Why Is Water Baptism Important For Christians?
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
Let's get right to the point. First off, water baptism does not save a Christian from the penalty for their sins. What is it good for then? Water baptism helps a Christian resist the temptation to sin. Those are the two most important things a Christian needs to know about water baptism.
Question: 'Then are you going on record before the Church and God, Norm, that water baptism is not necessary for salvation?'
Answer: Absolutely, because there is no place in the Bible where it clearly states that it is, and anyone who states differently is trying to add to Ephesians 2:8-9 as well as other Bible passages supporting Ephesians 2:8-9, whether knowingly or unknowingly. However, water baptism it is a commandment from God for a Christian to be water baptized, if/when at all possible (and infant baptism does not count either). "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, (make disciples of Jesus Christ of people in every nation, in other words) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," - Matthew 28:19. I don't view this command by Jesus to be a suggestion. It's clear to me it's a commandment. (Also see: Acts 2:38, though many excellent Bible scholars believe and agree that Peter in this passage is referring to John's baptism of repentance [changing the way you think and act about Godly righteousness - sinning against God - obedience to God], and NOT the water baptism immersion into Jesus Christ that Romans 6 is addressing, as I too believe there were two different water baptisms going on as Acts 19:4 is addressing).
What now follows is some elaboration of the above two spiritual truths spoken of in the first paragraph.
Point number one: What saves a person from the penalty of their sins to keep them out of hell is believing that Jesus Christ paid full penalty for every person's sins when He purposely went to the cross and took their punishment so their sins will not be held against them on the Judgment Day as to where they will spend eternity, but forgiven by God (though disobedience to God after a person becomes a Christian WILL play a part in the receiving of eternal rewards or the loss of them). What keeps a person saved from the penalty for their sins (past, present, and future sins, by the way) is continuing to believe that Jesus Christ took full punishment for their sins on the cross, and there is always forgiveness for them in and through Christ Jesus during this life prior to dying, if a person sins after they have become born again, providing 1 John 1:9 is obeyed. Adding any more, or any less, only confuses this important truth about having one's sins forgiven -- obtaining salvation and keeping one's salvation (forgiveness of sins), in other words.
Point number two: Simply believing point number one is just the beginning of being empowered to have victory over sinful temptations once a person becomes saved (from penalty for their sins). God has a means of empowering born again Christians to have greater victory over temptations to sin by being baptized into Jesus Christ. When a Christian is baptized into Jesus Christ, they are given the power of Jesus Christ to resist temptations to sin.
1 John 1:9 and 1 John 3:9 ' does not impart the power of Jesus Christ to a Christian to have power to resist temptations to sin: Romans chapter 6 DOES! Other than Ephesians 2:8-9, the Sixth (6th) chapter of the book of Romans is the most important part of the Bible when it comes to knowing about the power God gives Christian believers to have victory over sin. Why so? Because Romans chapter 6 explains what water baptism does for a Christian. It explains the legal process of God's empowerment imparted to born again Christians to have victory over sin.
So much has already been written regarding water baptism, but I've felt moved of the Holy Spirit to contribute to the fray and here's the greatest reason why. With Satan working behind the scenes, he is effectively dumming down way too many Christians and especially Christian teachers. Christians stopping engagement in sin is becoming of less and less importance in the minds of far too many Christians. Jesus Christ didn't just die to take our punishment for our sins. He resurrected to impart His power to His followers to have victory over sin after they became His followers. If Christians didn't need the power of Jesus Christ - who was and IS one of the three persons of the eternal Godhead - Romans chapter 6 would never have had to be written, simple as that, yet WONDERFULLY DELIGHTFUL as that!
To the Christian who fully is at peace with Ephesians 2:8-9 and then Romans 5:1, God didn't record Romans chapter 6 in His Word (Holy Bible) to take up some blank spaces. He recorded it to show us that there IS power available from Him to resist temptations to sin, and it is God's highest will that Christians do work diligent to resist temptations to sin.
Satan doesn't want Christians knowing about the power God has given Christians through water baptism into Jesus Christ to help them get victory over sin. Satan wants Christians believing they have to dog it out by shear willpower all on their own when it comes to resisting sin. And I personally believe because Satan has been so effective at blinding the understanding of Christians to the power available to them to resist sin (because the power of sin DID get broken once a person becomes water baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!), more and more Christians are becoming deceived much easier in even believing sin is actually sin anymore as the Bible states. (Does fornication (sex outside of marriage) and homosexuality come to mind, just to name a couple?)
Thank God Christians have forgiveness for their sins before and after they become spiritually born again, as 1 John 1:9 promises, but GOD FORBID that Christian teachers end it there! God forbid that Christian teachers don't THEN make their students realize that on-going sinning is NOT to be a convenient carnal option to Christians, as 1 John 3:9 addresses:
No one who is a child of God is habitually guilty of sin. A God-given germ of life remains in him, and he cannot habitually sin--because he is a child of God. (Weymouth New Testament)
[Please take the time to read other popular Bible translations of 1 John 3:9. They don't read near as 'graciously' as the Weymouth New Testament translations reads.]
Normal Christianity is to be sandwiched by two bookends, if you will, not just one: 1 John 1:9 on one side, and 1 John 3:9 on the other. Starting out as a new born believer in Christ, thank God for 1 John 1:9! But as time goes on and that person matures in their relationship with Jesus Christ, 1 John 3:9 takes on the highest importance, at least it is supposed to if that Christian is walking in any wisdom at all! Romans 8:12-13 makes that very clear:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
And HOW does one tap into the 'Spirit' (Holy Spirit) to be empowered to help put to death sinful temptations?
Firstly: By becoming water baptized into Jesus Christ and persistently proclaiming the truth to oneself that Romans 6 means exactly what it says, 'My old man of sin died and my new man of righteousness, my new spiritual self - lives by the resurrected power of Jesus Christ to resist sinful temptation when it knocks.'
Secondly: To walk daily in the Spirit. How does one walk daily in the Spirit? Here is as good (thorough; wise) of an explanation of any I've ever heard: Walking In The Spirit.
For probably most reading this ... I've now saved the following scripture to be what I call the TABLE that the two "bookend scriptures" sit upon. Truth be known, if God had not given us the promise I'm about to link to, I seriously doubt if ANY of us would REMAIN Christians for very long, if we would be honest about it: 1 John 2:1
Please be advised that by the very nature of this writing, many people will write with objections as well as with questions, but unfortunately, I don't have the time to respond. People certainly may write if they wish if they believe the Holy Spirit wants to use them to correct me in any way, but again, please understand I'll more than likely not respond back, simply because writing people keeps me from the other aspects of ministry God has called me to. I'm growing much older, and don't have the ability to do what I did when I was younger and could burn the candle at both ends. Thanks for your thoughtful understanding.
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)