"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega .. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, .. they .. have right to the tree of life, and .. enter .. the city."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
The Bible baptism is commonly known as water baptism. Most churches give baptism to children and they will not take water baptism. Then, they ask whether will they go to heaven if they do not take water baptism. So, let us look at the Bible and find the answer.
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This is the Transcript of this Message
The grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ be upon you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.
The topic today is baptism. I was given baptism when I was a child. My conversion began when I was about forty years old and I took water baptism. So, I was on both sides of the isle, regarding baptism. I have a website. It istruegospel.com. I wrote an article about water baptism on my site. One question that I receive often from the site is: if a good God loving church going Christian does not take water baptism, can he go to heaven? The question is not intended to find an answer, but to tell me that such person will also go to heaven. Let us study this topic with all sincerity from the scripture.
First of all, let us see who is a good God loving church going person. If he is a Christian, he will have a Bible. If he loves God, he will study the Bible to know more about God. If he wants to follow Christ, God will reveal his word to him. As he understands the Bible, he will obey the Bible. If the Bible tells him to take water baptism, he will take the baptism. If he obeys God he will go to heaven. But, if he cares for social standing, he will be good to people, but he will not study the Bible. Then he will not know how to obey God. So, he will not go to heaven. This is a short answer to the question.
Now let us see what is baptism? The word baptism means taking bath in water. Matt 3:16 says Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: That is, he was immersed in water and came out of water in his baptism. So, baptism is by immersion. But, in most churches, the pastor wets his hand in a cup of water or he uses a little water in some way, in a ceremony of child dedication and calls it as baptism. Acts 2:38 Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized & so on. So, the prerequisite for baptism is to repent. A child cannot repent and so a child cannot be baptized. Matt 3:7 says about John the Baptist, when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: That is, when educated religious people of that day, came to John the Baptist to take baptism, he would not baptize them, if they did not show proof for their repentance. Acts 26:20 Paul says they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. So, Paul required proof for repentance. So, repentance with proof is a prerequisite for water baptism. If they do not have proof, their repentance is mere sorrow. If you have repented with proof, then you are qualified to be baptized. Let me give an example of a proof for repentance: If you have stolen something, you will do restitution for steeling and you will not steel again. This is proof that you have repented for steeling.
Baptism is a ceremony. Ceremonies- mean something in our life. For example: if a man and a woman are married, the ceremony unites them as one unit of family. The ceremony will not do any magic on them, but it will bring an awareness that they are responsible for a new life. The Bible says, a married woman will do many things to please her husband. Since we are also ceremonially united with Jesus Christ in baptism, we must live for Jesus Christ, as a married woman will live for her husband. Our previous life before baptism, was life in sin and after baptism our life must be with Christ, that is, we must live without sin. In Romans 7 it is described as we leave our first husband, who is Sin, and will be married to the second husband, who is Jesus Christ, that is to live a holy life without sin. So, even though baptism is a simple ceremony, it is our life long commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is marriage ceremony between us and Christ.
In this context, let us study Rom 6:1-12, vs1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Here, we see two things. One is sin, the other is grace. Grace is actually the presence of Christ. Christians do not know this. Vs 1 admits that we lived in sin, but says we should not continue in sin when grace, who is Jesus Christ, comes in. 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? That is, at the baptism, which is our marriage with Jesus Christ, the previous life of sin is dead. So, how can we live in sin anymore? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Please notice, the verse says that so many of us. It did not say all of us. Again it says: so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. That is, many of us will be united into the death of Jesus Christ by baptism. 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: so 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. That is, those who were buried with him, will also be raised with him and walk with him in new life through baptism. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: It is confirmation that if we are dead with him, we will live with him. But, many of us has learned a cliché to say that we are in Christ while we are living in sin. This statement is pure lie, it is just opposite to what the Bible says and it is deception from the devil. 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. That is, we must remember that our previous life of sin is crucified with Jesus, so that our sin instinct is destroyed, so that we will not sin anymore. This is what the Bible says. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. That is, a dead man will not sin and so if we are crucified and dead with Jesus, we will not sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. These verses say that Jesus Christ died once and will not die again, but he keeps living for God. 11 Likewise that is like Jesus did, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. That is, we must remember that now you are dead to sin and will be living with Jesus Christ, who is our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. So let sin not rule you anymore to do lustful things. In short, baptism is marriage ceremony of a repented believer with Jesus Christ. It is explained as our old instinct of sin is crucified with Jesus Christ and it is buried with the body of Jesus Christ when we go under water. If it is done that way, we will be resurrected with Jesus Christ as we come out of water and we will be living with him in the newness of life without committing sin. If we live in the life of sin as before, then the ceremony of baptism has no meaning. Tragically, most of us who took baptism have seen no change in life. It should not be like this. What could be the reason for this mass failure? The reason is this. Before baptism, we must repent for our sins with proof of works. But we ignored that. We just had sorrow in place of repentance, or, we just thought that we should take baptism and went ahead with baptism. So, our baptism was on a defective foundation of no repentance or an inadequate false repentance. So, the Bride Groom was not present in the ceremony of baptism. That is the main cause for our failure. Let us see one more scripture.
It is Rom 7:2-6. In this, the change of a woman is not from her virgin status to married status, but it is her deliverance from her first husband and her marriage to a second husband. Her first husband is Sin and her second husband is Jesus Christ. The point of emphasis is, that her first husband has to die before she takes her second husband Jesus Christ. Now let us see the scriptures. Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. The point here is that her first husband must die before she goes to her second husband. As long as he is living, she cannot have another husband lawfully. That is, as long as we live with sin, we cannot live with Jesus Christ. This is the principle of God. Sin must die before we live with Jesus Christ. It is scripture. But, our preachers say that we can live with Jesus Christ while we are yet with sin. This is deception and lie. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, (that is Jesus Christ) that we should bring forth fruit unto God. So, our sin instinct must die by the body, that is the grace of God, in order to be married to the resurrected Jesus Christ so that we may be fruitful to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. That is, when we were committing sins, it brought eternal death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. That is, now since we are being delivered from the addiction of sin, we must serve in the newness of the spirit, that is by resurrected life with Christ. So, the truth is that our past life with sin must be over before we begin the life with the resurrected Jesus Christ. But unfortunately, Christian preachers say that we can live with Jesus Christ as we are committing sin. This deception causes all kinds of failure and eternal death to us. We can escape this deception if we believe the scriptures rather than believing our preachers.
Our subject is baptism. The Bible tells us to repent for our disobedience to God that is sin and the proof that we have repented is that we obey God in the sight of others as well as in secret. Then only, we should take baptism. Then the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Groom will be present in the ceremony of baptism and will be united with us as one and our baptism will prosper.
Our question is: Can we go to heaven without baptism? Luke 3:3 John the Baptist came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; Acts 2:38 ... Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, ... Here we see that baptism is one of the prerequisites for the remission of sins. That is, if we do not take water baptism, our sins will not be forgiven. Even though it appears to be a strange statement, it is from the Bible. If our sins are not forgiven, we cannot go to heaven. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Here, we see that baptism is included in the gospel by Jesus Christ. Those who believe his gospel will take water baptism and they will be saved a/c to Jesus Christ. Those who do not believe him, will not take his baptism. They will be damned a/c Jesus Christ as in vs 16. If they are damned, how will they go to heaven? So, we need to take water baptism in order to go to heaven.
Baptism is given to us as a ceremony. The word of God instructs us to die to self with Jesus Christ so that we may be raised with Jesus Christ. If we are raised with Christ, then we will live with him and there is no sin with him. If a woman does not live as one with her husband after marriage, then the marriage ceremony is meaningless. So also, if we do not live with Jesus Christ after baptism, the baptism we took is meaningless. So, ceremony as well as life, are required in baptism. We need a valid baptism in order to to go to heaven. It is not enough just to have the ceremony done. I hope that you will live with the Lord Jesus Christ and will be in heaven with him.
Thank you for listening and God bless you.
God Bless You