Re: Is Baptism Important?
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.
If you can’t get into Heaven without being baptized, then you must be baptized or go to Hell (the only other alternative). Therefore, you’re saying that the blood of Christ is insufficient on its own to save. You can’t say that the blood of Christ is sufficient (“adequate for the purpose; enough”) while also saying that baptism is essential (“absolutely necessary; indispensable”). The two statements are logically incompatible.
Not so. The blood of Christ saves us from sin, but to accept the Lord’s sacrifice (and enter the kingdom of heaven) we are required to do more than believe. If not so, Christ wouldn’t have taught us the commandments. We know that there will be a judgement after this life, and that judgement will be more than a simple question – did you believe in Christ? We still need to live the commandments, and do what is expected of us. Baptism is an expectation. A requirement. It is essential. It does not take anything away from what Christ has done for us… but for reasons we do not know, it is required of us in order to accept Christ and enter heaven.
Going back to my questions… why was Jesus himself baptised?
why did the apostles teach that those converting to Christianity should be baptised?
I think these points alone suggest that there is a higher importance of baptism than just a minor practice that one can do if they want… but they don’t actually need to.
But what then of those who have died without ever hearing the message? Without ever believing? How will they call on the name of Christ?
To paraphrase your words… “it’d stink to have the grace”.. but yet no way of being saved
Yup, that definitely would stink. Which is why the Great Commission, evangelizing, and supporting missions is critical. I don’t know what God will do in cases where someone has never heard the salvation message; however, I do know that God is just. However He judges those individuals, His judgment will be just.
and here lies a great problem with Christianity. When something doesn’t fit… we assume that somehow God wil change his rules. The scripture is clear -
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Salvation is only through Christ. As Paul so eloquently explained in Romans 10:13-17, one can only call on the name of Christ and be saved through him, if he believes in Christ. We all accept that, hence the preaching that we are saved by Faith. But importantly, we cannot believe in Christ if we haven’t heard the message of Christ.
If a man dies, having never heard of Christ – he won’t believe in Christ. And not believing in Christ, he won’t be able to call on the name of Christ. That man cannot be saved – as it is only through Christ that salvation comes. Will God change his rules so that the man can be saved through some other way? no. So what of this man? – how will he call on him in whom he has not believed? and how shall he believe in him, of whom he has not heard?
God is just. But he will not change the means of salvation.
The answer is that these persons who have died (who still live in spirit form awaiting the resurrection) are taught the message of Christ. That is, God enables them an opportunity after this life to hear the message. In the spirit form, those who choose to, willl accept Christ – believe in him, and then they are able to call on his name. Then they are saved through him.
The baptism for these persons is done on their behalf by those still living on earth. As the Apostle Paul mentioned, baptisms can be performed for the dead. Not that you are baptising a dead body but that someone who is living is baptised in the name of one who has died.
This ensures that all men will have opportunity to hear the message of Christ and be saved through him (irrespective of when they lived). Also, that baptisms can be performed for every man that has ever lived – regardless of whether or not they were baptised before they died.