BY DON BANTUM
First, let me say that baptism, tongues and the Sabbath are wonderful gifts from God and obviously there is NOTHING wrong with them... in and of themselves. Certain men, however, not fully understanding these gifts, have distorted the purpose God intended for them. That having been said, let's take a close look at Baptism. We will also discuss tongues and the Sabbath in more detail later.
Note: Portions of Scripture have been underlined and/or highlighted in bold font for purposes of specific emphasis.
John 1: 29. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30. This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31. I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."
32. Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
So, the onset of baptism occurs because God told John (the "Baptist") to baptize, and John testified that the one on whom the Spirit would come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Sprit; which is God in the flesh.
Once having identified Jesus as the Christ, God's one and only Son, there is no further need of baptizing with water. As John testifies, Jesus will now baptize us with the Holy Spirit. John even says to Jesus:
Matthew 3: 14. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15. Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
In John's Gospel, we read these words of John the Baptist:
John 3:11. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John baptizes with water, for repentance. What are we to repent of? Our UNBELIEF in Christ', his finished work, and once having turned from unbelief, to saving faith in Jesus. The only baptism required to bring LIFE is the baptism with the Holy Spirit of God. When God places us into the Body of Christ, that action by God makes us alive in him, and he in us. It's called the exchanged LIFE. We give God all that we are, dead and without hope in this world, for all He is, which is LIFE eternal, forgiveness, peace, joy and true happiness that can only be received through HIM.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT—just as you were called to ONE HOPE when you were called— ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM; ONE GOD and FATHER of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)
How many baptisms are there? Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul tells us there is but ONE BAPTISM, not two or three or perhaps a dozen or more. I myself as a boy was baptized 3 or 4 times. I thought the more the merrier. Being baptized in water was an extremely important issue in the organized church. We can be dunked, sprinkled, immersed in a lake or river or a church baptismal. How does one know where or when to stop, or if the ritual has been performed in the correct manner? What if the method is wrong? Should we have it done every way we can think of in order to ensure we get it right?
We need to leave it in God’s hands, where it belongs, not ours. God knows which baptism it is that brings life to the dead. We seem to be a bit confused on that issue. If any part of salvation had been left in our hands, none of us would ever be saved.
Most of the clergy advocates a "more the merrier" approach to baptism. After all, they’re the ones doing the baptizing, and getting the recognition for doing so. If you happen to change churches, what then? Many denominations won't accept a baptism performed by another denomination. Each insists that their clergy baptize a believer again, in their denomination, in their waters. This prompts the question: “What do you believe is more important, being baptized by a "man" in his baptismal tank or font, in his denominational church, or receiving the baptism only God can perform, through the power of the Holy Spirit?” Is this about faith in your church and your pastor and YOU, or JESUS? Another question: "Who bled and died in your place on the cross at Calvary; your denomination, your church, your pastor, or was that person Jesus, who is God in the flesh? In what or whom have you placed your faith?
But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
Their focus isn’t on JESUS, its on themselves, right where Satan wants it. . . .
Some ministers, pastors and others, who have placed themselves in positions of leadership, would have you believe you must be baptized with water to be saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible clearly tells us we are saved through faith and faith alone, and we can not add anything to Christ Jesus' finished work on the cross or his burial and resurrection from the dead. We are in fact saved by placing our faith in Jesus, and what HE accomplished for us, and that alone. At the time we demonstrate that faith in our hearts, GOD places us in Christ's BODY, which is the true Church of the living God. Not a building established by men, but a ‘building' not made with hands, a Spiritual body of believers.
A building is a meeting place, and nothing more, regardless of what name is inscribed above the door. Remember, no Catholic, no Baptist, no Lutheran, or any other denomination will enter the Kingdom of God. God doesn't save denominations, or religious institutions; he saves sinners. If you have any identity other than that of being a Child of God, you're not saved. Our identity must be in Christ Jesus and in him alone. He can't save the self-righteous, they are saving themselves (they think); it's an attitude problem of the heart. Only people who know they're dead will come to Jesus for LIFE.
You're actually saved at the moment YOU come to faith in Jesus, and no amount of water in the world can produce or have any bearing on that. Now, once you have come to Life in Jesus, if you wish to be baptized with water, to identify yourself to the world, outwardly in the flesh that you have died with Jesus, and have been buried with HIM, and having been buried, you're now raised to a NEW LIFE in him, baptism by water can be used to symbolize that new birth. But it can not produce it. Don't let anybody put you on a guilt trip saying you must be baptized by water to be saved. That is just a perversion of the gospel of Christ, which Paul describes for us in:
1 Corinthians 1: 17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Paul couldn't have said that, "Christ didn't send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel", if in fact Jesus wanted us to be baptized. But what he does say that Christ sent him to do, was to preach the gospel message, "lest the cross be emptied of its power." So where is the power? Its in the cross where JESUS, takes away the sins of the whole world, his burial, and his resurrected LIFE on the third day, which Paul describes below in:
1 Corinthians 15: 1. Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5. and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8. and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
This is the gospel that saves. This too is the gospel in which YOU have taken YOUR STAND. Jesus, who is God, went to a cross taking the sins of the whole world, YOURS included, upon himself, paying the penalty for all of our sins. Our sins were judged at the cross, and the verdict was ‘guilty.' Jesus was nailed to that cross in our place. He took the death that you and I deserved, and paid the price on our behalf. Why did he do that? Because he loves us that much. He also took our guilt on himself as well. He was buried, which is the proof of death. He raised himself from the dead on the third day. Then he offered us that same resurrected LIFE; if we but put faith in Him.
There are those who are perverting that gospel, by placing themselves in the salvation equation. These people are either on a flesh trip, or have been deceived themselves, and are merely passing on the error they have been taught; thus perpetuating that same error to the detriment of others. They attempt to make something man can do in the energy of his flesh on a par or equal with what Christ has done; i.e., baptism, tongues, and Sabbath worship, or anything else man's agenda demands. They pervert the gospel of Christ and prevent others from receiving the Life Jesus came to offer. They have not obtained it by faith in Jesus, but have deceived themselves by believing they have received it through faith in their own ability to perform some additional requirement.
Anything man adds to what Jesus has done is actually distorting the intent of what Jesus has done. Anything ‘additional' is not Jesus. It's never Jesus plus something else; it's simply faith in Jesus, and what HE accomplished alone!
Copyright © 2007-2012 All rights reserved. designed by Don Bantum, P.O. Box 1251, Paradise, California 95967-1251- E-mail