Baptism from Apostolic Point of View
By G.T. Haywood
Baptism in water is a command of God. It is said, by many, to be an ordinance, that is, “an outward sign of inward purity.” But such an expression cannot be found in the Word of God. Christ never made such a statement in all His ministry.
Jesus says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Again, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The Apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.” Ananias said to Brother Saul, at the direction of Jesus Christ, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away they sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16.)
The Apostle Paul said elsewhere, “He saved us by the washing (baptism) of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Again, “Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing (baptism) of water by the word.” (See Titus 3:5; Eph. 5:26, and Acts 19:1-5.) It has been taught that the “washing in the word,” but this is misleading, for it plainly says “washing of water” and not a “washing in the word.” Our bodies (Heb. 10:22) are to be washed in water according to the word, and that is, according to the words of Jesus by both precept (Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and example (Matt. 3:15, 16).
It is commonly stated that baptism does not save us. But the Word of God says, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins,” Many years afterwards Peter confirmed his instructions given on the day of Pentecost when he wrote, “In the days of Noah…eight souls were saved by water. The like, figure whereunto even baptism doth now also save us.” Then, lest some should think that he meant the water baptism saves them by removing the bodily defilement, he adds “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” but, deeper than that “the answer of a good conscience toward God,” The strength in baptism as a saving medium comes “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Pet. 3:20,21.)
THE BLOOD AND THE NAME
Water alone does not save us. “Not by water only but by water and blood.” The blood and the name of an individual are inseparable. John Smith’s son is a “Smith” no matter what other name you may give him, because he has Smith’s blood in him. By this I want to show that the Blood and Name are inseparable. You cannot honestly bear the name of Smith unless you have Smith’s blood in you; neither can you deny that you are a Smith as long as you have Smith’s blood in your veins. The Blood and the Name of Jesus are inseparable. To be saved by water baptism, it must be administered in the name of Jesus, for there is “no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” The life of the Blood of Christ is connected with baptism when it is administered in His Name. It is not by water only, but by water and blood, and the blood is in His name. (See Acts 5:28.)
It is for this reason that we find these various scriptures all relating to the same thing: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” “Repent and be baptized…in the NAME of Jesus, for the remission of sins.” “When they believed…concerning…the NAME of Jesus, they were baptized.” (Acts 8:12.) “Through His NAME whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:36, 43, 47, 48.) “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-33.) (Belief in the name of Jesus was always followed by being baptized in His name. See Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 16:14, 15, 31, 33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:4,5.)
This is God’s plan. It proved successful in the days of the Apostles, why should it not be so now. Have we
become instructors of the Almighty, that we should “correct” the “errors” of apostolic days by substituting our modern methods in the place of those given by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven? Has God changed His plan of salvation? If so, when? and where?
FOR JEW AND GENTILE
Was baptism for the remission of sins given for Jews only? The Lord Jesus said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature (Jew and Gentile). He (Jew or Gentile) that believeth and is BAPTIZED shall be saved.” As many (Jew or Gentile) as received Him (they that received His word were baptized in His name, Acts 2:38, 41), to them gave He power (the Holy Ghost, Acts 1:8) to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His (Jesus) name.” (John 1:12.)
The truth is being confirmed wherever it is preached. The Gospel of old is just the same today. The traditions of men have made the word of God of none effect, but every vine that our Heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. (Matt. 15: 1-13.) God grant that the minister be not afraid to trust His word. Our fear toward God has been taught by the precepts of men, but we now behold a better day dawning. The Church is hearing the cry, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, 0 Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion…Therefore My people shall know My NAME; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak; behold, it is I. …The Lord has made bare His holy arm (Isa. 53:1) in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the SALVATION of our God (Isa. 52:1-10.)