Dear Brother J. S. R.
You state in your letter that you are shocked by certain ones who teach that baptism is a work of regeneration, asserting that such teaching is a denial of the efficacy of the blood of Christ. How true!
A review of this teaching proves how unscriptural it is.
Rome teaches that the image of God, after which man was created, corresponds only to his religious faculty, and that sin merely robbed him of this. The result of his wrong decision in Eden has weakened his will, consequently, he requires, not a resurrection out of spiritual death (Eph. 2:1), but a support to help him in weakness, a tonic to reinforce his feebleness, for he still possesses the ability to turn to God. In baptism, so Rome declares, original sin is remitted; therefore, regeneration is not needed. Original sin being removed, the original divine image is restored.
Campbellism teaches, “I am bold to affirm that every one of them, who in belief of what the Apostles spoke, was immersed, did in that very instant in which he was put under the water receive the forgiveness of his sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Immersion and regeneration are Bible names for the same act.”
An examination of New Testament baptism will uncover the falsity of these dogmas.
New Testament baptism is the testimony of regeneration, not the condition for it. Instead of being a crutch for human weakness it symbolizes:
The death and burial of Christ: “Buried with Him … Christ was raised up from the dead” (Rom. 6:4). Baptism symbolizes Christ’s death and burial.
The believer’s spiritual death and resurrection: “Buried with Him in baptism … risen with Him” (Col. 2:12). The believer in baptism shows what transpired at conversion; what was judicial in God’s purposes became experimental, death to sin and the world and life unto God.
The believer’s union to Christ: “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:3). As Israel was baptized unto (into) Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1 Cor. 10:2), and thus identified with its leader, the believer is identified in baptism with Christ.
The physical burial and resurrection of the saints: “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?” (1 Cor. 15:29). This passage shows that if there is no future resurrection there should be no baptism now.
Baptism is subservient to the gospel: Paul says, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 1:17). Baptism follows faith: “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Baptism follows the reception of the Holy Spirit: Peter said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47).
Sincerely in Christ.
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All my life has been so fickle, sometimes I could not trust, but when I could not trust then I reckoned on the faithfulness of God. —Hudson Taylor