Water Baptism was Intrinsic to the Salvation Message of the Gospel of the Kingdom

As is the role of any prophet, John the Baptist was a “king maker” and he was the prophet that heralded the arrival of the King, while proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mt 3:1-6; Lk 3:3; Mk 1:4).  Jesus continued this joyous announcement (Mt 4:17; 9:35; Jn 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Mk 16:15-16).  Water baptism was a part of this Gospel message.

  1. Water baptism is a work (YOU are doing something to add to your salvation and are not standing by grace alone).
  2. During Jesus’ earthly ministry and in the preaching of the twelve, water baptism was required for salvation.
    1. Mk 1:4 – John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
      1. If you have “remission of sins,” you are saved…
      2. Mk 1:4 stands in contrast to Paul’s message in the Book of Romans:
        1. Rom 3:25 – Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
    2. Mk 16:15-16 – And he said unto them, 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.
      1. This is faith and works…
  3. Jesus told Nicodemus the same thing:
    1. Jn 3:4-5 – Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 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.
  4. Peter’s words to the Jews on the day of Pentecost emphasize this point:
    1. Acts 2:36-38 – Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 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? 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.
  5. In fact, Paul was saved under the Gospel of the Kingdom and water baptism was required for his salvation:
    1. Acts 22:12-16 – And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
    2. Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to be baptized in order to wash away his sins.
    3. Ananias understood salvation through the Gospel of the Kingdom and did not convey the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Paul’s gospel message that he would later be instructed to preach to the Gentiles.
  6. Under the Gospel of the Kingdom, works like water baptism were required for salvation.

A change that the 12 apostles struggled with was that Paul taught of ONLY ONE baptism (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6).  What baptism is that?  It is Spirit baptism that places a person into the body of Christ at the moment they are saved.  For the 12, it was always TWO baptisms (water baptism and spirit baptism).  The 12 apostles could never separate baptism from their Gospel.  Consider the instructions within and the order presented by the apostle Peter when discussing the Kingdom Gospel:  Acts 2:38-41

Notice that after a Jew repented, they had to be baptized in water.  Water baptism was a requirement within the Kingdom Gospel as it was for the cleansing for the priesthood (Ex 19:6; 1 Pet 2:9; Is 61:1-11; Rev 1:6; 5:10), something that ALL Jews had to do (Mk 16:16).  Christians are not priests that require cleansing.  Christ’s shed blood has made us clean!  How can water possibly compare?

After water baptism, Jews could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit to begin the fulfilment of the New Covenant according to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:24-27.  This was ingrafted into the gospel that Jesus preached.  It was ingrafted into the minds and into the teachings of the 12.  Now Paul comes along and says that in his gospel and doctrine, water baptism is no longer required and that there is only one baptism (1 Cor 1:17; Eph 4:4-5). 

Paul teaches that this one baptism is the baptism performed BY the Holy Spirit (without human hands) in order to immerse the believer into the Body of Christ.  There is no water involved.  There is no priest or pastor or elder involved.  It is a supernatural event that happens at the moment of salvation.  Paul states that this is the only baptism necessary for the member of the body of Christ.  Water baptism has no real part in this dispensation because we are not called to be priests and do not need that ordinance to be cleansed for priesthood.

All saved people have been made members of the body of Christ by one divine spirit baptism (1 Cor 12:13).  By this one baptism every member of the body of Christ is identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-4).  Paul’s statements concerning this “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:12, and Romans 6:3-4 explain his statement in 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 concerning water baptism, that “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”  Water baptism, in Paul’s early Acts ministry, was practiced temporarily during the transition period from the Kingdom program to the Grace program, but eventually ceased along with certain other signs and miracles, including the gifts of tongues and healing. Water baptism is not needed for salvation today and has no place in God’s program in this present dispensation of grace.





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