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The main things everyone should know about baptism are that immersion is the only baptism and that it is absolutely necessary for forgiveness of sins.
There is some confusion over what is necessary for the act of baptism to be fulfilled. Some say anything having to do with water (Immersion, pouring, sprinkling) is enough for baptism. The Bible, however; states clearly that it’s immersion and immersion only.
The main reason why there is confusion is that the words baptism and baptize were transliterated from the original Greek version of the new testament instead of translated.
Transliteration means taking a word from one language and making it look like it’s from another language and use the definition of the word from the other language. A lot of times this occurs because the words in question don’t have a direct translation or someone or some group chooses transliteration over translation.
As an example let’s use the words in question, Baptism and Baptize. If you look back at the original Greek version of the New Testament you will find that the word Baptize was taken from Baptizo and the word Baptism was taken from Baptisma. The definitions of both words is exactly the same, immersion.
In this case the transliterated forms were used because other words like Baptiza and Baptismo, which mean sprinkling or pouring, are similar in meaning and spelling. This allows some to justify, in their own minds, things other than what are in the Bible as valid forms of Baptism.
All the Apostles were baptized. They were all, with the exception of Paul, chosen directly from the followers of John. John was sent by God to baptize believers for the remission of their sins.
John the Baptist was speaking of God the Father in John 1:33 “I did not know him, but he who sent me to Baptize with water said to me ‘upon whom you see the spirit descending, and remaining on him, this is He who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
Then Luke 3:3 is speaking of John when it says “And he went into all the region surrounding the Jordan, preaching a Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Paul even confirms this in Acts 19:4 when he said “John indeed Baptized with a Baptism of repentance, saying to them that they should believe on the one who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Then in Acts 22 Paul was recounting his conversion. After Christ blinded him, he was led into the city of Damascus and he spent three days fasting and praying then a disciple by the name of Annanias was then sent to him by God to return his sight.
Afterward, Annanias said to him in verse 16 “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be Baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
If baptism is not necessary for salvation why would Annanias tell him to be baptized and wash away his sins?
On the day of Pentecost, as told in Acts 2, Peter preached the Gospel and quoted the prophet Joel and he said in verse 21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
In verse 37 of the same chapter, those who were listening to Peter’s sermon asked him and the rest of the Apostles “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter spoke up in verse 38 and said “Repent and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins.” On that day 3000 men and thousands of women and children were baptized.
Why did Peter tell them to be baptized for the remission of sins when the Apostles were asked by the crowd what they must do to be saved? Didn’t he just get done saying in verse 37 that only calling on the name of the Lord is necessary to be saved?
The reason is obviously that there is more involved in calling on the name of the Lord than just stating that you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and vocally inviting him into your life. That’s part of it and so is baptism.
When Peter was sent to Cornelius in Acts is another example. In Acts 11:13-14, Peter is talking about Cornelius when he says “And he said to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and he said to him ‘Send men to Joppa. Call for Simon who surname is Peter.
For he will speak words by which you and all your household will be saved.” This means that there was at least one thing that Peter would tell Cornelius and his family that they needed to know in order to be saved.
Back in Acts 10, up to verse 33 it only shows the sequence of events that led to Peter going to Cornelius. In verses 36-37 it says “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all- “that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began after the baptism which John preached:”
From here through verse 43 Peter goes over what they already knew as a starting point to what he had to say to them.
In verse 44-46, it tells how the Holy Spirit descended on those who were listening to Peter and they began to speak with tongues and exhibit other signs that the Holy Spirit worked through them. Some think that because, they received the Holy Spirit at this point, that means they were saved.
At this point in Acts 10 Peter has not told Cornelius or his household, anything at all that they don’t already know. Remember from Acts 11, the reason why Peter was sent by God to Cornelius was to tell him and his household something that they needed to know to be saved.
Then in Acts 10:47-48 it says, “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.”
The only thing that Peter told Cornelius and his household that they didn’t already know was that they should be baptized. If baptism is not necessary for salvation, then there was no reason for God to send Peter to Cornelius, he already knew everything else.
God is not in the habit of wasting people’s time, especially when that person was an Apostle.
There are three instances that Jesus Christ forgave sins seemingly without baptism. First, there is no evidence whatsoever ever that they weren’t. The Bible does not list the names of those that were Baptized by John.
Let alone by all those who were Baptized by those who were Baptized by John, etc., etc., etc… Jesus Christ, Paul, Cornelius, Lydia, along with a couple others are among the very few instances in the Bible that it records the name of those who were Baptized.
On the day of Pentecost after Jesus died and was resurrected alone, the Bible records that 3000 were baptized.
What were their names? No one short of God and those who are currently in Heaven know because their names were never recorded. To say that Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, the woman in Acts 8 that was caught in the very act of adultery and the paralytic in Matthew 9 without Baptism is not provable.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that Christ forgave them without Baptism. Hebrews 9:16 says “For where there is a testament there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
Christ had the power, while he was here, to forgive sins anyway that he wanted to. Take the example of the Paralytic in Matthew 9. Christ, in verse 2 healed the paralytic by saying “Son be of good Cheer your sins are forgiven you.”
The scribes then said to themselves that he blasphemed. Christ responded in verse 4; “Why do you think evil in your hearts.” Then in verse 6; “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on Earth to forgive sins.” If he said they were forgiven they were.
Now since the New Covenant is in place and Christ is in Heaven sins aren’t forgiven this way anymore.
Here’s an example. Someone gives out a car to someone while they are alive. Then after they pass away, they have in their will that he will give anyone a car who wants one if they are Baptized. After that person passes away, should the car be given out to someone who is not Baptized? Of Course not.
Why? Because that’s not what the will says. Christ’s will is the New Testament and now that he is in Heaven, the only way to have your sins forgiven is to follow what the New Testament says you need to do to be forgiven which is to be buried with Christ in Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12).