Baptism and Babies
TEXT: Romans 6:3-6
AIM: To deal with issues surrounding baptism
Christian baptism, according to the Bible,
is an outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer’s
life. It identifies one with Christ and depicts salvation—dying with
Christ and being raised to eternal life with Him. Therefore, Christian baptism
illustrates the Gospel identifying the believer with Jesus Christ’s
death, burial, and resurrection.
In contrast to sprinkling or pouring water,
N.T., water baptism of a believer ALWAYS means immersion in water. The action
of being immersed in the water pictures being buried with Christ and the action
of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
3:23 John the Baptist was baptizing needed much water for baptism. The
early Christians baptized by going down into the water. In Acts 8:38 – Philip “commanded the chariot to stand still”
and both he and the eunuch went down both into the water baptizing him by
putting him down and bring him up out of the water. The word baptism means immersion
i.e. submerge, dip, plunge and is called “burial”
in Rom. 6:4 and Col. 2:12.
is no N.T. support for the practice of sprinkling or pouring.
of these practices corrupt the proper symbolism of the ordinance.
Water baptism is a picture and public
testimony of spiritual realities.
It is called a “figure”
in 1 Pet. 3:21. John the
Baptist’s baptism was a public testimony of repentance and identification
with his message (Mt. 3:1-10). Likewise, Christian baptism is a testimony of
faith in Christ (Acts 8:34-38; 16:30-34) and repentance (Acts 2:37-38).
In N.T. baptism, there should be three
requirements before a person is baptized:
person being baptized must have repented of sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as
person must understand what baptism signifies, and
person’s life must publicly evidence the professed repentance.
26:20 Paul preached to the Gentiles “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
When John the Baptist “saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
come to his baptism,” in Mat
said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the
wrath to come? Bring forth therefore
fruits meet for repentance.” He like Paul expected that
authentic salvation resulted from genuine faith and repentance evidenced by the
fruit of a changed life.
If a person has come to know the Lord Jesus
as Saviour, understands that Christian baptism is a step of obedience in
publicly proclaiming his faith in Christ, and desires to be baptized in
obedience to His command – then there is no reason to prevent the
believer from being baptized.
According to the Bible, believer’s
baptism is simply a step of obedience, a public proclamation of one’s
faith in Christ alone for salvation. Christian baptism is important because it
is a step of obedience – publicly declaring faith in Christ and
commitment to Him, and identification with Christ’s death, burial, and
Age has no limit on obedience. If a child
is old enough to know they are a sinner and is in need of salvation, then they
are old enough to request baptism.
In Acts 2:41-42 baptism is seen as a door
into the local church. Typically, N.T. Baptist churches, in following the
pattern of the Jerusalem church, receive members upon their public profession
of faith and scriptural baptism. It is no different with us.
There are a number of issues and questions
around and about the doctrine and topic of baptism that I would like to
address. Some of the questions would easily make a sermon or Bible study all on
their merit, but I am going to try to give short answers, yet comprehensive
“Is baptism necessary for salvation?
What is baptismal regeneration?”
Both questions can be answered in dealing
with the subject of baptismal regeneration.
A. Baptismal regeneration is the belief that a person
must be baptized in order to be saved.
Baptism is an
important step of obedience for a Christian, but Scripture adamantly rejects
baptism as being required for salvation.
strongly teach that each and every Christian should be baptized by immersion in
water AFTER salvation.
illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death,
burial, and resurrection in Romans 6:3-4 NOT the reverse!
The action of
being immersed in the water illustrates burial with Christ, while the action of
coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
addition to faith in Jesus Christ as being required for salvation is a
works-based salvation. To add ANYTHING to the Gospel is to say that
Jesus’ death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation.
To say we must be
baptized in order to be saved, is to say that we must add our own good works
and obedience to Christ’s death, in order to make it sufficient for
death alone paid for our sins
5:8 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for
5:21 – “For He hath
made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him.”
payment for our sins is appropriated to our “account” by faith
3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
16:31 – “…Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy
2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works…”
baptism is an important step of obedience after salvation, BUT cannot be a
requirement for salvation.
B. Are not there some verses that seem to indicate
baptism as a necessary requirement for salvation?
reading may give that impression, however, since the Bible so clearly tells us
that salvation is received by faith alone as in John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9 and
as in Titus 3:5
were is says, “Not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he
saved us…” there must be an incorrect interpretation of
those verses to think we are saved by baptism as Scripture does not contradict Scripture.
In Bible times,
when a person who converted from a false religion to Christ was baptized it
identified them with their conversion to a saving faith in Christ.
Baptism was the
means of making a decision public.
Those who refused
to be baptized were saying they did not truly believe.
So, in the minds of the apostles and early disciples, the idea of an
un-baptized believer was unheard of.
When a person
claimed to believe in Christ, yet was ashamed to proclaim his faith in public,
it indicated that he did not have true faith.
If baptism were
necessary for salvation, the Apostle Paul made some strange contradictory
1 Cor. 1:14 – “I thank God
that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius”
1 Cor. 1:17 – “For Christ
sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words,
lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
Granted, in this
verses Paul is arguing against the divisions that plagued the Corinthian
church. However, how could Paul possibly say, “I thank God that I baptized none of
you…” or “For Christ sent me not to baptize…”
if baptism were necessary for salvation?
If baptism is
necessary for salvation, Paul would literally be saying, “I am thankful
that you were not saved…” and “For Christ did not send me to
save…” That would be an unbelievably ridiculous statement for Paul
When Paul gave a
detailed outline of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 he neglect to mention
baptism. If baptism is a requirement for salvation, how could any presentation
of the Gospel lack a mentioning of baptism?
Other point to
Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21 and John 3:5 as teaching that baptism is
necessary for salvation. BUT lets remember some basic truths
A clear truth or
doctrine understood through out Scripture is not nullified by verses whose
meanings are obscure or unclear. We always start from the known and move to the
The writers of
Scripture are communicating their thoughts in words, and their goal is to
communicate thoughts in the clearest possible way.
The writers are
not trying to confuse us. God is not the author of confusion—confusion is
a tactic of Satan.
meaning, which is clearest and most evident, is to be understood as what is
The Bible is its
own interpreter, i.e. the Scripture interprets Scripture.
regeneration is not a Biblical concept. Baptism DOES NOT
save from sin, BUT from a bad conscience. Peter
clearly taught that baptism was not a ceremonial act of physical purification,
but the pledge of a good conscience toward God in 1Pet. 3:21.
Baptism is the
symbol of what has already occurred in the heart and life of one who has
trusted Christ as Saviour.
6:3-5 – “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into
Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? …that like as Christ was
raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk
in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his
death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Gal. 3:27 – “For
as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Colossians 2:12 – “Buried with
him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the
operation of God…”
To make the
source of salvation perfectly clear, Peter added, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pet.
Baptism is an
important step of obedience that every Christian should take. Baptism cannot be
a requirement for salvation. To make it such is an attack on the sufficiency of
the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“What does the Bible say about infant baptism?”
A. There is much confusion about baptism in the various
confusion about baptism is not a result of the Bible presenting a confusing
message on baptism.
The Bible is
abundantly clear of what baptism is, whom it is for, and what it accomplishes.
In the Bible,
ONLY repentant believers who had placed their faith in Christ were
baptized—as a public testimony of their faith and identification with
Water baptism by
immersion is a step of obedience after faith in Christ. It is a proclamation of
faith in Christ, a statement of submission to Him, and an identification with
His death, burial, and resurrection as seen in our text in Romans 6:3-4.
When folks were
brought under the conviction of their sin in Acts 2:38 – “Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of
The word repent
means “to change one’s mind.” Here, as though out Scripture,
one aspect of conversion is commonly used to represent all aspects: believing
and calling as well as repenting.
name for the figure of speech that allows part of something to represent the
whole or vice versa is called syn•ec•do•che, as in Arsenal won by four goals (meaning
“Arsenal’s football team”).
something a person MUST DO! In Acts
17:30 Paul in forms us that God has “now commandeth ALL
men EVERY where to repent.”
There are several
reason’s why “be baptised” in Acts 2:38 SHOULD NOT be joined with for the remission of sins” to
teach baptismal regeneration.
The context of
this passage demonstrates that ONLY the repentance is connected with the
removal of sin at salvation – SEE >> Vs. 21.
next recorded sermon states in Acts 3:19
“Repent…be converted, that
your sins maybe blotted out…” A change of mind about
sin, self and Jesus as the Saviour results in a change of action. To be
“converted” by faith one turns from sin to God.
Through out Acts
men demonstrated their faith and salvation prior to baptism – SEE >>Acts 10:43-47.
d. Salvation passages throughout the NT do not include
water baptism in the salvation experience.
John 3:16 – “For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life.”
Acts 16:31 – “…BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved…”
Rom. 4:4 – “…Abraham
BELIEVED God, and it was counted
unto him for righteousness.”
1Pet. 1:18-19 – “Forasmuch as
ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19] But
with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without
TURN back to Acts 2:38 which can rightly read,
“Repent for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift which is
the Holy Spirit; and let each of you be baptized in the name of Christ.”
Through water baptism does not save or wash away sins, it is a command that
needs to be obeyed speedily after conversion. Jesus
commanded it – Acts 2:41.
Mat. 28:19-20 – “Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20] Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the
end of the world. Amen.”
B. With this understanding of Scripture, we need to
realise that infant baptism is not a Biblical practice.
An infant cannot
place his or her faith in Christ—i.e. trust Christ – Eph. 1:12-13
It is unconscious
as to who is its mother no less as to who Christ is.
In is incapable
to know it is a sinner to make a conscious decision to obey Christ for
An infant cannot
understand the need of the gospel no less what water baptism symbolizes.
d. Therefore it is impossible for the infant to inherit
the Holy Spirit the seal of redemption.
The Bible DOES
NOT record any infants being baptized.
Infant baptism is
the sprinkling, pouring or immersion of infants for the purpose of imparting to
them spiritual blessing of some sort.
exact purpose of baptising infants differs from group to group, but almost always it implies that the child thereby receives some
special spiritual blessing, if not full salvation.
For those who
don’t immerse, the method of infant baptism fails to agree with the
Bible. How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus Christ?
uses the wrong mode—sprinkling or pouring and uses the wrong
subject—infants unable to believe and be born again. The Bible teaches
repeatedly that one must first believe before being baptized.
C. Who practices infant baptism?
Infant baptism is
practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, the various groups representing Eastern
Orthodoxy, as well as by most of the denominations that withdrew from Rome
during the Protestant Reformation, including Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian,
and Methodist. These denominations baptize infants and confess that the
children are thereby imparted certain spiritual blessings.
CHURCH: “By Baptism all sins are
forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for
sin. …The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that
assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect
the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized
are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit.’ God has bound salvation to
the sacrament of Baptism…Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but
also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son of God,
who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ
and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. …From the
baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant” (The New Catholic Catechism, 1994, #
ORTHODOX: “We confess one baptism for the
remission of sins” (Constantinopolitan
[or Nicene] Creed, 381). “Our
sacraments, however, not only contain grace, but also confer it on those who
receive them worthily…Through baptism we are spiritually reborn”
(Council of Florence, 1438-45). “When one asserts his faith in the Son of
God, the Son of the Ever Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, he accepts first of
all the words of faith into his heart, confesses them orally, sincerely repents
for his former sins and washes them away in the sacrament of Baptism. Then God
the Word enters the baptized one, as though into the womb of the Blessed Virgin
and remains in him like a seed” (The
Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church, Issue No. 4,
1980). “Sacraments…are not simply symbols of divine grace, but sure
agents and means of its transmission. …[through baptism one] becomes a
member of the church of Christ, being liberated from the controlling power of
sin, and being reborn in the new creation in Christ” (International Eastern Orthodox-Old Catholic
Theological Dialogue Commission, 1985).
effects forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and grants
eternal salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.
…It is not the water that produces these effects, but the Word of God
connected with the water, and our faith which relies on the Word of God
connected with the water” (Luther’s
Small Catechism, 1529, IV). “It is taught among us that Baptism is
necessary and that grace is offered through it. Children, too, should be
baptized, for in Baptism they are committed to God and become acceptable to
him. On this account the Anabaptists who teach that infant
Baptism is not right are rejected” (The Augsburg Confession, 1530, IX). “Being by nature sinners,
infants as well as adults, need to be baptized. Every child that is baptized is
begotten anew of water and of the Spirit, is placed in covenant relation with
God, and is made a child of God and an heir of his heavenly kingdom”
(Baptism formula used by Lutheran pastors in baptizing infants, The New Analytical Bible and Dictionary of the
Bible, Chicago: John A. Dickson Publishing Co., 1973).
The August 2001 issue of The Berean Call contains the following
warning from a reader of that publication: “Enclosed is my ‘Memento
and Certificate of Baptism’ and my daughter’s ‘Certificate of
Holy Baptism,’ both as babies into the Lutheran Church. As you can see,
my certificate was printed by the Missouri Synod’s Concordia Publishing
House and reads, ‘In Baptism full salvation has been given unto you; God
has become your Father, and you have become His child.’ My
daughter’s reads, ‘You are a child of God because God has made you
His child through this act. All of God’s promises belong to you as you
live under Him in His Kingdom.’ You must know that Luther’s
Catechism, used in every Lutheran Synod, declares concerning the
‘Sacrament of Baptism,’ that ‘it works forgiveness of sins,
delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who
believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.’ It also states
regarding the ‘Sacrament of the Altar’ [the Lord’s Supper],
‘namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation
are given us through these words.’”
is a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that
receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the
forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy
Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed. …The Baptism of young Children is
in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the
institution of Christ” (The
Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, XXV, XXVII).
“Sacraments are…signs of grace…by the which he doth work
invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our
faith in him. …Baptism…is also a sign of regeneration, or the new
birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church” (The Articles of Religion, 1784, XVI,
REFORMED: “We condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that young infants, born of
faithful parents, are to be baptized. …We therefore are not Anabaptists,
neither do we agree with them in any point that is theirs” (The Second Helvetic Confession, 1566,
“Baptism…is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his
ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins…Dipping of
the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered
by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person. Not only those that do actually
profess faith in and obedience to Christ, but also the infants of one or both
believing parents are to be baptized. …by the right use of this ordinance
the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by
the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth
unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed
time” (The Westminster Confession of
Faith, 1646, XXVIII).
10. WORLD COUNCIL
OF CHURCHES: “Through baptism, Christians are
brought into union with Christ, with each other, and with the Church of every
time and place. Our common baptism, which unites us to Christ in faith, is thus
a basic bond of unity” (Baptism,
Eucharist and Ministry, 1982).
D. Many professed Christians who practice infant baptism
do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of
In this view,
just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so
baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ.
view is unbiblical. The New Testament nowhere
describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant
The NT nowhere
describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant.
It is faith in
Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant.
It is the
Lord’s Supper—the cup is the new
testament in Jesus’ blood that symbolises the New Covenant (1
Baptism does not
save a person. It does not matter if you were baptized by immersion, pouring,
or sprinkling—if you have not first trusted in Christ for salvation,
baptism (no matter the method) is meaningless and useless.
Water baptism by
immersion is a step of obedience to be done after salvation as a public
profession of faith in Christ and identification with Him.
does not fit the Biblical definition of baptism or the Biblical method of
parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service
is entirely appropriate.
However, even if
infants are dedicated to the Lord, when they grow up they will still have to
make a personal decision to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
III. Question: “When should children be baptized
and/or allowed to take the Lord’s Supper?”
A. Baptismal candidates of all ages need instruction in
the meaning of baptism.
instruction in doctrine and the meaning of the ordinances before being allowed
instruction and preparation of the children should be given in the home and
supplemented with formal instruction by the local church.
B. Before taking communion, the main requirement for all
children (as with all adults) is that they have received the Lord Jesus Christ
as their Saviour.
Even though some
children make a salvation decision at an early age, being baptized and
partaking of the Lord’s Supper should not be rushed into.
instruction of the children in all areas of life is the father’s
responsibility and only falls to the mother or guardian in default.
As a child
matures in his faith and it is evident that he is truly born again, the father and/or mother should
be perceptive as to when the child is ready to take on the responsibilities of
a church member. We need to remember the spiritual maturity level of one child
differs from that of another, even in the same family.
Although this is an OT story, the truth is still applicable.
8:1-8, we read the account of Ezra, the scribe, reading the Law to the
people of Israel. He read it to the men and women and all who were able to
understand – Vs. 2-3, 8.
we learn that these included their sons and daughters. And so it must be today!
It is most important that our children
understand spiritual truths, and only wise Christian parents can discern when that
When the parents
of a child make it known to the pastor that he/she wants to be baptized, the
pastor speaks with the child ensuring if he/she is ready.
It is vitally
important that a child understands that neither baptism nor communion saves
him/her, but rather they are steps of obedience and remembrance of what Jesus
did for us in providing for our salvation.
Teach that bread of the communion table symbolise our Lord’s body and the
cup is the new testament of His blood and BOTH are to be taken in remembrance of Him.
C. Only regenerate persons, baptised on a profession of
their faith in Christ, and living in a godly, Christian manner as members of a
local church, have a right to, or can properly partake in the communion of the
This means that
baptism and church membership are prerequisites to the Supper and the local
church has the duty to judge the qualifications of those who enjoy its
Where does the
Bible teach this? – 1 Cor.
IV. Question: “What does the Bible say about being a
A. Traditionally, the godparents were counted informally
responsible for ensuring that the child’s religious education was carried
out, and for caring for the child should he/she be orphaned.
Today, the word “godparent”
may not have explicitly religious overtones.
(particularly) modern definition of a godparent is “an individual chosen
by the parents to take a vested interest in raising a more complete human
godparent is not a legal position, and should the parents seriously intend the
godparents are to act as foster parents in case of their death, a will or
solicitor must legally specify this such as.
B. Godparenting is usually associated with a baptism or a
christening ceremony in some Christian denominations.
godparenting or godparents is not addressed in Scripture.
entirely a tradition, neither condemned nor condoned in Scripture.
It should be
obvious that for one to be a spiritual guide as to parent a child for God, they
need to be godly.
This means they
should be saved.
They should be
Bible-believers who practice the Scriptures.
should be baptised by immersion.
belong to a Bible-believing church and in good fellowship with it being faithful
In those circles
where godparents are chosen, they are sometimes called “sponsors.”
Since the baby or small child is not able to speak for himself, the sponsors
may erroneously make the statement of faith in Jesus Christ for the baby or child.
requires an individual to have his/her own faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Baptism is a
symbol of one’s trust in Jesus. It is a public declaration of believing
in Christ and is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and
being raised to live for Him. Therefore, godparenting is NOT
biblically in agreement with the baptism ordinance for believers.
No one else can
speak for a baby or small child as to his or her salvation.
Salvation must be
a personal decision, and the one making it must be old enough to understand
what he/she is doing and its significance.
To believe the
Bible and it’s teaching on baptism, it is not possible for the concept of
godparenting to be compatible with it.
somehow serving as godparent could be connected with believer’s baptism,
or separated from baptism entirely, as in a baby dedication, then godparenting
could be appropriate and acceptable.
V. Question: “What does the Bible say about
A. Confirmation is defined as a sacrament, a ritual or a
service performed by man.
traditions, generally Catholic and Anglican, the sacrament of confirmation is
the ritual by which a baptized person, esp. one baptized as an infant, affirms
their belief the teachings of the denomination officially being admitted as a
full member of the church.
sometimes includes the bestowal of a “confirmation name,” generally
the name of a saint, which is often used as a second middle name.
practice confirmation believe it signals the initiation of the baptized into
full church membership and a personal, mature acceptance of the faith.
Anglicans recognize confirmation as one of seven sacraments necessary for
however, is silent on the matter of such a ritual.
The fact is—the idea that a person can “confirm” to another
that he/she is in the faith is denied in Scripture.
B. Each individual must determine the state of his/her
soul based on several criteria.
First, we are
confirmed by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. Rom. 8:16 – “The Spirit
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
When we accept
Christ as Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts
and gives us assurance that He is present and that we belong to Him.
It is He who
teaches and explains spiritual things to us (1 Cor. 2:13-14), thereby confirms
that we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
We are also
confirmed in the faith by the evidence of our salvation.
1John 1:5-10 tells us that
the evidence of our salvation is manifested in our lives: “we walk in the Light, as He is in the
light, we have fellowship one with another.”
Therefore, we do
not habitually practice sin and when we do sin, we confess it to our “Advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1).
James 2 makes it
clear that the evidence of faith is the works we do. Our works does not save
us, but our works are the evidence of the saving faith in us. Jesus said, “Wherefore by
their fruits ye shall know them.” (Mt 7:20).
fruit produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is the confirmation
that He lives within us. Therefore, we are told to “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the
faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus
Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5)
i.e. you fail the test!
Peter tells us to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure”
so that we will receive an abundantly rich welcome “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).
“confirmation” of our salvation is, of course, in the future. Those
who are true Christians, the Bible tells us, will persevere to the end, eagerly
for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the
end” (1 Cor. 1:7-8).
and trusted Christ as our Saviour, we “were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is
the earnest of our inheritance [i.e. our guarantee] until the redemption
of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).
This, then, is
the true meaning of confirmation—our salvation was purchased by the blood
of Christ in whom we have faith, which is evidenced by our walk with Him, and
it is confirmed to us by the Holy Spirit within us.
Conclude with this Question: “What If I was baptized
unbiblically. Do I need to be rebaptized?”
A. The Bible is very clear about baptism.
There are two points we all need to understand.
Baptism is to
take place after a person has received Jesus Christ as Saviour, trusting in Him
alone for salvation.
Baptism is to be
The word baptize
literally means to “immerse / submerge in water.”
immersion is the only method of baptism that adequately illustrates what
baptism symbolizes—believers dying, being buried with Christ, and being
raised to newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).
B. With those two key points in mind, what about those
who were baptized unbiblically?
Someone who was baptized before he/she became a Christian.
of this are those who were baptized as infants, or those who were baptized
later in life, but did not truly know Jesus as Saviour when they were baptized.
instances, yes, such a person definitely needs to be rebaptized. Again, the
Bible states that baptism is post-salvation. The symbolism of baptism is lost
if a person has not truly experienced salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
Someone had a form of baptism after faith in Christ, but in a mode other than
immersion, the issue comes down to the fact that such a person did not truly
receive biblical baptism.
If the method was
sprinkling or pouring, it does not fit the definition of baptism. Again, the
word baptize means “to submerge in water.”
Bible nowhere specifically addresses those who have been baptized but not
immersed. Why, because there is no other mode than immersion.
Third instance is
covered more or less under the second where someone was baptised by the wrong
authority. The mode was correct–by immersion and subject was
correct–a saved believer, but authority is wrong–not by a local
All these issues,
then, are a matter of a believer’s personal relationship with God. A
believer who has followed a church ritual or religious ceremony, having been
baptized unbiblically, should immediately follow the Lord in believer’s
baptism joining the church that baptises them.
believer’s conscience is unsure in any detail, it would be best to go
ahead and be rebaptized biblically to put the conscience at ease.
Rom. 14:23 – “He
that doubteth is damned…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
30 Mar. 2008