Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Baptism is a Work!

     A major debate in some religious circles is whether or not baptism is an essential step in the salvation process. One of the arguments against the necessity of baptism is the claim that it is a “work,” and since we are not justified by works, baptism has no part in our justification. But this argument is misleading. The Bible describes a number of different kinds of works, so to lump them all together in the same category is to distort the biblical facts.
     Is baptism a work of the devil (1 John 3:8)? Is baptism a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21)? Is baptism a work of the Jewish Law (Rom. 3:27; Gal. 2:16)? Is baptism a work of human merit (Eph. 2:9) or ingenuity (Acts 7:41)? Is baptism a good work (2 Tim. 3:17), or a work of faith (1 Thess. 1:3) or of God (John 6:28)?
     Seeing that baptism is a divine directive (Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:33, 48), it is not something humans have devised in an attempt to save themselves. In fact, the penitent believer who obeys the command of baptism is not working at all but is passive while someone else does the baptizing. This is not to say, however, that baptism is not a work. The question is, what kind of work? Is it a work of man, or a work of God? Paul writes in Colossians 2:12, “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (NKJV, emp. added).
     Baptism is a work of God. When one is baptized “for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38), it is God who does the forgiving. When a believer is baptized and is saved (Mark 16:16), God is the one who does the saving. In baptism I do not save myself. To teach otherwise is to discount the necessity of believing in Jesus, since this also is a work of God (John 6:28-29). Claiming that one is justified by faith alone without baptism or any other obedient action is contrary to the word of God: “You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24).
     Why argue with the Bible? Just do what it says.
--Kevin L. Moore

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Related articles: Josh Ketchum's Is Baptism Unnecessary?

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1 comment:

  1. Colossians 2.11 - 12 clearly state that baptism is "in the working of God."