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Water Baptism - An Essential for Salvation






"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"  Romans 10:15a


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What is Biblical salvation? We are not referring to the doctrines and dogmas of manmade denominations creeds and articles of faith, but to Biblical salvation. Salvation is of the Lord Jesus alone which is progressive from a child to full maturity being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ; that is, Christ-like being a Christian. There are many progressions in the act of salvation being primarily he or she that overcomes unto the end, the same shall be saved.


In this article, however, we will confine ourselves to the necessity of water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ as fundamental and essential in the embryonic state of a believer, for as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27). The question that begs to be answered is whether this is water baptism or Spirit baptism in receiving the Holy Ghost.


Many will tell you that they are saved because they have repented, believing that repentance is all that is necessary for salvation; and that water baptism is done only as a second work of grace. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow brings about repentance to salvation; salvation not being repentance alone, but leads to salvation. The realization that we are in sin and have need of a Saviour brings about godly sorrow which when realized and worked out will result in repentance that will lead to one’s salvation.


The baptism of John was rejected by the Pharisees and lawyers denying the counsel of God; the counsel of God referring to water baptism. “And all the people that heard him [Christ], and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” (Luke 7:29,30).  The baptism of John was the water baptism of repentance in order to bring forth fruits unto repentance. “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Luke 3:8). The water baptism of John was a baptism of repentance. “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4).


If repentance alone was all that was necessary, Paul would not have gone on preaching about Jesus Christ and the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ in order to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.“ (Acts 19:5).


The baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is necessary for the spiritual circumcision of the heart being the spirit of a person. No one ever in the Word of God ever asked Jesus “To come into my heart”! The heart or spirit of a person is the place where the body of sin is stored that must be remitted or washed away being cut off. To “circumcise” means “to cut”. Therefore the heart of spirit of a person must have the body of sin cut off being a circumcision of the heart having the body of sin cut off. ”For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Acts 2:28,29).  


Circumcision of the heart is not done by speaking a few words of repentance to God and asking Jesus to come into your heart. “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:10-12). The body of the sins in a person’s heart or spirit is circumcised by water baptism through the operation of God. Water baptism is a surgical operation by the Lord Jesus, operating on your heart or spirit with a spiritual scalpel “circumcising” or “cutting off” the body of the sins of your flesh. This is not done any other way than by water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.


Someone will state that they were baptized already in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The name of the Father is not “Father”, for Jesus came in the Father’s name and manifested the Father’s name that He obtained by inheritance. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” (John 17:6).  “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11).  “Thine own name” is the name of the Father which is Jesus. “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:4).  Jesus received His name by inheritance being the name of the Father that he manifested to mankind.  Just as you received your name from your earthly father being your name, so Jesus obtained the Father’s name; that name is Jesus (Jehovah is Salvation, not Jehovah Jr. is Salvation). The name of the Son is Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. The name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus, for the Comforter will come “in my name” Jesus said. ”But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).


Many today do not know why and what happens spiritually in water baptism. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3). The body of sin is only destroyed by water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. We are buried with Jesus into death by baptism so that we become a new creature being planted with Jesus in death; we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrected body. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:4,5). We are to know that our old man of sin is buried in water baptism in the likeness of Jesus’ death being crucified with Jesus so that the body of sin that is in our spirit might be destroyed making us free from sin. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:4-6).  The end result of water baptism is that the body of sin is destroyed.


Water baptism must be in the name of God; that is, the one singular name of the Father, which is singular name of the Son, which is the singular name of the Holy Ghost. Peter having this revelation of the only Lord God preached the beginning of salvation on the day of Pentecost. What must we do? We must do the same thing that the church did on Pentecost. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).  If you want your sins to be remitted, washed away, the body of sin being destroyed; the only way is to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The only blood name of God is not Jehovah, Yahweh, or any titles of the attributes of God. The name that hung over the top of Jesus on a sign “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin was and will always be “JESUS”! Jesus is the blood being the name Jesus which is the WORD OF GOD. (Revelation 19:13).


Do not be deceived in taking on any other name than the name of God Himself which is Jesus Christ. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:14,15).


There is no place in the Word of God that the apostles or disciples of Jesus ever baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. After repentance, the apostles baptized only in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins according to scripture. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).


There were those who were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ who had not received the Holy Ghost as yet. “(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16).   Then the apostles laid hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost just as Peter stated in Acts 2:38. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17).


Others received the Holy Ghost before they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter.” (Acts 10:44-46). Since these had already experienced the baptism in the Holy Ghost, some would assume that water baptism would not be necessary. However, Peter did not just simply suggest that they be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ, but commanded them to be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ.   


“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:47,48).


This is what Luke stated in his Gospel as regarding taking on the name of Jesus Christ. “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46,47). Peter preached repentance and remissions of sins being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ by water baptism, the heart in the spirit becoming circumcised by the body of sin being destroyed by water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.


Dear believer, if you are searching for more of God and have not been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, may I urge you to do so in obeying the Apostle’s Doctrine so that the body of sins in your heart can be destroyed through this operation of God made without hands. Then you will have your Father’s name Jesus written in your forehead as you follow on to know the Lord Jesus face to face in glory.  


“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:1).


Paul had seen the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road as a great light; was blinded and healed three days later, heard the voice of the Lord telling him his calling to ministry and instructions as to the will of God; and yet all his sins had not been washed away. Why? Because he had not as yet been baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ in order to have his heart purged from dead works to serve the living God. The body of sin in Paul’s heart still had to be destroyed by the operation of God with the circumcision of the heart in the spirit made without hands; Paul still yet needing to have his sins washed away in water baptism, calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. No one person has seen the Lord Jesus, heard his voice, healed in the same hour, and given his divine calling as Paul did; and yet in all these things being done unto him, his sins were still not washed away or remitted. “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:12-16).  


Paul was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, what will you do? Shall we not obey and live, for just as Mark stated in his Gospel: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16).  Most churches preach “He that believeth and is saved shall be baptized; but the truth is “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”


There is a figure of baptism that Peter uses in order to drive home the truth of water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. “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. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:20,21). Baptism is not done for the natural cleansing of the flesh, having the dirt washed off; but the conscience in the spirit is cleansed by the spiritual operation of God in the circumcision of the heart, having the body of sins cut off.


Jesus himself was baptized, not to wash away his sins, but to show us the way in His fulfilling all righteousness. “Then cometh JESUS from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And JESUS answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And JESUS, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17).


As for this author, I had been so called baptized in titles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost not realizing that I had never taken on the name of God, the only salvation name of God which is Jesus Christ. I was then baptized by Prophet R. E. Strange who baptized me in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of my sins on April 13, 1977 at 1:15 AM in a creek bed in Columbia, MS. I had already received the baptism of the Holy Ghost like Cornelius of the Italian band, only was not baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. I can truthfully say that after being baptized in Jesus’ wonderful name; I could not sleep but stayed up the entire night reading the scriptures that seemed to leap off the page talking at me. I had never seen the scriptures in that light before I was baptized in Jesus’ name. The removal of the body of sins does not happen by any works of righteousness which we have done or will do; but is solely the operation of God through the spiritual circumcision of the heart made without hands through the obedience to His Word. Acts 2:38 is for us today just as Peter stated; “to as many as the Lord our God shall call”.


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