As a long-term investment in our health and work, Vicki and I let few things interfere with our thrice-weekly workouts. But a few things are more important. Such as a baptism. Yesterday, I baptized a couple we had been studying with, and they chose the best time for the two of them, at 4:30 pm—on his day off, and right after she got off from work, still early enough in the day so that the water was bearable. (It’s wintertime here, and the baptism was done in an outdoor pool.) That caused us to miss our workout, and we were happy to miss it. To help someone move from a state of lostness to receive salvation in Christ is of all things the most important.

“So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen” 2 Tim 2.10 NLT.

We stand before the opening gate
To step within, discover our fate;
The Lord alone can tell
What bides us ill or well,
How long or short will be our wait.

Sooner than the blinking eye,
We’ll pass from here, to there we’ll fly—
No power can hold us back,
Nor shake us from this track—
To a dying world we say goodbye.

No more contained by love of earth,
We dive to embrace a life of worth—
A death, a silent tomb,
Release from certain doom—
Both word and water give us birth.

When I obeyed the Lord’s command,
God’s saving mercy flowed;
I plunged into Christ, the old man drowned,
God took my sinful load.

To self and the world, immersed, I died,
For God I began to live;
He saved me, every need supplied,
The Spirit’s power to give.

GraceGrace takes care of sin, breaks its power, releases from its condemnation. But some take a lax approach to sin because of grace. After all, God is going to forgive, regardless — so they think. Such an approach comes close to the attitude that Paul anticipates when he writes about grace.

What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?
Romans 6.1 NET Continue reading

Ask what saved Noah, and most people will say the ark, thinking that the danger from which he needed saving was the water. But Peter says that the water saved that ancient preacher of righteousness, with his family, because the danger was that perverse generation, and the water separated them from it. As real as that salvation was, so is baptism, and so it saves us from our sins.

20  after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. 21  And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22  who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him. (1 Peter 3:20-22 NET)

(Read my earlier, longer take on this here. Today’s post was inspired by John Wehan’s, “Saved by baptism?“)

Q: My friend says that saying, “Come in to my heart, Jesus” saves you; I say Mk 16:16 is necessary. Why is baptism ignored?

A: Protestants have an aversion to baptism, apparently since the time of Martin Luther, who swung from the extreme of Roman Catholicism’s works-righteousness to declare that faith only saved.

Many see baptism as a work of merit, so it has to be excluded. They miss, however, that the New Testament identifies it as an act of obedience, but nowhere calls it a work of righteousness or merit.

The British Baptist scholar, F.F. Bruce, stated that the New Testament does not know of an unimmersed believer. But even he dispensed with the necessary reason for baptism. It’s been observed that, according to Baptist doctrine, it’s easier to get into heaven than it is to get into the Baptist church, for they teach it’s not necessary for salvation but it is to enter the Baptist church.

By helping our Protestant friends see the difference between works of merit and the obedience necessary to salvation, we might be able to help them overcome their aversion to it.

For as you say correctly, according to Mark 16:16 (and other texts) faith and baptism are necessary for salvation.

Have a question? Pop it to us on the Plink forum or in comments below.

 

Kyle Massengale of the Madison AL church had me on his iQuest podcast last night as a guest. The assigned topic was “Water in the Plan.”

You can tell from the title that baptism was the subject. We covered some of the usual ground, but had some interesting items in the mix that you might not normally expect. So don’t think ho-hum and move on. The story I conclude with is worth hanging on until the end.

Skype was quirky last night and didn’t work. (I blame Microsoft!) I wound up calling on a land line. My part of the podcast lasted for an hour, so I’ll have a hefty phone bill this month. But it was worth it.

Perhaps because of the land line, there was an echo in the first part of the podcast behind me. But their geek guy got it fixed. The archived file was edited, and it sounds normal.

We were originally scheduled for two weeks ago, then came the tornadoes through Alabama. After that, I forgot about it until Kyle buzzed me on Facebook a couple of hours ahead. So I jotted down some talking points to go with. Kyle was great at keeping the subject moving.

I found myself stammering for the English words. Too many “uhs” in my speech. Perhaps it won’t take the listener’s attention away from the subject matter.

This was my second experience at being a guest on a podcast. iPreach was my first go-around.