I do not associate with any one particular denomination. I just want to be a Christian, plain and simple.
As such, I believe most denominations have some things right and some things wrong. Right now I want to point out a few things I have noticed about baptism and salvation and see what comes up.
In case you are unaware, there are some denominations that believe we must be baptized to be saved.
THE PERFECTION OF JESUS:
Before we get directly into discussing baptism, we should first establish the perfection of Jesus. This is a very important concept.
In order for His sacrifice to achieve its purpose, Jesus had to be "a lamb without blemish and without spot" (New King James Version, 1 Peter 1:19b). Otherwise, what makes Him any different from the rest of us? Anyone could have done what He did, or no one could have.
BAPTISM AND THE SPIRIT:
Just before Jesus comes to be baptized in the Gospels, John says, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I" (NKJV, Matthew 3:11a). This does not necessarily mention that baptism saves. But even if baptism did play a role then, everyone was still living under the Old Testament laws at this point. Jesus was only just about to begin his public ministry, so He had not been crucified or resurrected yet.
John continues by saying, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." This shows that baptism by Jesus with the Holy Spirit is more powerful than baptism by a simple man with water.
Furthermore, when John baptizes Jesus, it cannot be to save Jesus or cleanse Him of His sins. Jesus had to be perfect. If baptism saves, why was Jesus baptized?
John protests, and Jesus says, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (NKJV, Matthew 3:15a.b). Jesus was not getting baptized because He had sinned, but because it was a righteous thing to do. Perhaps it would even have been a sin for Him not to get baptized. Whatever the case may be, a perfect man always does what is right and righteous, and Jesus was the only perfect man.
That scene and the one right after the baptism of Jesus show that baptism is important. In the Gospels, God opens the heavens, sends the Spirit in the form of a dove to descend softy upon Jesus, and says that Jesus is His "beloved Son," whom He is "well pleased" with (NKJV, Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). It is very important to be baptized, but baptism does not save us.
(All passages retrieved from BibleGateway.com.)
- James D. McIntosh Jr.
P.S. If you find any errors in or additions to what I have said, feel free to discuss this topic. But please keep it civil.
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