Peter wrote to his brothers and sisters in Christ that his second letter as well as his first was stirring their pure minds by way of remembrance (2 Pet. 3:1). Simply put, the brethren needed to be reminded on some basic truths and Peter used the letters to accomplish that purpose. Today, we still need to be reminded of the pure and simple truth of God's word to help keep our hearts and minds pure before God.
This became increasingly evident to me through recent conversations I have had with people. Many people hold that the Scripture is the word of God. Yet when it comes to reading to what God has written, they most often will reject His word. This is true in many subjects that relate to our worship, but the most common rejection of His word comes in relation to baptism.
I am not sure why people are so adamant in their opposition to baptism, other than Satan has deceived their hearts through the teachings of men. Jesus even chastised those of His day for, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mt. 15:9). In the 3rd verse of Matthew 15 Jesus asked why they transgress the commandment of God by their tradition. Yet man does that today and doesn't seem to care.
It was Jesus who commanded baptism take place (Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15,16). When Peter preached to the Jews on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, he told them to repent and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins in the name of Jesus Christ (vs. 38). This is what Jesus commanded. If one states that baptism is not essential for salvation then the word of God has been rejected. Too many passages relate the baptismal experience to salvation (Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
It is also important to understand how baptism is to take place. Baptism is a burial (Ro. 6:3,4; Col. 2:11,12). When one has been sprinkled or had water poured upon the forehead no baptism has taken place. The Greek language is a very specific language in that words will describe the action. The word for baptism means immersion or burial. The words for sprinkling and pouring are completely different, and neither of those words are ever used in connection with salvation. These are simply traditions of men and nothing more.
In the New Testament Scriptures baptism is always a burial for that is what the word implies. Philip went down into the water with the eunuch. If sprinkling or pouring was sufficient, Philip would not have needed to accompany the eunuch into the water but it became necessary for the burial required (Acts 8:35-39). Anyone reading or hearing the word describing baptism would have known immediately what was being said and what action was required for salvation to be obtained. Also take note that Philip preached to the eunuch Jesus. When preaching Jesus baptism must be addressed. That is the gospel.
Baptism is a burial from which we are resurrected. Those who were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) had this new birth in common. Next week we will speak more as to who can be baptized. Rodger