Monday, November 02 2015
Do I have to be baptized to make it to heaven? This question is as old as Christianity, but the scripture is very clear on whether baptism is a necessary part of salvation. So I am not accused of being only a "book of Acts" preacher or church, I will begin in the Old Testament and the Tabernacle.
First, the Tabernacle was a shadow or outline of the future.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. ~ Hebrews 10:1
The first piece of furniture that the priest would approach in the Tabernacle was the altar. A place of sacrifice and death. That was a shadow of the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary and a place of repentance for us.
The next place that the priest would approach was the Brazen Laver. The priest would have been covered with ash and smelled of smoke as he approached the Laver. This is where he would wash. God put a threat of death upon the priests that did not wash. It was absolutely a necessity.
When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. Exodus 30: 20-21
The Brazen Laver was a shadow of the burial of Jesus Christ and baptism for us. If the priest did not wash, he would die. Paul wrote to the Roman church that, "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death".
The New Testament reveals the very wording of Jesus and the Apostles concerning water baptism and more specifically baptism in the Name of Jesus.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ~ John 3:5
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father (Isaiah 9:6), and of the Son (Matthew 1:21), and of the Holy Ghost (John 14:26) ~ Matthew 28:19
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. ~ Mark 16:15-16
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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 2:37-38
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
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. ~ Acts 16:30 - 34
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 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. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. ~ Acts 19: 3-4
Cornelius and the Apostles of John were devout. They loved God, but their belief in God was not enough to save them and Luke writing the Book Acts used the word "commanded". Peter did not give them an option nor did he put it off.
Baptism is an essential part of the salvation plan. The priest would die if they did not wash. Jesus said, "Except a man" and Peter "commanded". The question is, why would we not use the same language that Jesus and the Apostles used and feel the same urgency that they felt by preaching the necessity of salvation.