Growing in Faith & Love,  Salvation


By C. O. Dodd

 Many beliefs are prevalent concerning Christian baptism among the Roman Catholics and Protestant sects and orders. Some sprinkle a little water upon the head of the candidate, and call that baptism. Some immerse the person in water, some once, and some thrice. Some claim water baptism is not essential. These various teachings cause confusion, but this may be dispelled when the word of Yahweh is taken as authority.

Paul says, in Eph. 4:5, regarding the faith, that like as there is but one Yahweh, (or one Master) so there is but one baptism — “One Yahweh, one faith, one baptism,” and not many.

Baptism is very essential, regardless of the opinion of man. It is the gateway into the one body — the body of Yahshua for “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles” (1 Cor. 12:13). Yahshua said, in Mark 16:16, that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” This settles the matter for those who take the Scripture as authority; but there are other texts equally decisive. Peter, for instance, in 1 Peter 3:21, says that like as Noah and his family were saved by the ark from the great flood, “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 Yahweh,) by the resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah.” — See Acts 22:16.

John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Savior, came preaching water baptism, the “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3), and the Savior came to John for baptism, and that prophet forbade him; but the Saviour said, “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” — Matt. 3:15.

These texts prove to the unbiased student that water baptism is essential to salvation. In the words of the Saviour, in His example, in the examples and words of the apostles, water baptism is essential, and was given to the disciples in the beginning of His ministry.

The word “baptize” is not an English word, but is a form of the Greek word “baptizo,” which has been brought into the English language untranslated. The reason of this was that at the time the early English versions were translated, the various modes of baptism were practiced in the churches. To make a translation in harmony with all was a difficult task. To antagonize none, it was deemed best to leave the word “baptizo” untranslated, and this was done. The advocates of sprinkling, of pouring, of immersion, when reading the texts, with the word untranslated, would think of their accepted mode. Thus the word was used to fill a common need; but it has been the means of covering the real meaning of baptism and many therefore do not understand the Bible teaching on this subject. The Greek word “baptizo” means to dip, to plunge, to cover up. Knowing this, one cannot harmonize the thought of sprinkling, or pouring, with baptism; but rather think of an immersion, and this is right.

Baptism, as practiced by John the Baptist, by the Saviour and His disciples, was that of immersion. This is easily learned by reading the texts relating to baptism. Notice, for instance, that Paul, speaking of baptism, in Rom. 6:4, likens it unto a burial, saying, “We are buried with him by baptism into death.” Here is the picture of a death, a burial, and a resurrection, all brought to the eye by the immersion of a repentant sinner, baptized into Yahshua by immersion in water. As the candidate has died to sin, and is buried in the water by immersion, and is raised from the water by the immerser, it tells to the world our faith in the One who died for our sins, was buried, and arose from the dead again. No form of baptism can show this faith, save the baptism of immersion, and that alone.

The baptism of the Saviour by John shows us that immersion was the mode followed by the Saviour. When the Master was baptized, Matthew records (3:16) that “Yahshua when he was baptized went up straight-way out of the water.” Yahshua could not have come up out of the water unless he had been in the water. This would be true of immersion. In Acts 8:38, the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip is recorded, and it states that the one who was baptized and the one who did the baptizing, “Went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” One may readily see that immersion was practiced here, for both went down into the water, and this would not be true in sprinkling or pouring. Again in the case of John the Baptist, John records (chapter 3:23) that he was baptizing his disciples in the river Aenon, “because there was much water there!” Much water is not needed for pouring or sprinkling hence immersion is implied. Surely these texts are sufficient to show the truth seeker that immersion was the original mode of baptism; yet we should also remember that the text used the word “baptizo” which means immersion. This can be verified by Greek lexicons, Bible dictionaries and Greek interlinear translations, as well as other reliable translations.

Whence came the various modes of baptism? We learn that they were practiced by the pagans, before Yahshua, in their religions; and when multitudes of these unconverted heathens came into the state church of the old Roman Empire, these rites came along. When the Roman Catholic grew out of the Roman state church, these rites were retained; when the Protestant sects came from the Roman Catholic fold, these various modes were never dropped; thus, we have them with us today.

Alexander Hislop, the noted English clergyman, in his “The Two Babylons,” says the pagans practiced baptism in various forms before Yahshua. He says, on page 133, that the Spaniards when they came to Mexico, found the pagan Mexicans observing sprinkling as it is practiced in the various churches today. He said that the mid-wife performed the rite; and after using various words and ceremonies, she “sprinkled water on the head of the infant.” He quotes Tiletanus, a Roman Catholic writer, that trine baptism was not Scriptural but traditional, hence pagan, by saying, “Yes, I pray you, whence cometh it, that we dip the child three times in water? Doth it not come of the hidden and undisclosed doctrine, which our forefathers have received” (P. 138). Again, as regarding pagan rites, Hislop says, “So far as heathenism is concerned, ‘Every person who came to the solemn sacrifices (of the pagan Greeks) was purified by water. To which end, at the entrance of the (pagan) temples there was commonly placed a vessel full of holy water.’ ” — P. 143.

The early congregation, as set in order by Yahshua himself, always baptized by immersion. There was no exception. Later the Roman element which was the forerunner of the Roman Catholic Church of today, began to practice various modes, and these are with us today. During the Dark Ages, countless thousands were slain because they would not submit, but immersed their followers by true Scriptural baptism. The name of Anabaptists (or Rebaptizers) was given to all dissenters who practiced the original mode, and immersed their disciplines in opposition to Rome. These facts, long hidden to many, are due to the world, for all should know the truth, and be governed thereby.

Infant baptism came into the church from those who taught that children were born sinners, and would be lost unless baptized: whereas the Scriptures teach that we all must be converted and become as little children to be saved. To be eligible for baptism one must be old enough to believe, or have faith in Yahweh, for the command is, “Believe on the master, Yahshua, the Messiah,” and until such a time as the child can believe, baptism is not in order. — Read Acts 16:31, 8:37.

Some teach that men may be baptized, but not female believers; but it is recorded that Phillip “baptized both men and women” in Samaria (Acts 8:12). We are safe to follow this example.

Yahshua gave command that baptism was to be practiced throughout the glad tidings age, saying, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” — Matt. 28:19-20.

When should baptism be administered? After genuine repentance for sins past. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). If you have truly repented, made things right with your heavenly Father and with your fellow man, and accepted the Saviour, Yahshua the Messiah, as your sin offering, your atonement, you are then ready for baptism — thus showing unto the world your faith in Him who died, was buried, and arose again by the power of Yahweh.

After baptism, which followed true repentance, the Holy Spirit gift is yours by promise, and we find Paul (by example) laying on hands for the Spirit to come upon those who were baptized (Acts 19:5-6). Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot live a consecrated holy life. It enables us to “walk in newness of life.” May we follow the example of the saints of the Messiah Yahshua.

May we now ask you a very personal question, dear reader, “Have you become sorry of your sinful life? Have you repented of your sins? Have you accepted Yahshua as your Saviour? Have you been immersed in His Name? Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” If not, dear reader, there is no better time than now. Today is the day of salvation. Delay is dangerous. Now is the accepted time. Kneel now — where you are — kneel now, repent of your sins, give Father Yahweh your heart; and, through faith in the Saviour Yahshua, start on that road of repentance, conversion, baptism, and receipt of the Holy Spirit, which, if followed, will lead you into eternal life. May Yahweh help you.