The Plan of Salvation 5

The Plan of Salvation 5


Plan of Salvation (5) - Baptism


This is the fifth of six articles dedicated to a review of God's plan of salvation as given in the New Testament. Recall what Jesus said about each of the following: (1) hearing - Jn. 6:44-45, (2) believing - Jn. 3:16, (3) repentance - Lk. 13:1-5, (4) confession of our faith in him - Mt. 10:32-33, (5) being baptized -Mk. 16:16, and (6) being faithful unto death - Rev. 2:10. Baptism is one of the most controversial steps in God's plan; and yet the Bible is as definitive on it as on any other subject.

The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, which Strong defines: "to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet). The word did not necessarily have religious significance, and if were translated (as it is in some versions), it would probably appear most often as immerse. However, the King James and many other translators chose to transliterate the word. That is, they imported the Greek word into the English language, probably because of the religious significance which was attached to the word at the time of the translation.

It is important to recognize this as we study baptism, since it is often regarded as a ritual with strange and mystical powers. In reality, the only thing that makes it significant is that it is commanded by God. It is He who chose this simple act, involving one of the most common compounds on the face of the earth, to accomplish His will. And, it is the rendering of obedience to God's will that makes baptism an act of faith in the working of God (Col. 2:12) and not a work of man. We hope that you will study all of the subjects in this article and consider them prayerfully. 

Ye Must Be Born Again

Countless scriptures either command baptism or indicate that it is an essential part of becoming a member of the body of Christ. Although first introduced by John the Baptist, it is clear that John's is not the "one baptism" spoken of in Eph. 4:5. We know this because in Acts 19:3-5 Paul commanded those who had been baptized by John's baptism to be baptized again in the name of the Lord Jesus (i.e., by his authority). It is very possible for people to go through a ritual which is called baptism without it being the baptism commanded by Jesus. 

So important was baptism that Jesus made it part of the great commission: "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ..." (Mt. 28:19). In obedience to this when the first gospel sermon was preached on the day of Pentecost, Peter answered the question: "What must we do" with the following: "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins ..." (Acts 2:38). 

Baptism was practiced for remission (forgiveness) of sins in the first century. Hear what Ananias urged Paul to do: "And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." If Paul was saved before washing away his sins, then he was saved while still in his sins. 

Jesus made being born again a condition of "entering into the kingdom of heaven" (Jn. 3:5). He described this as being born of water and the Spirit. Read Romans 6:3f"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."

If John 3:5 is not talking about baptism, then: (1) there is one way to get into Christ and a different way to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and (2) there is a difference between being born again and obtaining newness of life. A person would need great help to misunderstand this, one of the clearest teachings of the New Testament. Please, get a concordance and read all of the cases where the word baptism is used in the book of Acts and the epistles. If you believe the bible, the conclusions are inescapable. 


Ye Often Hear It Said . . .


Baptism is a work and we cannot be saved by works ... 

but Peter said (I Peter 3:21): 

" baptism now saves you " 

Lest we be accused of taking this out of context, please read the context, in which a reference was being made to the days of Noah. The comparison is made as follows: "... when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were were brought safely through {the} water. And 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 ..." (1 Pet 3:20-21). Those who would discount the apparent meaning here must honestly give an interpretation for what they feel the words "baptism now saves you"means if it does not mean that baptism now saves you. 

There is nothing magic in the water. It is just that God has chosen this way for you to become a member of His body, His church (Rom. 6:3). Men have invented all kinds of other ways, but they all fall short of God's way. Read all of the detailed cases of conversion, and see if they do not all end in the convert being baptized (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 8:38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15,33; 19:5). 



You Find the Answers


These Bible study questions provide assistance to you in studying and teaching God's Word. The answers are quite clear, and they prove that we can have the same understanding as the apostles had by reading what they wrote (Ephesians 3:4). We challenge you to open your Bible and establish the truth. 





1.      Can we attain a full assurance of understanding? (2)

2.      Are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ? (3) 

3.      Will some try to delude us from knowing this? (4) 

4.      Had they received Christ? What were they commanded? (5-6) 

5.      Was Paul concerned that they could be led astray? (8)

6.      Do we need any other authority but that of Christ? (9-10) 

7.      Was baptism the "circumcision made without hands?" (11-12) 

8.      In baptism, are we buried with Christ? (12)

9.      Is baptism a work of man or an act of faith in God? (12) 

10.  At what point in time did He make them alive? (13)