Is It Essential to Our Salvation?
We are told in First Peter 3:21 that water baptism is essential. The writer explains that the water does not wash away our sin, but is effective only because the Church is under a water baptism covenant; so we must perform the requirement to fulfill all righteousness. Baptism is the act of accepting our resurrection by faith. “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 Yahweh,) by the resurrection of Yasha Christ,” 1 Peter 3:21.
Mark 16:16 says, “The one believing and being baptized shall be saved.”
Baptism in water was not a part of the old order as many people assume. There is no record of anyone practicing or teaching others to be water baptized until John the Baptist’s ministry began. The people of the Old Testament lived under the covenant of circumcision; we are under the covenant of the new creation through the symbolic acceptance of our resurrection.
Yasha was not baptized early in his life, though I am sure his parents were faithful to the law. He was baptized at the beginning of his last day revival, for it was at this time he began to announce the Kingdom of Yahweh was at hand. This was three and one half years before his crucifixion. Yasha taught in the synagogues before he was baptized (see Luke 4:16), “And as His custom was he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read.” This scene seemed to have taken place immediately after his baptism and temptation. We cannot believe that our Savior was converted at age thirty, but he asked to be baptized by John then. This indicated that baptism was a new thing and very important.
John did not want to baptize Yasha because he felt inferior to him (Matt. 3:13-16), yet Yasha insisted that John baptize him. He said he wanted to “fulfill all righteousness.” Should we do anything less?
One important question I would like to ask those who deny the legality of water baptism is, When did water baptism cease to be an act that fulfills all righteousness?
If water baptism was required under the law and doesn’t belong to the New Covenant Church, why were Yasha and his friends not baptized years before they were? The only conclusion I can draw is that they were not baptized because it was a New Covenant Church ordinance and not part of the Mosaic Law.
Some people think the practice of water baptism ended when Jerusalem was destroyed; hence it was only for Israel’s forty years of grace. They claim the ordinance was not for the Gentile church, but for Israel only. There is absolutely no ground to build this doctrine on, but there is much to refute it. The Ethiopian eunuch that Phillip baptized in water certainly was not an Israelite, neither was Cornelius, the Italian of Acts 10:27-28. The scriptures are very clear that Peter baptized the eunuch in water after he requested Peter to perform the ritual. The scriptures do not tell us what Peter taught the man, but we know that water baptism came into the discussion enough to convince the eunuch that it was a necessary element of his salvation; otherwise, he would not have been anxious to be baptized. We must also realize that an angel was instrumental in Philip’s ministering to this Ethiopian. After the Ethiopian was baptized, Philip’s mission was completed and the Spirit transported him to Azotus. So we must conclude that the only reason Philip was instructed to go to Gaza was to meet this man, instruct him about salvation, and baptize him. He talked to no other person, and after he ministered to the man, he did not continue his journey to Gaza.
In First Corinthians 1:14 and 16 Paul said he had baptized Crispus, Gaius, and the members of Stephan’s household. How can we justify Philip, Paul, Peter, and Christ if water baptism is not for the church age?
If there remains an honest question in your mind concerning water baptism, allow yourself to study closely Peter’s response to the men that murdered the Lord when they sought an answer to what they should do. Remember these men crucified the Lord in their ignorance. Their hearts were pricked deeply when they realized what they had done. But the Lord prayed for their forgiveness, and forgiveness had been granted. “Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized (Who is supposed to be baptized?) each of you (How do we get baptized?) in the Name of Yasha the Anointed (why should we do that?) for the remission of sins (then what will happen?) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (How do we know that we are in on that promise?), Because the gift is for you and for your children and to all that is afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts 2:38-39. I added some questions here in parenthesis to emphasize what Peter was saying; however I did no violence to the text.
I have never talked to one person that gave me one biblical reason for rejecting water baptism.
Some ministers teach that Christ only baptized twelve of his disciples and the rest of his converts were not baptized. This they read into the text found in Saint John 4:1-2: “Then when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Yasha made more disciples and baptized more than John, though Yasha himself did not baptize, but His disciples—he left Judea….” If we use this scripture to do away with baptism, we must make the last half of the verse contradict the first half or be content to preach that John only baptized eleven people in his lifetime. If Christ only baptized twelve people, yet he baptized a greater number than John baptized, this would say John’s converts remained less than twelve. Of course this is foolishness. If we have attended revivals where hundreds of souls are saved in one day, we understand the Evangelist could not possibly baptize all of his converts. Modern evangelists usually leave this responsibility for the local ministers to perform. In the ministry of Yasha, baptism was left to the disciples. In Paul’s ministry it evidently became the responsibility of the local church leaders, or it is possible he had companions with him that took on this responsibility.
Water baptism is so clearly taught in the Scripture that anyone who has a cheap Bible that does not have a center reference would immediately come upon the scriptures that deal with water baptism. To refuse the ritual is to defy the Church ordinance established by Yasha, his disciples, and the Church fathers. It makes no difference whether it is out of fear or rebellion; neither one is excused.
Every incident of water baptism in the Bible makes it clear that they were baptized in a body of water. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo (#907) and comes from the Greek word bapto (#911), which means to cover wholly with fluid, whelm, engulf, to submerge (to put or sink below the surface of water).
The vessels used in the Old Testament sacrifices were sprinkled with blood, but people were not. However, there are two scriptures in the Old Testament that might appear to teach the concept of sprinkling instead of baptism, but when carefully studied it becomes crystal clear that they do not. One is found in Isaiah 52:13-15: “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”
The other is in Ezekiel 36:24-28: “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”