For a Christian to lead a healthy spiritual life, he must be grounded on solid conclusions regarding the fundamental Bible topics. Unfortunately, many of us merely repeat whatever we have heard from influential people over the years rather than reading what God’s word has to say –in context– and then allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning to us. Baptism deserves serious consideration far beyond common church teachings and traditions.
A dear friend, Doug Olsen of myredeemer.org, gave me permission to post here a great study on the important topic of baptism.
Only Spiritual Baptism Is Required
The only baptism that is required is the one done by God –the Holy Spirit– when He joins us into the body of Christ. And it is required!
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
That baptism is when we are spiritually born –born again.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, 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? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)
A Second Blessing?
Although some will agree that salvation begins with spiritual baptism, they have been taught that there is a second blessing that occurs at the time of water baptism. But that can’t be true when the Bible clearly says that everyone who is in Christ has received every spiritual blessing in heaven. If we have received every spiritual blessing, it makes no sense that God is holding back the second one. He already gave us them all.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. (Ephesians 1:3-4)
Does Water Baptism Still Have a Purpose Today?
Absolutely! It’s not that water baptism is required in any way –but it can serve very well as a point of reference. Water baptism is a way of providing a point in time to which a person can refer to and, in his own mind, remember: He can state with certainty, “That’s the day I became a Christian; that’s when I was born again. That’s the day that I died with Christ; was buried with Him; and was raised to new life with Him. It’s the day I became a new creation.”
When confronted by the enemy in times of weakness or doubt, with confidence he can say: “Flee from me Satan, I’m a child of God; a brother of Christ; an heir to the kingdom! And I remember the day it happened!”
having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:12-14)
- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen
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