Shelby G. Floyd
There are only three aspects of baptism:
The Subject of Baptism
All accountable people are subjects to be baptized. There is not one who is good. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The Action of Baptism
The proper action of baptism (Greek, baptidzo) is by immersion, dipping, submerging, or plunging the accountable person in water. The Greek verb “bapto” (See Luke 16:24) is translated “dip.” The rich man who was lost wanted Lazarus to “dip” his finger in water and cool his tongue!
The Purpose of Baptism
“For the forgiveness of sin” is the purpose for which an accountable person is to be baptized. This article will develop this third aspect of baptism. In brief, sinners need to be baptized to be saved from past sins and to be inducted into Christ where all spiritual blessing are to be found.
When Paul gave an account of his own baptism, he related that the preacher Ananias said, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16 ESV). If Paul was saved before his baptism, then he was saved while still in his sins. And if Paul were saved by his faith only, then he had no sins to wash away. Also it would have been foolish for the preacher Ananias to tell him to rise and wash away his sins! But Jesus said baptism was to be saved from sin:
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mk. 16:15-16 ESV).
Paul was not saved before his baptism. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus (Paul) on the road to Damascus. Saul’s purpose for going there was to persecute and imprison the Christians in that city (Acts 9:1-6). Ananias, the preacher went to the house where Saul (Paul) was staying. He stated that he would receive the Holy Spirit, and immediately he received his sight. Then Ananias taught him about baptism, “and he arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18 NKJV). And we also learn from Paul’s own account of his conversion, that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Acts 26:19).
Later in Paul’s career as an apostle to the Gentiles, he plainly taught baptism to those at Rome:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 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 (Romans 6:1-6 NKJV).
Paul could relate to his own teaching on baptism. Because in water baptism he died to sin, he buried the dead sinner, and resurrected the new person in Christ. Paul and every baptized believer should be dedicated to living the new life in Christ (Romans 6:5-14).
Paul was a strict, zealous persecutor of the church and he thought he was doing the right thing. But he was lost without Christ. But when he did what Christ commanded him to do by the preaching of the gospel, he was saved like everyone else then and like all are today.
Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd Heartland Church of Christ 1693 West Main Street Greenwood, Indiana 46142