The Real Thing
by Timothy A. Southall
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So often "the sinner's prayer" is promoted
as the biblical way of salvation. The sinner's prayer is not found in the
scriptures nor was it part of or implied in any of the conversions in the
Bible. It has taken the place of baptism, which is biblical and is part
of every conversion of those who were saved by the death, burial, and resurrection
of Jesus Christ in the scriptures. (Read of these conversions
19:1-7; and Acts
Some use the thief on the cross (Luke
23:39-43) as an example for the sinner's prayer,
but the thief was saved by Jesus Himself while He was in the form of a
man. The thief died under the law before the death, burial, and resurrection
of Jesus Christ. We cannot base our salvation on the thief, because the
death, burial, and resurrection of Christ didn't save him. The prophecies
of the Old Testament were not yet complete. At that particular time, Jesus
hadn't given the command of the "great commission" (Matthew
Starting point of Jesus' ministry.
Baptism was the starting point of Jesus' ministry on earth. For those who
would ask, "What would Jesus do?", this should answer their question. Even
though Jesus was sinless, He was still baptized to fulfill all righteousness.
If you are going to follow in Jesus' footsteps, you are going to get wet
Make disciples. Some will
say baptism is a "work" in order to justify their own plan of salvation
which they claim is "faith only." But baptism is not a work; no where in
the scriptures is baptism ever called a work. Instead, our obedient actions
are merely a result of our faith (Hebrews
2:14-26). Baptism is a commandment of Jesus Christ.
The "great commission," which was given to us by Christ after His resurrection,
tells us how one becomes a disciple of Christ. Jesus said to make disciples
of all nations by baptizing them and teaching them all that He commanded
28:16-20). Some leave out the baptism part of the
verse in their tracts, lessons, literature, brochures, etc. But by Jesus'
commandment, we can plainly see that one becomes a disciple of Christ by
being baptized and being taught the scriptures.
Believe and be baptized.
16:16, the scriptures clearly teach that whoever believes
and is baptized will be saved. Here, again, some will only quote the second
half of the verse which says, "whoever does not believe will be condemned."
They explain that baptism is not required because only those who don't
believe will be condemned. This second part of the verse clarifies that
baptism without belief is worthless. If one believes in Christ, he will
believe the scriptures and will be baptized as Christ Himself commanded.
Do you want Jesus to say, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not
do what I say?" (Luke
First things first. Conversions
in the New Testament show that when one believed, he or she was baptized
immediately. Some today will delay baptism to a time of convenience. This
is unbiblical and unwise. Paul hadn't eaten for three days, but he was
baptized before he ate (Acts
9:1-9). The jailer and his family were baptized that
hour of the night (Acts
16:16-34). These accounts clearly show they didn't
wait until a time of convenience. First things first.
Wash your sins away. Jesus
told Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus to go into the city where he would
be told what he must do. What was he told?
|"And now what are you waiting
for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."
For the full account of Saul's (Paul's)
conversion, see Acts
9:1-19 and Acts
Buried with Christ. In baptism,
we are buried into the death of Christ. We are buried with Him in baptism.
Just like Christ was resurrected, we are raised from the dead to a new
life. We are united in His death and united in His resurrection through
Sons of God. All Christians
are sons of God, due to our faith in Christ. All who are baptized into
Christ have clothed themselves with Christ (Galatians
3:26-27). As you can see, baptism through faith in
Christ makes us sons of God.
A good conscience. During
the great flood of Noah's time, water washed away the sin of the world
in which only eight were saved through water. This water symbolizes baptism
that now saves. It does not clean dirt from one's body, but it is a pledge
of a good conscience toward God. Baptism saves through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ (1
In conclusion. Baptism is
a commandment of Christ. It is not a work as some claim. Substitution of
man's way of salvation will not work, and it will not be tolerated on Judgment
1:8). Baptism is clearly the way to new life in Christ.
Man has come up with other substitutions for baptism, but man's way is
just man's way. God's way is the only way. The choice about salvation
is yours. Do you want a substitute or the real thing?
Copyright © 2000 Timothy
A. Southall. All rights reserved.