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Doctrines of Christ 4

Doctrines of Christ Part 4 

As we continue in our series on the Doctrines of Christ, we will now look at the doctrine of baptisms. There are several baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, but we will focus on two in this series. 

The first is the baptism in water. It is similar to the baptism in water John the Baptist preached but within a New Testament context. Although water baptism has been an often-misunderstood topic for many believers, it is one of the fundamental teachings of the New Testament that we should all understand. Unfortunately, there has been controversy surrounding this holy and powerful act of faith. However, when we simply look at scripture to interpret scripture, it becomes clear why baptism was implemented and what it means to us as New Testament believers. 

The book of Acts is our example of how the early church understood the words and teachings of Jesus and put them into practice, thus impacting the entire known world within 300 years after the resurrection of Christ. Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel and baptize believers in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20) As we read through the book of Acts, we see they obeyed His instructions and baptized new believers who were being added to the Church. Here are a few passages from the book of Acts to verify this fact. Acts 2:41 

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Acts 8:12 

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Acts 8:13 

Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Acts 8:16 

For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 8:36 

Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Acts 8:36  So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Acts 8:38 

Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. Acts 9:18

 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. Then they asked him to stay a few days. Acts 10:47-48 

The word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo and means to make fully wet, immerse, or overwhelm. Thus, when one is water baptized, they are immersed in water. This is how the early church understood it. When John the Baptist baptized, it was in the Jordan river. When Philip the evangelist baptized the eunuch of Ethiopia, it was in a pool of water along the road. 

John’s baptism was one of repentance for forgiveness of sin (see Acts 13:24). The baptism in water which the New Testament teaches is an act of faith signifying the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and our union with Him. It is experienced AFTER we have decided to repent of our sins to follow Jesus Christ and confessed Him as our Lord (see Romans 10:8-10). John’s baptism could not signify this, since Jesus had not been crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, according to the scriptures. Therefore, John’s baptism was one of repentance. 

When we are baptized, as Jesus commanded, (Matthew 28:19) we are testifying to the world and to other believers, our faith in the finished work of Christ, and our identification with His death, burial, and resurrection. Again, water baptism signifies our union with Christ in death, and our new life in Him through His resurrection. When He died, we died, when He arose from the dead, we also were risen with Him (Ephesians 2:4-6, Galatians 2:20). Hence the apostle Paul stated: Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 

And also: "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses….” Colossians 2:12-13 

Being baptized in water does not save us, but it is the response of a good conscience towards God, a bold profession of our faith in the finished work of Christ, and the transforming power of God. 

Next time, we will look at the second baptism we will cover in this series. Until then, may God our Father richly bless and keep you! 

James Brown 

CST 03/27/2022

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