Outline on Baptism

The following outline on baptism is from my notes. During debates and research, I will add to this outline, which I write in Microsoft Word, so that I can retain what I learn. I’m providing this here to help you understand and research what baptism is and is not so that you too can defend the true gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ alone, not by faith and the ceremony of baptism.

There is a lot of repetition in the outline since many scriptures and topics are interrelated.  You will notice there are links to Greek words in the form of the Strong’s concordance, i.e. [# 907]. They are for further research.

Here are quick links to topics within this outline.

Bapt, Greek Cognates.
Baptism: Figurative uses of baptism
Baptized with water
Baptism: Why should we get baptized
Baptism, the Greek, immersion, washing, and sprinkling
Pouring: The Holy Spirit is poured (never by immersion)
The gift of the Holy Spirit appears to be the charismata
Questions about baptism and salvation
Terms and Definitions
Matthew 3:13-15, Jesus’ baptism
Luke 23:43, Thief on the cross, Today you shall…
John 3:5, born of water and the Spirit
Acts_2:38, baptized for the forgiveness of sins
Acts_8:38, Philip and eunuch went into the water
Acts_16:30-31, believe and you will be saved
Acts_22:16, wash away your sins
Romans_4:11, circumcision is a seal of the righteousness of faith
Rom._6:4, buried with him through baptism
1_Cor._1:14-17, not sent to baptize
Gal._3:27, baptized are clothed with Christ
Col._2:11-12, circumcision and baptism
Heb._9:10, various washings (baptismos)
Titus_3:5, washing of regeneration
1_Pet._3:21, baptism now saves you
Sins

 

Baptism

What is baptism?

Baptism is the religious right that uses water and signifies conversion and symbolizes ritual cleansing.

Thoughts on baptism

Does water baptism symbolize the work of the Holy Spirit?[1] The Bible says that John the Baptist would baptize with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The baptism of John the Baptist symbolized something. But what? Burial? Death? Covenant commitment? To be baptized with water is coupled with being baptized with the Holy Spirit. “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” (Acts 1:5). But we are not immersed in the Holy Spirit. Rather, the Holy Spirit comes upon us (poured on us Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-18) just as the Holy Spirit came upon Christ at his baptism and anointed him (Matt. 3:16). We have to ask if the baptism with water by John the Baptist was a representation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And, as such, he was anointing people WITH the water, i.e., pouring, sprinkling

The work of the Spirit is to bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26).
Water is a natural symbol of purifying

OT References to the washing of water

Lev. 8:6, “Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near and washed them with water.”
Lev. 18:8, “Or if the man with the discharge spits on one who is clean, he too shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening.”
Num. 8:7, “Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.”
Num. 19:18, “A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave.”
Ezekiel 36:25, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.”

Scriptures

Acts 1:5, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” (Acts 1:5).
Joel 2:28-29, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Acts 2:17-18, “AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT and they shall prophesy.”

Bapt, Greek Cognates. Cognates are different forms of the same word: baptize, baptizing, baptism, baptized, etc.

Baptize: βαπτίζω baptízō, verb

Strong’s # 907, click the link to see the online analysis
77 occurrences
Baptize, baptized, baptizing, Baptist, wash

Baptism: βάπτισμα báptisma, noun,

Strong’s # 908, click the link to see the online analysis
19 occurrences
Baptism

Washings: βαπτισμός, baptismos, noun

Strong’s # 909, click the link to see the online analysis
4 occurrences
Baptism (Col. 2:12), washing (Mark 7:4; Heb. 6:2; 9;10)

Baptist, Noun, βαπτιστής baptistḗs noun

Strong’s # 910, click the link to see the online analysis
12 occurrences
John the Baptist

Immerse, βάπτω báptō, verb, Strong’s #911

God’s people were baptized on dry land (identification with Moses) as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea

1 Corinthians 10:1–2, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

Baptism: Figurative uses of baptism where it does not mean water

Baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Bracketed #’s refer to the Strong’s Concordance

Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize [# 907] you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize [# 907] you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John 1:33, “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize [# 907] in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes [# 907] in the Holy Spirit.’”
See also Mark 1:5, 8; Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 11:16;

Baptism [# 907] can mean the washing hands (Mark 7:4)

Mark 7:4, “and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they cleanse [baptize, # 907] themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing [baptismos, # 909] of cups and pitchers and copper pots.)”
Other Translations

Cleanse: NASB
Purify, RSV,
Wash: ESV, KJV, NKJV, LEB, NIV, CSB, D-R

Baptism [# 907] can mean experiencing tribulation, (Mark 10:38-39)

Mark 10:38–39, “But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized [# 907] with the baptism [# 908] with which I am baptized [# 907?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized [# 907] with the baptism [# 908] with which I am baptized [# 907].”
Luke 12:50, “But I have a baptism [# 908] to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!”

Baptism [# 907 can mean ceremonially washed:

Luke 11:38, “When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed [# 907] before the meal.”
Luke 11:37 speaks of washing their hands
Other Translations

Ceremonially washed: NASB
Ritual washing: CSB
Wash: ESV, KJV, KVJ, RSV, LEB, NIV, D-R

Baptized [# 907] into Moses on dry ground

1 Corinthians 10:1–2, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized [# 907] into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;”

Exodus 14:22, “The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Baptized [# 907] into one body, by the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into [# 907, ebaptisthamen eis] one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

Baptized WITH water

Implies the water was applied to them

WITH water scriptures (verb-with-water)
Exodus 29:4, “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.”
Exodus 30:20, “when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord.”
Mark 1:8, “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Luke 3:16, “John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Acts 1:5, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 11:16, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
Hebrews 9:19, “For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,”

Anointing with oil

2 Chronicles 28:15, “Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers; then they returned to Samaria.”
Psalm 23:4–5, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”
Ezekiel 16:9, “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.”
Micah 6:15, “You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; and the grapes, but you will not drink wine.”
Mark 6:13, “And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.”
James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;”

Anoint WITH

Mark 6:13, “were anointing with oil many sick people.”
Mark 16:1, “bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.”
Luke 7:38, “kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.”
John 11:2, “It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment.”
Acts 10:38, “God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.”
James 5:14, “they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Rev. 3:18, “and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

Cleansed WITH Blood

Hebrews 9:22, “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

Filled WITH the Spirit

Exodus 31:3, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship,”

With: Other Verb-With-Object (i.e., baptize-with-water)

Lev. 8:7, Girded with the sash, with the robe, with the ephod.
Num. 21:24, Israel struck him [Sihon] with the edge of the sword.
1 Sam. 26:8, strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke.
2 Sam. 12:9; Isaiah 37:38, killed him with the sword,
Prov. 23:13, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
Matt. 27:44, the robbers were insulting Him with the same words.
Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Baptism: Why should we get baptized?

We get baptized because Jesus commanded it

Matthew 28:18–20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’

Baptism is a public identification with Christ

Acts 10:44–48, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 ‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

Baptism symbolizes our death to sin

Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Baptism is a sign of being a disciple

Matthew 28:18–19, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Baptism as a covenant sign

Colossians 2:11–12, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Is Baptism part of the saving gospel?

If baptism is what is necessary for our salvation, then why did Paul say, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else). For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Cor. 1:14-17). It is clearly the gospel that saves us, but what exactly is the gospel? That too is revealed to us in the Bible. It is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel, you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The gospel is defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins. Baptism is not mentioned in the gospel.

Baptism, the Greek, immersion, washing, and sprinkling

Many people assume that baptism always means immerse. It does not. Take a look at these verses where the root bapt and its cognates (baptize, baptism, baptized, etc.) are translated differently:

Cleans and washing   Mark 7:4, “and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.
Baptism of tribulation 

Mark 10:38, “But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?’
Luke 12:50, “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!”

Washings

Heb. 6:2, “of instruction about washings [baptismos # 909] and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.”
Heb. 9:10, “since they relate only to food and drink and various washings [baptismos # 909], regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Old Testament Sprinkling and the LXX translation

Sprinkle, נָזָה [nazah], occurs 24 times in the Old Testament. Every occurrence is sprinkle, sprinkled, sprinkles, etc. Exod 29:21; Lev 4:6; Lev 4:17; Lev 5:9; Lev 6:27; Lev 6:27; Lev 8:11; Lev 8:30; Lev 14:7; Lev 14:16; Lev 14:27; Lev 14:51; Lev 16:14; Lev 16:14; Lev 16:15; Lev 16:19; Num 8:7; Num 19:4; Num 19:18; Num 19:19; Num 19:21; 2 Kings 9:33; Isa 52:15; Isa 63:3.
Lev. 14:7, He shall then sprinkle נָזָה [nazah] seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy
Leviticus 14:16, “the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord.”

Pouring: The Holy Spirit is Poured (never by immersion)

Verses where the Holy Spirit is poured

Isaiah 32:15, “Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, And the fertile field is considered as a forest.”
Isaiah 44:3, “…I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring.”
Ezek. 39:29, “for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.”
Joel 2:28, “That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.” Quoted in Acts 2:17
Joel 2:29, “I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” Quoted in Acts 2:18
Acts 2:17, “That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.”
Acts 2:18, “I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Acts 2:33, “the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
Acts 10:45, “the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”
Titus 3:5–6, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

Where pouring forth is related to baptism

Context of Acts 2:33, “the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
People were gathered in one place (Acts 2:1), there came a noise like a violent rushing wind (Acts 2:2), they saw tongues of fire resting on each one (Acts 2:3), were hearing the disciples speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). Others were amazed to hear the Galileans speaking in multiple languages (Acts 2:5-11). Peter preaches and quotes Joel (Acts 2:14-21), proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 2:22-24), quotes David (Acts 2:25-31), Jesus raised (Acts 2:32), quotes David (Acts 2:34-35), Jesus is Lord (Acts 2:36). Peter commanded baptism (Acts 2:38) and 3000 were baptized (Acts 2:41)

The pouring forth of the Holy Spirit manifested in charismatic gifts

Acts 10:45–48, “All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

Questions about baptism and salvation

If salvation is due to God’s grace in addition to your decision to be baptized, then aren’t you the one in control of your salvation by your action of deciding to be baptized?

They would have to say yes.
If they say no, then how is God in control of your salvation if it is up to you to get baptized? If you don’t get baptized, which is your decision, then aren’t you in control of your own salvation?
Are you saying that God doesn’t forgive you until you’ve gone through the ceremony of baptism? But, that would deny justification by faith per Rom. 3:28; 4:1-6; 5:1.

Our sin debt is not canceled at baptism

Col. 2:14, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
Sin is a legal debt (Matt. 6:12 with Luke 11:4) since it is breaking the Law of God (1 John 3:4). Legal debts can be transferred, and peoples’ sin debts were transferred to Jesus (1 Pet. 2:24). Their sin debt was canceled at the cross, not when we believe and not when we get baptized (Col. 2:13-14). Our justification, which is different than Christ’s atonement, occurs when we believe (Rom. 3:28; 4:5; 5:1).

If a person prays and asks Jesus to forgive him of his sins, are his sins forgiven?

Jesus said in John 14:14, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
If a person prays to Jesus, as He instructed them to do (John 14:14), and asks Him, by faith, to forgive him of his sins (Matt. 28:18; Luke 5:20), does Jesus forgive him of all of his sins?
If yes

If you say that his sins are forgiven, then baptism is not necessary for salvation because he would be forgiven without water baptism.

If no

Then asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins does not result in the forgiveness of your sins. It would mean that a faithful trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins is not enough to save anyone.
The following verses clearly show that all who believe HAVE forgiveness of sins and eternal life
The following verses are in the present, active, particle.  Present tense means the action is happening now. Active voice means the individual is performing the action. The particle means the action is continuing, such as singing, walking, talking, etc. Therefore the present, active, participle means the action is continually occurring in the present.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [present, active, participle] in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:36, “He who believes [present, active, participle] in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes [present, active, participle] Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes [present, active, participle] has eternal life.”
Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes [present, active, participle] in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes [present, active, participle] in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe [present, active, participle] in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Are we justified by faith when we have faith or are we not justified by faith when we have faith?

Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
Galatians, 3:24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”
If we are justified by faith when we have faith

Then water baptism is not necessary for salvation

If we are not justified when we have faith

Then we are not justified by faith

Do you believe that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins?

Verse: Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Yes

Then water baptism is not necessary for salvation

No

Then believing in Jesus does not forgive us of our sins as Acts 10:43 says it does.

If John the Baptist’s baptism was for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3) so as to obtain that forgiveness, did the people who were baptized by John still need to offer sacrifices in the temple even though Christ had not yet been sacrificed?

Yes

Then John the Baptist’s baptism didn’t forgive them, did it?

No

Then you are violating the covenantal requirement of offering sacrifices in the temple which was necessary in the old covenant. Furthermore, this old covenant was not abrogated by the new covenant until the death of Christ (Hebrews 8:13; 9:15-16) which had not yet occurred.

Was Abraham still in a state of damnation when he believed God and was declared righteous even though he hadn’t been circumcised?

Rom. 4:1-5, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
Gal. 3:5-7, “Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.”

Note: Those who believe in New Testament times are to believe in the person of Christ, his work on the cross, his resurrection, etc.

Rom. 4:5 says that he who believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. So, do you agree that when a person believes, he is righteous in God’s sight?

If not, how do you not contradict what the scripture says?
If yes, then baptism isn’t necessary; otherwise, they wouldn’t be righteous in Christ’s sight.

If a person who believes and trusts in Christ is not declared righteous when he believes, then why isn’t he? After all, God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29) and that belief is in Jesus ( John 6:29). So, isn’t the fact that God grants to us that is in Christ sufficient to justify us in and of itself? Or, do we need to go through the baptismal ceremonyto be justified?
If a person who believes is declared righteous (Rom. 4:5; 5:1), then is he righteous without baptism?

But, if baptism is necessary for salvation, then a person cannot be declared righteous when he believes, even though Scripture tells us we are (Rom. 4:5; 5:1).

Is a sinner who has prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive him of his sins actually forgiven, or is he still in a state of damnation until he gets baptized?

Acts 10:44–48, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why did Paul not include baptism when the jailer asked him what he must do to be saved in Acts 16:30-31?

Acts 16:30–31, “and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs [Paul and Silas], what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Paul did not mention baptism as a necessary part of salvation.

A ritual is a set of forms and practices. It is a ceremony. Baptism is a ritual, a ceremony where one person administers baptism to another person. Therefore, if you maintain that baptism is necessary for salvation, are you not saying that salvation is by faith and a ritual?

To say that baptism is not a ceremony is simply not true.

Can you please tell us if such a man who has believed in Christ and received him as Savior, yet dies without being baptized goes to eternal damnation?

If you say no, he is not damned, then baptism is not necessary for salvation.
If you say yes, he is damned, then he is not declared righteous by faith.

Why did Jesus not baptize anyone?

John 4:2, “(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),”
Why was Paul grateful that he wasn’t baptizing people, except Crispus and Gaius (1 Cor. 1:14) and the household of Stephanas (v. 16), if he was sent by Jesus not to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17), the gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16)?

Terms and Definitions

Ceremony

Ceremony: 1) “a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremony) 2) “the formal activities conducted on some solemn or important public or state occasion.” … “a formal religious or sacred observance; a solemn rite.” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ceremony). 3) “a set of acts, often traditional or religious, performed at a formal occasion esp. to recognize an important event, or the performing of such acts.” (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/ceremony)

Verses Examined

Matthew 3:13-15, Jesus’ baptism

Matt. 3:13-15, “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him.”

30 years of age

Numbers 4:1-3, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 ‘Take a census of the descendants of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families, by their fathers’ households, 3 from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting.’”

Washed with water

Exodus 29:1, 4, “This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect” … 4 “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water.”
Leviticus 8:6, “Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near, and washed them with water.”
Numbers 8:7, “And thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body, and wash their clothes, and they shall be clean.”
Matthew 3:16, “And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him.”

Anointed with oil (represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit)

Exodus 29:7, “Then you shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him.”
Leviticus 8:12, “Now the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls; then offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites.”
Matt. 3:16, “And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him.”
1 John 2:20, 27, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know … 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

Verbal blessing

Exodus 39:43, “And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it (regarding the tabernacle); just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.”
Numbers 6:22-27, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 24 The Lord bless you, and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 27 “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”
Matthew 3:17, “and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”

Luke 23:43, Thief on the cross, Today you shall…

Luke 23:43, “And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’
Question: Since Jesus died before the thief on the cross (John 19:31-33), the New Covenant had begun because of His death (Heb. 9:15-17). Therefore, the thief died in the New Covenant. According to those who hold to baptismal regeneration, if the New Covenant requires baptism for salvation, then the thief was saved without being baptized in the New Covenant. How is this possible according to their theology?

John 19:31–33, “Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.”
Hebrews 9:15–17, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.”

John 3:5, born of water and the Spirit

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’
Some say that water here means Christian baptism, but that is unlikely since Christian baptism hadn’t yet been instituted. If this verse did mean water baptism, then the only kind that it could have been at that point was the baptism of repentance administered by John the Baptist (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). If that is so, then baptism is not necessary for salvation because the baptism of repentance from John the Baptist is no longer practiced.
It possible that the water spoken of here means the water of the womb referring to the natural birth process. Jesus said in verse 3 that Nicodemus needed to be born “again.” This meant that he had been born once – through his mother’s womb. Nicodemus responds with a statement about how he cannot enter again into his mother’s womb to be born. Then Jesus says that he must be born of “water and the Spirit.” Then in verse 6 He says that “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The context seems to be discussing the contrast between the natural and the spiritual birth. Water, therefore, could be interpreted there to mean the natural birth process.
I would like to add that there are scholars who agree with the position and some who do not. Some believe that the water refers to the Word of God, the Bible; and others claim it means the Holy Spirit. You decide for yourself.
Question

What so-called baptism should Nicodemus have already known about (John 3:10)? This implies a required knowledge of something past, not future.

Ezekiel 36, sprinkling?

Ezekiel 36:25–27, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Acts 2:38, baptized for the forgiveness of sins

Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, ‘Repent [whole house of Israel, v.36] and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Issues

Is the Holy Spirit a secondary concern? After all, He is not mentioned.
Faith is not mentioned: Therefore, Acts 2:38 cannot be a formula for salvation because faith is not included in the text. If this verse is a description of what is necessary for salvation, then why is faith not mentioned? Simply saying it is implied isn’t good enough. Peter is not teaching a formula for salvation, but for covenantal fulfillment of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is why the next verse says that the promise is for their children as well.
Baptized in the name of Jesus, not the explicit Trinitarian formula

People were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but did not receive the Holy Spirit until the hands were laid upon them.

“For He [the Holy Spirit, v. 15] had not yet fallen upon any of them [people of Samaria]; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they [Peter and John, v. 14 ] began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 8:16–17).

“There seems to be no distinction between the prepositions ἐπί, ἐν, and εἰς in the baptismal formulas of Acts. The meaning seems to be the same in every case: calling upon the name is to invoke the power of Jesus and commit oneself to his rule.” (Polhill, John B. Acts. Vol. 26. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.)

In the Name of Jesus, occurs 7 times, all in the book of Acts

Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 3:6, “But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

Acts 4:18, “And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

Acts 5:40, “They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

Acts 9:27, “But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

Acts 10:48, “And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

Acts 16:18, “She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.”

By the authority of Jesus’ name

For the forgiveness of your sins

Luke 3:3, “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, and Acts 2:28 are the same…. for the forgiveness of sins” εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων

Luke 3:3, “for the forgiveness of sins,” “εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων,”, eis aphesin harmation
Acts 2:38, “for the forgiveness of sins,” “εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων,” eis aphesin harmation

Question: Did John’s baptism accomplish the forgiveness of sins?

Yes? Then how is that possible without Christ having been crucified?
Yes? Then how is that possible without faith in Christ?
No? Then if Luke 3:3 baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins did not save them, then why does the baptism in Acts 2:38 save them when both say “for the forgiveness of sins”?

Search results in Logos for the Greek phrase “εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων,” “for the forgiveness of sins.”  The exact same phrase found in Acts 2:38 also occurs in Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3.

Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Luke 3:3, “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Baptized in water or Spirit? What kind of baptism is implied, water or spirit? Is it water, or is it baptism in the Holy Spirit? After all, the next verse speaks of “the promise” which contextually is the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit.

It’s best to assume that the baptism and receiving the H.S. are separate events.

Will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

What is the gift of the Holy Spirit?  It appears to be the presence of charismatic gifts.

Acts 1:5 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” (Acts 1:5).
Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
Acts 2:16-18, “but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.”

Joel 2:28-29, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Ezekiel 39:29, “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.”

Acts 2:33, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Acts 2:38–39, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

The Jews, the House of Israel (2:36), wanted the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:37)
“What must we do?”

What must we do…for what?
The Jews had crucified their Messiah and he was now exalted to the right hand of God the Father.  What was left for them to do?

Peter told them to get baptized in the name of Jesus

In the authority and under the headship of Jesus.

For the forgiveness of their sins… not to get forgiveness, but to show their relationship to Christ in the covenant sign by which their sins would be forgiven, and they would then receive the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit,’ … tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues.

Receive the Holy Spirit before Baptism

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 45 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 46 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 47 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days,” (Acts 10:44–48).
Notice the “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38 and compare to “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 10:45.

Comment:  It does not say that they were instructed to go find water someplace where they could then be immersed. Were they to get water or was the water to be brought them?

Water Baptism in Jesus’ name does not appear to be necessary

Acts 18:24-28, “Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”

Baptism in Jesus’ name is not mentioned

The Holy Spirit came upon them by the laying on of hands

Acts 19:5–6, “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”

Acts 2:39, “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

What is the promise? Peter was quoting Joel 2:28-32, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
Acts 2:17–18, “‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.”
The promise of the Holy Spirit was moving in the charismatic gifts since that’s what happened in Acts 2 and 10 when they were speaking in tongues after having received the Holy Spirit – which must have been a pouring of the Spirit.

Acts 3:19

Acts 3:19, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

The gift of the Holy Spirit appears to be the charismata

Acts 2:38 says “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” not “receive the Holy Spirit.” The phrase “gift of the Holy Spirit” only occurs two times in the Bible: Acts 2:38 and Acts 10:45. In both contexts, speaking in tongues is mentioned before baptism: Acts 2:5-11 and Acts 10:46. It would seem that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the movement of the charismatic gifts.
The context of Acts 2 is thus: People were gathered in one place (Acts 2:1), there came a noise like a violent rushing wind (Acts 2:2), they saw tongues of fire resting on each one (Acts 2:3). They were hearing the disciples speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). Others were amazed to hear the Galileans speaking in multiple languages (Acts 2:5-11). Peter preaches and quotes Joel (Acts 2:14-21), proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 2:22-24), quotes David (Acts 2:25-31), speaks of Jesus being raised (Acts 2:32), quotes David again (Acts 2:34-35), and says Jesus is Lord (Acts 2:36). Then Peter commanded baptism (Acts 2:38) and 3000 were baptized (Acts 2:41).

The context is the spirit of God moving upon the people, being poured upon them. It would make sense to say that the baptism was also a pouring upon.
Acts 10:43-48, also mentions the gift of the Holy Spirit but they are the context is where the Holy Spirit fell upon the people (verse 44), the gift had been poured out on the Gentiles (verse 45) for they were he hearing them speak with tongues and exalting God (verse 46). Therefore it would make sense to say that the gift of the Holy Spirit which has been poured out resulted in them speaking with tongues and exalting God.

Is the Holy Spirit the gift, or is the gift given by the Holy Spirit?

The order of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit is reversed in Acts 10:44-48 as compared to Acts 2:38

In Acts 2:38 it states they “will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” which the text implies happens after Baptism. Yet in Acts 10:44-48 the gift of the Holy Spirit occurs before baptism.

Salvation is by faith, not faith, and a ceremony

Acts 2:38 is often used to say that baptism is part of salvation, but we know from other scriptures that it is not, lest there be a contradiction. What is going on here is simply that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected. In Greek, “repent” is in the plural and so is “your” of “your sins.” They are meant to be understood as being related to each other. It is like saying, “All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness.” Repentance is a mark of salvation because it is granted by God (2 Tim. 2:25) and is given to believers only. In this context, only the regenerated, repentant person is to be baptized. Baptism is the manifestation of that repentance, that gift from God, that is the sign of the circumcised heart. That is why it says, “repent and be baptized.”

What does the phrase “baptized for the forgiveness of sins,” mean? Is it saying that baptism is what forgives sins? If so, then…

If being baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) is how your sins are forgiven, then it must also be that repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Luke 24:47) is how your sins are forgiven.
Baptized for (eis, εἰς) the forgiveness (aphesis, ἄφεσις) of sins
John’s baptism of repentance, before Christ’s crucifixion, brings forgiveness of sins:

Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 3:3, “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;
Luke 24:47, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Repent for the forgiveness of sins
Christian baptism of repentance, before Christ’s crucifixion, brings forgiveness of sins:

Luke 24:47, “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

“for forgiveness” NASB, ESV, CSB,
“and forgiveness,” KJV, NKJV, RSV, LEB, NIV

Acts 2:38, literal Greek, εἰς ἄφεσις, into forgiveness. The word “the” is not there.

εἰς-into (preposition) ἄφεσις-forgiveness

Forgiveness: ἄφεσις, is Strong’s # 859. It occurs 17 times in the New Testament

Matt. 26:28, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 3:29, “but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”
Luke 1:77, “To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins,
Luke 3:3, “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;
Luke 4:18, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE [aphesin] TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE [aphesei] THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED.”
Luke 24:47, “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 5:31, “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 13:38, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
Acts 26:18, “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Col 1:14, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Heb 9:22, “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Heb 10:18, “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Acts 8:38, Philip and eunuch went into the water

Acts 8:38, “And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”
Context: The Ethiopian eunuch was returning to Gaza and was on the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza, a desert road (Acts 8:26). He was reading Isaiah 53:7-8 (v. 28-33), aloud (v. 30). Philip preached to him about Jesus (v. 35). The Eunuch believed (37). They both went down into the water, and Philip baptized the eunuch (v. 38).
Nowhere is immersion mentioned. To assume that baptism means immersion is to beg the question.
It says both went into the water but only the eunuch was baptized. If going into the water means immersion, then both Philip and the eunuch were immersed.  But that would make no sense.
Furthermore, the immediately previous context of what the Eunuch was reading was Isaiah 52:15, “Thus He will sprinkle many nations. Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him. For what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand.”

Acts 16:30-31, believe and you will be saved

Acts 16:30–31, “and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs [Paul and Silas], what must I do to be saved?’ 31 They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”
Paul did not mention baptism as a necessary part of salvation.

Acts 22:16, wash away your sins

“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

Is the washing away of sins done by baptism, the representation of the circumcised heart (Col. 2:11-12) which means you are already saved; or is it by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 1:7)? Obviously, it is the blood of Jesus, and the washing here refers to the calling on Jesus’ name.

Heb. 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Rom. 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Eph. 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

“Get up and be baptized.” Could it be that the getting up means to stand in order to be baptized? Or, does it mean to get up and go somewhere and get baptized?
When was Paul saved? Was it on the road to Damascus or at Judah’s house where he got baptized?

Acts 22:10, “And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’
Acts 9:18, “And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;”
“A literal translation would reveal that there are two commands in the strict sense, each associated with a participle (word ending with ‘ing’, i.e., walking, talking) which can be taken as a command. The command “be baptized” is connected thus with the words get up, which are one word in Greek and a participle. The command wash away your sins is connected with the participle calling on his name. Thus, baptism does not cleanse from sin, but calling on the Lord (faith) does. To summarize by a more literal rendering: “having gotten up, be baptized; having called on the name of the Lord, be cleansed from your sins.”[2]
“In his Expanded Translation of the New Testament, Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest puts it, “Having arisen, be baptized and wash away your sins, having previously called upon His Name.”[3]

Calling upon the name of the Lord

Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Acts 2:21, “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Rom. 10:13, “for whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours”

“Since βάπτισαι, baptisai is in the middle voice [performing the action on oneself], it could possibly be taken as a strict reflexive (“baptize yourself”) and thus be evidence for self-baptism. It is more likely that it is causative – “have yourself baptized.” One would assume from the sole presence of Ananias in the context (9:18; 22:16) that Ananias administered the rite. On baptism see B. S. Easton, “Self-baptism,” AJT 24 (1920): 513–18.”[4]

Romans 4:11, circumcision is a seal of righteousness of faith, related to water baptism

Romans 4:11, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them.”
Col. 2:11-12, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Rom. 6:4, buried with him through baptism

Rom. 6:4, “we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Response: Rom. 6:4 does not say that baptism brings us salvation. It says “we have been buried with him through baptism into his death.” But, what does that mean? If you believe that baptism is when we die with Christ, then there’s a problem. We see that Paul says two verses later in verse 6 that we were crucified with Christ and that we died with Christ in verse 8. Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago. So how is it we were crucified with Christ and died with Christ 2000 years ago? This deals with the federal headship of Christ representing his people (Romans 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22). Therefore, it is not possible that baptism is when we die to sin, or were crucified with Christ. Therefore, because the believer is so closely united to Christ in his crucifixion and death, baptism then is the public representation of our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ – that
happened 2000 years ago. Baptism is a covenant sign. After all, Paul relates baptism and the covenant sign of circumcision in Col. 2:11-12. The covenant sign does not save us. But it is a representation of that covenant.
Questions

Who were the ones who were crucified with Christ? And, when were they crucified with Christ? It was when Jesus was crucified which is why it says that we died with Christ (v. 6). Therefore, the baptism here must mean a public identification with having been crucified with Christ and dying with Him 2000 years ago. Water baptism is not the means by which we die with Christ.

1 Cor. 1:14-17, not sent to baptize

1 Cor. 1:14-17, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”
Paul was sent to preach the gospel that saves (1 Cor. 15:1-4), not to baptize.  If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why is Paul thankful he didn’t baptize people?

Because he didn’t want to draw attention to himself?

Then he is not carrying out the command of Christ to preach the gospel that saves.
Question: Why did Paul separate baptism from the gospel – that saves (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

Gal. 3:27, baptized are clothed with Christ

Gal. 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Gal. 3:27 is speaking of the believer’s union with Christ by faith, not by law, not that baptism saves us from our sins. The context deals with the ancient culture of a tutor raising a child and when the child had reached maturity, was given a cloak. The law is said to be a tutor that leads us to Christ (v. 24). Therefore, baptism is the sign of being transferred from the keeping of the Law to living in union with Christ. Baptism is for believers and is an identification with Christ.  This identity in baptism is reflected in 1 Cor. 10:2 where the Israelites were baptized into Moses – without immersion in water. That means they were closely identified with him and his purpose. The same thing is meant here.

Col. 2:11-12, circumcision and baptism

Col. 2:11-12, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.,” (Colossians 2:11–12).

Romans 4:11, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them.”

Paul relates, not equates, baptism and circumcision. If circumcision is a seal, could it be that baptism is too?
Paul turns from the errors of the false teachers to teach that we are in Christ, united with Him.
Rom. 2:29, “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”

Heb. 9:10, various washings (baptismos)

Heb. 9:10, “since they relate only to food and drink and various washings [βαπτισμός, baptismos], regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.”

Washings and Sprinkling: Verse 10 mentions washings (baptismos). The “they relate” (of verse 10 – kjv – which stood), is referring to the gifts and sacrifices of verse 9. This means that the gifts and sacrifices are related to the washings of verse 10. Verses 11-12 speak of Christ as a high priest and His blood. In verse 13 it mentions sprinkling the blood and ashes of goats and bulls which are the sacrifices – which refers back to verse 9. Therefore, the washings of verse 10 is referring to the gifts and sacrifices of verse 9 which are mentioned in the sprinkling of blood and ashes in v. 13.
Context.

V. 1, Old Covenant
Vv. 2-5, Tabernacle description
Vv. 6-7, priests’ duties
Vv. 8-10, the outer tabernacle is a symbol, sacrifices, can’t cleanse conscience

“They” refers to gifts, and sacrifices of verse 9.

Vv. 11-12, Christ as high priest, entered the tabernacle through his own blood
V 13, the blood of goats, bulls, ashes of a heifer sprinkling [ῥαντίζω, pantizo]

Sprinkling/ ῥαντίζω, pantizo, 4 occurrences: Heb. 9:13, 19, 21; 10:22

Heb. 9:13, “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh.”
Heb. 9:19, “For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people.”
Heb. 9:21, “And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.”
Heb. 10:22, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Titus 3:5, washing of regeneration

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
The washing of rebirth can only be that washing of the blood of Christ that cleanses us. It is not the symbol that saves but the reality. The reality is the blood of Christ.
Washing (lutruo) of regeneration, not baptism (baptizo) of regeneration

1 Pet. 3:21, baptism now saves you

1 Pet 3:21, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
The key word in this section is the Greek antitupon. It means “copy,” “type,” “corresponding to,” “a thing resembling another,” “its counterpart,” etc. Baptism is a representation, a copy, a type of something else. The question is “Of what is it a type?” or “Baptism corresponds to what?” The answer is found in the previous verse, verse 20: “who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.”
The water did not save Noah. This is why Peter excludes the issue of water baptism being the thing that saves us because he says, “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” Peter says that it is not the application of water that saves us but a pledge of the good conscience. Therefore, I believe that baptism here is referring to the Ark, not the water. Also, Peter says that the baptism is an appeal of a good conscience before God. Notice that this is dealing with faith. It seems that Peter is defining real baptism as the act of faith.
Peter uses water as a means of destruction: “through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water,” (2 Pet. 3:6)

Sins

Matt 26:28, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

In order to obtain, a provision for, but it is not automatically effective (Arminianism) or it is automatically effective (Calvinism)
If “for the forgiveness of sins” is said to be the obtaining of forgiveness, then “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), means that we receive forgiveness by repentance. But that is not what forgives us.

Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Did those who were baptized by John in the wilderness still need to offer sacrifices in the temple after they were baptized? If yes, then John’s baptism didn’t save them. If no, then how is that possible since the new covenant had not yet been instituted which did not need sacrifices in the temple and yet that new covenant had not yet been instituted since Christ had not yet died per Hebrews 8:13; 9:15-16?

Luke 3:3, “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Luke 24:47, “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

If baptism obtains forgiveness, then in Matt. 26:28 the poured-out blood obtains forgiveness; in Luke 3:3, a baptism of repentance obtains forgiveness

Acts 3:19, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 22:16, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
1 Cor. 15:3, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

 

I hope you find this outline on baptism useful. If you have any comments, please send them to info@carm.org.

[1] Ref. William the Baptist, Location 1518
[2] Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. Vol. 3. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
[3] Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996.
4] B. S. Easton. “Self-Baptism.” American Journal of Theology 24 (1920): 513–18.

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