A. The necessity of the CROSS
    B. Not saved by WORKS of righteousness
    C. The BLOOD of Jesus or baptismal waters?
    D. N.T. PEOPLE who were saved without being water baptized
    E. PAUL was not sent to water baptize

    A. From Mark 16:16
    B. From John 3:5
    C. From Acts 2:38
    D. From Romans 6:1-4
    E. From 1Peter 3:21


Over 100 places in the Bible refer to salvation by grace through faith alone.  Here are just a few examples.

John 1:12
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 3:16
16  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life

John 3:36
36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:24
24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 6:40
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:25
He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Acts 10:43
43  Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts 13:39
39  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Acts 16:30,31
30  Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Romans 3:22
22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:28
28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith.

Romans 4:3
3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:5
5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for

Romans 10:9-13
9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

1Corinthians 1:21
21  It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Galatians 2:16
16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.

Galatians 3:26
26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9  not as a result of works, that no one should boast. .

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  A. The necessity of the CROSS
If we could be made righteous by doing some great deed or having some religious work done to us, then it would not have been necessary for Jesus to die on the cross.
Galatians 2:21
21  ...if righteousness came by the law then Christ is died in vain.
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  B. Not saved by WORKS of righteousness
1. Matt.3:13-15 says Jesus' baptism was done to fulfill all righteousness
2. Therefore, baptism is a work of righteousness.
3. Titus 3:5 says that "works of righteousness" don't save.
4. Therefore, baptism does not save.

Matthew 3:13-15
13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Titus 3:5
5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
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  C. The BLOOD of Jesus or baptismal waters?
Clearly from scriptures such as 1John 1:7 and Revelation 1:5, we see that it is not water that washes away our sin but the precious blood of  Jesus.
1John 1:7
7  The blood of Jesus Christ, His son, cleanses us from all sin...
Revelation 1:5
5  ...who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood...
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  D. PEOPLE in the N.T. saved without water baptism.
Both the thief on the cross and Cornelius' household are examples of New Testament believers who were saved without the benefit of water baptism.
Luke 23:43 (Jesus speaking to the thief on the cross)
43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Acts 10:47 (Spoken by Peter in reference to Cornelius' household)
47  Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized who HAVE RECEIVED the HOLY GHOST the same as we? (They already had the Holy Ghost, they were already saved, and then they were water baptized.)
There are many who teach that their church began at Pentecost, and that one must be baptized into their church in order to avoid going to hell. The following question needs to be asked of those false teachers, "Are Peter, James and John in hell today because they were not baptized into your church after the day of Pentecost?"

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  E. The Apostle PAUL was not sent to water baptize
The Apostle Paul stated in 1Corinthians 1:17 that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.  Paul contrasted baptism with the Gospel.  He was not sent to baptize, but he was indeed sent to preach the gospel.  If baptism was a central part of the Gospel and necessary for salvation it would have been ridiculous for Paul to make such a statement.  Furthermore, Paul tells us in 1Cor. 15:1-4, that he has delivered the Gospel message in its entirety. The gospel message is Christ's death, burial and resurrection; no baptism is mentioned. This was the content of the Gospel that Paul preached - there is only one Gospel and nothing should be added to it (Galatians 1:6-8).
1 Corinthians 1:17
17  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Galatians 1:6-8
6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
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Those involved in the International Church of Christ or Boston Church of Christ are like many others who teach baptismal regeneration.  They may object to the term "baptismal regeneration" and claim that they don't believe in such a doctrine.  However, they teach that when a man repents, believes, and confesses Jesus as his Savior he is still not saved. What do they claim that he lacks? Baptism! Baptize him, they say, and he will be saved. So, what is that but baptismal regeneration?

    A. From Mark 16:16 they teach that one must be baptized to be saved.

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

Notice that this verse says nothing about a person who is not baptized being condemned, it only states that the one who does not believe shall be condemned.  It is the absence of faith (belief) which causes one to be condemned. It is faith which saves from condemnation, not water baptism.

Furthermore, this verse is a powerful prooftext for the Christian view of Believer's baptism.  Notice that this verse makes a distinction between believing and being baptized.  One should "believe" before he is baptized.  Those who believe in baptismal regeneration claim that water baptism is what makes one a "believer" but that would mean that they were baptizing unbelievers in order to make them into believers.  Mark 16:16 above teaches that one is to believe "AND" be baptized. That is two distinct and separate actions believing and being baptized.
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    B. From John 3:5 they teach that water baptism is necessary for the new birth.

John 3:5-6
5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

First, consider the fact that Jesus says nothing about being water baptized in John 3:5.  The word "baptize" is not found at all in this discussion between our Lord and Nicodemus.   Any mention of baptism by those who interpret this passage is simply arbitrary and based on preconceived notions and preconceived doctrines.  To be "born of water" meant to be born physically and has absolutely nothing to do with baptism.  In verse 4, Nicodemus certainly thought to be born again meant physical birth. This is apparent from his statement about one going back into the womb while he is old.  In verse 5, Jesus differentiated between the physical birth which Nicodemus was thinking of and the spiritual birth which Jesus was referring to. Jesus says, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God."  Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee, believed that since he was born a Jew, he would automatically enter into the kingdom of God. However, Jesus showed that simply being a Jew was not enough.

One cannot produce a spiritual birth with physical means. Therefore,  "born of water" in v. 5 cannot possibly mean literal water.  If it meant literal water, then applying a physical substance (water) to a physical being would bring about a spiritual change. Even if one has no knowledge of the Pharisee's teaching (that being born of water was to be born physically) Jesus interprets verse 5 for us in the very next verse. In verse 6, Jesus states, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."   In the context, this is an obvious interpretation of the previoius verse where Jesus speaks of the water and the spirit.  Being born of water refers to a physical birth and being born of the spirit plainly refers to a spiritual birth.  Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that he had already had a physical birth, now he needed a new birth, a second birth, a spiritual birth from the Spirit of God above in order to enter the kingdom of God.

When v.8 is read in the context, it becomes apparent that the emphasis is not on water or anything physical (even though Nicodemus had erroneously thought it referred to a physical birth) but on the Spirit. The Spirit is the means of the new birth.  It is the Spirit of God himself who regenerates the believer not anything of creation, not anything physical.
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    C. From Acts 2:38 they teach that baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

Acts 2:21 & 37-38
21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved...
37  ...Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Look at the context of Acts 2:38. In Acts 2:21(quoted above), Peter has already told the crowd how to be saved. In verse 37 they cried, "What should we do?"(NRSV) They did not ask, "What should we do to be saved?" That question had already been answered clearly in Acts 2:21.  They already knew what they needed to do in order to be saved, and having heard and believed the Word of God they wanted to know what they were to do next.  Peter told them to, "Repent and be baptized."  Now, the misunderstanding over Acts 2:38 comes with the next little word.  The word "for" is what has confused so many people because they have brought their preconceived notions and doctrines into this passage.  Peter says, "Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins." What does the word "for" mean in the context of this verse?  If a man is put in jail "for" a crime, is it "in order to" commit a crime, or "because of" a crime that he has committed?  If a policeman stops you on the highway and gives you a ticket "for" speeding, is it "in order to" speed or "because of" your speeding.  Acts 2:38 does not teach that one is baptized "in order to" be saved but rather a person is baptized because he is saved already.

It may help to consider another passage of Scripture, where the word "for" is used in a similar way.  In Luke 5:12-15, Christ healed a leper, and since this was done before Calvary, the healed man was still under the law.  Christ was faithful to always fulfill the law, so told the man, "Go, and show thyself to the priest and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them" (Lk 5:14). Notice how the word "for" is used in this passage. When Christ said, "Offer for thy cleansing" was he telling him to make an offering in order to be cleansed or to make an offering because he had been cleansed?  Did Christ cleanse this man, or did the offering cleanse him? Quite obviously, it was Christ who had already cleansed and healed him!  Jesus stated that the offering was to be given "as a testimony."  The offering was only "a testimony" to the truth that had taken place in the life of this man!  The same language is employed in Acts 2:38 and the baptism of Acts 2:38 serves the same purpose as the offering which is set forth in Luke 5:14.  The offering did not cleanse.  It was only a testimony of the cleansing which had already taken place.  When an offering was given "for" his cleansing, it was given in response to what God had already done in the life of this man.  In like manner,  baptism does not save but is a testimony of the truth that your sins have been remitted when you believed on the Lord Jesus and confessed Him as your Savior.

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    D. From Romans 6:3-4 they teach that water baptism is the entrance into Christ.

Romans 6:3-4
3   Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Notice that "water" is not mentioned at any point in Romans 6.  The word "baptism" literally means to be dipped or immersed into something, but not always or necessarily water.  When Romans 6:3 speaks of being "baptized into Jesus Christ" it is not a reference to being immersed in water.  Instead, it refers to being immersed directly into the Lord Jesus Christ so that we may then say that we are "in" Christ Jesus (Rom.8:1; 16:3; 1Cor.1:2,30; 4:15; Gal.2:4; 3:28; Eph.1:1; 2:10; Php.1:1; 4:21).  In the same manner, we are baptized into His death according to Romans 6:4, that is we identify with His death.

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    E. From 1Peter 3:21 they teach that water baptism saves.

1Peter 3:18-21
18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1Peter 3:18-21 refers to the gospel being preached by Noah when the ark was being prepared. In other words, the people of Noah's time were without excuse because the Spirit of God spoke to them through Noah.  They had ample opportunities to accept Christ, but only eight souls took the opportunity and accepted God's grace.  All of the rest rejected Noah's preaching. What saved Noah and his family? Was it the water or the ark? It was definitely the ark. The water drowned those who did not get in the ark. Those souls that were inside the ark were brought safely through the water and escaped the flood. Corresponding to that figure baptism now saves us--not the washing off of material defilement, but the craving of  a good conscience after God--through the resurrection (Weymouth translation). In other words, we are saved by that of which baptism speaks--the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Remember, the eight souls that were saved were in the ark,  they were not swimming in the water. The ark was a type of Christ.

Notice that the salvation of Noah's soul is not even in question here. Noah was saved from sin a long time before the flood. That is why God spared him from this awful judgement - because he was already a saved man!  Gen 6:9 tells us that he was already a justified man, perfect in his standing before God.

There are three important observations which need to be made if one is to properly understand this passage of Scripture. First, notice that baptism is a "FIGURE"  The record says, "...the like FIGURE whereunto baptism doth also now save us."  When I baptize people it is a FIGURE or a picture, of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is a testimony given by the person being baptized.  It testifies of their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation.  Thus, baptism is a figure of what saves them.

Second, observe that the passage says," ...NOT THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FILTH OF THE FLESH..." You see, baptism does not put away our sins. NO! It cannot do that! The Bible says the "filth of the flesh" is not washed away in or by any baptismal water.  According to 1John 1:7
it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from our sin.

Third, notice that baptism is described as "...THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD..."  Baptism is the ANSWER of an already good conscience!  The only way a man can have a good conscience is to be saved.  Hebrews 9:14 tells us that a man's conscience is purged "by the blood of Christ."  If a man has a good conscience, it is only because he has been cleansed from his sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. I have heard some teach that a man has to go through the water to get to the death and blood of Christ, but this passage plainly shows that a man must go
through the blood before he is in any condition to go through the water. A man must go through the blood and have his conscience cleansed before he goes through the "like figure" which is the symbolic act of water baptism.

1Pet 3:21 is simply saying that if a person has been saved by the blood of Christ, he ought to be  baptized, setting forth in a figurative symbolism the doctrine of his salvation: that is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

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In the Great Commission God commands us to water baptize and thus to be water baptized.  There is no question that we should be obedient to our Lord's commands.  On the other hand, there is no place in the Bible that says a person is condemned for not being water baptized.  Obedience to the command to be water baptized is the same as obedience to every other command of God.  It is no worse to neglect water baptism than it is to neglect prayer, Bible study, church attendance, or tithing.  All of those are commands of God, but none of them will get you to heaven.  On the other hand, obedience to the Lord's commands will keep you on the road to heaven and make the way much smoother.

Why, Then, Is a Person to Be Baptized or Immersed in Water?
1.  Because it is commanded that a saved person be baptized (Acts 10:48).
2.  Because Jesus (our Great Example) was water baptized (Matt.3:13-15).
3.  Because it is a work of righteousness (Matt.3:15).
4.  Because it is sacred--it describes and honors the Trinity (Matt.28:19).
5.  Because it pictures the Gospel of salvation (1Pet.3:18-21).

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