Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 1

* So what does the Bible say about baptism? Is it essential for salvation or just a good thing to do? The purpose of this study is to express my understanding of what the Bible teaches about this subject. I will also show the scriptures that lead me to my current understanding so that others who may be reading this can make up their own minds about this topic.

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

* First, I think it is important to determine who Jesus was talking to in the above text. I think it is clear that He was talking to His apostles and not anyone and everyone.

* So John had been immersing people in water, but Jesus said that the apostles would be immersed with the Holy Spirit in a few days from then (which we will see in the next chapter).

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 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.”

* So Jesus clarified even more what would happen to the apostles when they were baptized by the Holy Spirit a few days from then:

1. The Holy Spirit was going to come upon the apostles
2. The Holy Spirit would give the apostles power
3. The Holy Spirit would make the apostles witness to the entire world what God wanted them to witness

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:1-11 NASB)

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” (Acts 2:1-13 NASB)

* So clearly this is what Jesus was referring to when He said that the apostles would be baptized with the Holy Spirit a few days from then. It is clear from the above text that only the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirt, given power, and enabled to witness.

* So everything was set up and ready to go. Jesus had taught on earth, been killed, been raised back to life, told the apostles that they would receive the Holy Spirit who would make them witness’s, and Jesus had gone back to heaven. The apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit and were about to reveal what was going on. Clearly, what they were about to say was going to be very important given all this.

To be continued…

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