[outline]

For Baptism as a Requirement of Salvation

John 3:5,22-23

  • Jesus said we must be born of water; and after talking with Nicodemus, He went to physically baptize people.

Acts 2:38

  • Repentance and baptism seem to be closely linked to the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Sprit.

Acts 19:3-5

  • Paul physically baptized them again, because their first baptism was of repentance, while the second was in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16

  • Baptism related to forgiveness of sins.

I Peter 3:21

  • It explicitly says baptism saves us. It doesn’t mean that performing a deed saves us; but that in choosing to be baptized, we symbolize choosing God. We can’t just choose God, though, because it still commands baptism.

Against Baptism as a Requirement of Salvation

Matthew 3:11

  • John differentiated between his baptism of water and Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit.

John 3:5

  • If physical baptism is necessary for salvation, and the thief on the cross didn’t have to be physically baptized because he was under the Old Covenant, then all people, including Nicodemus, didn’t need to be physically baptized.
    • Water has often been used figuratively to mean being cleansed, purified, made holy, etc
      • Ephesians 5:26—that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
        • “Washing of water” was a metaphor for cleansing “with the word” of God
      • Titus 3:5— he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
        • Here, “washing of regeneration” is about how Christ regenerative power in us washes us of our past lives.
      • Isaiah 44:3— For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
      • John 7:38— Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
    • http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-John-3-5.html
      • “We should also not lose sight of the fact that when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, the ordinance of Christian baptism was not yet in effect. This important inconsistency in interpreting Scripture is seen when one asks those who believe baptism is required for salvation why the thief on the cross did not need to be baptized to be saved. A common reply to that question is: “The thief on the cross was still under the Old Covenant and therefore not subject to this baptism. He was saved just like anyone else under the Old Covenant.” So, in essence, the same people who say the thief did not need to be baptized because he was “under the Old Covenant” will use John 3:5 as “proof” that baptism is necessary for salvation. They insist that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he must be baptized to be saved, even though he too was under the Old Covenant. If the thief on the cross was saved without being baptized (because he was under the Old Covenant), why would Jesus tell Nicodemus (who was also under the Old Covenant) that he needed to be baptized?”
      • Jesus rebukes Nicodemus in John 3:10 by asking him: “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?” This implies that what Jesus had just told him was something Nicodemus should have known and understood from the Old Testament. What is it that Nicodemus, as a teacher of the Old Testament, should have known and understood?… Jesus rebuked Nicodemus because he failed to recall and understand one of the key Old Testament passages pertaining to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33). Nicodemus should have been expecting this. Why would Jesus have rebuked Nicodemus for not understanding baptism considering the fact that baptism is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament?

Acts 10:47-48

  • Cornelius was saved and received the Holy Spirit before being baptized.

Romans 4:9-12

I Corinthians 1:17

  • Paul came not to baptize but to preach the Word.
    • How is this possible if baptism is necessary for salvation?

Galatians 3:27

  • Because more than one type of baptism is taught in the New Testament, how could this verse be talking about water baptism, looking at its context?
    • http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-Galatians-3-27.html
      • Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Is there any reason from the context of this passage to assume that this is speaking of water baptism? The obvious answer is no. There is no contextual evidence on which to draw that conclusion. We know from Scripture that there is more than one type of baptism taught in the New Testament (Hebrews 6:2), so why should it be assumed this is speaking of water baptism?

I Peter 3:21

  • It seems clear that Peter was saying the “baptism into Christ” is the “pledge of a good conscience towards God” and not the physical act of being dunked.
    • http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-1Peter-3-21.html
      • Yet to Peter or any of the first-century Christians, the idea that a person would confess Christ as his Savior and not be baptized as soon as possible would have been unheard of. Therefore, it is not surprising that Peter would see baptism as almost synonymous with salvation. Yet Peter makes it clear in this verse that it is not the ritual itself that saves, but the fact that we are united with Christ in His resurrection through faith, “the pledge of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

Possible Sources of the Father’s Forgiveness and Receiving the Holy Spirit

God’s Forgiveness

  • Repentance
    • I John 1:9—If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    • James 5:16—Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
    • II Chronicles 7:14—If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
    • Acts 3:19—Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
    • Luke 13:3—No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
    • Proverbs 28:13—Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
    • Acts 2:38—And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    • Acts 8:22—Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
  • Forgiving Others
    • Matthew 6:15—But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Praying for Others
    • James 5:16—Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  • Baptism
    • Acts 2:38—And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    • Acts 22:16—And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

Receiving the Holy Spirit

  • Repentance
    • Acts 2:38—And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Baptism
    • Acts 2:38—And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Loving Jesus and Keeping His Commandments
    • John 14:15-17—“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
  • Asking
    • Luke 11:13—If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
  • Belief
    • Ephesians 1:13—In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

Other Resources

http://www.gotquestions.org/one-baptism.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-Acts-2-38.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-Mark-16-16.html