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The least and the most

It is a saving idea not to use any stronger or weaker language than the language of inspiration. As the writer of Ecclesiastes stated; “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.” (3:14 NIV)

That is why I teach and write that baptism (immersion) is essential. And that is why I teach that baptism is for the remission of sins. Jesus and his apostles all taught that baptism is for the remission of sins.

That remission of sins means remission of sins is both the least and the most that I can assume from what was taught by them. That immersion in water is the agent for the remission of sins, and that those sins are likened to being washed away during that act, is again, the least and most that I can gain from the NT.

If I believed or taught anything less than that I would be at variance with the teaching of the Father through his Christ and the apostles and prophets of the New Testament. If I taught something less, then I would not be teaching the Gospel of Christ; and I would not be holding God in reverence; but would be holding something else (and anything will suffice) above both the Father and my Lord.

If I were to teach something more than baptism for the remission of sins, then I would be adding to what God and his Christ have given, again to be found not teaching the Gospel. And that, as I understand it, would all be arrogant, presumptuous and damning. Likewise, I cannot teach baptism of the Holy Spirit as baptism for remission of sins as there is no evidence for teaching that in the NT and I would be left with the same results listed. I cannot teach immersion of infants for the same reasons. So I choose not to teach either more or less than what is taught in the Word of God.

Because I both believe, have submitted to, and teach immersion for the remission of sins does not grant that water has any particular power, or that I suppose to put water in a position of power over others. It does not act to make baptism the singular work of salvation, or to somehow create some part of a religion of works held above simple faith. It does not make less of any other requirement to obtain eternal life. It is simply reflecting what Jesus had taught and what the disciples have believed, as they have been recorded to have done in the scriptures.

I am also taught by those same teachers that it is only through application of the stipulated sign in response of my faith, due to my belief in the atoning blood of my Lord that it has become a declaration of the remission of my sins. And if Jesus had the will to say to sinners while he was on earth, “He that believes and is immersed shall be saved” based upon the response in faith to the conditions that have been set, what would make me consider that he would not provide the same result for me, that is salvation, when I meet the given conditions?

Now I will not suggest either that Jesus did not say what he meant, or that he said what he did not mean. The same must be true with the apostles and the rest of the teachers of the NT. I will not then suggest that God gave to water any inherent power to wash away sins alone, or strictly by itself, as some would like to argue against. But I will suggest that He has given and will give to penitent believers upon their immersion in water, both pardon and justification, and that he sanctifies them through that action and then holds them as one of his own, as they are in every part obedient to his instructions and to his will.

What more or less can be said about this?