Jerry C. Brewer
The first thing Jesus did to inaugurate His public ministry was to be baptized (Matt. 3:13-17). When His public ministry was ended, and just before He ascended back to heaven, the last thing He did was to command His apostles to go into all the world, preach the gospel, and baptize those who believed it (Mark 16:15-16). That indicates the importance that Jesus Christ places on baptism.
That baptism is necessary to salvation is without dispute to those who love and believe the New Testament, but Satan has a reason for opposing baptism as essential to salvation. He knows its importance and design and it’s at baptism where he makes his last stand against obedience to the Lord.
The devil has never objected to a person believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God—even “the devils believe and tremble” (Jas. 2:19). Nor is he concerned about one who repents of his sin and lives an upright, moral life. Cornelius did that, but he was still lost (Acts 10:1-2; 11:13-14). Nor is Satan concerned about one confessing Christ. Even the demons made that confession (Matt. 8:28-19). But Satan despises baptism—and for good reason. Baptism is the consummating act of obedience to God. It is in baptism that the one who believes (John 8:24), repents of his sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31), and confesses Christ as God’s Son (Rom. 10:10; Acts 8:37), leaves the “kingdom of darkness” and enters the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13; Rom. 6:3-5).
Satan knows that as long as one refuses to be baptized for the remission of sins, that one is still in his kingdom and remains a servant of the devil. It makes no difference how loudly one proclaims his belief in Jesus Christ as God’s Son, so long as one refuses to be baptized, he remains a subject of the devil’s kingdom.
Baptism is the dividing line between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God. That’s why Satan’s servants tell their hearers that baptism isn’t necessary to salvation. Baptism is the redoubt where Satan makes his last stand against obedience to God.
What Baptism Is
The action of baptism is described by Paul: “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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” (Rom. 6:3-4). According to this passage, baptism is a burial in water. That explains the statement that, John “was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23). “Much water” is needed to baptize one, but very little is needed to sprinkle or pour on a person. But Satan is, “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). He will tell you that pouring or sprinkling water on a person and calling it “baptism” is as good as immersion, and he has lots of servants preaching that false doctrine. Among those are the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Methodist Church. But the word of God still says, “buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).
The New Testament does not merely say what baptism is, but illustrates it in the account of Philip and the Ethiopian whom he baptized on the road to Gaza: “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down 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” (Acts 8:38-39).
Baptism requires a “going down into the water” by, both, the one who is baptized and the one doing the baptizing. There’s no need for either one to go “down into the water” if baptism is mere sprinkling or pouring water over someone. If that’s all Philip did, then they both got wet for nothing. He could have stood on the bank, dipped his fingers into the water and splashed it on the eunuch. Bible baptism is immersion in water.
What Baptism Does
There is one single design of baptism, and that is stated in Acts 2:38. Baptism is, “for the remission of sins.” That means one must be baptized in order to have his sins forgiven. Satan’s servants will tell you, “Pray The Sinners’ Prayer,” “Just Believe Only,” “Ask Jesus Into Your Heart,” and dozens of other things absent from the Bible, in order to be saved. These, of course, are the devil’s lies. Clearly and unequivocally, the Bible says that baptism is, “for the remission of sins.” It is ironic that the Baptist Church, which takes its very name from the act of baptism, denies that baptism is necessary to salvation. Despite what God’s word teaches, Satan’s servants who preach Baptist doctrine tell us that baptism is necessary to be a Baptist, but not to be saved. That lie makes it easier to be saved than to get into the Baptist Church.
But the devil is always willing to compromise. He knows that a half-truth is the same as a lie, so, to those who insist on being baptized, he says baptism is, “to obey God,” or, “to follow Christ’s example,” or, “is an outward sign of an inward grace,” or, “to demonstrate to the world that you have been saved.” There’s not a single syllable of truth in any of those “reasons” for baptism, and not one of them can be found on any page of the New Testament.
Continuing his resistance to baptism for the remission of sins, Satan tells the world that one is first saved by faith only, then he can be baptized. That is the doctrine proclaimed by his Baptist preacher servants. Jesus said no one can be saved without baptism: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). It’s not belief, then salvation, then baptism. Jesus says it’s belief plus baptism, then salvation. Neither Satan nor his Baptist toadies can get around that plain statement of our Lord.
If one is saved without baptism, then he is saved outside of Christ. Baptism for the remission of sins puts one into Christ (Rom. 6:3-5), and Paul says that every spiritual blessing is in Christ (Eph. 1:3). If one is saved without baptism, then he is saved without the benefit of any spiritual blessing. Paul further says that redemption is in Christ through His blood (Eph. 1:7). If one is saved without baptism, then he is saved outside of Christ and without the benefit of Christ’s blood. If that is the case, then Christ shed His blood in vain, and God was a fool to allow His Son to die on the cross. That is precisely implied by those who oppose baptism, and that is blasphemy!
Satan has plenty of help in his opposition to baptism for the remission of sins, and he will continue to oppose the Lord’s command because he knows that baptism puts men into Christ. As long as the devil, through his denominational servants, can convince people that baptism is not necessary to salvation, he will keep them in his kingdom, under his dominion, outside the sphere of salvation, and send their souls to hell.