Scriptures and Footnotes...

On Baptism

"He who has believed and[1] has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water[2] and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (John 3:5)

"And Peter said to them, 'Repent[3], and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38)

"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death[4]? 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[5]" (Romans 6:3,4).

"having been buried[6] with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith[7] in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration[8] and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).

"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you[9], not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21).


[1] Let us not overlook this important, little conjunction "and"; for with it, Jesus connects faith with baptism in order to result in salvation. Faith without baptism will not save -- and neither will baptism without faith.

[2] In the context, Jesus declares that one must be "born again" before one can enter the kingdom of God. This verse shows that that is to be by "the water and the Spirit." The only way we ever see water being used in the New Testament in connection with entrance into the kingdom (or being saved) is in the act of water baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

[3] From this verse, we also see the need for repentance to be coupled with baptism. They are both to be done for the same purpose, and that is for "the forgiveness of sins." So just as one is not forgiven prior to repentance, neither is one forgiven before being baptized.

[4] Through baptism we contact the benefits of the death of Christ -- salva tion by His blood, by His death.

[5] Baptism is "in order that...we too might walk in newness of life," which is talking about the new life in Christ that one receives, being a "new creature" in the Lord. Becoming a Christian, therefore, does not result until after baptism.

[6] Baptism is to be a "burial." This is also noted in the Greek word "bapti zo," from which are English word has been transliterated. It means to "dip, plunge, or immerse." Sprinkling or pouring, therefore, does not fulfill the word's meaning.

[7] The idea of being "raised up with Him [Christ] by faith" expresses again that we begin our new life through baptism. Plus, this verse also points out the need for us to believe in the "working of God." In other words, before we are baptized, we must believe that God will wash away our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ if we submit to baptism; and after we are baptized, we must believe that God has done so, and we have become Christians.

[8] Interestingly, this is exactly what Jesus was talking about in John 3:3-5, though with different wording. "Regeneration" means "spiritual rebirth," being "born again." The "washing" or this regeneration is speaking of the water that is necessary for Bible baptism. Not only does one think of water when one thinks of "washing," but this is also the element which the Bible shows a necessity for baptism. Actually, as one preacher has said, "There is not one drop of water in the word 'baptism' [itself]" The only way we know that water is to be in it is from other verses in the Bible that reveal water as being the element used to baptize in. As the Ethiopian eunuch said, "Here's water, what hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). And John baptized in Aenon near Salim "because there was much water there" (John 3:23). See also Acts 10:47.

[9] Clearly, we are told that " saves you." For anyone to say that it doesn't, is to be in direct opposition to what God's word declares on the matter. In this verse, we learn that baptism saves as "an appeal to God for a clear conscience." In other words, since the term "appeal" means "to ask for help, support, mercy, etc.," one is "calling on the Lord" through the act of baptism (along with faith, repentance, and confession of faith in Christ).