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Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?


Greg sent us this note:

Hey good site, I am working with a Calvinist, making some progress. Do you guys have any legal documents on John Calvin? I would like to give him some.

Hey do you guys believe in baptism by immersion? clearly taught in scripture? keep up the good work!

we converted a JW several years ago, but what helped was they were looking for the truth!

I truly believe if one is a seeker they will find the truth

In Christ,
Greg

Paul’s reply:

“And I say to you, Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. And he who seeks finds. And to him who knocks it shall be opened” (Luke 11:9-10 MKJV).

Hi Greg,

I don’t know what you mean by “legal documents,” but everything we have published directly related to John Calvin is in the linked section. We would certainly recommend giving this to your Calvinist acquaintance.

Baptism, by definition, is immersion. The definition of the Greek word from the Strong’s Concordance:

bap-tid’-zo
From a derivative of G911; to make whelmed (that is, fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: – baptist, baptize, wash.

Of course, you realize that water baptism is symbolic, just like the holy Feasts of God – Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Christ came to fulfill all these things in us by His Spirit, as indicated by John’s response to the Lord:

Matthew 3:13-15 MKJV
(13) Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him.
(14) But John restrained Him, saying, I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?
(15) And answering Jesus said to him, Allow it now, for it is becoming to us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he allowed Him.

Read The Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Then tell us more about yourself, Greg, and where things are at with you.

Paul

Greg’s reply:

Thanks, I know we are saved by the blood of Christ.

Baptism is symbolic but it does put you into Christ (Gal. 3:27) remember, under the old law they killed innocent animals (for sacrifices) yearly to take care of their sins, now Jesus comes and ask all to accept, believe and be baptized, then the spirit is given to those who obey Acts 5:32. Pretty clear.

good site

Greg

Paul’s reply:

Greg, the baptism Paul is talking about in Galatians 3:27 is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to be born of God, except by His Spirit:

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as were baptized into Christ, you put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27 MKJV).

Water baptism is no different than circumcision. Anyone can perform either of these ordinances, but they do not mean the faith of Christ is at work or that He is present in the work.

Are you suggesting that the obedience mentioned in Acts 5:32 is to the ordinance of water baptism? If so, you must know there is no justification for such a belief in the immediate text, or elsewhere.

On the contrary, Paul said that he had not come to water baptize:

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect” (1 Corinthians 1:17 MKJV).

If water baptism was the way to receive God’s Spirit, Paul wouldn’t have said such a thing. He would have been setting forth this crucial matter of obedience and would have been seeing it through for everyone.

But water baptism has no more power than circumcision to sanctify a soul. It is simply an outward expression of something God does inwardly. If the inward is not happening, the outward is meaningless.

Even worse than meaningless, many substitute the outward act for the inward reality, thinking to have something they do not because they are circumcised or water baptized. That is where the vast majority of those who have been water baptized stand today: They think they have something they don’t. They are not walking with the Lord Jesus Christ, and He does not know them.

If you think we are blowing smoke, then read these two documents and tell us how the vast majority of those who have been water baptized stack up to the manifest fruits of a walk in God’s true faith in Christ:

Is Your Profession of Faith Vain, Christian?
The True Marks of a Cult

Tell us how you stack up, Greg.

It appears you have been snagged by a false gospel. Read The False and Misleading Gospel of “Accepting” Jesus Christ and Diabolical Doctrine: “Accepting” Jesus Christ as Your Personal Savior.

It also appears you have not read the other writing I gave you, The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, or if you have, you are not addressing the basic truth therein taught by God in Scripture.

Your words and your actions, rather than what doctrines you believe, tell us what you are about.

Paul

Greg’s response:

Well, Clearly Scripture teaches there are 6 baptisms mentioned in the N.T.

1, Baptism of suffering at the cross (Jesus) – does not apply to us
2. Baptism of Moses (example of the crossing of the red sea – Israelites) act of baptism – does not apply to us
3. Baptism of John (preparing the way for Jesus) – does not apply to us
4. Baptism of Holy spirt – given to the Apostles – does not apply to us

Only 2 that apply to Christians today.

5. Baptism at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18, Mk 16:16) – for All Christians today
6. Baptism of Fire – Day of Judgement – yet to come.

Brother, this is Scripture.

The spirit was given to those who obey. If you read Acts, On the day of Pentecost, Peter had commanded believers to repent and be baptized with the promise that those who did so, receiving the remission of their sins subsequently to their obeying those commands, would also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Obey” indicates that a lifelong obedience to God. See Gal. 4:6 also.

The Calvinist’s use this scripture in 1 Cor. 17 out of context as well. “Christ sent me not to baptize…. If this is true, how can Paul’s baptism of Stephanas, Gaius, and Crispus be explained? Of course Paul referred to here was the Administration of the Rite of Baptism, there be nothing here in scripture to the effect that Paul preached salvation without baptism. He like all the apostles had been commanded to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” (Matt. 28:19)

Did you know there is not a mention of one Christian in the bible that was not immersed.

Probably one of the most simple teachings in the bible, infact I was fortunate to meet a Nigerian preacher (un-educated )while overseas and had no problems with understanding the teachings of Jesus. The problem today is, those are reading into it and not putting scripture in context and not applying it properly.

4 first books – the Gospels
Acts – Arrival of the Holy Spirit, those who believed, accepted and obeyed – received and added to the church Acts. 2:47.

The book of Romans – written to the Church of Rome – believers
The book of Corinthians – letter to the Church of Corinth – believers

Must keep in context what scripture is teaching and how it is applied to Christians today and what it means to Christians today.

Actually, the bible is very simple, that’s why we have good success with cult groups, If the Truth is important to one they will have no problem finding it.

Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

In Christ,
Greg

Paul’s reply:

Hi Greg,

Let’s take a closer look at your thoughts on baptism to see how the truth of the matter applies to them and to our lives. What matters is the way we live and conduct ourselves – whether we have fellowship with God and His life, or what we consider proper forms that leave us empty and devoid of life.

Knowledge puffs us, but the love of God edifies to life.

You say that there are six baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, beginning with:

1, Baptism of suffering at the cross (Jesus) – does not apply to us

I take it you are referring to this Scripture:

“I have come to send fire on the earth. And what will I do if it is already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how I am pressed down until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49-50 MKJV)

Does this baptism not apply to us, as you claim? Jesus went on to say:

“Do you suppose that I have come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. For from now on, there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three” (Luke 12:51-52 MKJV).

In other words, as a result of His baptism, those who believed in the Lord and identified with Him would suffer division with those closest to them in this world. How, then, can you say that this baptism doesn’t apply to us? The Lord even told His disciples that it would apply to them. He said:

“Can you drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said to Him, We can. And Jesus said to them, You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism that I am baptized with you shall be baptized” (Mark 10:38-39 MKJV).

The disciples were separated from all men and persecuted by the religious, as was the Lord, and they too suffered martyrdom. Paul said of his ministry in Christ:

“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for His body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24 EMTV).

Perhaps you include the apostles in this baptism of the Lord, and simply mean that it doesn’t apply to us today. But that would the wrong conclusion, according to the Lord and the apostles:

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 KJV).

Paul made it clear that this baptism of suffering applies not only to himself, but also to the Body of Christ, as well as to the Head:

“But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, patience, persecutions, afflictions, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra. What persecutions I endured! But the Lord delivered me out of all. Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:10-12 MKJV).

So, on this one you are wrong, Greg. If we are not identified with the Lord in His sufferings, then we have no part in Him. (And we have experienced these things; read Our Testimonies.)

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12 MKJV).

“You are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I appoint a Kingdom to you, as My Father has appointed to Me” (Luke 22:28-29 MKJV).

No cross, no crown.

2. Baptism of Moses (example of the crossing of the red sea – Israelites) act of baptism – does not apply to us

This was a historical event and was not meant to be repeated, so in the physical sense you are right. The situation isn’t something we can or should try to reenact. But in the spiritual sense, you are wrong, because what the baptism in the cloud and Red Sea represented was being set apart to the LORD, Jesus Christ:

“And all were baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:2-4 MKJV).

Unless we do the same, we have no life in ourselves:

“Then Jesus says to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves” (John 6:53 MKJV).

Unless we eat and drink of Him, we have no part in Christ:

“He who partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56 MKJV). (This has nothing to do with the physical ceremony most commonly called the “Lord’s Supper”.)

And to come to the Lord, must we not come through Moses, who was given the Law of God for our sakes?

“Therefore the Law has become our custodian, leading us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24 EMTV).

Matthew 5:17-19 MKJV
(17) Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
(18) For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled.
(19) Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

No Law, no coming to Christ for His fulfillment of the Law in us – which is what grace is all about. Read Law and Grace.

3. Baptism of John (preparing the way for Jesus) – does not apply to us

Here is another historical event, which, again, is not something to be reenacted. On the other hand, unless we receive the ministry of John, we cannot receive the One Who comes after him:

“And [John] shall go before [Christ] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17 MKJV).

“And Paul said, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe into Him coming after him, that is, into Jesus Christ” (Acts 19:4 MKJV).

John’s baptism signifies the act of repentance, without which no man can come to the Lord. So, while we can’t go see John today and be baptized by him at the Jordan River, we can and must be granted the substance of his ministry, or we will not see the Lord and have our sins remitted.

As the Lord said, “…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5 MKJV).

No repentance, no following Jesus Christ into life.

4. Baptism of Holy spirt – given to the Apostles – does not apply to us

“Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39 MKJV).

The promise of the Holy Spirit is to as many as the Lord our God shall call. So, you are speaking strictly for yourself, Greg, when you say it is not for you. If that is the case, it is simply because the Lord has not called you.

As for us, He has called and chosen us for salvation. Without His Spirit, how could we become His spiritual sons, to be as He is in this world?

“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9 MKJV).

We have received the baptism in His Spirit, a definite and glorious event that came after we repented. Will you ever read The Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

No baptism in the Spirit, no adoption as sons and daughters of God.

And what of the two baptisms you say apply to Christians today?

5. Baptism at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18, Mk 16:16) – for All Christians today

“And having come near, Jesus spoke to them, saying, All authority in Heaven and in earth is given to Me. Go therefore and teach all nations, immersing them in My Name, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20 CHAI).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 MKJV).

What are you saying, Greg? That all Christians are called, as were the apostles, to make disciples of all nations? Or that all believers are to be water baptized in the Name of Christ?

If the water baptisms of Moses and John are no longer in effect, how do you conclude that the water baptism of the apostles is still in effect, especially when you say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which began to be administered by the apostles, is no longer in effect? You are not consistent in your reasoning or making sense spiritually or logically.

Who will administer this water baptism, seeing the original apostles are no longer with us? The Baptist Church? The Holy Roman Catholic Church? The Mormon Church? The Catholics are right that there must be authority conferred from God for any legitimate work to be done; they are wrong that they have such authority. They have none whatsoever. They are interlopers, usurpers, as are the others I mentioned, along with so many others.

It is also clear from the interchange between John the Baptist and the Lord that water baptism was not expected to continue indefinitely, but served in the transition from the announcement of the Lord’s arrival to after His ascension when He returned to baptize in His Spirit those who believed:

Matthew 3:13-15 EMTV
(13) Then Jesus arrived from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.
(14) But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?”
(15) But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.

The end that God had in mind was that He might dwell among men through Christ:

“You have gone up on high; You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts for men, yes, for the rebellious also, that You might dwell among them, O LORD God” (Psalms 68:18 MKJV).

This is why when the apostles did water baptize, it was always associated with receiving the Spirit of God. As here:

Acts 19:1-6 MKJV
(1) And it happened in the time Apollos was at Corinth, Paul was passing through the higher parts to Ephesus. And finding certain disciples,
(2) he said to them, Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? And they said to him, We did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit is.
(3) And he said to them, Then to what were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.
(4) And Paul said, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe into Him coming after him, that is, into Jesus Christ.
(5) And hearing, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
(6) And as Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

And here:

Acts 9:17-18 MKJV
(17) And Ananias went and entered into the house. And putting his hands on him, he said, Brother Saul, the Lord, Jesus, Who appeared to you in the way in which you came, has sent me to you that you might see and be filled with the Holy Spirit. [Note: Not to be water baptized]
(18) And instantly scales as it were fell from his eyes, and he instantly saw again. And rising up, he was baptized.

And here:

Acts 10:44-48 MKJV
(44) While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those hearing the Word.
(45) And those of the circumcision, who believed (as many as came with Peter), were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the nations also.
(46) For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
(47) Can anyone forbid water that these, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, should not be baptized?
(48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord. Then they begged him to stay certain days.

The truth is that just as the water baptisms of Moses and John must be fulfilled in spiritual substance, rather than in physicality, so must the baptism in Christ be fulfilled by receiving His Spirit, without which any outward act of water baptism means nothing and is an empty ceremony.

This explains why Paul said he was not sent by Christ to baptize. Water baptism is not what it is about. You are focused on the external, while lacking the Internal, the Kingdom of God that does not come by observation.

What I am telling you also explains how we, as believers, have ministered Christ and led others to receive His Spirit without ever water baptizing them. The Lord did not require it. Water baptism is not a necessity for the faith of Christ and obedience to God if He does not require it.

Do you think He would have removed His Spirit from Cornelius and the Gentiles with him if Peter had not water baptized them?

As for you and so many others who perform water baptisms because you read about it in the Bible, it is not a matter of faith. It is righteousness by precept and custom, which is antiChrist in spirit, as with the circumcisers who proved they were not keeping the Law in Spirit when found persecuting the Lord and the apostle Paul.

The other baptism you say applies to Christians:

6. Baptism of Fire – Day of Judgement – yet to come.

That is yet to come for you, but has already come for those who have received His Spirit and fire:

“John answered all, saying, I indeed baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I comes, the thong of Whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16 MKJV).

Judgment begins at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17)

“But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32 MKJV).

Greg, not having experienced these things, you speak without knowledge or understanding. Read The Great Promise of the Lake of Fire and the Second Death.

You say:

If you read Acts, On the day of Pentecost, Peter had commanded believers to repent and be baptized with the promise that those who did so, receiving the remission of their sins subsequently to their obeying those commands, would also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

You have seen from the Scriptures I quoted that Paul and Cornelius received the Holy Spirit prior to being water baptized. That breaks down your “theology,” whether you are willing to admit it or not. The Lord was already making it clear that water baptism was not necessary to Him. Do you think He would have removed His Spirit from Paul if he had not been water baptized?

The baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of the Holy Spirit are one and the same event:

Acts 11:16-17 KJV
(16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
(17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

In one place you say that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was only for the apostles, yet you now say repenting people were promised to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So which will it be, Greg? You also seem to be mindless of the fact that 120 received the gift of, or were baptized in, the Holy Spirit in the upper room, and not just apostles.

As for your assertion that every Christian in the Bible was immersed in water, you have no proof of that. The Scriptures do not say. What is at issue, however, is our faith and obedience today, and as I have told you, we personally know believers who have obeyed the Lord and have received His Spirit without having been water baptized. We also know of very many who have been baptized in water and who live entirely lawless lives, having nothing to do with God but taking His Name in vain.

It was not a matter of rejecting water baptism for those we know who received the Lord’s Spirit. It simply wasn’t being required or initiated by the Lord. Why should the Lord, Creator of all, by Whom all things consist, be beholden to any ritual or physical ordinance, when He has already made it clear through many witnesses that the present worship He seeks is not in a place or by a form, but in spirit and truth?

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24 MKJV).

Let me ask you a simple question, Greg: Does the Lord want you immersed in water for several seconds, or in His Spirit for your entire life and beyond?

There is so much more on our site that will teach and guide one in the truth, if that one has ears to hear and a teachable heart. We perceive that you are proud and confident in your orthodox Christian doctrine, which, as a product of the carnal mind and the devil, is the enemy of truth and hearing.

Thankfully, the Lord is willing and able to abase the children of pride.

Paul Cohen

Greg wrote these notes in response:

The point of the of the 6 baptisms, the only one that applies (response from Christians) is the baptism of the Great Commission.

Sure the suffering applies to all Christians, the point was the only baptism we can act on is the baptism given for remission of sins.

Clearly, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles. The Holy Spirit today is given to those that accept and obey the gospel.

Greg

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WE are only under the new covenant, the Law of Moses does not apply to Christians today. Read the book of Hebrews.

G

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Baptism of John the Baptist was forgiveness of sins at that point, not the gift of the Holy Spirit which came after Jesus died. This is clearly before the death,burial, resurrection – does not apply to Christians today.

G

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[From The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:] “It is commonly argued that only apostles had the commission to lay hands on people to receive the Spirit, and that is why they did so with the Samaritans. But Ananias was not one of the apostles, at least not that we are told! So that argument against the validity of receiving the Spirit for today is false. This argument of gainsayers implies that if only apostles laid hands on people to receive the Spirit, there is no extra-conversion experience today (assuming there are no longer apostles – the Bible does not say there are not.

Think about this brother,

If your statement is true – which is your opinion of the scriptures, why aren’t there examples today of Miracles (raising from the dead, healing the blind)??? THERE ARE NOT ANY!

Corneilus and the group at his house which were gentiles spoke in tongue (only evidence) and it was for a specific purpose.

Baptism, was commanded (only by immersion) examples all over the N.T. and yes there are examples in the bible that Christians can fall from grace and loose their salvation. The point of baptism was commanded – Remember Matt. 28:18, Mk 16:16, pretty clear on the instructions of Jesus, sure we have to continue to live our lives to continue to grow in faith and encourage and strengthen others.

Also, for this statement,

As for your assertion that every Christian in the Bible was immersed in water, you have no proof of that. The Scriptures do not say. What is at issue, however, is our faith and obedience today, and as I have told you, we personally know believers who have obeyed the Lord and have received His Spirit without having been water baptized. We also know of very many who have been baptized in water and who live entirely lawless lives, having nothing to do with God but taking His Name in vain.

Not one example in the N.T. where one is baptized other than immersion. Infact thousands were baptized and added to the church.
Also, it is the only method in the N.T. we have.

Listen, I mentioned a Nigerian preacher and others overseas I got to meet while at work, I asked these guys (not educated, no material to look at no opinions from others) what he preached.

Clearly he said in so many words, The gospel is for all that accept and obey the commands of our only Saviour, first one must hear, believe, confess, repent and be baptized to become a Christian, then one must continue to grow in faith and live hes/her example per the example we have in scripture. The WORD of God was simple enough for an uneducated believer to understand and teach – This is an example I use to Calvinist’s, JW’s, Mormons, Catholicism – The bible is simple for instruction, do not be deceived by Man’s teachings – study the scriptures daily like the Bereans.

I wish you best on your studies and journey in the bible.

Be a Seeker and the Truth will always be recognized!

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If the water baptisms of Moses and John are no longer in effect, how do you conclude that the water baptism of the apostles is still in effect, especially when you say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which began to be administered by the apostles, is no longer in effect? You are not consistent in your reasoning or making sense, whether spiritually or logically.

Paul, this statement makes no sense,

Neither of these baptisms, Moses, the water of the Red Sea saved the Israelites (form of baptism), water saved Noah,
The baptism of John was to prepare the way of Christ.

Neither of these baptisms promised the remission of sins. The point of Christ coming was to have our sins removed and forgiven.

The only one baptism today for those is water baptism.

Those baptized by John had to be re-baptized to receive the gift.

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And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

By this bold comparison, Paul made the marvelous deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea from the pursuing armies of Pharaoh as a figure, or type, of Christian baptism. It should be carefully noted that the figure in evidence here is not baptism, that being the reality of which the great deliverance of Israel was the figure. Nowhere in the New Testament is baptism ever referred to as any kind of “figure” or “sign.” “The voluntary character of that baptism is suggested by the aorist middle,” as in Acts 22:16; Acts 2:38, where the meaning is “have yourselves baptized.”

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[From Law and Grace:] “When Paul preached, all he had was the Old Testament.

Many professing believers love their pet verses, loving to quote and show off their knowledge, one of those verses being, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’ Yet few of these people are at all aware of the rest of that verse which says: ‘But he that keeps the law, happy is he’ (Pr. 29:18).

‘Old Testament! Old Testament!’ the lawless cry. Are you aware that when Paul preached in the ‘New Testament,’ all he had was the Old Testament from which to preach? Are you aware that most of the New Testament is either direct quotation or an exposition of the Old Testament? Do you not realize that the Old Testament was what Jesus was referring to when He said to the Jews, ‘Search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have life and they are they which testify of Me’?

Yes Paul knew the Old Testament, but when Jesus appeared to him He realized that Christianity was the rule now and that is where he was converted and Paul preached the new law of Christ which was inspired by the Holy Spirit that Jesus left with Him when He descended – it was not written but it was revealed.

Paul also acknowledged him when He appeared to him, He was also told to go into the city, where to go , then the Lord appeared to Ananias, He told Saul to go at it would be told to HIM WHAT HE MUST DO!

ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED AND CALL UPON THE LORD.

Greg Patterson

Paul’s reply:

Hi Greg,

In response to your several notes, let me say a few things for now, particularly to help clear up a possible misconception you have.

We are not against water baptism. Both Victor and I were water baptized in our younger believing days. We did nothing wrong being baptized, and in fact, we did it according to our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As a note, nothing happened as a result of being water baptized. We did not receive the Spirit of God at that time, in either of our cases.

Presently we would not forbid others to water baptize. If you feel compelled to get water baptized, or someone comes to you for water baptism, in sincerity of belief in Jesus Christ, you don’t sin by baptizing.

Our point, which you have seemingly not contested, is that since the Lord has given us to minister to others, we have not water baptized a single person, though several have received the baptism in His Spirit and are in fellowship with the Lord. The Lord has never required it or brought it up.

Furthermore, our understanding of Matthew 28:19 is that the Lord is speaking of baptizing the people in His Spirit, not in water. We understand that you and other “Baptists” disagree, being stuck on the letter and tradition; but truly, who can contest the fact that the Lord is after changed natures and fellowship with Himself, and not after performing an empty ritual that produces no results?

You are back to circumcision all over again, going by the letter of the Law according to form without the Substance or Reality. When one has the Substance and Reality, who needs the form and shadow? Didn’t the Lord dispense with the Temple and priesthood with attendant sacrifices, because He fulfilled all of those?

Yet the Jews to this day can point to the Scriptures and show that these things are commanded, and they, therefore, must bring back the Temple and priesthood. But what good will that do them? We know it is not the answer. So likewise, water baptism is not the answer now, because people need to have an authentic walk with the Lord in spirit and in truth. He has amply provided the means for this, but they are not to be found in the religious systems and works of men.

Water baptism symbolizes identification with the Lord by means of the cross, going down into death and being raised up into His new Life. What do we need a symbol for, now that the reality is here? The reality comes, not by the ceremony of baptism or of taking communion, but by eating His flesh and drinking His blood – living by every Word of God in our daily lives through the power of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

Is that happening with you? Are you doing that? So fine, you have been water baptized, and so have your proselytes. Are you all walking with Jesus Christ, according to His ways, by His faith? It is either yes or no. There is no in-between in this matter:

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Luke 11:23 MKJV).

The way to life, Jesus said, is narrow, so we cannot say professing people are all doing fine by doing whatever is right in each person’s eyes. There is a distinct Way, and Jesus Christ is that Way. We need to be in Him, walking with Him, or we don’t have life.

Can one know the Way? Certainly! Why would the Lord leave us without His Personal guidance? We have that in Him. We have been writing about Him, the Way, on our site. In particular, Greg, read these two writings, and tell us how you are faring on the Way. Are you with the Lord according to His precepts and teachings in the Scriptures, or are you walking in another way, one taught by men by their precepts, which are contrary to the Scriptures they presume to uphold?

The writings are The True Marks of a Cult and Is Your Profession of Faith Vain, Christian?

Read these and get back to us.

Two more things: One, who says there are no miracles today? Is your limited experience the whole of all things?

Two, the Law still is, as Jesus said it would be (Matthew 5:18). Read all of Law and Grace.

Paul

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