A Biblical Examination of
Baptism in its Order
Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
Baptism in its Order
Baptism, of course, is important as it is commanded of God as an ordinance for the church to be followed by each believer. However, it must be kept in its rightful place, not prior to salvation as the means of securing salvation, but AFTER salvation as a testimony OF our salvation. Salvation is first and foremost in God's Word. Paul had to remind the carnal Corinthians that Christ is the essential One. Notice in 1st Corinthians 1:17...
"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."
The Corinthians had taken their eyes off of following the Lord and were priding themselves in following some of the noted men. This had caused a lot of division among the Christians in Corinth...
"For it hath been declared unto me (Paul) ... that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." (1st Corinthians 1:11,12)
Some, no doubt, were bragging about being baptized by Paul, thinking this might add some credibility to their status. Since Paul's desire and purpose was to point people to Christ, not himself, he answers their pride filled condition in 1st Corinthians 1:13-15...
"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name."
Since they had placed Paul on a pedestal instead of esteeming Christ, Paul expresses his sorrow that he baptized any of them. His sole desire was to exalt Christ, and not himself. How easy it is, as did the Corinthians, to allow pride to get our priorities in reverse. Paul did his best to correct this problem when he wrote to them, saying in Verse 17...
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel..."
This is in perfect harmony with the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:19,20. Notice that winning them to Christ is first, baptism second, and teaching is third, which enables them to grow into maturity.
"Go ye therefore, and teach (Greek, "MATHETEUO") all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching (Greek, "DIDASKO") them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The mistranslation of "teach" in the KJV has caused some confusion. Here the Greek verb, "MATHETEUO," is the word for "disciple." Being used in the transitive sense and active voice, it should be translated "go make disciples of" all nations. It is not translated "teach" anywhere else in the New Testament. The same Greek word used as a noun, "MATHETES," is translated "disciple" in over 250 other places in the New Testament. The word "teaching" is the Greek verb, "DIDASKO," and is correctly translated as such. In other words, this is the procedure given us by our Lord in its rightful order, for us to follow...
"Go ye therefore and make (make disciples of) all nations," i.e., win the lost to Christ.
"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23)
"Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost..." The new Christian is then to be baptized as his public declaration of his new life in Christ, as Romans 6:4 states...
"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."
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." No Christian ever grows without studying God's Word, as 2nd Peter 3:18 states...
"But grow in grace (God's patience while we grow), and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
Acts 20:32 also emphasizes the importance of God's Word in our growth...
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up..."
Only when we keep things in their right perspective can we expect God's blessings. Should you be one who has never been baptized since you were saved, then you need not put it off any longer. Obedience brings fellowship and blessings. Yes, the Christian may have the REST of salvation , but be void of the REST which results from being obedient to the Lord. Matthew 11:28-30 emphasizes the importance of both...
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I (the Lord) will give you REST."
This is salvation and the rest the Christian experiences knowing he has a home in Heaven and his sins are forgiven. Notice, it is all from the Lord, "I (the Lord) will give you rest."
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
This "rest" depends, not on the Lord, but upon the faithfulness of the Christian. Notice, "take my yoke" and "ye shall" is the responsibility of the believer.
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
Being disobedient by not following the Lord in the ordinance of water baptism will leave the mind and soul of that Christian in a state of unrest. Should we not get our priorities in their proper perspective, and as Joshua said in Joshua 24:15...
"...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Then we will experience the "rest" spoken of in Matthew 11:29 and the...
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The most important question any person will ever answer is..."Am I going to Heaven when I die?" Can you answer that question in the affirmative? Without a single doubt or question? If you cannot, then something is wrong; because the salvation Christ gives renders void any doubt whatsoever.
God's salvation was purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered as a free gift. You see, every human being has sinned (Romans 3:23), and the wages of that sin is death (eternal Hell). Sin must be paid for. Should one choose to make their own payment for sin, then they will be separated from Christ for all Eternity; confined to a place called "Sheol" in the Old testament, "Hades" in the New Testament, and "Hell" in the English language. God will then honor your decision and accommodate your desire as you stand, trembling, when the One you rejected pronounces your sentence from Matthew 25:41...
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, INTO EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels"
On the other hand, Christ is "not willing any should perish" (2nd Peter 3:9); therefore, He went to the cross, Himself, to pay for the sins of all humanity--past, present, and future. Christ gave His life on the cross, unto death, to save your life and mine from eternal death in Hell. If you will accept Christ's payment for your sin by trusting what He did for you, He then promises you two things: one, you will never perish; two, you will possess everlasting life.
Notice how simple God's salvation is:
A Gift That Is Received By Faith.
"For by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
A Promise That Cannot be Broken.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), that whosoever believeth in him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE." (John 3:16)
A Security That Cannot Be Shaken.
" These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1st John 5:13)
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, then do it right now--right where you are--before it is too late. If, after reading this, you have accepted Christ as your Saviour; I would appreciate rejoicing with you. Please feel free to write me and let me know of your decision.
Dr. Max D. Younce
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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
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Walnut Grove, MN 56180
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