The Mystery of Baptism

Water – Holy Spirit

Cal Poulsen
Scripture Insights

The questions surrounding the argument of water baptism continues to rage within the Christian community. However, there is overwhelming agreement that water baptism is not required for salvation. All of the scripture verses quoted today commanding water baptism are written to the Jew with several exceptions. We need to accept the fact that Jesus came to proclaim that he was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God to the Jewish nation. Israel’s soon coming King. Yet the “Jews received him not.”

John 1:11
He (Jesus), came unto his own (Jews), and his own received him not.

Jesus himself stated the following.

Matthew 15:24
But he (Jesus), answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep (Jews), of the house of Israel.

Jesus even commanded the disciples not to associate or share the good news with Gentiles (you and me). He did this because Jesus had a separate plan of salvation called “Grace” for the Gentile believer. The calling out a people for his name.

Acts 15:14
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

Matthew 10:5
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

What then are the questions we should be asking about the need for water baptism?

1. Does Jesus want us (Gentiles) to be baptized with water?
2. Has or did Jesus ever say anything about Gentiles being baptized with water?
3. Are we Gentiles commanded by Jesus to be baptized?
4. Are the Jews commanded by Jesus to be baptized?
5. Is baptism an act of obedience?
6. What is the gift or reward for a Jew that is baptized?
7. Is there a reward or a gift for a Gentile that is baptized?
8. Is baptism required for salvation?

Obedience – noun
1. Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority.
"Children were taught to show their parents obedience."

As I was preparing for this paper, I came across an article on baptism that we should all be interested in. By no means does it attest to the truth about baptism. It does try to intimidate and make the reader believe that by not being baptized they are somehow guilty of the sins of the family and the church.

Written Article In: “Grace to You,” – John F. MacArthur
May I be so bold as to suggest that a failure to be obedient in the matter of baptism, to take baptism seriously is at the root of some of the immense problems in people's lives, and in the church in general? Why, because it allows the church to fill up with people who are unfaithful to the simplest commands of the Lord and of his word.

A person who claims to be a Christian and has not been baptized fits into the following categories.
1. Ignorant.
2. Pride is an issue.
3. Apathetic towards a specific command by Jesus.
4. Defiant people.

The above statement is spiritually immature. There is nothing in scripture to support his conclusion. When we carefully study scripture we find that the chief reason for baptism was “Repentance and Forgiveness.” By virtue of the command given to John the Baptist, he expressed the need for the Jewish community to be baptized and receive the gift of repentance and forgiveness of sins. This was supported by the fact that they must be “Born Again.”

John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:7
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Let’s look at the following verses. They expressly point to the need to repent to receive the forgiveness of sins. Several emphasize that one (Jesus), greater than John the Baptist will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. For the Jew this baptism came at Pentecost, 50 days after the ascension of Jesus.

Acts 5:31
Him (Jesus), hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:

Mark 1:4
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.


Mark 1:8
I indeed have baptized you with water: but he (Jesus), shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.


Who is the “he” in the previous verse?

Luke 3:16
John answered, saying unto them all (gathered people), I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh . . . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire:

John 1:26
John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water . . . .”

Acts 11:16
Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Act 19:4
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Matthew 3:6
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:5
And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

All of these verses subscribe to the fact that through water baptism, your sins will be forgiven. This is a physical act yet the blessing of God is evident. What about this next verse. Does this frighten you into believing in water baptism?

Mark 16:16
He (Jew), that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

In this verse it is evident that repentance requires the act of believing. It also says that salvation of the Jew requires water baptism. Did Jesus baptize believers? The answer is no he did not. His disciples did.

John 4:1
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John . . . .

John 4:2
(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples),

The book of Acts is transitional. In the latter chapters it begins to emphasize the salvation of the Gentiles. We find that the apostle Paul (apostle to the Gentiles) after his road to Damascus experience, and his subsequent training by Jesus in the desert, began to emphasize the need to receive the Holy Spirit instead of water baptism.

We will find that this anointing takes place at the time of receiving the free gift of salvation when you believe in the shed blood of Jesus and his ascension to heaven (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4). Let’s carefully look at the following scriptures.

Acts 19:2
He (Paul), said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.


Acts 19:3
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

Acts 19:4
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Acts 19:5
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Watch this carefully.

Acts 19:6
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

The following scriptures are given to us by the apostle Paul. As Gentiles we are to follow Paul as he follows Christ.

Galatians 3:14
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ (shed blood), should be made of none effect

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Gentiles are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. By grace we (Gentiles) are forgiven our sins but not by water baptism. This is in-line with the salvation gospel found in (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

In these next verses the apostle Paul describes how we are forgiven through redemption by Jesus. Jesus cancelled the debt against us (Gentiles) through his shed blood. The Jews could not rely on this because Christ was yet to be crucified and the shedding of his blood had not taken place.

Redemption: noun
1. The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
2.The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.

Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his (Jesus), blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 1:14
In whom we have redemption through his (Jesus), blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Hebrews 9:12
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his (Jesus), own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Gentiles).

Paul never tells us to repent. Paul never talks about repentance for salvation. If salvation is a free gift, then to do anything for it would be an act of works. We are asked to believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) for salvation.

Then we have the following dilemma where churches believe in the Great Commission, or is it. In Matthew 28:19 the church believes that this command was given also to them. But Jesus says no such thing. Read the following.

The great commission to the church:

Matthew 28:19
Go ye (eleven disciples), therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Was this commission given to the entire nation of Israel, to all Jews or to Gentiles also? Again, to whom is Jesus speaking to? Jesus is speaking to the Jewish disciples. For Jews to receive the kingdom they must believe in Christ as their King, their Messiah and the Son of God. To do this they must be baptized in water thereby receiving the forgiveness of sins.

The great commission goes on to say the following.

Matthew 28:20
Teaching them (who are them), to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Some churches believe that by their actions of baptizing and teaching of Christ that they are responsible to usher in the end of the world (age). To whom is Jesus talking to in the above verse? Jews. Then we have the tribulation verses given to us by Jesus in Matthew 24. If the church is to bring the gospel to all the nations then why did Jesus give us (Matthew 24:14).

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom (the Good News about the Kingdom), shall be preached in all the world (144,000 witnesses), for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matthew 24 is a Tribulation chapter. Remember what the apostles were asking Jesus. (Matthew 24:3). And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? You can see that the gospel of the kingdom (on earth), shall be preached by the 144,000 Jewish men.

Revelation 14:6
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel (Matthew 24:14), to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

What is the intent of the everlasting gospel?

The “everlasting gospel” of (Revelation 14:6), is not new or a different gospel from that which our Lord, the apostles, and the early church preached, and which is to be re-emphasized in worldwide proportions in these latter days (gospel of Jesus). It is the same unchanged and unchangeable good news that God has conveyed to man ever since sin entered the world.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they (Jews), that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Are we (Body of Christ) supposed to again, keep the law and the commandments and ordinances that were nailed to the cross?

What conclusion do you come to?


Your questions and comments are always appreciated.
Scripture Insights
2015 – 2016

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