Re: Is Baptism Important?

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@Josiah Fingaz wrote:

John 3:5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

This is pretty blatant. I already know where you will go so I’m already there. The thief on the cross. He did not receive baptism. This is not the rule but the exception. If you try to make a way of theological escape through an exception then you miss the heart of God entirely. And I’m forced to ask this question,”Had the thief lived would he not have received baptism?” Of course he would have.

I agree, the scripture is clear cut and in answer to the original question, yes baptism is essential. All must first have been baptised by water to enter into the kingdom of God.

The thief on the cross did not enter the kingdom of heaven immediately. There is therefore no exception here. Jesus said… “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” I have highlighted today for good reason.

Today. That day on which Jesus died, he said the thief would be with him in paradise. But the mistake here is the assumption that paradise = heaven. It isn’t. On that day when Jesus died, he did not go to Heaven. He went somewhere else. In this verse, paradise did not mean heaven. So Jesus wasn’t implying that the thief would some how enter the kingdom of heaven without having been baptised. There is therefore no exception.

Jesus didn’t go to heaven? no.

On the day when Jesus rose from the dead, he said to Mary: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God”.

Jesus made it clear that he had not yet been to his Father – who of course lives in Heaven! Jesus hadn’t been there during the period in which his body lay in the tomb.

Where did he go to then?

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

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.

1 Peter 3:18-20

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

1 Peter 4:6

When Jesus’ spirit was seperated from his body, he went to the place where all Spirits go. The spirits there were awaiting the resurrection so they too could be resurrected. There he taught the gospel to those spirits, many of whom had not had opportunity to hear the gospel while in the flesh on earth.

Though they were ‘dead’, they needed to hear the message of salvation through Christ. This is the place to which he went on that day he died. This is the place he called ‘paradise’ when speaking to the thief on the cross.

That thief needed to hear the message of salvation and repent of his sins.