In the last article on Baptismal Regeneration (the water gospel), we explored some of its contradictions. So now, we’ll just briefly go over some of its assumptions, such as the thief on the cross “probably” getting baptized by John earlier. And the assumption that Jesus was “probably” preparing Nicodemus to be baptized after the New Covenant was established, because he was still alive after Jesus’ death (John 19:39). For these alone demonstrate how grasping for straws will occur whenever one tries to imply that baptism, or any other act, saves us.
Unless God’s word has convinced a sinner how badly sin corrupts, they won’t realize their desperate need for a Savior, and will be fooled into believing they can, by their own corrupt “free” will, choose salvation by doing something. In Gal.1:6-10 Paul warns that we need to be sure we believe the true gospel, not one that causes a fall from grace into work-righteous legalism. Adding requirements besides God’s grace, becomes works in disguise, which is why false doctrines are so tricky. Jesus’ blood didn’t just make His people “savable” depending upon their actions. His blood literally saves them, based on His work, His grace, His mercy, His will and His choice (John 1:13, Rom 9:16, 18, Heb. 9:12).
The true gospel is a call to faith in Jesus’ blood atonement on our behalf. Baptism is a pure act of obedience that God works in us to do, AFTER God purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 8:37, 15: 8-9; Phil 2:13). Yet, if we’re baptized in order to get saved, then it’s an impure, meaningless and defiled work of the flesh that God has no part in. An unregenerate act that attempts to appease God, instead of believing Jesus has already done that for us, becomes a witness against us. So unless God first purifies our hearts by faith, nothing we do will be pure in His sight (Tit.1:15).
In 1 Cor.1:17 Paul makes a clear distinction between the gospel and water baptism. And he says in 1 Cor. 1:14, 4:15 that he begot believers through the gospel, not thru baptism. Yet, if we go by the water gospel interpretation of 1Cor.1:14, Paul would be saying that he was thankful none of them were saved! Rom 6: 3-5 clearly says baptism is a “likeness” (figure) of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we become children of God by faith in Him (Gal.3:26), then we can be buried with Him in baptism through this faith, which is the operation of God (Col.2:12). Once we’re born again by the Holy Spirit, through faith in Jesus’ blood on our behalf, we can then figuratively “put on Christ” in baptism (Gal.3:27). Just as we can put clothes on a baby AFTER it’s born.
The final fatal blow to Baptismal Regeneration is Gal. 1:12, where Paul says he didn’t receive the gospel from man. This ruins the water gospel interpretation of Acts 22:16, which claims Ananias gave Paul the gospel by telling him to be baptized to wash his sins away. The truth is that Ananias was asking Paul why he would wait to do this. Especially since he’d already received the gospel from Jesus in person and met the Lord who chose him (Acts 26:15,16) and acknowledged Christ as Lord (Acts 9:5) and had been delivered from the people and become a witness for Christ (Acts 26:16-17)and had his heart changed (Acts 9:6) and was no longer a persecutor, but a praying man (Acts 9:11) who had his eyes opened (Acts 9:18) and had been called by God’s grace and had Jesus revealed in him (Gal.1:11-16)! So naturally, AFTER all this, Paul would want to finally come clean before the people in the act of baptism, to signify that his sins had already been washed away by Jesus’ blood (Heb.9:22, 26)!! Who wouldn’t?
Baptism is a beautiful, symbolic sacrament to be once enjoyed by all who believe in the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice, whereas those who say it’s a requirement for salvation, mar its beauty by implying His grace and His sacrifice wasn’t enough. So why put limits on God’s power? He’s still performing miracles today, every time someone is saved!! And remember friend, it’s not what we do that saves us, but who we have: “He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12).
Sis Lee Anne—-readers with questions or comments are free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org