Last week, we discussed that people have an inner need to be okay. We cannot earn this state and can only be given it. If we trust in people to affirm us, they will fail and we must rely on God to give us his grace as a gift to know that we are okay. We get this grace through faith in Jesus. This week, we are discussing baptism and looking at scripture to understand its significance.
1. Scriptures about Baptism
- Matthew 28:19-20:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This passage gives one command: To make disciples. And there are two ways to make disciples: by baptizing and by teaching. Baptism is the beginning, not the ending.
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
can also be translated as:
“Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
The “into” conveys that the person is being baptized into the ownership of the trinity, whereas “in” might suggest that the person baptizing has special authority from God to do so. The “into” translation is a more accurate understanding of baptism and shows where the person is going: entering into the ownership of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 2:38:
Peter replied, “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.
Peter preached this at the Day of Pentecost, which is considered to be the birthday of the church when God poured out the Holy Spirit. Peter preached the first sermon in this new covenant era. Peter’s command was for them to repent and be baptized.
- See other passages in Acts 8, 16, and 22 that discuss baptism.
- Romans 6:1-6 conveys that an old life ends and a new life begins; therefore, we cannot keep on sinning.
- 1 Peter 3:20-21: Baptism does not symbolize anything, but rather it does something. The sinner makes an appeal to God, who then cleanses the slate.
2. Putting it all together: How does baptism relate to faith and obedience?
God’s love is unconditional but salvation is not unconditional. People might disagree about election being conditional or unconditional, but scripture is clear that salvation is conditional and is based on faith. See John 3:16.
- Obedience is not the same as a good work.
- There are primary and secondary conditions. Faith and repentance are primary. There are other conditions that God might do or not do. It’s possible for someone to not have been baptized, but to still have faith and the fruit of the Spirit. However, we still baptize because what God wants is our standard, not what God allows.
Conclusion: We cannot earn salvation, but we can receive the free gift.