Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1962
NUMBER 39, PAGE 5,13c

Have You Really Been Baptized?

Bill Cavender, Greggton, Texas

Many people have not been baptized who think that they have! Because they have "joined" some church, and in order to "join" the church they had to undergo some form of baptism, they then think they have been baptized. Never having taken the time to search the Scriptures, and not knowing what Jesus and the apostles said about baptism, they think that what they have done is acceptable to God, they are satisfied with it and think that God ought to be, and they live their lives and never really know whether they have scripturally been baptized or not.

Let us examine some things the scriptures say about baptism, and then one can know whether or not he or she really has been baptized.

1. The scriptures say that baptism is a burial in water. Jesus was baptized and "went up straightway out of the water." (Matt. 3:16) John baptized in Enon near Salim because "there was much water there." (John 3:23) When the eunuch of Ethiopia requested baptism, Philip and the eunuch "went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water...." (Acts 8:38) Paul, in two places says that baptism is a burial: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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." (Rom. 6:3-5) "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who had raised him from the dead." (Col. 2:12) Thus we see that baptism requires "much water," requires a "going down into" and a "coming up out of" the water, is a burial and planting of the body in water, and we are raised from baptism to walk in newness of life.

Now many can tell if they have really been baptized or not. If you have not been buried in much water, if you did not go down into the water and come up out of the water, then you were not baptized as the Bible teaches, and therefore have not really been baptized at all. Baptism is a burial in water, therefore is not and cannot be sprinkling or pouring of water upon the head or any other part of the body. It follows that a person who has only had water sprinkled or poured on them has not really been baptized at all, for the Bible says absolutely nothing about sprinkling or pouring of water for baptism. Baptism is a burial.

2. The scriptures say that baptism is for the remission of our sins, that is, to be saved from our past sins. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16) Peter said, "Repent and be baptized everyone 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) Ananias told Saul to "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16) Paul said that we walk in "newness of life" when we come forth from the burial of baptism. Paul says that we become a child of God by faith when we are "baptized into Christ." (Gal. 3:26-27) Peter says that "baptism doth also now save us...." (1 Pet. 3:21) Thus we see that the Bible says that baptism is to save us, remit our sins, wash away our sins, .cause us to walk in newness of life, and makes us a child of God by faith. Therefore baptism is essential to salvation.

Now many can tell if they have really been baptized or not. If you were baptized for some reason other than to obtain the remission of sins and to become a child of God, you were not scripturally baptized at all. There are a number of religious bodies that teach immersion for baptism, but then turn right around and say that one is already saved before baptism, is already a child of God before baptism, already has remission of sins before baptism, and therefore they nullify what the Bible says. The Baptist people thus immerse and this is correct. But they immerse people whom they claim are already saved and are already the children of God. Thus they teach exactly opposite to what the Bible says on the matter. Some religious bodies do not immerse (bury) people in baptism, such as Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, etc. Therefore people who are baptized into these religious bodies have not really been baptized at all. But our Baptist friends immerse (bury) people in baptism, but deny what the Bible says is the purpose or design of baptism, therefore those who arc baptized with such a baptism have not been baptized at all, because the Bible purpose is denied. Baptism is for the remission of sins, to wash away sins and to save us. Is this the purpose for which you were baptized, neighbor?

3. The scriptures say that baptism puts us into the Lord's church, the body of Christ. Luke says that those who gladly received the apostles' words were baptized and there "were added unto them about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41) Then he tells us that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47) So we conclude that we are baptized to be saved, (2:38); that the saved are added to the Lord's church, (2:41); and therefore the baptized are those who are in the church. Paul says in 1 Cor. 12:13 that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body," and he says that the "body is the church." (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23) Therefore we are baptized into the one body or the one church which is the Lord's church (Acts 20:28; Matt. 16:18), and called "the churches of Christ." (Rom. 16:16)

Now many can tell if they have really been baptized or not. If you were baptized (immersed, buried), and were baptized for the remission of your sins, then the Lord added you to the church of Christ. But if you did not get into the Lord's church when you were baptized, then you were not baptized at all. One could not be baptized according to the Bible teaching and get into a church that the Bible knows nothing about. If your baptism put you into a church unknown to the Bible and not found in the Bible, such as Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Adventist, Pentecostal, Christian Church, etc., then you have not been baptized at all. Scriptural baptism puts one into the scriptural church. Unscriptural baptism puts one into an unscriptural church, and those who are in unscriptural churches are there by an unscriptural baptism. Thus all the scripturally baptized are in the scriptural and Bible church, the Lord's. If you are not a member of the Lord's church, the one you read about in the Bible, then you know that you have not really been baptized at all.

Have you really been baptized? Were you buried when you were baptized? Were you buried for the remission of sins, in order to be saved? Did you become a member of the Bible church, the Lord's, when you were baptized? If you really have been baptized into Christ, then live and serve the Lott' faithfully. If you have not really done what the Lord's will says about baptism, will you do so immediately? We trust that you will so that you may please God and become His child.