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For the Remission of Sins November 5, 2006

Posted by Seraphim in Baptism.
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But you will perhaps say, “What does the baptism of water contribute toward the worship of God?” In the first place, because that which has pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so …you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus has the true Prophet [Jesus] testified to us with an oath.
-From the Recognitions of Clement, c. A.D. 221

Christ is in our midst!

There is perhaps no more vital and yet divisive issue amongst the Biblical faiths today than baptism. How should we baptize? Why should we baptize? What is baptism? Who should be baptized?

It is first important to define baptism. The word itself comes from Greek baptizo, which means “to immerse,” or “to dunk repeatedly.” This is distinct from the Greek bapto, which means “to dip,” in a fascinating and nuanced manner: bapto implies a temporary state of being dipped, which will eventually pass away and return the object to its original state. When baptizo is used, however, it is understood that the immersion causes the object to undergo a permanent change of substance.

Etymologically and traditionally, within the context of the Church, baptism is a reference to the three-fold immersion of the body in water (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as the signal act that brings a new believer into the Church. The act has powerful sacramental symbolism, representing washing, death, rebirth, transfiguration, and plunging into the Spirit.

Many Protestants today affirm baptism as a sort of vestigial, symbolic expression of faith with no more grace inherent in it than lifting up the hands while praying or any such thing. They deny it has any role in salvation as such, and relegate it to the adult faithful who wish to undergo a rite to make their belief public, if you will. However, baptism has from the earliest times of the Church been administered for remission of sins and as an essential component in salvation. Moreover, infant baptism has from earliest times been practiced within the Church.

Let us begin with Scripture to test this thesis. Perhaps the best place to start is with the example of Christ Himself, in the third chapter of Matthew:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Conclusions we may draw from this passage:

-Baptism is for all, from the lowliest to the greatest.
-Baptism is righteous, and is an integral part of a righteous life.
-Baptism pleases God greatly.
-Christ insisted it was necessary He be baptized. This is not a point to be missed.
-If we take this symbologically, or even literally, extrapolating the same result for us in baptism as with Christ, the Spirit of God descends on us when we are baptized. This is a bold claim for those who believe baptism is an empty act ineffecacious for salvation; but, as we shall presently see, baptism is an ordinance of God for the working of the gospel.

Let us now turn to the fourth chapter of Ephesians.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

This is a wonderful, wonderful excerpt with far-reaching implications for almost every aspect of its thoughts. It’s practically a microcosm of the Nicene Creed! There is one body, the Church (incidentally, as the implication of the body is that it’s physical, this is a good point for those who believe the Church is not a physically recognizable group), animated by one Holy Spirit; one Lord, Jesus Christ, one God, the Father Almighty, one faith, in the mercy of God and the resurrection of the age to come… and most notably, one baptism.

This declares that baptism is an unchanging sacrament, an item of belief within the confession of the Church, and an article of faith. Participation in baptism is here put on the same level as participation in the life of Christ, the service of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. No faithful man truly honest with himself could possibly deny any more the importance, necessity, and efficacy of baptism from this passage alone. However, for those who yet doubt, let us proceed to further evidence of the saving grace transmitted in the sacrament of baptism, as recounted in the sixth chapter of Romans:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 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. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

St. Paul gives the truth of the matter to us very directly. Baptism, the sacred immersion into water, is immersion (baptizo) into the death of Christ, that we, spiritually partaking of Christ’s death, might also be gifted with the life with which Christ was rewarded… because, just as Christ’s death broke the curse of sin on mankind, our death and rebirth in baptism breaks the curse of sin on us. Baptism is the death of sin and the birth of life everlasting, very simply, very Scripturally!

By now, we’re beating a dead horse, but I wish to run through all the relevant Scriptures, that even those who do not wish to believe may be convinced by the Truth of the word which God has handed to us from generation to generation. Let us turn to 1 Peter’s third chapter:

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 antitype 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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

The key word to understanding this is “antitype,” antitupon in the Greek. It defines a relationship that is concrete, though indirect. It’s used only in one other place in the Bible, in Hebrews, mentioning that the Holy of Holies was a prefigure of Heaven. As Noah was saved through water, which bore him up through the judgment that destroyed other men and deposited him in a new land, so baptism bears us through the judgment of souls and deposits us in Heaven. It is very important to clearly understand what this verse says: Baptism saves us.

Now, those who argue against the necessity of baptism point to where St. Peter footnotes his statement by saying baptism is “not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Context is key here. The rest of the verse is very clearly talking about baptism as a physical act. From this, and from the other verses which proclaim the necessity of baptism, we can therefore see that our salvation lies not in the physical cleanliness baptism brings, but in the spiritual renewal accompanying it. We can dip ourselves in water every day of our lives and be no closer to salvation. It is the sacramental, spiritual power accompanying the physical act of baptism which makes us pure, enabled by a mind free of animosity toward God.

Having by now a solid understanding of baptism (particularly from the type presented in 1 Peter), let us now consider the third chapter of John:

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

The Faith is one, the Truth unchanging, God’s word the same from age to age! This is exactly the same message later spoken by Peter, whom we have just read. As Peter said, baptism is the salvation of water; yet it is not the water which saves, but rather, the grace of God transmitted through the water. And yet, emphasizing the necessity of the sacrament, Christ notes that it is neither water, nor Spirit, that enables us to see God’s kingdom, but both in one, enlightening act of rebirth.

We’ve just read that baptism saves us. Still, we have a few passages yet to consider. We shall now consider the second chapter of Colossians:

In Him [Christ] you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

Baptism is equated to “the circumcision made without hands,” the “putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh,” and burial in Christ. This precisely follows Orthodox belief. Just as circumcision enabled a man to partake of the old covenant of God, and made him a part of Israel, God’s people, so baptism enables men to partake of the new covenant of God, and brings him into God’s people, new Israel, the Church. And, as the Church operates on the principle of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting in Christ, so baptism enables our participation in the same.

Note very specifically that Paul takes baptism as the new circumcision. Circumcision was administered to those adults who adopted the Jewish faith, and to all children born into that faith. That baptism is the New Covenant type of this ancient practice is a strong, if not irrefutable, argument in favour of infant baptism.

Let’s follow that thought up with a passage from the third chapter of Galatians:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

If we are baptized into Christ, we wear Christ like a garment, a robe of dazzling white wool from the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Is this beautiful imagery not a wonderful illustration of how baptism shields and cleanses us from sin? The passage goes on to emphasize the unity of the faith; something which, I feel, implies (at least) the Orthodox commonality of belief and practice. Note the unity which baptism brings; one might equally well say there is neither cripple nor leper, neither young nor old, in Christ. The unity and universality of baptism is another powerful argument in favour of infant baptism, since one would hardly, for example, expect a mentally deficient person to be damned simply because he could not be baptized. Similarly, infants too can partake of the saving power of baptism.

What truly gives “punch” to this passage, however, is that we are of the seed of Abraham when we are baptized. What were Abraham’s people marked by? Circumcision. And thus, in line with what we just read from Colossians, baptism is the new circumcision which ensures our inheritance in the blessing of Abraham! This, too, is a strong mark in favour of infant baptism, since the way Abraham signaled Isaac’s inheritance of the covenant was by circumcising him when he was born.

We now turn to the third chapter of Titus for deeper wisdom and understanding (it’s interesting how many of these passages are in the third chapters of their books, is it not?):

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

He saved us through the washing of regeneration. That’s pretty black-and-white. It’s a clear reference to baptism, and a clear statement that baptism spiritually regenerates us.
What I love about this passage is that it distinguishes baptism from “works of righteousness” in a more general sense. God’s grace saves us, through faith… but keeping the commandments and ordinances of God is inherent in that faith. Baptism is a work… but it is a work of faith, sanctified and made into righteousness by the good will of God. The error of so many who preach sola fide is that declare the necessity of spiritual righteousness without preaching physical righteousness, when in fact the two are one and the same. Orthodox Christians are sola fide in the truest, fullest sense of the term, living by faith because they act by faith.

We’re almost done with our Scriptural exegesis. Now for a passage from the sixteenth chapter of Mark:

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Christ appears to the Apostles after their resurrection and orders them to go forth and preach the Gospel, proclaiming the efficacy of baptism with His own sanctified, transfigured lips: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Christ, earlier in His ministry, said that belief in absence of action is insufficient; the devils believe, but they fail to do. He again illustrates that principle in this passage; true baptism and true belief begets true salvation.

A common argument raised against this passage is that Christ does not explicitly state that the unbaptized will be damned. This is an extremely weak argument which completely ignores Christ’s explicit statement that baptism and belief are necessary for salvation, and hence the implicit statement that one lacking baptism lacks salvation. Saying that one surely knows Christ’s motives for omitting an explicit statement to that effect is an exercise in arrogance and, as it promotes the debater as precisely knowing the mind of God, deserves nothing but contempt. Christ could very easily have omitted such a thought for the reason that it’s already implicit in the rest of the statement, or perhaps for reasons of the “baptism of desire,” i.e., that those who wish to be baptized but die before they are able are saved by the mercy of God.

Next, let’s proceed to Paul’s own story of his conversion, in the twenty-second chapter of Acts:

“For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Paul, on the way to Damascus, was struck blind by the glory of God. He saw Christ in glory, believed in His identity, and was faithful to what He commanded (asking Christ what he should do, and being commanded to go to Damascus). I would venture that the average Protestant who could say, “I believe in Christ the Saviour, I keep His commandments, and heck, I’ve even seen Him in glory” would certainly consider himself “saved,” no? Ahh, but what is Paul told in the house of Ananias? “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” It could not possibly be more clear that baptism is efficacious for the purification of sin.

I’ve saved one of the “smoking guns” until almost the end. Let’s read from the second chapter of Acts:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers… And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Now, this is where the fire meets the flesh. St. Peter states, outright, bluntly, that baptism is for the remission of sins, and a requirement to be a follower of Christ Jesus. There is quite simply no wriggling around this passage. If you believe in the truth of Scripture, then you must correspondingly believe that baptism is for the remission of sins.

This passage is also interesting for a couple of other reasons. First, on the topic of infant baptism, note that St. Peter says that baptism for the remission of sins is a promise to the multitudes and to the children of the multitudes. That day at Pentecost, there were surely dozens and dozens of families who came to Christ. Peter didn’t say, “Let every one of you be baptized… but come back in ten years if you’re on the young side.” Christ Himself said, “let the little children come to Me.” Baptism was a sacrament universally administered.

The other point of note is that the Church is defined as those who, after baptism, followed the teaching of the apostles, praying, and partaking of the Eucharist (the breaking of bread). This was during times far before the New Testament, clearly establishing that the Apostolic, oral doctrine was a crucial and integral part of the Church. Now, this might seem like plain common sense, but most Protestants (and even some Catholics) blanch when the Early Fathers write about what this Apostolic doctrine consisted of, since it so dramatically contradicts the safe, individualistic, semi-Gnostic house of cards on which they’ve built their praxis.

Last, but not least, let us again attend to the words of Christ, in the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew:

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This is known as the Great Commission. The evangelical nature of Christianity stems from this command of Christ. And what are His orders? To go forth to all nations and bring the peoples thereof to obedience of Christ. What are the two things He commands them to do, to make this possible?

1. He commands them to teach observance of His commandments. This is a crippling blow to sola fide in the Protestant sense. Christ doesn’t say, “tell all nations to believe in Me;” He says, rather, “tell all nations to observe the commandments.”

2. He commands baptism. Again, this highlights the extreme importance baptism is given in the New Testament. He makes it a specific part of the charge which He gives His disciples.

Thus we see, from the whole of Scripture, a pattern emerges of the most fundamental Christian practice–baptism–and it is starkly in contrast to the belief of many today who call themselves “Christian.” The baptism of the new testament is for all people of all ages, for the remission of sins, and is non-negotiable; if you wish to be a member of the Church, if you wish to rest within the ark of salvation, you must be baptized.

Now, since the Apostolic doctrine is still fresh in our minds, let us briefly see what the Early Fathers had to say about baptism. If, as it is written, baptism is a necessity, and for the remission of sins, we would expect to see it in early Christian practice. Let’s take a cross-section of, oh, the first two hundred years of Christianity, beginning in about 70 A.D. with the Epistle of Barnabas:

After we have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls.

Step down into the water with sin, and emerge from our immersion bearing spiritual fruit. That seems consistent enough with Scripture…

Next, The Shepherd of Hermas, late first century:

They had need [the Shepherd said] to come up through the water, so that they might be made alive; for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God, except by putting away the mortality of their former life. These also, then, who had fallen asleep, received the seal of the Son of God, and entered into the kingdom of God. For, [he said,] before a man bears the name of the Son of God, he is dead. But when he receives the seal, he puts mortality aside and again receives life. The seal, therefore, is the water. They go down into the water dead [in sin], and come out of it alive.

Baptism for the remission of sins. Hard to get clearer than that.

Justin Martyr’s First Apologia, c. 150 A.D.:

Whoever is convinced and believes that what they are taught and told by us is the truth, and professes to be able to live accordingly, is instructed to pray and to beseech God in fasting for the remission of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: In the name of God, the Lord and Father of all, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water. For Christ said, “Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” …The reason for doing this, we have learned from the Apostles.

Again, baptism for the remission of sins, as a precondition of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, and as the doctrine taught by the Apostles.

St. Ireneaus, Fragment 34, c. 190 A.D.:

“And [Naaman] dipped himself…seven times in the Jordan” [2 Kings 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

The good Saint draws an interesting antitype of Naaman’s healing… and again, passes on the Apostolic doctrine, the Truth that Christ declared.
Now, to briefly answer a few common objections to the Orthodox doctrine of baptism:

“Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward reality; it has no power in and of itself.”

I reply: This is nowhere conclusively stated in the Bible. Baptism’s necessity is conclusively stated, but its purported symbological purpose is at best implied, based on selective interpretation of verses.

“Well, what about the thief on the cross? HE wasn’t baptized!”

This is a shoddy argument for the simple reason that there’s no way of conclusively knowing whether or not the thief was baptized. He could well have been baptized by John or by one of the disciples earlier in life before slipping into a life of sin. Alternatively, it could be a case of “baptism by desire” or some such. St. Cyril of Jerusalem makes reference to an Apostolic teaching that martyrdom is a baptism in blood.

“Salvation is by faith alone, so baptism can’t possibly be essential to salvation.”

Quote me a Bible verse where it’s said salvation is by faith alone.

I realize that’s a bit of a glib answer, so I’ll reply more fully by saying: We are saved by faith, but faith is manifested in action. Let me quote Paul in the sixth chapter of Romans:

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

In other words, as Christians, we are slaves to God’s righteousness, and must do His will. Obeying from the heart the doctrine which we received… that is faith. Or, in the words of Christ, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Therefore, salvation is by faith, because faith involves baptism as part of obedience to God. What is faith if not obedience?
“Paul said, ‘Christ sent me not to baptize.’ [1 Corinthians 1:17]”

The passage does, however, state that everyone got baptized, and it nowhere states that baptism is unnecessary; merely that Paul’s role was more as a preacher (preceding baptism) than as an administrator of the sacraments. It provides no evidence against the necessity of baptism except in the most speculative sense.
“But Matthew 3:11-12 says: ‘He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'”

Obviously not necessarily a direct interpretation, since we don’t start flaming when we believe God. I would simply state that the baptism of Christ permits the Holy Spirit to abide in us. St. John’s baptism, while certainly a good thing, was incomplete without the sacrifice of Christ.

“What about Acts 10:44-48?”

Quoted here for reference:

While Peter was still speaking… Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “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.

Such an incidence is never repeated in Scripture, and, given the context of the passage, appears to be a one-time incident to demonstrate to the Christians (up until that point Jewish) that Christ’s saving power was for all men. Note that, even with the Holy Spirit, they still had to be baptized.

In short: Baptism now saves us. May we all be baptized unto the remission of our sins and immerse ourselves in the Truth that saves and the Light that brings life.

In Joy,

Seraphim

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Comments»

1. Fate - November 29, 2006

Clement is vague. I would like the full quote and the verses around it.

Secondly, a quote from a Church father is not the foundation to base a doctrine on. Show me a quote from Christ himself, the Apostles, or the Scriptures that states that baptism saves us. It is interesting that you constantly appeal to tradition when arguing with a person who does not hold tradition as valid for doctrine. 😛

Baptism refers to an immersion into something, not specifically water. This is the first presupposition we must remove before we can argue this. By saying that baptism only refers in the Church to the ceremony of baptism in water, you rig the argument to end in your favor. By clear use of context, baptism refers only to an immersion into something for a brief period of time, and is used many times in the Bible to refer to something other than the ceremonial baptism in water.

I’m getting very tired of these statements such as ‘this has been practiced since ancient times.’ Infant baptism is nowhere mentioned in the letters of the Apostles. It is always adults or accountable children who are baptized after they have been saved. It is only several centuries after Christ that we start seeing infant baptism practiced. Icons and other traditions start almost half a millennia after Christ. In addition, mass baptisms such as the Phillipian Jailer’s family are certainly not evidence for this practice of infant baptism.

It is also hypocritical to practice infant baptism, as infants are not accountable to this seal of faith. Not only have innumerable men and women, baptized at birth, gone out and acted like the most detestable heathens imaginable, but it is never shown in records of early Christianity that baptism ever came before redeeming faith. Faith always came first. Then baptism. This is an obvious fact that both the Orthodox and Catholics never seem to mention, because it clearly shows the tradition of infant baptism to be entirely useless and a waste of time. The biggest problem with the Orthodox/Catholic traditional hierarchy is that if one tradition fails, the entire house of cards collapses. Infant baptism is by far one of the weakest ones of them all.

Next, your conclusions from Jesus’ baptism read too much into these things. Christ, one of the Trinity, was being baptized. Not a simple believer. Obviously this would make His baptism rather special. You contradict yourself when you say that the Holy Ghost descends upon us when we’re baptized, and then turn around and defend the tradition of laying upon hands. Which is it?

Christ’s baptism does not show baptism is necessary for salvation. On the contrary, if we use common sense, He shows that it is completely unnecessary in terms of salvation. Christ is the lord of the Universe and God Himself. You seem to imply Christ needed to be made righteous Himself by baptism. Preposterous. This passages shows that the ceremony was very special and important for the believer (and yes, a command from God) but it clearly shows that the ceremony did not save Jesus or bring him to righteousness. Jesus cannot be saved because He is God. He has no need to be saved.

Also, Jesus did not say baptism was necessary for salvation. He merely insisted that He be baptized by John, not that it was somehow necessary. It is also strange, assuming that baptism is necessary for salvation, that Jesus, the savior of the universe, never baptized anybody. Ever. If it was necessary, why did he not baptize the adulteress? But he merely said “your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.” Jesus constantly put the emphasis on faith in God. Not in baptism or sacraments. That was His stated “work of God.” This is a gross and contrived extrapolation for the purpose of enhancing your argument that defies any common sense concerning interpreting the Bible.

You also don’t note the symbolic use of baptism by Christ Himself. In Luke, Christ Himself said (long after His ceremonial baptism had been completed) that He had a “baptism” to complete and was straightened until He accomplished it. This can be nothing but a reference to His Crucifixion, which is what saved us all. The baptism that Paul refers to is Christ’s Death and Crucifixion, His “baptism.” Not the ceremony done by John, the purpose of which was merely to glorify the Lord and declare His righteousness. (That’s what Christ’s ceremonial baptism accomplished. That’s how it’s used today.)

This symbolic use of “baptized into His death” makes perfect sense when we realize that the Crucifixion was Christ’s “baptism” into which we were also “baptized.” There’s no way we Christians also participated in Christ’s Death. That was His burden alone, put upon himself for us. None of us actually died when Christ was crucified. This is a symbolic passage.

The 1st Peter passage is so ridiculously taken out of context. Noah was not saved by water. Think! Go beyond what your eyes immediately read. The water is what killed everything on the face of the earth. Anybody in the water was drowned and dead. The ark is what saved Noah, not the water. The water was God’s judgment, which does NOT save. It condemns. This is the same with the Law. The Law never saved people. It condemned them. The only way to be saved by the Law was to follow it to the letter for one’s entire life, which is impossible for yoomans to do. ( 😛 ) Everyone righteous in both the Old Testament and the New Testament are united in their salvation neither by baptism, nor circumcision, nor keeping of temporary precepts and tradition, but by simple faith in God.

To get back on point, try using some sense in reading Peter’s passage. Water did not save Noah. Noah was saved through (passing through) the water, ie, God’s judgment. By the way, Noah was not made righteous by going in the Ark. He’d already found faver in the sight of the Lord through his faith. He was saved from physical death in the Flood, not from spiritual death. More symbolism here. The ark was God’s grace. We were saved by Christ’s death, not by baptism. It is not “baptism doth now save us.” It is “baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This is symbolically referring to Christ’s baptism on the Cross. Christ was baptized in the wrath of God for sin and took it all for us. The ark took all the wrath of the water for Noah. The ceremony Baptism is meant to symbolize and remember this fact and to glorify God. That’s it.

Another note: antiupon is used in reference to a symbol. The Holy of Holies was a symbol and a glimpse of heaven, not heaven itself. This shows clearly that baptism is a symbol: a symbol of God’s death which saves us, not the saving itself.

The whole baptism is necessary for salvation thing is a holdover from a Judaic concept which Paul himself destroys utterly in Romans. They confuse a command of righteousness with the act of salvation itself. Just because everybody who is saved gets baptized does not mean baptism is necessary for salvation. It’s an ironic reversal of the “this first, so it must of caused this, which comes later” logical misconception. The newly converted Jews were still asking Paul: “well, isn’t circumcision necessary for salvation? Everyone who was ever righteous was circumcised! That means we must be circumcised or we’re not saved! Hurry! Let’s circumcize everybody!”

Paul shakes his head and points directly to Abraham, the father of the Jews. He explicitly states in Romans that *gasp* contrary to thousands of years of Judaic tradition and theological thought, circumcision never saved anybody. Ever. Abraham, the father of the Jews, was saved and declared righteous before he was circumcised. This little passage had lay quietly in the Pentateuch for thousands of years completely ignored by dogmatic Jews. They did not have the wits to see that circumcision was a seal, a sign of righteouness before the world, commanded by God to declare their righteousness and glorify Him, but not necessary for salvation.

Circumcision and Baptism are eerily similar in both their functions and how they’re miconceptualized. Just as circumcision didn’t mean salvation, as millions of Jews throughout history were circumcised and turned wholly away from God to their destruction and damnation, so have people baptized, either at infancy or adulthood, never entered into salvation. If baptism cannot save infants, it cannot save anyone.

All your quotes concerning the necessity of baptism are again interpreted already to suit your favor. You forget that people who suposedly believe and are supposedly saved by baptism aren’t actually saved. Baptism is a symbol. The actual salvation, as said consistently throughout the Old and New Testaments, is by faith in God. That is the remission of sins.

How do you know water is referring to baptism? There’s absolutely no contexual reason for such an interpretation. Baptism wasn’t even mentioned by Jesus in the conversation iwth Nicodemus, and God is not the author of confusion. “Whoops, I left that out, Nicodemus! Sorry! Forgot to clearly say that water = baptism, even though it cost you your soul. Sorry!” Water is used so many times in the Bible as a symbol for regeneration and rebirth. It is the same in all those other passages. John uses it many times himself.

More notes: Jesus also automatically assumes Nicodemus knows what he’s talking about. “Do you not know these things?” But the baptismal ceremony was completely alien to the Jews. God is not the author of confusion. Christ was not trying to confuse Nicodemus and twist words in some vague reference to a ceremony that he could not have comprehended and had not yet been implemented. These facts mean that Jesus simply COULD NOT have meant baptism when he said “born of water.” He was referring to something else already in the Judaic scriptures. This was a reference, which Nicodemus, being a Pharisee, very well knew, to Ezekiel 36:25, a prophetic verse referencing the Messiah and telling of the new covenent with God, using water as a symbol of the new birth. This was a very famous and well-known verse amongst the Jews, and would be recognized among them instantly.

The requirements for salvation do not change. God has not switched the requirements of salvation in one era, then changed them again in another. It is always the same. This weird idea that the requirements of salvation have changed over the course of history is ludicrous and completely not of God. Everyone must be born again in order for him to receive salvation. This is a 絶対条件. None can escape it. Which means everyone who has ever been saved must have been born again in the same way. But waaaait, people received salvation from God thousands of years before baptism was initiated. Abraham did, and it is clearly stated that his faith in God is what saved him. What should we draw from this?

Consider: ‘What must I do to be saved?”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, you and your entire household.”

Baptism said to be necessary for salvation? Uh, no. Asked him directly what was necessary for salvation and didn’t get baptism as a response. A big problem for your doctrine. It happens MANY times in the New Testament. Baptism is always symbolic of this faith.

If the ceremony of baptism is a commandment of God, but not necessary to salvation, then all the references to it in the Bible make sense.

Finally, “if you love me, keep my commandments” is also being misused. Keeping my commandments is obviously a part of faith. We all understand this. But it does not say keeping commandments is what saves us, which is where you err. Keeping commandments alone does not save us. People have kept commandments all their lives and still been condemned. The Bible is very clear about this. Faith is the root cause of it all. Faith is required. Faith is not only believing in God’s existence, but loving Him and keeping His commandments out of that faith, not in a hope that keeping them will save us. The law does not save us. Paul states this outright. Neither does baptism, which is also a commandment. It is an act of love done out of a desire to glorify God and declare your righteousness. God counts our actions if we do it out of love and faith instead of due to a begrudging requirement or an effort to earn one’s salvation.

Protestants still baptize people. The apostles still baptized people. Just because people mistake this interpretation and don’t baptize themselves (which is wrong. It is clearly a commandment from God, and most Protestants teach this.) means people are abusing it, not that the doctrine itself is wrong. However, merely because people transgress those commandments doesn’t mean they won’t receive salvation. A person who is not baptized is not condemned to hell.

But you say, how can this be? My parents aren’t baptized, and yet they profess to be Christian. But a person who holds true faith will want to be baptized not because it is a command, or a requirement for salvation, but out of the love of God. It is emotional, not but it’s clear that even an unconfessed or ignorant transgression does not bring damnnation when one is saved. I’ve done transgressions in my life that I no doubt can’t remember and cannot confess to God, but I am still saved.

Salvation is not dependent upon man’s acts, but God’s grace alone. Once you understand this, even an unbaptized Christian can be forgiven and considered saved by a baptized Christian, though that state of not being baptized should not be acquiesced to. The baptized Christian should urge the unbaptized to be baptized, not out of requirement or fear of damnation, but out of a true desire to express one’s love for God and one’s righteousness.

A grudging heart takes all the meaning out of ceremony.

I’m not going to respond to this, probably. I’ve been typing this for three hours. 😛

Must…eat…something…

2. Seraphim - November 29, 2006

“Clement is vague. I would like the full quote and the verses around it.”
The Recognitions are quite readily available online if you care to peruse.
“Secondly, a quote from a Church father is not the foundation to base a doctrine on. Show me a quote from Christ himself, the Apostles, or the Scriptures that states that baptism saves us.”
You mean, like, “Concerning baptism, which now saves us,” “he who believes and is baptized will be saved,” etc.? 😛
The chapter and verse is there. The problem is that different worldviews interpret it differently. Hence, we must appeal to external evidence.

“It is interesting that you constantly appeal to tradition when arguing with a person who does not hold tradition as valid for doctrine. :P”

I’m not writing for your edification, even if you ARE the only person who ever comments. 😛

It is quite frankly amazing to me that you are stubborn about Tradition, particularly with the Early Fathers. Polycarp of Smyrna and Ignatius of Antioch were both personal disciples of the Apostle John, and personally knew several of the other Apostles. In fact, there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that Ignatius as a child knew Christ.

And guess what? Their theology is extremely Orthodox. Hierarchical episcopal church structure, sacramental nature of baptism and Eucharist, everything. Both of them state for themselves that they were taught their doctrine directly by the Apostles.

If John, the beloved disciple, had told you that one had to be baptized to be saved, would you not believe him? Why, then, do you mistrust the statements of his own beloved disciples, both of whom gladly laid down their lives for the Christian faith?

And it doesn’t end there. The Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, and indeed all other Apostolic-era documents attest to an Orthodox theological understanding. Surely it is not mere coincidence that such globally diverse Christian communities shared a very exactly common faith.

In the face of such firsthand, compelling evidence, there are really only three options for the Protestant to take:

1. Contend that every Christian taught by the Apostles had a theological understanding so flawed as to be well-nigh heretical (and, coincidentally, each one sharing the same theological understanding);

2. Contend for a relativistic understanding of Church history, asserting that the Early Fathers were correct *in their time* but that the Church has evolved beyond the need for its early, hierarchical doctrines, or;

3. Admit that the Early Fathers did indeed receive actual, correct, Apostolic doctrine, and that the Protestant worldview fundamentally misunderstands the Christian praxis.

“Baptism refers to an immersion into something, not specifically water. This is the first presupposition we must remove before we can argue this. By saying that baptism only refers in the Church to the ceremony of baptism in water, you rig the argument to end in your favor. By clear use of context, baptism refers only to an immersion into something for a brief period of time, and is used many times in the Bible to refer to something other than the ceremonial baptism in water.”

But only figuratively. No exegesis or scholarly work has ever seriously attempted to argue that “baptizo” is, on the whole, a reference to anything other than the Christian rite of baptism. The language and indeed the practice of the Church for two millennia attest to this. You’ll need more than a passing assertion if you expect your claim to stand.

“I’m getting very tired of these statements such as ‘this has been practiced since ancient times.’ Infant baptism is nowhere mentioned in the letters of the Apostles.”

Nor is adult-only baptism. Don’t be coy.

“It is always adults or accountable children who are baptized after they have been saved.”

Presumption unsupported by fact. Admittedly, infant baptism is equally without directly verbalized Scriptural support, but there is nothing denying it in principle.

“It is only several centuries after Christ that we start seeing infant baptism practiced.”

Incorrect. Polycarp of Smyrna states he was baptized as an infant. Justin Martyr, speaking of celibates, explicitly states that he knows people who have been celibate since their baptism as infants. Irenaeus in “Against Heresies” speak of infants baptized into Christ. All of these date from the early 2nd century A.D., and include sources that personally knew the Apostles and/or Christ.

“Icons and other traditions start almost half a millennia after Christ.”

Highly incorrect. The iconographic tradition, as an example, dates back to the earliest days of the Church. The catacomb churches contain Christian religious art dating back to at least the 2nd century A.D. During most of the 1st century, worship was held in houses or in synagogues. Most houses of that era would not survive two millennia, and the synagogues already had religious art in them (which comes as a surprise to most people unfamiliar with the rich tradition of Jewish religious art). As such, the presence of the earliest icons within the catacomb churches in no way means that Christian religious art was not practiced at an earlier date.

Veneration of relics can be dated back to the early 2nd century A.D., if not earlier, based on the martyrologies written by some of the churches at that time.

“In addition, mass baptisms such as the Phillipian Jailer’s family are certainly not evidence for this practice of infant baptism.”

Perhaps not, save by implication. Neither, however, can they be cited as proof against infant baptism.

“It is also hypocritical to practice infant baptism, as infants are not accountable to this seal of faith. Not only have innumerable men and women, baptized at birth, gone out and acted like the most detestable heathens imaginable, but it is never shown in records of early Christianity that baptism ever came before redeeming faith. Faith always came first. Then baptism.”

Show me the records of early Christianity that prove this. As I have just said, Polycarp, Justin, and Irenaeus all assert to the contrary, and there is no definitive evidence in the Scriptures to contradict them.

“This is an obvious fact that both the Orthodox and Catholics never seem to mention, because it clearly shows the tradition of infant baptism to be entirely useless and a waste of time.”

That some people depart from the faith of their fathers? In that case, teaching children the Scriptures, how to pray, etc., is “entirely useless and a waste of time,” since so many children brought up in Christian homes go on to become detestable heathens.

The efficacy of baptism is in no wise denied because of the failings of some of the baptized.

“The biggest problem with the Orthodox/Catholic traditional hierarchy is that if one tradition fails, the entire house of cards collapses. Infant baptism is by far one of the weakest ones of them all.”

Except there’s not a chink in the armour yet, Mr. “Infant Baptism Doesn’t Appear ‘Til Centuries After Christ.” 😛

“Next, your conclusions from Jesus’ baptism read too much into these things. Christ, one of the Trinity, was being baptized. Not a simple believer. Obviously this would make His baptism rather special. You contradict yourself when you say that the Holy Ghost descends upon us when we’re baptized, and then turn around and defend the tradition of laying upon hands. Which is it?”

Both, to a degree. Orthodox doctrine would say that the Spirit purifies our souls in baptism and rests Pentecostally upon us in the laying on of hands.

“Christ’s baptism does not show baptism is necessary for salvation. On the contrary, if we use common sense, He shows that it is completely unnecessary in terms of salvation. Christ is the lord of the Universe and God Himself. You seem to imply Christ needed to be made righteous Himself by baptism. Preposterous. This passages shows that the ceremony was very special and important for the believer (and yes, a command from God) but it clearly shows that the ceremony did not save Jesus or bring him to righteousness. Jesus cannot be saved because He is God. He has no need to be saved.”

Christ was baptized “to FULFILL righteousness,” not to become righteous. Christ had no need to pray or to keep the Law, either, but He did so for the same reason He was baptized: to be a living example of the obedience of the righteous to the ordinances of God.

“Also, Jesus did not say baptism was necessary for salvation. He merely insisted that He be baptized by John, not that it was somehow necessary.”

That’s a feeble attack that deserves no reply. Christ wasn’t in the habit of doing or insisting on unnecessary things, last I checked.

“It is also strange, assuming that baptism is necessary for salvation, that Jesus, the savior of the universe, never baptized anybody. Ever. If it was necessary, why did he not baptize the adulteress? But he merely said “your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.””

Also feeble. Christ is never recorded singing a hymn, either. Yet it is universally acknowledged that hymning God with praise is an acceptable and noble method of worship. You’re second-guessing God.

“Jesus constantly put the emphasis on faith in God. Not in baptism or sacraments.”

You forget that He was a rather strong advocate of keeping the commandments and laws of God. Methinks your Protestantism is poisoning your memory.

“That was His stated “work of God.” This is a gross and contrived extrapolation for the purpose of enhancing your argument that defies any common sense concerning interpreting the Bible.”

The simple facts remain that 1) God was pleased when Christ was baptized, 2) The Spirit of God descended upon Christ only and immediately after His baptism, and 3) Christ insisted on being baptized. All three of these present serious ramifications as to the importance of baptism.

“You also don’t note the symbolic use of baptism by Christ Himself. In Luke, Christ Himself said (long after His ceremonial baptism had been completed) that He had a “baptism” to complete and was straightened until He accomplished it. This can be nothing but a reference to His Crucifixion, which is what saved us all. The baptism that Paul refers to is Christ’s Death and Crucifixion, His “baptism.””

Yes, His baptism in the blood of martyrdom.

“Not the ceremony done by John, the purpose of which was merely to glorify the Lord and declare His righteousness. (That’s what Christ’s ceremonial baptism accomplished. That’s how it’s used today.)”

You totally twist the passage to arrive at that interpretation. TOTALLY. If baptism glorifies God and declares His righteousness, WHY DID JOHN THINK CHRIST WAS BEYOND BAPTISM? John had no qualms about praising and glorifying God… if baptism was purely a way of glorifying the Lord, one would think he’d have jumped at the chance, ne? The explanation for his actual reaction is quite simple: Baptism is for the remission of sin, and hence, the sinless Christ was far beyond any need of baptism by John. Nevertheless, Christ insisted on it, as a sign that all men, no matter how righteous, need baptism.

“This symbolic use of “baptized into His death” makes perfect sense when we realize that the Crucifixion was Christ’s “baptism” into which we were also “baptized.” There’s no way we Christians also participated in Christ’s Death. That was His burden alone, put upon himself for us. None of us actually died when Christ was crucified. This is a symbolic passage.”

Exactly. Our baptism represents the death of the old man and the birth of the new. We are baptized into the saving blood of Christ’s death.

“The 1st Peter passage is so ridiculously taken out of context. Noah was not saved by water. Think! Go beyond what your eyes immediately read. The water is what killed everything on the face of the earth. Anybody in the water was drowned and dead. The ark is what saved Noah, not the water. The water was God’s judgment, which does NOT save. It condemns.”

Don’t argue with me, argue with Peter. He’s the one who said Noah was “saved through water.”

“This is the same with the Law. The Law never saved people. It condemned them. The only way to be saved by the Law was to follow it to the letter for one’s entire life, which is impossible for yoomans to do. ( 😛 ) Everyone righteous in both the Old Testament and the New Testament are united in their salvation neither by baptism, nor circumcision, nor keeping of temporary precepts and tradition, but by simple faith in God.”

Faith involves doing as God says. Your sola fide argument flops, since baptism is a commandment of God and therefore the faithful in Him will be baptized.

“To get back on point, try using some sense in reading Peter’s passage. Water did not save Noah. Noah was saved through (passing through) the water, ie, God’s judgment.”

The Greek for “through” is “dia,” which means “by means of.” The KJV renders it a bit more specifically and says Noah and Co. were “saved by water.” Therefore, sorry to burst your bubble, but Peter is saying that water saved Noah.

” By the way, Noah was not made righteous by going in the Ark. He’d already found faver in the sight of the Lord through his faith. He was saved from physical death in the Flood, not from spiritual death. More symbolism here. The ark was God’s grace. We were saved by Christ’s death, not by baptism. It is not “baptism doth now save us.” It is “baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This is symbolically referring to Christ’s baptism on the Cross. Christ was baptized in the wrath of God for sin and took it all for us. The ark took all the wrath of the water for Noah.”

Your interpretation is flawed because the water saved Noah (according to Peter), but in addition to that, of course baptism saves us by Christ’s resurrection. Simply taking a bath doesn’t save our souls; it is the *sacramental* quality of the action that is efficacious for salvation.

“The ceremony Baptism is meant to symbolize and remember this fact and to glorify God. That’s it.”

Nope.

“Another note: antiupon is used in reference to a symbol. The Holy of Holies was a symbol and a glimpse of heaven, not heaven itself. This shows clearly that baptism is a symbol: a symbol of God’s death which saves us, not the saving itself.”

And yet the power of God was in the Holy of Holies, just as it is in baptism. Baptism prefigures our resurrection, but it is not the resurrection itself. It is, however, a nonetheless essentially spiritual and powerful act.

“The whole baptism is necessary for salvation thing is a holdover from a Judaic concept which Paul himself destroys utterly in Romans. They confuse a command of righteousness with the act of salvation itself. Just because everybody who is saved gets baptized does not mean baptism is necessary for salvation. It’s an ironic reversal of the “this first, so it must of caused this, which comes later” logical misconception. The newly converted Jews were still asking Paul: “well, isn’t circumcision necessary for salvation? Everyone who was ever righteous was circumcised!”

Which is actually not at all true. Justin Martyr’s “Dialogue” does an *excellent* job of proving why circumcision is unnecessary and how it is essentially different in quality from baptism. You should read it.

“All your quotes concerning the necessity of baptism are again interpreted already to suit your favor. You forget that people who suposedly believe and are supposedly saved by baptism aren’t actually saved. Baptism is a symbol. The actual salvation, as said consistently throughout the Old and New Testaments, is by faith in God. That is the remission of sins.”

Then why does the Scripture say that we should “be baptized for the remission of sins?”

“How do you know water is referring to baptism? There’s absolutely no contexual reason for such an interpretation. Baptism wasn’t even mentioned by Jesus in the conversation iwth Nicodemus, and God is not the author of confusion. “Whoops, I left that out, Nicodemus! Sorry! Forgot to clearly say that water = baptism, even though it cost you your soul. Sorry!” Water is used so many times in the Bible as a symbol for regeneration and rebirth. It is the same in all those other passages. John uses it many times himself.

More notes: Jesus also automatically assumes Nicodemus knows what he’s talking about. “Do you not know these things?” But the baptismal ceremony was completely alien to the Jews. God is not the author of confusion. Christ was not trying to confuse Nicodemus and twist words in some vague reference to a ceremony that he could not have comprehended and had not yet been implemented. These facts mean that Jesus simply COULD NOT have meant baptism when he said “born of water.” He was referring to something else already in the Judaic scriptures. This was a reference, which Nicodemus, being a Pharisee, very well knew, to Ezekiel 36:25, a prophetic verse referencing the Messiah and telling of the new covenent with God, using water as a symbol of the new birth. This was a very famous and well-known verse amongst the Jews, and would be recognized among them instantly.

“The requirements for salvation do not change. God has not switched the requirements of salvation in one era, then changed them again in another. It is always the same. This weird idea that the requirements of salvation have changed over the course of history is ludicrous and completely not of God. Everyone must be born again in order for him to receive salvation. This is a 絶対条件. None can escape it. Which means everyone who has ever been saved must have been born again in the same way. But waaaait, people received salvation from God thousands of years before baptism was initiated. Abraham did, and it is clearly stated that his faith in God is what saved him. What should we draw from this?”

You’re blowing smoke at this point. Confession of Christ is declared to be necessary for salvation, but Abraham never confessed Christ. The “requirement for salvation” has always been obedience in faith of God’s ordinances. The ordinances have changed from time to time, but the obedience has not.

“Consider: ‘What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, you and your entire household.””

Whoops! According to what you just said, everyone pre-Christ just got damned…

“Baptism said to be necessary for salvation? Uh, no. Asked him directly what was necessary for salvation and didn’t get baptism as a response. A big problem for your doctrine. It happens MANY times in the New Testament. Baptism is always symbolic of this faith.”

Belief involves faith in the saving power of baptism. Duh.

“If the ceremony of baptism is a commandment of God, but not necessary to salvation, then all the references to it in the Bible make sense.”

Except “baptism now saves you,” “be baptized for the remission of sins,” etc…

“Finally, “if you love me, keep my commandments” is also being misused. Keeping my commandments is obviously a part of faith. We all understand this. But it does not say keeping commandments is what saves us, which is where you err. Keeping commandments alone does not save us. People have kept commandments all their lives and still been condemned. The Bible is very clear about this. Faith is the root cause of it all. Faith is required. Faith is not only believing in God’s existence, but loving Him and keeping His commandments out of that faith, not in a hope that keeping them will save us. The law does not save us. Paul states this outright. Neither does baptism, which is also a commandment. It is an act of love done out of a desire to glorify God and declare your righteousness. God counts our actions if we do it out of love and faith instead of due to a begrudging requirement or an effort to earn one’s salvation.”

Precisely. Salvation is not forensic. However, one cannot love God without keeping His commandments. The two are inextricably entwined.

“Protestants still baptize people. The apostles still baptized people. Just because people mistake this interpretation and don’t baptize themselves (which is wrong. It is clearly a commandment from God, and most Protestants teach this.) means people are abusing it, not that the doctrine itself is wrong. However, merely because people transgress those commandments doesn’t mean they won’t receive salvation. A person who is not baptized is not condemned to hell.”

I’m unsure as to this. But I’ll let it slide.

“But you say, how can this be? My parents aren’t baptized, and yet they profess to be Christian. But a person who holds true faith will want to be baptized not because it is a command, or a requirement for salvation, but out of the love of God. It is emotional, not but it’s clear that even an unconfessed or ignorant transgression does not bring damnnation when one is saved. I’ve done transgressions in my life that I no doubt can’t remember and cannot confess to God, but I am still saved.”

Where there is no law, there is no sin. Having received the command to be baptized, however, and refusing baptism, is sinful.

“Salvation is not dependent upon man’s acts, but God’s grace alone. Once you understand this, even an unbaptized Christian can be forgiven and considered saved by a baptized Christian, though that state of not being baptized should not be acquiesced to. The baptized Christian should urge the unbaptized to be baptized, not out of requirement or fear of damnation, but out of a true desire to express one’s love for God and one’s righteousness.”

Well-put. That doesn’t refute the necessity thereof, unfortunately for you. 😛


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