What Paul the Apostle meant when he said “I Thank God that I baptized None of You”

Baptism2In 1 Corinthians 1:13-15 (NKJV), Paul writes:

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.

As we examine the text and earlier verses we see that Paul wanted to avoid what is quite common today: “denominational” or “divided thinking”.

In fact, let’s look at some of the earlier verses which lead to Paul’s comment in verse 14:

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”

Notice in verse 12, that some people weren’t satisfied with being baptized into Christ.  Instead, some thought that there baptism was something special depending on who baptized them?  Ridiculous right?  Not anything that we haven’t seen before.  This is exactly how denominations get started.

It’s not God that messes things up, but mankind.  Christian churches are split into multiple denominations, because people have opinions rather than sticking to the word and the intended teaching of scripture.  Yes, there is a right way of understanding scripture and not misinterpreting the text.  Consider 2 Timothy 2:15 which states:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Unfortunately, many people who debate over scriptures might say: “you see it your way” and “I see it my way”.  However, few ask “what is God’s way”?

One other prevailing thought about this scripture is that it is some sort of proof that baptism is not essential for one’s soul salvation.  However, this could not be further from the truth.

Again, the scripture in summary is saying don’t get caught up on who baptizes you because whomever is not important since they didn’t die for your sins.

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Why Romans 10:9 is not a Basis for the “Sinner’s Prayer”

beach prayerMany in the denominational world like to “hang their hats”, so to speak, on Romans 10:9 as the formula for gaining eternal security with God.  However, we explore some of the challenges of this assertion.

Romans 10:9-10 states:

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If we examine chapter 10 of Romans and put the scripture into its proper context we can see that Paul the Apostle expressed his desire for Israel to be saved.  Now, many were saved at that time.  However, the nation of Israel as a whole rejected the gospel of salvation through Christ.

In verse 5, Paul explains that Moses’ teaching was that all a person needed to do was follow the law to be saved:

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

In subsequent verses Paul explains that the mindset of following the law to be righteous has been replaced with faith in Christ:

But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’”[d] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[e] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

The passage referenced above is focused on a change in mindset or dispensation and was not designed to be a step-by-step process for salvation.

In fact, in Mark 16:16, which I might note comes before Romans 10:9, we see that Christ told Nicodemus the pharisee the following:

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

We also see the requirements in the book of Matthew and in Acts; both of which occur before Romans 10:9:

Matthew 28:18-20:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[b]

Acts 2:37-38 :

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

One would have to skip over several commandments to conclude that simply confessing one’s sins and believing would make one compliant with Christ’s commands for salvation.

Is Baptism Really a New Testament Command for Salvation, or is it an Outward Sign of an Inward Testimony?

BaptismThis dilemma is one that many serious students of the Bible may face in various denominations.  The short answer is to always trust the scriptures instead of what man says.  One reason to consider is Romans 3:3-4: 

For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”[

Our foundation is based on the scriptures claims about itself in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:  16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Now notice: while all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, not all men are inspired by God.  Even those who claim that they are.  In fact, the apostles who wrote much of the new testament said in Galatians 1:8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  This is a pretty powerful statement.  In other words, don’t trust us if we say something different than what has been presented to you and inspired by God!

Taking these couple of scriptures into consideration as a foundation to respond to the dilemma in the title.  Let’s consider scriptures that teach that Baptism is a divine command:

Christ’s Direct Commands on Baptism

  • Christ himself was baptized as an example (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9 and Luke 3:21) – He clearly had no sin but said “it fulfills all righteousness”.  He would never ask his followers to do something that he himself would not be willing to do as an example.
  • Christ said being born again required water and spirit.  Otherwise, we cannot enter the kingdom of God: John 3:5.
  • Christ said that if you aren’t baptized you won’t be saved: Mark 16:16
  • Christ had his followers baptize believers.  This was in preparation of God’s coming kingdom: John 4:1-2.
  • Christ commanded his apostles to add believers to his church through baptism: Matthew 28:16-20.

Other Examples of Baptism In the New Testament

  • Peter’s 1st Gospel message included the commandment of baptism to wash away sins: Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16.
  • Baptism added people to Christ’s spiritual church Acts 2:40-42.
  • You can only put on Christ through the act of baptism: Galatians 3:27.
  • Baptism saves you: I Peter 3:21.
  • Ethiopian Eunuch’s baptism; requirement was much water (aka immersion in water) : Acts 8:26-40.
  • Baptism puts us into contact with the cleansing power of Christ’s blood as we are immersed in water into his death; spiritually killing our old self: Romans 6:3.

Friend, please heed the clear direction of scripture and do not trust in what man says. God has provided ample scriptures as evidence of what is required to enter into his kingdom.  Baptism isn’t the end, but only the beginning.  I pray that you won’t face God in judgment having thought that you did what was commanded only to realize that he doesn’t recognize you as one of is:  Matthew 7:22:

Was the Baptism of Christ Recorded in the Gospels a Useless Ritual?

Jordan RiverBaptism is one of the most disputed subject matters within the denominational world.  Many denominations claim that the act of baptism is”an outward sign of inward testimony”as if a simple confession in front of others would not accomplish the same thing.

One would have to ask: why would God have me do useless rituals that serve no real purpose?

Before we attempt to answer this question in this blog, we will first take a look at Christ’s example.

Christ’s Baptism

While Christ’s baptism is recorded in the first 3 gospels.  Let’s examine Matthew 3:13-1713 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

In looking at  verse 13 in the passage above let’s interject the notion of “baptism as an outward sign of an inward testimony.”  Why would John utter the words:  “I need to be baptized by you” if baptism was just a simple ritual?  This statement alone suggests that it was not a ritual.  In fact we can clearly see from his statement that John recognized that Christ was superior to himself.

What should certainly peak the interest of the reader next is the fact that Christ then uttered the words: “let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness”.  To those who have shut off their minds to accepting all truth from God’s word, this would be useless babbling or “Jesus talk”.  However, the answer is clear: Christ lead by example and never asked anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself regardless of whether he personally needed the activity.  The sign of a true leader.

Baptism was clearly a step toward being in right standing with God.  In fact after Jesus completed the act of baptism we can see in verse 16 that the Holy Spirit then came upon him.  We see this same process for Christians in Acts 2:38 when Peter is addressing a crowd of people on the Day of Pentecost:  38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is a Step in the Process of Fulfilling All Righteousness

The only reason why Christ did not do step 1 in Acts 2:38: “Repent” is because he knew no sin to repent from: 2 Corinthians 5:21. However, he confirmed this with the pharisee, Nicodemus, when he stated in John 3:5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

The spiritual rebirth process begins when one first repents (turns away from sin) and is obedient by being baptism (there is nothing in the water itself.  However, baptism is an act of obedient spiritual faith which removes sin).  Confessing ones sins without the act of baptism results in sins remaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baptism By Fire is What I Want; Right?

fire-baptismWhile there is a plethora of misinterpreted and misapplied scriptures, Matthew 3:11 is one that is frequently used by various denominations.

We are not here to pick on any particular denomination.  However, we must correct error.

The scripture states: “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

The true context of this scripture can be found in verse 12: “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Those that have been baptized with the Holy Spirit are the same as those who will be gathered into the barn as wheat.  While those who are baptized with fire are the chaff that he will burn with unquenchable fire.

To answer the question presented in the heading of this blog, the answer is an emphatic “NO”!