This past Sunday morning, my husband preached two amazing messages. Okay, I love all of my husband’s messages, but let’s be real, shall we? There have been a few of his sermons from which I’ve walked away thinking Huh? Of course, the power of the sermon isn’t in him, it’s in the precious book he preaches from, the living Word of God. His power comes from the time he spends in prayer; from the Holy Spirit. So, even a message that may not have been crystal clear to me, probably was a blessing and help to someone. It’s not for me to judge.
With that being said, these two messages hit home in a powerful way for me. On Sunday mornings, he’s been working his way through 1 Peter. This week, he came to a verse that some interpret to say that baptism is necessary for salvation. The verse is 1 Peter 3:21. He dealt with the passage in context, which I’d heard before, and showed us how this verse is not saying that we must be baptized to be saved. This part wasn’t eye opening, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The next part blew me away. (Yeah, okay, some of you may have heard this before, so humor me! )
He pointed out how that some false teachers claim that there are different dispensations of salvation. For example, they claim the Old Testament saints were saved by faith, and the New Testament saints were saved by baptism.
Okay, so, let’s run with that.
If that’s true, then in Acts 16:30-31, why didn’t Paul tell the Philippian jailer that he needed to be baptized when asked how to be saved? Don’t you think Paul would have mentioned that when the man asked him in earnest “What must I do to be saved?” YES! If someone asked me how to get to the hospital because they had a child who was not breathing, I wouldn’t merely tell them how to get halfway there! No sirree, Bob! I’d tell them exactly how to get there right then! Their child’s life hangs in the balance! In this passage in Acts, we see an eternal soul hanging in the balance – in this case, it’s the jailer who was going to kill himself when he thought Paul and Silas had escaped. Paul wasn’t going to tell him half the plan of salvation, or a wrong plan of salvation. We can trust Paul to give accurate and clear instructions on how to be saved: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
In a society where we feel like we must earn everything we have, this sounds too easy. Shouldn’t we do something? Like get baptized? You know, to sort of seal the deal?
Baptism is a work of man, and salvation is a work that can be done only by God through His Son, Jesus. (Eph. 2:8-9) We cannot do anything to gain favor with God. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Okay, you get the idea. 😉
Is Baptism important? Yes! As believers, we must follow Christ’s example and be baptized. We want to show the world that we believe the Gospel. Just like my husband wears a wedding band to show he’s “taken”, baptism shows the world that we’re “taken”; we belong to Christ!
And just a side note here, if believing on Christ plus baptism saves a person, then wouldn’t that make John the Baptist greater than the Lord Jesus? He is, after all, the one who baptized Jesus? And, didn’t John the Baptist say he wasn’t worthy to even unloose the shoes of the Lamb of God? (John 1:27) John isn’t greater than my Lord. Christ is all I need to enter Heaven. As the song says, “Jesus paid it all!”
I hope I’m not upsetting anyone with this post. I just love people. I want everyone to go to Heaven someday.
Don’t depend on baptism to save you. Trust Christ and Christ alone, today!