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Puzzled By A Plain Command

Hardeman Nichols told about a Sunday morning when Mont Wilson filled in for W. T. Hamilton at the Broadway Church in La Mesa, TX. That morning a woman responded to the invitation. Not familiar with the procedure for handling responses at La Mesa, Bro. Wilson looked with a question on his face at an elder sitting on a front pew. The elder pointed to some cards on the pulpit stand, and Bro. Wilson reached up, got one, and handed it to the woman so she could fill it out. Noticing she was obviously puzzled by something on the card, Wilson discovered he had by mistake given her an enrollment form for a Christian camp. The lady, who desired to be baptized, was puzzling over the first question on the form following name and address, “Can you swim?”  The world is puzzled about baptism. Some say it is necessary to be saved, some say it is not. Some say it is in order to receive forgiveness of sins and others teach it demonstrates that sins are already forgiven. Some say it is for believers only and others believe it can be administered to babies. Some say it requires a person to be submerged and some say sprinkling will suffice. Some say baptism must be in water and others are sure it is in the Spirit. See why people are puzzled? Contrast all that with the plain statement in Ephesians 4:5 that there is one baptism, but which one? The New Testament reveals the following plain statements concerning baptism:

      *It is a burial (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12)...in water (Matthew 3:16-17; John 3:23; Acts 8:36-38; 10:47)…for believers, not babies (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 35-37; 18:8).
      *It is for those who have repented of their sins (Acts 2:38a).
      *It is for the purpose of receiving remission or forgiveness of (past) sins (Acts 2:38).
      *Its design is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16).... and save us (1 Peter 3:21).
      *It is the means by which we express faith/trust in the operation and working of God as He removes our sins from us with a circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:10-13).
      *It is the act through which we contact the saving blood Jesus shed in His death (Romans 6:1-4).
      *It is a command (Acts 10:48). 

It is puzzling why so many are so puzzled over something the New Testament so plainly commands. Concerning God’s plan of salvation, let us lovingly and patiently and plainly proclaim everything the Lord has commanded us to do.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ