Mark 16:16 - The Great Commission - Baptism Essential

Mark 16:16 - The Great Commission - BAPTISM ESSENTIAL? Yes, unless you can explain away every passage on baptism with "IT MIGHT MEAN SOMETHING ELSE." Or, "IT IS POSSIBLE TO TAKE THE CLAUSE... AS PARENTHETICAL." John MacArthur.

See Who has the power to work miracles after they believe

See more data on the Naaman - Jews Parallel

Jesus came to fulfill or "fill full" the Law. Where the Law was shadows or physical symbols, the New Covenant (faith) is the reality.

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. Heb.10:1

Animal sacrifices were types. Because of Israel's fatal sin at Mount Sinai in their musical worship of Apis the bull, sacrifices were offered by compulsion and therefore had no permanent cleansing value. "Divers washings" or baptisms likewise had no real value. However, Jesus left just one baptism which has value because the New Covenant, in principle, predates the Law of Moses. The Book of the Covenant at Sinai, given before The Book of the Law, was a fuller statement of the Abrhamic Covenant. It has value because Jesus was the one, the last sacrifice--the "promise of the Spirit" to Abraham (Gal 3). That promise is intimately tied to baptism.

Mark 1 says that baptism is the most important meaning of the gospel for those who are not Christ. The PROTOS or pattern gospel involves only what God in Christ could do. We accept that gospel through baptism.

Jesus said that without being born AGAIN of Water and Spirit or Water and the Word you CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into His kingdom or rule which is the Ekklesia or Christian synagogue or school of the Bible. The seven "spirits" of Isaiah 11:1-4 which would rest on the BRANCH are all related to forms of spiritual knowledge. Jesus said "My Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, you might join a venue for Rock and Roll peddled as "worship" but Jesus Christ WILL NOT be your free-of-charge Teacher until He washes your spirit or mind. Only then do you have access to the seven spirits represented by the Menorah or Candlestick which gave LIGHT to the Holy Place along with the table of bread and the incense altar. Each Christian "priest" must look into the Most Holy Place with their own prayers. Then, you can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet God. Jesus said that the ONLY new PLACE is the human spirit as it gives heed to the Spirit of Truth through the Word. Don't believe the lie that "musical teams" lead you into the presence of God: that makes them claim to be God standing in the Holy Place. Not in the vilest pagan temple could singers and musicians enter into the holy precincts on the penalty of death. Don't follow people making "Christianity" viler than paganism. If you are part of the 5 out of 13,000 congregations then you have become a laughing stock just like the musical idolatrs at Mount Sinai which forfeited and continues to forfeit the Covenant of Grace.

People who refute this have a "spirit" which intends to hurt you real bad.

First, Mark 16:16 cannot be understood without some preliminary information. For instance, we should note that in discussing baptism with many we are speaking two different languages. Therefore, understanding is difficult because every Biblical passage is interpreted with a prior foundation based upon John Calvin and not upon the Bible.

That prior understanding before Mark 16:16 is read is that God has predestinated certain souls to go to hell and others to go to heaven. Those who are called can have no part in the call because it was made before creation. Those who are lost can not read Scripture, believe it and obey it and be saved because they are lost and no one can change the fact. This is why those who assume to be God's select-few hate water baptism as containing any Christ-inserted value. It seems to them that baptism is made into a work of human merit but this is not true.

If you believe that God decided to save you before the world was created and has created the masses of people only to turn them over to the enemy and send them to hell then what follows will make no sense to you. My short notes on Predestination and Baptism can be found by clicking.

Proselytes to Judaism were baptized

Mark 16:16 does not change the method and purpose of baptism. However, after the kingdom was established at Pentecost, baptism was now in the name of God as Jehovah-Saves or Jesus rather than a generic name for God. Those whom John baptized had their sins remitted as they prepared for the kingdom. However, they were not in the kingdom because it did not exist. Paul told the Ephesian-twelve that they must be re-baptized because they were not in Christ. That is, they had not "called upon the name of Jesus" in their baptism. After Pentecost, baptized believers were added to the church, the temple of the living God. As the final group of supernaturally empowered men they would speak in tongues to show that Christ had returned to guide the world into all truth through the apostles.

Nazarites were baptized. Proselytes to Judaism were baptized. The initiates into the Essene community were baptized. This pre-figuring baptism included baptism into water and pouring of water symbolic of the Spirit of Mind of God. Click Here to see their system in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Jesus said that He had all authority. Therefore, the apostles could go forth and baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is not a formula by which clergy exercises the authority to pronounce your baptism valid. Rather, this is a declaration of the authority and the name (singular) which you will take when you are baptized. The proselyte process began with faith. Then the proselyte underwent circumcision as a way to die to his old life:

"At the latter ceremony two disciples of the wise stood by to tell him more of the light and heavy commandments. When he came up after the immersion, those assembled addressed him saying: 'Unto whom has thou given thyself? blessed art thou, thou hast given thyself to God; the world was created for the sake of Israel, and only Israelites are called the children of God... After his baptism he was considered (reckoned to be dead and now alive) to be a new man, 'a little child newly born'; a new name was given him." (Int Std Bible Ency, Proselyte).

"The effect of this baptism was held to be complete regeneration; he was born anew. He was called a little child just born, the child of one day. All his sins were remitted because God cannot punish sins committed before he was born." (Barclay, William, Romans, p. 84)

Candidates are normally asked if they believe in or take the name of Jesus Christ. In all of Biblical and early church history, beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2:38) people were baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ." Why? Because after Pentecost full Deity dwells in and is bound up in Jesus Christ.

Under Judaism where the body was purified by washing, they were showing the shadow. After Christ died for their sins, their baptism was spiritually effective in regenerating them because it was done in connection with Christ's sacrifice.

You must understand, however, that for neo-Calvinists, faith is not something you can get on your own by reading or hearing (Paul didn't know that in Romans 10). Rather, faith is likewise a free gift given only to those deemed worthy by God of being saved. The Jews also believed that.

In Christianity there is no Jew and no Gentile. We are all part of the true Israelites, the children of the promise of the Spirit of Christ made to Abraham (Gal 3).

The Jewish nation would cease within the lifetime of many living and about one million were destroyed when Jerusalem fell. John was sent to prepare a people already marked out for the ministry of Jesus.

After the church was established at Pentecost, believers were baptized the same way and for the same purpose. However, Peter didn't tell the people not to be baptized if they had already been baptized without declaring Jesus Christ as their Savior and Mentor.

However, God was now Jehovah-Savior or Jesus Christ. It was necessary that one "give thyself" to Christ as the visible image of the invisible God.

Of John the Baptist it was prophesied:

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet (teacher) of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; Lu 1:76

To give knowledge of salvation (tell them how to be saved) unto his people by the remission of their sins, Lu 1:77

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, Lu 1:78

To have one's sins remitted under John did not make one a member of the church. That happened only after people were baptized by "calling upon the name of the Lord" in their baptism. Only after their baptism at Pentecost, were they "added to the church."

Paul warned that salvation is by Grace through faith:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph 2:8

Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:9

Therefore, we understand that the water does not save us. Rather, only God can forgive sins. However, the Bible commands Baptism for the free gift. Therefore, baptism is not a work of which we can boast. Rather, the easy dip into pure water is the simpliest way for God to remit our sins and prove that we couldn't have earned it. A live body has both body plus life. A body without life is dead. Therefore, James said that "faith without works is dead." He used the word:

Pisteuo (g4100) means moral conviction + Active obedience = Faith which saves

We are saved by God's grace because grace gives us the power:

Christ came into the world in order to save sinners. Are we saved because Christ came? We are saved by the blood of Christ. Are we saved because Christ died? Now, we are saved by grace. Are we saved by grace alone? We are saved by faith. Are we saved by believing? No, faith is not a legal act which saves. Only Christ saves. Alexander Campbell made it clear that the concept of faith only denies salvation by Christ or by grace as surely as "salvation by water alone" would deny. Therefore, faith only is no more sublime than water only.

We are saved by Christ and not faith in Christ. All else describes the way in which Christ saves. Grace is not "unlimited forgiveness for unlimited sins." Grace, is charisma or the power to obey Christ:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:11

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Tit 2:12

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Tit 2:13

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Tit 2:14

Purification is never connected with "dirt" but sin. Only Christ can decide how He will purify a people who "call upon His name" to become a member of His body. Christ decided that literal, water baptism would be the actual means. Faith is the power but not the method Christ personally selected.

In time, John went out preaching:

And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; Lu.3:3

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Mk.1:4

Again, Mark had a perfectly good word for because:

And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. Mk.1:34

Luke did not say:

"John preached the baptism of repentance because of the remision of sins."

They were not baptized because their sins were remitted but in order to justify or approve of the fact that Jesus is total Deity (Col. 2:9). Those who refused to be baptized rejected the counsel or plan of God for their lives. Hear that? God planned that the people be baptized as a way to accept Him as God:

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God (for) themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

Faith only, doesn't accomplish much. By refusing to obey the commandments of Christ the people refused to confess Him.:

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: John 12:42

These people refused to repent from unbelief to turn to belief and therefore could not be baptized. Remember that Peter made repentance a condition before believers could be baptized and be saved.

To show Himself innocent and to fulfill prophecy Jesus would submit Himself to every command. He personally set the example by submission into the hands of another with the power to drown Him or to humiliate Him along with the common people:

But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? Mt 3:14

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil (fill up the prediction and to preach fully) all righteousness (of being innocent). Then he suffered him. Mt 3:15

What did you say John? I said, "I have NEED to be baptized." Well, we know that John was ordained as a preacher preparing the way for Christ. We know that he believed. Why didn't he say, "Baptize me to show these people that I don't have a need for baptism."

Whatever else is included, this was Jesus' visual aid to demonstrate how the Spirit of God would rest "upon" believers hearts and minds to give them the assurance that they were now the sons of God. Son means "builder of the family name." Therefore, as members of the visible Church of Christ on earth we are members of the family of God in heaven.

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: Mt 3:16 (a dove is not the symbol of a person)

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Mt 3:17

This was not to prove that the "Father" was in heaven while the "Son" was on earth. This was the supernatural sign to John that Jesus was the Messiah and to signify the Spirit-water connection:

I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jn.1:33

Men can baptize with water but only Christ, who promised to return as Comforter (Jn 14:18), can pour out His own Spirit (mental disposition and character) upon others. To the apostles, this was Spirit in the form of words to be preached in many different languages. To all believers, the once-for-all poured out Spirit is in the world as Christ meets with us where two or three are gathered together in His name.

Again, when Jesus prayed and the people heard a sound from heaven this was not to prove that full Deity was cut up into pieces. Rather:

The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jn 12:29

Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes (benefit). Jn 12:30

The words of God can originate in a burning bush, an unbeliever, an ass or out of the clear sky (the heavens). The voice had nothing to say of the God who emptied Himself but rather the voice was to show that Lord Jesus Christ was God's image or projection into the material world:

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. Jn 5:37

I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Jn 8:18

Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. Jn 8:19

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Jn.14:10

Jesus directed the Leper to Leviticus 14 to the Law

This will be the subject of another fragment. However, the episode illustrates the following:

Jesus healed the physical blemishes of the leper because of his faith.

Jesus told him to go prove his physical cleansing to the priest.

Jesus told him to make an offering for thy cleansing.

The Leper still lived under the law. Therefore, he must be thouroughly washed in water (among other things) before he was atoned for, could be in the Hebrew family and could come before God healed and cleansed.

Therefore, the Jewish ritual was for (in order to) the leper's spiritual cleansing (not taking a bath).

The leper disobeyed as did most of those healed. He probably said, "Christ healed me by faith only and therefore it would be legalistic to obey His commands."

Naaman the Leper

Under the law, Naaman wanted to do some great work to earn his cleansing. However, God told him to do something against logic and human pride: go wash your body in water which has no healing power like your own rivers and you will be healed by God:

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times,

and thy flesh shall come again to thee,

and thou shalt be clean. 2Ki 5:10

This was similar to the event wheree Jesus cleansed the leper. Jesus caused his flesh to be cleansed but he was to make an offering for his spiritual atonement.

Naaman was like a lot of the readers of this web site wrothing about that old legalistic baptism:

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 2Ki 5:11

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 2Ki 5:12

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 2Ki 5:13

In order for Naaman to call on the name of the Lord it was necessary that he be literally baptized in water.

Unfortunately, there is still hostility and rage against those who take the universal Bible teaching at faith value and obey in baptism with no logic and no pride in being pre-selected by God as someone special like king Namman.

Again, human administrators baptize with water: Christ baptizes with Spirit (Word and Life Jn 6:63). This outflowing of the "water of the Word" did not remit sins but gave certain people the power to speak the Words of Christ in whatever language was needed. You don't literally pour one "person" on the heads of another person! Remember that in Acts, the process for believers was to submit and be baptized. At that time and place, the Spirit added members to the new church:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1Co.12:13

Jesus would pour out His Spirit at Pentecost as He promised:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Jn 14:16

I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you. Jn 14:18

When Jesus poured out His Spirit, the sign was the ability to speak other languages in addition to Hebrew as the only "predestinated" language of religion. This was a judgmental sign against unbelieving Jews and a sign to the apostles that Gentiles were suitable candidates for baptism. The unbelievers at Pentecost saw the apostles as drunk while those with an open mind listened to the gospel message "in their own tongues" and asked, "What must we do?"

Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy (teaching), however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 1Co.14:22

So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 1Co.14:23

Many years after Pentecost, Christ literally forced the "located apostles" to go to the Gentiles. Cornelius and friends spoke in tongues as a judgmental sign against the Jews who didn't know that Gentiles could be saved and to Peter who did know what he should have been doing.

As part of the instructions concerning the kingdom of God, Jesus gave the Great Commission.

John's baptism was to remit the sins of those who believed and were looking forward to the establishment of the kingdom. Christian baptism looks backward to the cross.

After the "Dayspring" visited us from on High, this same baptism for the remission of sins was to be preached in the name of or by the authority of Jesus Christ Who had submitted to it to fully demonstrate the pattern. Jesus was sinless, but the illustration proves that God acknowledges us as His children only after baptism. The Great Commission is repeated over and over:

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved (was bound) Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: Lk 24:46

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Lk 24:47

The apostles were chosen because they could hear and faithfully obey the commands of Christ. Therefore, they never questioned the meaning of the demand to baptize in order to (not for in the sense of purchasing) the remission of sins. Remission of sins is always associated with water.

At and following Pentecost, disciples were commanded to take only the name Jesus Christ when they were baptized. This is true because all authority which had been illustrated as Father, Son and Spirit was now vested in Jesus Christ as full Deity.

The illustrative name of Father, Son and Spirit (Sender, Sendee, Mind) was dropped because the One God was proven to be vested in Lord, Jesus Christ (Father, Son, Anointed). Pentecost is the ultimate proof that God to the human race is bound up totally in Lord Jesus Christ. He has "rounded out" His image as Father, Son, Spirit, Light, Life, Love, Door and etc. If we are to approach the True God we have to accept the despised and rejected, the suffering and dying, the believing and baptizing for identifying with death. Christ is not in the outrageous performing clowns but He is in the humble lady needing a cup of cold water. If we can applaud our human vision of Christ we had better look below his sheepskin.

Just as in the prophecy and fulfillment by John the Baptist, the remission of sins was accomplished at and by baptism. No, water does not save us. Christ went into the baptism of water to symbolize the tomb. We cannot die and be buried in the tomb. Therefore, Christ said that we could meet Him in the water. Again, the water does not do anything magic. We repeat that John was to teach one how to have their sins remitted totally through and by the tender mercy of God.

We can believe and no one will know it. Baptism is water by believing adults is the only Christ-ordained time and place where we can confess that the dayspring from on high hath visited us and that He has personally visited us in baptism as he visited Noah safe in the ark from the sin-destroying water, and Israel on dry ground totally surrounded by death-dealing water. No, a hundred times no. Water does not save. Water is death. The old man of sin drowns in the water and the new man has his citizenship transferred into heaven, personally escorted. The new man does not even get wet like "taking a bath" to remove dirt. Campbell did not teach baptismal regeneration but:

"Indeed, no one can truly confess Christ but by the Holy Spirit: see 1 Cor. xii. 3. And baptism is the divinely appointed means for the primary confession of this divine faith, on the part of the believing subject; in which Christ confesses him as one of those for whom Christ died. Rom. vi. 3-11; 1 Cor. xii. 13; Gal. iii. 26, 27.

We repeat that the prophecy expressed in the Great Commission was:

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Lu 1:77

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, Lu 1:78

In establishing the Lord's Supper, Jesus gave us another way to understand baptism:

And he took the cup (fruit of the vine), and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; Mt 26:27

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Mt 26:28

Jesus did not shed His blood because sins were already remitted.

Peter fulfilled a direct command from Christ Who is Full Deity:

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 2:38

The word "for" here does not mean "because of." Neither does it mean that baptism is the price which we pay for our salvation. Thomas Campbell answered the question:

Ques. 3d. Would "be baptized because of the remission of sins," be a fair translation? That would be as the word "because" is understood.

If it respect the enjoyment of this blissful privilege, it would mean the same with for, or in order to; but,

if for the possession or procurement of the benefit, it would then imply something of a mercenary import; such as purchase or interest.

Note: His analogy is like that of birth: one conceived has life but the power of life is realized only after birth. Faith gives one "the power to become a child of God" but faith does not make one a full-term child. Paul's scheme was "to plant, water and allow God to give the increase." The apostle could plant but the "watering" was to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and not the baptizer. Only then would Christ bring us to "full term" and baptize us into His body.

Mark 16:16 records the command to baptize believers in another way:

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

The preaching or believing of the gospel does not save. Rather, the gospel is the power for us to receive or believe and develop a trusting faith:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power (ability like unexploded dynamite) of God unto (not because of) salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Ro 1:16

Jesus Christ, Full Deity, showed us exactly how that explosive power in the dynamite is turned loose by obedience:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, (believers, obviously) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mt 7:21

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful (dynamite power) works? Mt.7:22

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Mt 7:23

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: Mt 7:24

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Mt 7:25

The rains descended and totally surrounded the ark but Noah had built upon his Rock. The wind blew the floods of the Red Sea up over them like walls and the cloud totally covered them from view, but Moses and Israel obeyed their Rock and the Rock Who followed them was Lord Jesus Christ.

Doing Christ's will is not proof that one is already saved. Doing Christ's will is that which inflates simple belief into saving faith: faith without works is dead. Yet, this is the work of Christ and not works of self-righteousness. A work of self-righteousness might be to believe that one's belief has proven that one is already righteous.

Remember that as Jesus was filling full the pattern for our benefit, the invisible voice choose not to recognize Him as His son until after He came up from being baptized in water in the hands of a mortal. Christ was always God without His full glory but the visual aid is decisive in showing that baptism is the obedience which makes faith a saving faith.

One does not get salvation because of the power of the gospel. Rather, believing the gospel leads leads in the direction or in order to salvation.

The final role of our faith is to raise us in connection with Christ. In the following analogy, note that the action of faith is the product of belief. One who does not believe does not have to ignore baptism to be lost. He is lost already because of his lack of faith which includes action. The Great Commission in Mark 16:16 may be charted as:

One who sees and

believes in

The Flood

and gets in the Ark

shall live

One who sees and

believes not in

The Flood

Shall drown

This is simple logic and simple English. Only one who has faith in the destructive power of the flood will have the personal power to run from it. In the same way, one who does not believe is not condemned for not being baptized: one who disbelieves is condemned already.

Let's look at Mark 16:16 in two steps. First:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved

Saving belief is not just accepting some statement as true. Joe might come in yelling, "fire! Follow me and I will lead you out." You believe that the building is on fire because the building fills with smoke. However, you don't trust Joe and you just sit there. That is not saving belief.

Now, if you put your trust in Joe and follow him out of the building then you have saving belief. Belief which does not do what has been commanded is not faith but a rejectiion of Christ.

The Greek Pisteuo (g4100) or true faith means to entrust one's spiritual well-being to Christ. If you have this faith you will believe that the building is on fire and move.

In this example it took two things to save you. It took belief that the building was on fire and allowing Joe to lead you out. These add up to faith.

Now, look at the second half of the verse:

but he that believeth not shall be damned

Many people are willing to trust their eternal soul to the logic that: "But it does not say, 'He that is not baptized shall be damned.'" Well, it does not have to. In this part of the verse the word is not the same believeth. The Greek word is:

Apisteo (g569) ap-is-teh'-o; to be unbelieving, i.e. (trans.) disbelieve, or by implication to disobey: - believe not.

You believe not that the building is on fire. The building burns down and you die. In this example it took only one thing, unbelief, to cause you to die. If you hear and do not believe the gospel then you are lost even if you are baptized.

If you believe that you have faith and it denies and maligns the words of Jesus, Peter and Paul and teaches "but I don't have to" you may not just lack saving faith: you may be an active apisteo: one who does not obey. Baptism "in a more convenient seasion" means that the faith is not saving faith.

Paul explained this to the Romans when he wrote:

How then shall they call on him (at baptism) in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher (public crier)? Ro.10:14

If you don't believe then you cannot call upon Him. And to "call upon His name" is to be baptized as we will show.

He that believeth (put self in trust to Christ as a result of simple belief) on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn 3:18

In Mark 16:16, the true belief includes obedience. That is:

Belief + Action = Saving Faith

Paul goes on and shows that to "believe" in a saving sense is the same thing as to "obey."

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Ro.10:16

But they have not all


the gospel

who hath


our report?

Paul understood that one must believe and then "call on Jesus Christ" which happens only when we are baptized and ask Him for a clear conscience. Jesus as the promised Comforter came to Paul who asked: "What shall I do, Lord?" Jesus could have said, "Nothing." But He didn't. He was consistent with His commission past, present and future.

It should be clear to all that just to believe does not go on to act upon that belief and ask God for the remission of sins which happens when we join Jesus Christ in the waters of Baptism.

When Paul wrote Romans, he remembered that Jesus, in Spirit form, had told Him to go to Damascus and he would be told what to do. He went to the home of Ananias who restored his sight:

And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. Ac 22:14

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. Ac 22:15

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Ac 22:16

Why didn't the message come from Jesus to be baptized because I have already washed away your sins? He didn't because He had already decreed that baptism was the time and place to call upon His name as an appeal or request for a clear conscience.

Paul buffeted his body all of his life because he was fearful of being a "castaway." Therefore, Paul was predestinated to be an evangelist but not to be eternally saved.

Can water really wash away sins? Not really. However, Jesus Christ before Pentecost, at Pentecost and much later to Paul said that water baptism is the time and place where you call on my name and this is what makes the sins go away. Water will not even clean our hands of grease. However, if we apply the "power agent" (fuller's soap or blood) then the water washes away the dirt. No water, no cleansing. Jesus said it, I believe it and have no motive for trying to explain it away.

Christ was murdered and externally washed before being put into the tomb. His Spirit came back to Him in the tomb or in the grave which, to believers, is to be buried in baptismal waters (Ro 6). This is the symbolic place of the blood and the reviving Spirit:

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Re.1:5

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Re 1:6

The path Christ has blazed for us is to hang our old body on the cross, be buried in the watery tomb and be resurrected to walk in newness of life.

If Paul had refused to be baptized we cannot believe that his sins would be washed away.

How could we translate this: "Be baptized because your sins are already washed away?" But, you say that this is just silly? Yes, it is. However, it is very popular to translate Acts 2:38 as:

"Repent and be baptized because you sins are already forgiven."

However, in all versions the verse still reads:

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. 2:38

I hope and pray that Christ will judge us all on the basis of mercy because we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, I would shudder to think that perhaps Jesus meant exactly what He said and a deliberate down play of baptism may, within itself, doom us baptized or not.

To accept the absolute necessity of water baptism for accountable believers does not destroy "faith only," or "grace only," or "gospel only." This is true because true faith is believing in Jesus and feeling our body automatically acting upon that belief. This is the true definition of the faith which saves. We repeat that "for the remission of sins" means in order to accept but it does not mean "the price for your remission of sins." Mark it down that those who are false accusers of baptizers have not yet "believeth" in the sense of the security which comes from "calling upon Jesus" at the time and place of water baptism. It is impossible to ask for something believe that you already have.

It is fruitless to decide for God what He will do with those who did not or could not obey every jot and tittle of His Will. We believe that we can speak for Him about those who deny Him by denying that His will means what it is uniformally translated to say. Don't trust anyone who says: "It might not mean what it says."

Mark 16:16 appears in all of the versions so it will not do to say: "Perhaps this passage was not really inspired." The rest of the New Testament says what Mark 16:16 says but in different words. Going, preaching and baptizing believers is still the Great Commission. Acts 2:38 is the first fulfillment of the commission and it agrees with Mark 16:16.

Kenneth Sublett

Counter added 12.14.05 2p

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