PART 11 THE SPIRITUALITY PUZZLE

s Salvation Obtained by Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly works?

PART 11 The Spirituality Puzzle
What causes someone to become a child of God and have assurance of eternal life?

Chapter 17
Is Water Baptism Necessary in the Salvation Process?

Are you ready to take a look at the final alleged salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works as to whether this could be another gospel? Some of this concurs with the salvation message of Repentance and Belief in that an unbeliever must repent and believe. However, the proponents of this salvation message would say that while these are two of the components in the salvation process, they are not the end all.
They would emphasize that an unbeliever must also be baptized in water and evidence godly works in order to complete the salvation process. Without either one, they would conclude that the person is not saved or has lost their salvation. Since we have determined that the salvation message of Repentance and Belief is a salvation message, then what we are trying to do is figure out if these other components of water baptism and godly works can be included. Well, as we have done before, we’ll use scripture to see if this is so. Let’s begin by taking a look at water baptism.

The book of John is where we will start.

A. The Word “Water” Is Inclusive

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Here the word “water” is considered as a component of salvation. This word is figurative of water baptism, which is signified as being one of the conditions of salvation along with the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:18-21 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Likewise, in 1 Peter water is a type of water baptism that does now also save us. What those who believe in this gospel message about the word “water” in John 3:5 and 1 Peter 3:20 is that it’s all inclusive in the salvation process. In other words, it intimates that it is only one part of all of the aspects of salvation with the others being: repentance, belief, and godly works.

Mark 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Also, if in a different verse such as Mark 16:16 where the words “believeth and is baptized” are mentioned, this would suggest that these are only two parts of the salvation process with the others being repentance and godly works. There are more verses like these, where one or more of the components of salvation are included while some are not, and those that are not are understood to be a part of the salvation process as well. Here are a some more examples of scripture in this regard.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

With that said, they further believe that water baptism is important in the salvation process because it provides two spiritual realities. What are they?

B. Water Baptism Provides Two Spiritual Realities

Water baptism is not symbolic, but provides two spiritual realities for the believer. These are mentioned in the book of Romans chapter 6.

Baptized into Jesus Christ
Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Following repentance and belief, when a person is able to be baptized in water, then they will have become baptized (an actual identification; of one’s inward spiritual relation) into close union with Christ. And because of such he/she is baptized into his death (in them was understood a death to sin, corresponding to his actual death145 having become separated from sins power) and likewise as he was raised from the dead by the glory (power) of the Father (in them was understood that they too were raised from the dead), so that they would be able to (habitually) walk (live) in newness of life (in an entirely new way).
According to this perspective, water baptism is not symbolic, but an actual identification of what it provides the person with. Baptism is the participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, therefore failing to be baptized would mean one has not died and been buried with Christ, nor will they truly live a new life with God (salvation). As verse 5 specifies, only ”if” one has been united with Christ in his death will they be united with him in a new life. If a person repents and believes, but is not baptized in water, then they will not have become separated from sin’s power and will not be united with Christ in a new life.
And as a person is being baptized, the baptizer could make a proclamation something like:

Now that you have repented (changed your mind, acknowledged, and turned from) your sins and confessed belief in Jesus as to who he is and what he has accomplished, water baptism will cause you to be placed in union with Christ. And because of such you have received two spiritual realities. The first is that you have been baptized into Christ’s death, of being dead to sin and no longer under its power. The second is you that have been raised from the dead becoming a new creature so that now you have the foundation to be able to habitually walk (live) in newness of life (in an entirely new way).

So, according to this salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works not only does water baptism provide two spiritual realties, but something else. Do you know what this is?

Chapter 18
Does Water Baptism Forgive Sins?

According to this salvation message, water baptism is the time when the forgiveness of a person’s sins takes place. In this sense, we could say that water baptism provides for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. I have decided to use the same scriptures, which we looked at in answering the same question for the salvation message of Repentance and Belief. However, I will shorten the content. This will not only allow us to see how these same verses are interpreted differently, but we can then use the different viewpoints in our compare and contrast chapter involving these two gospels which will be presented in a later chapter.

Be Baptized … for the Remission of Sins
Suggested Reading: Acts 2:1-47
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter is declaring to the unbelieving Jews what they needed to do in order to be saved. The salvation process he mentioned was that they should repent and be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ, their sins would be forgiven, and they would receive the indwelling Spirit. This appears to be straightforward saying that a person’s sins are forgiven when they are baptized in water.
Let’s stay in the book of Acts and look at some more scriptures in this regard.

Be Baptized, and Wash Away Thy Sins
Acts 22:1, 12-13, 15-16; Acts 9:17-18
Acts 9:17-18 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

The apostle Paul is being visited by a disciple of the Lord named Ananias at Jerusalem following his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, which caused him to temporarily lose his eyesight. Ananias told him that he was sent by Jesus to not only restore his physical sight, but give him the opportunity to receive spiritual sight.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Not only did he receive his sight back, but in the original account of this incident (Acts 9:17-18) he also received the filling (the power) of the Spirit. In the recounting of this story (Acts 22:16), we are told that he was baptized in water having his sins washed away (forgiven), calling on the name of the Lord.
There it is again. Paul’s sins were washed away (forgiven) at water baptism.

Let’s proceed to Ephesians chapter 1.

In Whom We Have Redemption through His Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins
Suggested Reading: Ephesians 1:3-11
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

This verse conveys to us that it is only in Christ through redemption (the setting us free) by the payment of his blood that the sins of the Christians at Ephesus were forgiven. Jesus shed his blood when he died, and because, as explained in the previous chapter, we participate in Jesus' death during baptism, baptism is the point in which we contact his blood and receive forgiveness of sins. So, we could infer that when these believers were at one time unbelievers their sins were forgiven when they were baptized in water, following repentance and belief.

Now, let’s take a look at some more verses from the book of Acts.

When the Times of Refreshing Shall Come:
Suggested Reading: Acts 3:1-4:31

A lame man was miraculously healed at one of the gates of the temple at Jerusalem through the intermediary of the apostle Peter. Following this, a crowd of unbelieving Jews gathered and Peter spoke to them telling them whom it was through that this man was made whole. And then he proceeded to share the gospel with them saying repent so that your sins will be blotted out, which this gospel says infers that they were told to repent, believe, and be baptized in water so that their sins would be blotted out, thus affirming that a person’s sins are forgiven at baptism.

And the last group of scriptures we will look at are also from the book of Acts.

Whosoever Believeth in Him Shall Receive Remission of Sins.
Suggested Reading: Acts 10:1-48
43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

The apostle Peter is proclaiming the salvation message to a group of unbelievers, who have gathered together at the house of a man named Cornelius. He told them that it is through Christ’s name that whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. Based on the inference that the other components were involved in the salvation process this declaration could be rewritten as: whosoever repents and believes in Christ and then is baptized in water will have their sins forgiven.
So, when a person repents and believes, they should be baptized in water so that their sins, which Jesus bore on the cross, will be forgiven at this time. If an unbeliever does not get baptized in water, their sins will not be forgiven and thus they will not be saved.
Before we move on from water baptism, did you know there is one more thing that happens when a person is baptized in water? Any guess as to what this is? Actually, this is not referring to a what, but a whom. Carry onward, solder in Christ.

Chapter 19
Is the Holy Spirit Received at Water Baptism?

For many churches, the answer to this question is essential to their belief that water baptism is implemented for a particular reason and therefore has a mandatory place in the salvation process. As we have noted already, this salvation message believes that water baptism not only provides two spiritual realities, but also brings about into a person’s life the forgiveness of sins. Wait, there is more. This salvation message also believes that another major reason for a person to be baptized in water in that it is at this time when the person receives the indwelling Holy Spirit. Is this view supported by scripture? We will take a look at some of the same verses which were used to answer this same question when it was presented under the salvation message of Repentance and Belief. However, the content will be condensed.

Please go to the book of Acts.

And Ye Shall Receive
Suggested Reading: Acts 2:1-47
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaimed the salvation message of Christ to the unbelieving Jews, who were attending the Feast of Pentecost. The salvation process he mentioned is: repent, be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift (the promise) of the Holy Spirit. There it is. Following water baptism, when the person’s sins are forgiven, they will receive the indwelling Spirit.

Let’s remain in the book of Acts.

For as Yet He Was Fallen upon None of Them
Suggested Reading: Acts 8:1-40
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The deacon Philip had just conveyed the gospel to the Samaritans. They believed the word, were baptized in water, and received the indwelling Spirit. However, it was apparent that the Spirit hadn’t come upon or “fallen upon” them yet providing power. So, two apostles were sent from Jerusalem, who when they arrived prayed and then laid their hands on them so that His power would come upon them.
The proponents of this salvation message believe there were two reasons for what took place. The first was to authentic the position and authority of these men as being divinely appointed. The second was to provide for those who had already received the indwelling Spirit at water baptism with the Spirit’s power in order to live the Christian life.

And Be Filled with the Spirit
Acts 22:1, 12-13, 15-16; Acts 9:17-18
Acts 9:17-18 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Following Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus with Christ whereby he was blinded, he is now in a house at Jerusalem waiting for the arrival of a disciple of the Lord named Ananias. When Ananias arrives, he tells him that the reason why he is there is so that he might receive his eyesight back and be filled (receive power) with the Spirit. We are then told that Ananias laid his hands on him and he received his sight back and after which he was baptized in water.
The filling of the Spirit refers to the Spirit coming upon someone and providing them with power. This idea of the Spirit coming upon someone relates to the apostles in Acts 1:8 receiving His power (not salvation, but for manifesting the gifts of the Spirit). At some time later, when they were baptized in water, they would receive the indwelling Spirit. Acts 2:38 Likewise, after Paul was baptized in water, he received the indwelling Spirit.

There is one more component of the salvation process of this salvation message, which we need to look at. The lack of evidence of such would indicate that the person was never saved in the first place or if they were, they lost their salvation. I’m sure you are already aware of this component because it is in the description of this gospel that we have looked at on a number of occasions. If you are not sure what this refers to, then go back and look at the last two words of the title of this chapter.

Endnotes
145The Pulpit.

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Synopsis
Is water baptism necessary in the salvation process? Does water baptism forgive sins?
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