By Johnny O. Trail — Our family has a dog named Sadie. It is a running joke in our family to regularly say, “Sadie is a dog.” It is a statement of an obvious truth. She looks like a dog, barks like a dog, eats like a dog, and acts like a dog. She is a dog.
Lately, we have been reassessing this conclusion. One of our sons has said, “Sadie is a goat.” Another child has said, “Sadie is a cat.” Still, another son has stated, “I don’t really know what she is.” Of course, we do all of this in jest. My children know the differences between a cat, a goat, and a dog. They also know what defines a dog as being a dog.
Suffice it to say, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that Sadie is a dog. If enough evidence exists to prove something as being factual, then it must be accepted as the truth. One cannot deny that our dog, Sadie, is a dog. There is too much evidence to refute that fact.
The same principle is true in regards to scriptural considerations. If there is enough evidence to demonstrate that something is being accurately and truthfully represented from God’s word, it must be accepted at fact and practiced as outline in the Bible. That is, there are truths in God’s Holy Writ that are undeniable.
There is plenty of overwhelming evidence to demonstrate that baptism is essential for salvation. For a moment, one might consider what scripture teaches on the subject.
How many examples of baptism for the purpose of salvation does one need to see from the Bible to prove that it is essential for salvation? Consider the following chart:
|Saul (9.18; 22.16)||9.18||22.16|
|Cornelius (10.43, 48;11.18)||10.43||10.48||10.43|
|Crispus (18.8; 1 Cor.1.14)||18.8||18.8||18.8|
The book of Acts is called a “book of conversions,” because it lists people who were being converted to Christianity. In every act of conversion, each person mention was baptized prior to salvation. That is, they were not saved and they did not rejoice until after their baptism. A chart is offered because there are several examples of people being converted to Christ.
Would you have adequate evidence to believe in the necessity of baptism if Jesus commanded you to do it? As a matter of fact, there are two passages where Jesus commands that very things. Matthew 28.19 and Mark 16.15-16 are two examples. The later passage says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” One should be baptized because Jesus commanded it. Nothing else should be required for one truly resigned to do the will of the Master than His commandments.
Would you have adequate evidence to believe in the necessity of baptism if an inspired Apostle said it saved a person? That vey passage is found in I Peter 3.21. It says, “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.” Peter says that baptism “saves” a person. Surely the word of a man inspired of the Holy Spirit provides adequate evidence to one who is unsure about the necessity of baptism.
Would you have adequate evident to believe in the necessity of baptism if you knew it washed away sins? Since sin results in death (Rm. 3.23), one should want to find the remedy that prevents one from being eternally lost. The Apostle Paul relates that very fact in his own conversion account. He says, in Acts 22.16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Surely one sees that baptism “washes” away sins based upon the reading of this verse.
Would you have adequate evidence to believe in the necessity of baptism if you knew it was equivalent to obeying the gospel? Since the gospel saves (1 Corinthians 15.2), one must seek to be obedient to the teachings of the gospel to avoid eternal condemnation. The gospel is the death burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15.3-4). One reenacts what Christ did at Calvary, in His death, and in His resurrection by being baptized. Consider Romans 6.3-4 which says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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.”
Would you have adequate evidence to believe in the necessity of baptism if you knew that it made you a child of God? Galatians 3:26-27 says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” If one has not been baptized, he has not “put on Christ,” and he is not a child of God.
Would you have adequate evidence to believe in the necessity of baptism if you knew that the disobedient could not be saved? Hebrew 5.8-9 says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” One cannot say he has truly been obedient to God and disobey any of His commands. As we have already noted, Jesus commanded baptism (Mark 16.15-16; Matthew 28.19) , and one cannot disobey the commandments of God and expect to have eternal life.
Just as sure as Sadie is a dog, baptism is essential for salvation. There is OVERWHELMING evidence to demonstrate that one MUST be baptized to have eternal life. If one rejects or ignores this commandment of God he cannot expect to inherit heaven.