Monday, July 13, 2009

Baptism - Is It Important?

Tiger, I believe in God already. Isn't being Baptized just another ritual?

Mark 16:16 (NKJV, unless mentioned otherwise)

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

But Tiger, I believe I've received the gift of the Holy Spirit already - Baptism is not necessary!

Acts 10

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

No Tiger, Baptism is just a matter of personal opinion.

Yes! It is all about personal opinion, but it's Christ's opinion that matters, not ours!

John 3:5

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Luke 7

24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written:

‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist;
but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
Ah Ha! I've got you now, Tiger! The "Thief" was never Baptized!

Yes! And people sometimes die before they get around to Baptism. Pastors and Priests give last rites on death beds, young people die in war, etc. Have you ever noticed, the "Thief" never had a chance to right his wrongs, to return the stolen goods. It's interesting that people will use legalistic arguments while complaining about others being "legalistic", isn't it?

God holds us responsible for what we can do and realizes the limitations of "dust". He doesn't require a physical impossibility. How do I know this?

Psalm 103:14

14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

Ezekiel 33:15

15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

So, what you're really saying is that Baptism is what "saves" me?

No, Baptism itself does not save anyone, but refusing Baptism when one should be Baptized means disobedience to God.

Hebrews 5:9

9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
I was Baptized as a baby, Tiger - I'm cool!

Sorry, no. No one should be Baptized unless he (1) knows the truth of God, (2) believes it, (3) has repented, and (4) has experienced conversion. (See Acts 8: 34-40) A child cannot do this.

Note: Your Bible version may not have Acts 8:37. If this is true, I would get another Bible. I recommend the New King James. Your Bible doesn't have verse 37 because that particular denomination or sect wanted to justify infant Baptism and uses that "tainted" (incomplete) version.

OK Tiger, but I've been sprinkled, anointed with olive oil, been "dipped" 3 times, been baptized over the phone, paid for and received my baptismal certificate in the mail, have had wine poured on my head, and have been doused with salt! I'm good now - right!

No, sorry. You know the popular saying don't you, WWJD, "what would Jesus do"? IMO, it really should say WDJD, "What Did Jesus Do"! Another good one is, WDJS, "What Did Jesus Say"!

For reference I'll ask the reader to look these up: John 3:23 and 1 Peter 2:21. BTW, the Greek word used in the Bible for Baptism is "Baptizo". What does it literally mean?

"to dip under or submerge or immerse"
Some Parting thoughts ...

The Holy Bible is replete with what are called "types", or allegories. The Great Flood in the days of Noah was an allegory to an "earthly" Baptism; a renewal. Moses' people were "Baptized" while crossing the Jordan River into the promised land. Remember that Moses himself was not allowed. Does that mean he is not saved? No, I don't think so. John the Baptist baptized Jesus and others. Countless disciples have done the same over time.

What is the final Baptism? A Baptism that none can refuse? The Bible says quite clearly - it's a Baptism of Fire.

The Observer

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