Baptism and Grace

I’ve made the point on a number of occasions that in the NT people were called to be baptized to take on them the name of Jesus and so be saved. That being the case that’s what we should be teaching and practicing. A reader wonders if Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn’t exclude baptism since baptism is a “work” and we aren’t saved by works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 was written by a man that the risen Christ had just confronted. That same man, now a penitent believer, was told to be baptized and have his sins washed away (yes!—Acts 22:16). That’s the man who wrote Ephesians 2:8-9 so how could Ephesians 2:8-9 exclude baptism on the grounds that it is some “work” that undermined grace? That makes no sense.

Ephesians 2:8-9 was written by the man that started the Ephesian church (Acts 19:1-5). He met Ephesian believers, learned that they knew nothing of the Holy Spirit that was given by the exalted Messiah and his question is: “What were you baptized unto?” Because their understanding of the gospel was profoundly lacking he re-baptized these people. That’s the man who later wrote Ephesians 2:8-9 to that very church. And would he write something that excludes baptism because it undermines grace? That makes no sense.

Not only was he baptized to have his sins washed away, he re-baptized people to bring them into Jesus Christ.

Believer baptism is the confession of trust in and commitment to Jesus Christ that in the NT brought a person into living and saving union with Jesus Christ. It is a believer’s declaration that Jesus Christ died, was raised again and has been glorified. It isn’t optional! It comes straight from God.

Some of us bend over backwards to avoid it. Why don’t we simply bend before God and obey it?

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

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