by Jay McMullan
In Part One of our study on baptisms we have established from the Word of God that when a person is born again, their spirit is taken by the Holy Spirit and is immersed into the Body of Christ. This is actually what happens spiritually when a person is born again. Because of this, the person that has been born again, or immersed into the body of Christ, becomes a new creature spiritually. They are no longer separated from God but are joined together with him. They literally become a son or daughter of God.
The Bible is very clear that the next step a Christian should take is that of being baptized in water. We see the example when Philip joined the Ethiopian on his chariot.
And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.  And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
We see in this passage of scripture that Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian and the man believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, this man was born again right there on that chariot! Then, after he was born again and believed with all his heart that Jesus was the Son of God, he was baptized in water.
There are many denominations that teach salvation comes through water baptism but this is not correct according to the scriptures. Paul gives the formula for being saved many times in the New Testament.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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.
There are also other scriptures that tell us about salvation and what is required for salvation that do not mention baptism.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Notice here that Paul says the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to EVERY ONE that BELIEVES. There is nothing said about baptism into water. The same is true in the following scripture.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
There is one scripture that is troubling if it is not understood what baptism is being talked about. As you study the Bible you must look at other scriptures to make sure they line up with the rest of the Word of God. Let's look at the following scripture.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Many Bible students like to exclude Mark 16:16-20 because these verses were not found in the earliest manuscripts and were added later. I do believe that these verses can be counted just as worthy as the rest of the Bible and should be considered canonical. It is my belief though, that the baptism spoken of here is the baptism we spoke of in Part One of our study, the baptism into the body of Christ. There are two reasons why. First of all, the Bible tells us that Satan and his demons believe in God (James 2:19) but we know that they are not born again. Those of us that believe and have been baptized into the body of Christ are saved which lines up with the rest of the scripture. The second point is that this passage of scripture says that the person that does not believe will be damned, not a person that has not been baptized.
The very foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth that salvation comes by faith and not by works as we have seen in Ephesians 2:8,9.
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.
Water baptism is a work and we cannot receive salvation through works. Peter even tells us that water baptism does not save us.
1 Peter 3:19-21
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  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:
What saved Noah and his family in the great flood? Was it water or was it the ark? Obviously it was the ark that saved them from the flood. Peter goes on to say baptism is the figure of what does save us. He says what saves us is "not the putting away the filth of the flesh". How do we put away the filth of the flesh? By washing ourselves with water. So what saves us is not the water that washes over us in water baptism but what it is, is a figure of faith which gives us a good conscience toward God because we know that our sins are washed away.
Let's look at Paul's life as an example for us. Paul wrote two thirds of the New Testament and our beliefs as Christians are based largely on the Pauline Revelation. Paul had been on the road to Damascus to persecute more Christians when a bright light appeared to him and Jesus spoke to him. Paul was blinded and had to be led around until God sent Ananias to pray for him.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
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.
Here we see that Paul was already saved and healed before he arose and was baptized. We are also told that Paul's sins were washed away by calling on the name of the Lord, not by the water baptism. Paul's own testimony elsewhere in the Bible proves that he was saved by faith in the blood of Christ, not by water baptism.
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  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;
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Washing in water was a ceremonial cleansing in the Old Testament which was a type and shadow of the washing that the Holy Spirit does in this age of grace.
1 Cor. 6:11
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
The following information is taken from the Dake Interactive Bible available from Dake Publishing.
No scripture says that sins are washed away by baptism other than ceremonially. Cleansing is done:
(1) by God (Psalm 51:1-13; Titus 2:11-13)
(2) by Christ (Matthew 1:21; Rev. 1:5)
(3) by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11)
(4) by grace through faith (Ephes. 2:8-9)
(5) by faith in the blood (Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:9; Ephes. 1:7; 1 John 1:7; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-23; Rev. 1:5)
(6) by faith without works (Romans 2:24-31; Romans 4:1-25; Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:19-29)
(7) by confession of sins (1 John 1:9; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19)
(8) by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18; John 3:5; John 15:3; Ephes. 5:26)
Ananias, a Jew, was well acquainted with ceremonial cleansings. He knew that washing was outward and ceremonial and did not cleanse from:
(1) Leprosy (Leviticus 14:1-9; Leviticus 15:1-27)
(2) Guilt (Psalm 26:6; Psalm 73:13)
(3) Sins (Isaiah 1:16; Jeremiah 2:22)
(4) Wickedness (Jeremiah 4:14)
(5) Defilement (Mark 7:1-23)
Washings only typified cleansing by blood (Hebrews 9:7-15,21-26; Hebrews 10:1-23).
7.Many words describing redemption are found 3,322 times in Scripture and not once
is water baptism required to make anyone phase effective.
8.Many convincing examples of remission of sins without and before water baptism
are recorded in Scripture:
(1)Christ (Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:21)
(2)Old Testament saints (Hebrews 11:1-40; Luke 1:15,41,46,67; Luke 2:25-38)
(3)Palsied man (Matthew 9:1-7)
(4)The publican (Luke 18:9-14)
(5)Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
(6)Thief on the cross (Luke 23:43)
(7)The nobleman's house (John 4:53)
(8)The sinner woman (Luke 7:48)
(9)Many Jews (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42;
John 7:31; John 8:30-31; John 11:45; John 12:11,42)
(10)The eunuch (Acts 8:37 with 1 John 5:1; Romans 10:9-10; Ephes. 2:8-9)
(11)The lame man (Acts 3:16; Acts 4:12)
(12)Paul (Acts 9:18-19)
(13)Cornelius and house (Acts 10:44-48; Acts 11:14-18; Acts 15:7-11)
(14)Multitudes both healed and saved (Acts 5:15-16; James 5:14-15; Matthew
9.Both Peter and John state baptism to be a "figure" and "witness" of the death, burial,
and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 5:6-10).
10.Peter plainly says it does not save to the point of putting away the filth of the flesh (1
Peter 3:21; Galatians 5:19-21).
11.Paul definitely says sins are put off by circumcision without hands (Col. 2:11-13). This is the baptism of Romans 6:1-8; 1 Cor. 12:13; Galatians 3:29; Ephes. 4:5; Col.
12.Since water baptism is not the real, literal, physical death, burial, and resurrection of
Jesus, then it has to be figurative of it (1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 5:6-10).
13.Washing of sins by baptism is ceremonial and symbolic, like the ceremony of the
leper after he was cleansed (Matthew 8:3-4 with Leviticus 14:1-9; Leviticus 15:1-27)
and like the garments washed in the blood (Rev. 7:13-14).
14.Paul did not teach baptismal regeneration (1 Cor. 1:13-24; 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Romans
1:16; Romans 10:9-10; Ephes. 2:8-9).
15.Jesus did not teach baptism as a means of salvation. He forgave multitudes without it
(see point 8, above). Not one time did He baptize anyone (John 4:2). He once
mentioned faith and then baptism (Mark 16:16).
16.Texts used to teach remission of sins by baptism (Matthew 3:6-8,11; Mark 1:4-5;
Luke 3:3,8-16; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16) do not say sins are remitted by it, but "for" or
because of repentance (see note, §Matthew 3:16). Repentance and faith always
precede baptism in these passages. See Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38,41; Acts 8:12,37;
Acts 10:44-48; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:4.
c[calling on the name of the Lord] This is what saves (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9-10; 1
John 1:9; Luke 13:3). Then one is ready for baptism, as Paul was after he was saved,
healed, and filled with the Spirit (Acts 9:17-18).
Is Water Baptism Important and Why?
Yes, water baptism is an ordinance of the church as is the Lord's supper or communion. The reason water baptism is important is to show outwardly that you have died to sin and yourself and have been raised to a newness of life with Christ. This is a witness to you and to others that you are a born again Christian. All born again believers should be baptized in water as soon as possible after being saved. As with the first baptism, baptism into the body of Christ, baptism into water or with water, has a recipient and an agent. The recipient of this baptism is the believer and the agent is another Christian. The agent does not have to be a minister. We are all fully capable of baptizing those that believe in Jesus.
The Thee Baptisms for the Believer - Introduction
Read Part One - Baptism into the Body of Christ