A Gospel preacher was conducting a
meeting in Mississippi sometime during the 1950’s.In the audience one evening was an English
teacher from the local high school.After the sermon, she approached the man and told him how much she
appreciated what he had to say with one exception; she did not believe a person
needs to be baptized to be saved.
The preacher asked her if she would
stay around and continue their conversation, to which she agreed.The preacher opened his Bible to Mark 16:16.The passage reads:
16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth
not shall be damned. (KJV)
He simply asked the teacher to do one
thing, “Please diagram that sentence for me.”The teacher took a look at the passage and made the following
is the simple subject. 2)“Shall
be saved” is the simple predicate. 3)“He
shall be saved” is the independent part of the sentence. 4)“That
believeth and is baptized” is the dependent clause.
The minister then asked the following
questions of the teacher:
“he” shall be saved?Is it just any
it’s just any “he”, then universal salvation results.All will be saved. 3)Is
that what Jesus said?Of course not. He
stated that “he that believeth and is baptized will be saved.”
The teacher was baptized that very
night.Why?Because when she read the Word of God, she
was not disposed to argue with Him.What
Jesus had to say was right and that settled all controversy with her.Jesus, the very one who went to the cross for
you and for me said it, she believed it and obeyed His command.The Lord said there are two conditions essential
to our salvation.They are belief and
baptism.Please notice that the Lord did NOT
say, as some would have you believe, “He that believeth and is saved may be baptized…”The passage reads “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…”
Suppose Mark 16:16 read this way: “He that believeth and is baptized shall
receive a new house.”What if it stated,
“He that believeth and is baptized shall receive a new car.”If the passage read that way, we would have
people lined up for miles around every Lord’s church in the world wanting to be
baptized!But the gift which God offers
to those who will obey is beyond our human comprehension: ETERNAL LIFE WITH HIM!
The design of water baptism in the New
Testament is unquestionably to allow for the sinner’s sins to be removed by the
blood of Jesus. This purpose is variously described as “to be saved” (Mark 16:16),
“for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), to “put on Christ” (Galatians
3:27), to “enter the kingdom of God”
(John 3:5), to “wash away your sins” (Acts
22:16), to place one “into one body”
(1 Corinthians 12:13) and “into Christ” (Romans 6:3). These are parallel expressions that identify the same
6:3-7 we are told, "Or do you
not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even
so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together
in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His
resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the
body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
For he who has died has been freed from sin."
When the believing, penitent
non-Christian allows themselves to be lowered into the watery grave of baptism,
a parallel to Christ’s redemptive work is taking place.Baptism is into Christ’s death because that
is where He shed His blood on our behalf. The atoning activity of Christ was
achieved in His death, burial, and resurrection. Consequently, the alien sinner
taps into that redemptive power in the act of water immersion.
The “newness of life” follows—not
precedes—baptism (vs. 6).The “old man of sin,” the “body of sin,” is
eliminated in the waters of baptism.Being immersed in water— “buried in baptism” (vs. 4)—is equivalent to “you obeyed from the heart that form of
doctrine to which you were delivered” (vs.
17). Only then, i.e., in the act of emulating Jesus’ atonement in the
waters of baptism, is one “set free from sin” (vs. 18).
To summarize, notice that seven
significant achievements occur at the point of water immersion: (1) baptized
into Christ; (2) baptized into Christ’s death; (3) newness of life; (4) united
in His death; (5) old man/body of sin crucified/done away; (6) no longer slaves
of sin; and (7) freed from sin.
I pray that you will carefully consider,
not what I say, but what God says through His Word on this important subject.