Does the Reason for Baptism Matter?Written by 9th Avenue Church of Christ on Apr 10, 2016 in - No Comments
A. The “steps” of salvation are necessary, but the only one that is a one-time activity is baptism.
B. There is much controversy over baptism, including the reason why one would need to be baptized. But does it matter?
I. Some Common Reasons for Baptism
A. “An outward sign of an inward grace”
a. In other words, I am already saved, and baptism simply shows that to the world.
b. This is why “baptism services” are so common in the denominational world.
B. “To join a church”
a. The person is already saved, but their baptism identifies them with a particular congregation or denomination.
b. Sometimes, this is accompanied by voting someone “in” or “out”!
C. “To remove original sin”
a. This is why babies are baptized (or christened). We are born sinful, and that sin needs to be removed as soon as possible, so a baby is baptized.
b. Ezekiel 18:20 makes it clear, though, that we do not bear the stain of sin at our birth.
D. “To impress or relieve someone else”
a. Rarely given, but commonly practiced. I am baptized in order to make a parent or friend happy.
b. The relief that another feels may be real, but it cannot be the reason why someone is baptized!
II. An Examination of Peter’s Reason in Acts 2:38: “For the forgiveness of sins”
A. “For” translates the Greek word eis, which can mean “in order to” or “because of.”
a. Does repentance also follow salvation? No.
b. The word is found 1,773 times in the New Testament and is never translated “because of” (or anything similar).
c. No major translation in history has ever translated this “because of.” So, it is “in order to.”
B. “Sins” translates a word that means “to miss the mark” or “to not have a share in.”
C. “Forgiveness” (or “remission”) can also be translated “to liberate.” It is a word of freedom.
D. So, we must be baptized in order to be liberated from missing the mark of God.
A. Does this matter? Yes, because I must understand what I am doing!
B. Baptism is very personal, and it must combine the emotions and will with the mind. Have you been baptized in order to be liberated from missing the mark of God?