptized in order to win a spouse. None of these are scripturally correct reasons for being baptized. If our motiva-tion or understanding is wrong, then our baptism is not scrip-tural. Again in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. The correct scriptural means is for the for-giveness of sins.
Paul argues we have been “baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3) that our “old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with” (Romans 6:6). Until we are baptized with the right understanding, for the right reason, we have not been scripturally baptized.