In our two previous lessons on baptism we have focused on the flaws of objections to baptism. In today's study we want to look at what other Scriptures that we have not previously looked at tell us about the believer's need for Christian baptism.
In Romans chapter six the Apostle Paul gives us several powerful statements concerning what baptism does for us. Turn to Rom. 6:3-6, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."
The first significant truth that Paul shares with us is that "we are baptized into Christ." This same image of us putting on Christ is also stated in Gal. 3:27, where Paul states, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." To say that "we have put on Christ" is to establish that we have a new identity in Christ. Secondly Paul in v. 4 tells us that in baptism we experience a death. This death is equated by Paul in v.6 to be "the old man of sin" being "crucified" with Christ. In Col. 3:3, Paul writes, "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Again a death has occurred and we are hidden or covered by Christ Jesus! This is how it can be said that we "walk in newness of life." Thirdly in v.5 it is plainly stated that "if we are united in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection." The meaning here is that as Christ was resurrected so to in like manner we will be resurrected. But only if we have also shared in the likeness of His death! And finally, we are now held in captivity by sin (v.6). This is not just our release from the sinful habits we have, but also, and more importantly we are set free from the consequences of sin; which is death, Rom. 6:23.
In 1 Peter 3:20,21 we read, "who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an anti-type which now saves us- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Here Peter is drawing a comparison between the ark which saved Noah and his family and baptism which now is the final step in the process of our salvation. Peter states that baptism is the anti-type of the ark. But what does that mean? In Col. 2:16,17 we read, "So let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ." The OT covenant was full of types and shadows; less than perfect ceremonies, observances and food and drink laws. Each of these types in the OT have a more perfect anti-type in the New covenant of Christ. In this case the ark was a less than perfect version of baptism because the salvation it gave was only temporary. Ultimately Noah and his family would die. On the other hand, the anti-type, baptism now saves more perfectly; for it saves us eternally. We must note that while both work "through water", it is incorrect to say we are saved by water. In fact Peter states "but the answer of a good conscience toward God." In other words; we are not saved by the water, but in the act of baptism we have properly answered or said "yes" to His offer to save us. We can conclude from this passage, just as Martin Luther did that "in the waters of baptism we receive the forgiveness of our sins."
Finally, let's take a quick look at what Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) stated that he was told by Ananias that he must do. In Acts 22:10 Saul states that the Lord told him, "Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do." Again remember this is the Lord Jesus speaking to Saul. He makes it clear to Saul that he (Saul) will be "told all things which are appointed for you to do." This means simply; whatever Ananias tells you, that you MUST DO! In 22:16 after Ananias has told Saul of the plans that God has for his new life in Christ, he then tells Saul in the form of an imperative command, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord."
Though God had Saul's future mapped out we find there was one thing that Saul had to do. He had to be baptized. This baptism was to "wash away" his sins. Here the effect of baptism presented by Ananias is the same as the effect of baptism presented by Peter on Pentecost. To achieve the removal of his sins or the forgiveness of sins. Ananias also here equates the act of baptism as "calling on the name of the Lord", quite similar as the "answer of a good conscience toward God" in 1 Pe. 3:21; in each case it is the Lord who grants this salvation through the act of baptism as opposed to the physical act being the agent of our salvation.
Did your obedience to the invitation of our Lord's salvation include being "baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins?" If not, Triad Church of Christ would love to help steer you into the proper form of obedience to the gospel of Christ. Let us know either with a call or by e-mail how we can assist you in taking that final step of obedience that you might know that you are saved!God bless, David Miller