Question:

As a Nazarene Pastor I wonder about what you have written. As a Christian I can not judge your salvation. Unless you truly believe that it is the water and not the blood of Christ that saves you.

I have read your web site. I am impressed with your research. I was surprised at your ability to leave prayer out of the equation. I was surprised that you leave God in reality out of the equation. For if you must be physically immersed in water to be saved, then the blood and Jesus Christ has no power.

I have not taken time this evening to gather scripture to refute your thoughts. Here is your belief in entirety. If I take a bath and go completely under I am saved. Shame on a church and so called pastor's who have more faith in the water then they do in Jesus Christ.

As far as denominational names go. What church were you baptized in? I am not a denominational nut, I believe we could all learn a lot from one another if we stopped fighting over denominational borders. But it is by faith you are healed, set free, etc. If you have not faith in the cross, in the blood of the sacrifice given no number of baths will save you.

In Acts the apostles gathered for 10 days to pray. From that prayer meeting we have the first infilling of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. There was much emotion, There was much passion in Peter's sermon. "What must we do?" was the cry of the crowd. "Repent," was the answer. Repentance is brought about by the Holy Spirit witnessing with our spirit about our sin. If you have no faith first in that spirit you will have no desire to be baptized.


Answer:

"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).

It is Jesus who commanded baptism. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20). It is Jesus who told Nicodemus, "Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God"" (John 3:5). It is Jesus who connected belief and baptism to salvation. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews shows that belief and obedience are two halves of the same coin: "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:18-19). Therefore, a refusal to obey a command of God is evidence of unbelief. This is the point James made as well. "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).

Of course, as I'm sure you know, your statement: "For if you must be physically immersed in water to be saved, then the blood and Jesus Christ has no power" directly contradicts what Peter said. "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).

Speaking of Acts, you realize that Saul (later known as Paul), spent three days in prayer after meeting Jesus (Acts 9:9-11). Yet, after all that Ananias still told Paul, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Three days of fasting and praying did nothing for Saul's sins -- not until he obeyed the command of Christ.

Cornelius and his household received the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46). Peter later refers back to it as the second time the Holy Spirit baptized people (Acts 11:16). Yet, despite this, the command of Christ still had to be obeyed. ""Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:47-48).

You will find no statement on this site that says every immersion in water is the baptism commanded by Christ. Nor have you found any statement on this site that baptism alone saves or that it has nothing to do with Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. As evidence, see: How to Become a Christian. Instead you will find a long list things that God says are connected with a person's baptism. See: What Saves a Person?

What I find sad is that you are so desperate to deny baptism that you refused to quote Acts 2:38 correctly. Peter did not tell the people "Repent." He said, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Two items were needed by his audience at that time to gain forgiveness: repentance and being baptized. By giving only a part of the truth you expressed a lie by altering the gospel of Christ.

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).

Sir,

I chose to defend my faith in Jesus Christ and His righteousness. That righteousness does not come from me being dipped in water. It comes through the blood of Jesus Christ. If salvation is from baptism first, why was it necessary for Jesus to die on the cross? The scripture in context of Acts 2:38 is not an emphasis on baptism, but on repentance. Baptism is an outward sign of an already in place inward grace. The context if studied on Nicodemus in John 3:5 is not on baptism but on being born in the physical, a water birth and being born again, a spiritual birth. If your take time to read on the law, Mosaic law, has three parts, civil, ceremonial and moral. You would find that it is correct to be baptized but it is considered as ceremonial law. You actually accused me of denying baptism.

What I questioned is the effect you are having on those who are saved, sanctified and ready to go up, (when you say you must) take a physical bath to be saved. I most likely will not respond again, as we will need to agree to disagree. Yet let me leave you with this thought, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believed might be saved." The Holy Spirit bears witness to our Spirit, we sense that calling, drawing. We repent of our sins and set God up as the center of our life. That is where salvation comes from. Otherwise it is as you noted, taking a physical bath somehow transforms the inner man.

God bless you as you struggle with this.

There is no passage in the Bible that states that "baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace." Huldreich Zwingli said this in the 1520's. Repeating a slogan doesn't make it true. The very concept isn't even taught in the Bible. Thus, we are left with evidence that you refuse to admit the meaning of a conjunction ("and") in Acts 2:38 because it is inconvenient to your belief system.

In regards to John 3:5, see: The New Birth of Water where your claims are proven to be false.

While you divide the Old Law into civil, ceremonial, and moral laws, the fact remains that God never does in the Bible. In fact, you cannot make such a division without arbitrary assignments. Plus it contradicts Paul's statement that the Old Law stands and falls as a whole (Galatians 3:10; 5:1-4; see also James 2:10-11). But the line of argument is pointless since baptism is not found in the Old Law. It would be meaningless under the Old Law since baptism is a representation of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-7), Jesus had not died when the Law of Moses was given.

As James points out in James 2:14-25, a claim of belief without obedience is meaningless.

It is interesting that you will accept that salvation requires both belief and repentance, but you deny any passage that mentions baptism and its role in salvation.

By the way, you misapplied John 6:44-45 in regards to the God's drawing His people. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me" (John 6:44-45). It is the Bible, the product of the Spirit which draws people. That is why Paul stated, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). In fact, you cannot have faith without first listening to God's teachings in the Bible. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

The effect of teaching the whole truth is that people are saved by the power of God. "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain" (I Corinthians 15:1-2).

Sir,

I have the need to ask, answer directly from your heart. Do you believe in Christ as your salvation or do you believe the act of being baptized is your salvation. No pulling scriptures to fit the need, we can both do that. Which is your saving grace? For the reality of all our discussion is based on that question? A simple reply, I believe that Jesus blood saves me. Or I believe baptism saves me.

You establish a false dichotomy. It isn't either / or. The blood of Christ saves us. We contact his death through baptism (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27). The answer is that both of these save along with a large number of other things. See: What Saves a Person?