Who Are to Be Baptized?

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ

Evidently not the nations as such, but the disciples. The word nations (ethnee), in the Greek, is in the neuter gender, and the pronoun them (autous) is in the masculine. And hence the pronoun represents by syllepsis only those who, through the instructions of the Apostles and their coadjutors, become disciples of Christ. Besides, it is evident from the terms of the Commission, that the work of making disciples is prior, in point of time, to that of baptizing.12 Christ says, Go and first make disciples; secondly, baptize them; and, thirdly, teach, them to observe all things whatever I have commanded. But to make disciples of all persons in any and every nation is practically impossible. Some persons, as infants and idiots, have not the capacity that is necessary in order to become disciples; and others have not the will or the disposition to come to Christ, and to submit to His authority. “Ye will not,” says Jesus, “come to me that ye may have life.”

And hence we never read of the Apostles baptizing any but penitent believers; men and women who realized and acknowledged that they were sinners; and who trusted in Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of sinners.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Great Commission of Jesus Christ to His Twelve Apostles by Robert Milligan. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Putting On Christ

Why Am I Here?

In Romans 8:1, Paul stated, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” In Ephesians 1:7 we read that “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” In Christ we have forgiveness of our sins. In Christ we are no longer under condemnation. In Christ we are created anew. We also find that in Christ is salvation and eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10; 1 John 5:11)! Obviously, to be “in Christ” is synonymous with having obeyed the gospel, given what we have noticed about the result of gospel obedience. How then does one put on Christ? Read the following passages: Galatians 3:26-27 and Romans 6:1-13.

According to these passages, what transfers an individual into Christ?

Romans 6:17 states, “Though you were slaves of sin, …you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” This verse helps us to understand the purpose of the instructions we are given to obey the gospel/put on Christ. Do you recall the facts upon which the gospel is founded (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? The chart below shows us how repentance and baptism are a form of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ:

Romans 6:17

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Why Am I Here? by Devin Roush. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Becoming a Disciple

The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus

The Way” (Acts 9:2) was made up of those two were followers of Jesus – the one who is identified as “the way” (John 14:6). This is the essence of discipleship – being a follower of Jesus. The Greek word for disciple means “a learner, pupil” (Thayer). The apostles were commissioned by the Lord to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

How does one become a disciple? To answer this question, we can look at the instructions the Lord and His apostles gave to those who would be His followers. Looking to the New Testament, we can see that in order to become a disciple, an individual must:

  • Hear the gospel – “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’” (Mark 16:15). The gospel must be preached because people must hear it in order to respond to it. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:8).
  • Believe that Jesus is the Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Not only is belief necessary for salvation, but Jesus specifically said that those who do not believe will be lost. He said elsewhere, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Interestingly, the word “He” is not in the original Greek text but was added by the translators. Jesus’ statement meant that we must believe that He is the “I AM” – the name that God called Himself when speaking to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). In other words, it is not enough simply to believe in the existence of Jesus; we must believe that He is Deity (cf. Colossians 2:9).
  • Repent of sins – “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). The belief that we are to have (previous point) must lead us to action. Repentance means to put away sin and begin serving the Lord. Jesus said elsewhere, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). When we make the decision to follow the Lord, we are making a commitment to serve Him daily.
  • Confess faith in Christ – “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). This is the verbal affirmation of our faith. We must do more than mentally acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. In addition to repentance, we must also be willing to make “the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
  • Be baptized into Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Many people will push back on this point and try to argue that baptism is not necessary in order to be saved or to become a disciple of Jesus. Yet Jesus said that baptism is just as necessary for salvation as belief (Mark 16:16) and is an essential step in the discipleship process (Matthew 28:19). Those who reject this and have “disbelieved” Jesus “shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Paul described baptism as the act in which we put on Christ: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

When we become a disciple, we then belong to Christ. Peter explained this in his first epistle: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). As “a people for His own possession,” we must be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). In other words, we must continue to serve Him and do what is right throughout our lives.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

For the Remission of Sins

The Plan of Salvation (John H. Hundley)

Again, on the day of Pentecost, when the three thousand believed, and requested what they should do to be saved, Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.

Now, if a man can repent because his sins have been forgiven, then our Baptist brothers are right in their interpretation of this passage, viz: that a man should be baptized because his sins have been remitted. No man in his senses, however, is willing to believe that a remission of sins ever causes sorrow. It is too absurd a proposition to be entertained for a moment. Of course, then, repentance and baptism are for one and the same thing—to-wit, remission or pardon of past sins. Paul’s conversion proves this. For three days he was a firm believer in Jesus Christ, and most bitterly all that time did he repent him of his iniquities. If faith brings salvation, Paul surely ought to have been pardoned long before Ananias visited him. Or, if repentance alone secured remission of sins, Paul ought to have been pardoned before Ananias visited him. But what did Ananias say to him so soon as he came into his presence? Did he ask after his experience? Did he say, “Brother Paul, you have been most signally visited by our gracious Lord, for I understand you have seen a great light and heard a mighty voice, by which means God has informed you that you are an accepted son and child of glory?” Oh, no. But Ananias said to him on this wise: “Why tarriest thou, brother Paul? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Can any man doubt now that baptism is for the remission of sins? If he can, he doubts God’s Word, and is at heart a scoffer and an infidel. Here we have a man who has believed and repented, and who is yet told to arise and wash away his sins by immersion. If he had been saved by faith, as I remarked a while ago, there would have been no sins to wash away. So neither would there have been had he been saved by repentance. But God’s plan is the more perfect one, and here we see it exemplified. Paul is told to wash away his sins by baptism—not that the virtue is in the water, but simply because God has chosen to make that His ordinance. Under the Mosaic Law it was customary for the priest to take a goat, and laying hands on him to send him forth into the wilderness, and God promised that thus the sins of Israel should be carried away, and hence this was called the scape-goat. Does any man think the virtue to bear off sins was in a goat? Of course not. It was God’s command, and there lay all the merit. So in the case of water baptism. God has commanded us to perform the ordinance in order to remission, and it is obedience to God’s Word that ensures salvation and cleanses us from all sin, and not the mere washing of water. Or, as Peter has expressed it, for doubtless the same objections were urged against this institution then as now, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth 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.”

This much will suffice on the subject of immersion, for if a man will not believe the Apostle Peter, he will not even listen to anything which I might feel inclined to write.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Plan of Salvation: Made Plain to the Sinner by John H. Hundley. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Great Conspiracy – Now Available for Pre-Order

The Great Conspiracy (cover)The newest title from Gospel Armory, The Great Conspiracy: How Satan and His Ministers are Corrupting God’s Plan to Save, is scheduled to be released on April 24, 2012. But you can pre-order your copy (or copies*) today.

This book deals with the vitally important issue of salvation, primarily by confronting the common false teachings about baptism. It contrasts God’s plan to save (as is outlined in the Scriptures) with man’s plan to save. The common arguments made against the necessity of water baptism are answered. The reasons why baptism is so vehemently attacked are also addressed.

This material is valuable for Christians striving to be prepared to teach others. It is also concise enough that it can easily be handed out to potential converts as a teaching tool.

Pre-order today and we will send you your book (or books*) as soon as they are available for shipping.

*A bulk discount is available for anyone wanting to get a larger quantity. More details here.