Baptism - completeness and assurance of faith

Baptism involves safe-keeping for both body and soul. Only water baptism pictures both internal and external salvation which comes from God. If you refuse water baptism you may minimize Him who can destroy body and soul in hell. Thomas Campbell spoke eloquently of the assurance possible only through obedience to God. The ritual legalism which takes place in many churches on Sunday morning is proof that assurance has not been found.

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.

Mankind is body, soul and spirit. That is, we have a physical body, life from God and a mind or spirit. However, we tend to think of mankind as an inner person and an outer person. Our spirits will return to God who gave it; our bodies will be resurrected to live in His presence. Therefore, God has provided that both body and spirit be purified so that it can move into the True Tabernacle or Temple which is in heaven. The logical conclusion is that no accountable person who has not gone through the cleansing process can live in the presence of a Holy God.

And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Luke 11:39

Ye fools, did not he, that made that which is without, make that which is within also? Luke 11:40

The body is the temple of God and the body will be resurrected. It is not like a temple vessel which could be holy just by spitting on and polishing the outside. It has to be clean on the inside as well.

Peter said that baptism is not effective because it "washes" the outside to remove dirt and oil from the body. Rather, baptism is effective because we know that we cannot cleanse the inside or spirit. However, when we allow our outside to be plunged -- not capable of removing dirt -- we agree that only Christ can cleanse the inside. Therefore, baptism is not the actual means of cleansing the body or soul; it is the time and place where we ask Christ to do it for us. Christ gave no other time and place where we can ask of Him.

Faith empowers, but faith is not a symbol or means of cleansing.

A vessel dedicated for God or sanctified did not become holy because it was washed. It became holy because God declared it holy. However, He would not have accepted vessels into His service which had not been "baptized" or ceremonially washed in the physical sense. The early Jews tended to "whitewash" things or sprinkle a bit of water on things and persons. Jesus taught that symbols are nothing unless the inward cleansing takes place.

As the fulfilment of the Old Testament type, Christ's sanctifying work had both a physical and a spiritual, an external and an internal power:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1Pe 3:18

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 1Pe 3:19 (As the Spirit of the prophets, 1Pe 1:11, he may have preached through Noah)

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 1Pe 3:20

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 3:21

If we teach that baptism is important only after we are saved by faith only, we still have Peter saying that baptism saves us. The total overwhelming of Noah and his family by the waters of the flood was their "coffin" showing that they were already dead to the old world. Only God could give them life and a resurrection as the returning birds symbolized that a new "land" had been prepared for them. Peter said that water baptism was God's simple method of saving us in the Spiritual sense.

The population of the world represented sin. They were put to death; Noah and His family were made alive by the rescuing power of God. Without the physical ark God would not have saved the new spiritual father of the human race.

In the same way, our salvation has both a physical and a spiritual element. It involves both body and spirit. Peter noted that the physical element in baptism was not to remove the outward, physical dirt. Rather, physical baptism was the actual request to God for a clear conscience. Therefore, baptism in literal water is the assurance or the maturing of faith. This is the "faith only" which saves. Those who do not submit to baptism or minimize its power in the mind of God who gave it may not have the faith which Scripture says saves.

A good example is the Jailer who went from suicidal despair to assurance and the faith which saves:

And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. Ac 16:32

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes (repented); and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Ac 16:33

And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. Ac 16:34


Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Acts 3:20

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:21

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. Acts 3:22

And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Acts 3:23

Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Acts 3:24

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Acts 3:25

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:26



The Jailer could not be a believing person or a believer until he heard, believed, repented and was baptized straightway -- not waiting for him to legally prove himself saved before he could prove to any human that he should be baptized.

How would the Jailer and the inmates know about baptism? They would know because Paul "spake unto him the word of the Lord." You cannot teach Jesus without teaching baptism. Paul was glad that he did not baptize those who might follow Paul rather than Jesus. Nevertheless, baptism was an essential element of preaching Christ.

Rejoicing and believing is the assurance which can only come to those who have, in good faith, obeyed the commands of Christ. There was never any joy or assurance or even full faith until those who initially believed had been baptized.

Elsewhere, Paul showed that the "sprinkling" of the Law has been replaced by God purging our hearts from an evil consceince. This is internal. Only God can sprinkle those who have saving faith. However, this happens when the body is washed with water.

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

having (past tense) our

hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our

bodies washed with pure water. Heb.10:22

Those who believe the words of Peter have the witness of the Spirit or Mind of Christ that they are saved on the basis which His Mind has revealed. Belief grows upon belief and must mature. However, the other witness is literal water:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1Jn 5:7

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 1Jn 5:8

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1Jn 5:13

The faith only which saves is faith which believes the Words which are spirit and life (Jn 6:63), which obeys in water baptism and then which has total assurance so that we have the witness within our hearts.

Are we saved by faith only? You bet. What kind of faith? Is it intellectual assent? No, James says that full, assured faith is only available to those who have put their initial faith into action. Paul agreed totally with James:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; Col 2:2

As ye have therefore received (associate oneself with) Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Col 2:6

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Col 2:7

The explicit words of Christ demanded belief and baptism to bring one to the assurance of the faith which saves in every event in our human pilgrimage.

The Philosophy of men like John MacArthur, Jr. Pastor-Teacher at Grace Community Church:

"Water baptism does not seem to be what Peter has in view in 1 Peter 3:21.

"In Acts 2:38, Peter appears to link forgiveness of sins to baptism. But there are at least two plausible interpretations.

"It is also possible to take the clause "and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" as parenthetical.

Are you willing to trust yourself to a preacher who would say that "It is possible that God didn't mean what He said?"

Let's just do that:

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

Then Jack has it:

Repent for the remission of sins!

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:8

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Col 2:10

Jesus was very explicit: Vain philosophy uses phrases and words like: "does not seem" or "it is plausible" or "it is possible." What Jesus said was from Full Deity but what John MacArthur says is from vail philosophy. This is a stern warning.

Thomas Campbell answered a question makes it clear that being baptized FOR the remission of sins does not mean that we PURCHASE the forgiveness of sins by our effort. Rather, baptism is FOR the enjoyment of the benefits of the DEATH of Christ which purchased something:

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.

Thus:--"How shall we that have died by sin (not to sin) live any longer therein? Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of tile 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: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should not henceforth serve sin; for he that is dead is freed from sin. Rom. vi. 2-7.

And now, believing all this, what do we, in our baptism, but consent to his burial?

That is, to the burial of him who was crucified with Christ; namely, our old man.

If an aunt leaves us a million dollars we have to believe it and go sign the papers. Our signing of the documents is not a mercinary way to purchase the free gift. Rather, we AGREE in order to receive the "blissful privilege." If we do not agree then we will not enjoy.

If you tell the court that you will just ENJOY the million because your aunt predestinated you to have it. Then once you have proven that you have the million dollars you will accomodate HIM and sign the documents.

This proves that you dont HAVE FAITH until you HAVE SIGHT. And the judge will laugh in your face.

Paul continues to speak of the "internal" plus "external" cleansing necessary for spiritual life and forgiveness of sins:

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Col 2:11

buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Col 2:12NKJV

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Col 2:13

The faith is not YOUR FEELINGS which validates your faith in your faith: your faith must be in the working of God. His proof was the resurrection of Jesus. Your identification with that in baptism is your faith IN GOD'S power.

By totally repudiating all of the statements about baptism it is easy to misunderstand the word "faith." Faith is not just believing something. It is putting one's trust in what is believed. Faith involves both the internal and external nature of mankind. James does not suggest that we can save ourselves but he agrees with Paul in saying that Faith is something which involves the whole person both internal and external:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Ja 2:17

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Ja 2:18

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Ja 2:19

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Ja 2:20

Your baptism is not YOUR WORKS but the works of God spiritually like the WORKS of God in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you have believed and have not (assuming that you would if you could) been baptized you cannot possibly have faith which is fully assured. That is why many use music and other charismatic practices to "feel the presence of God." That is just flesh assurance which is legalism. Only by turning to the Lord, which many Jews refused to do, is it possible for the veil to be taken away and faith be allowed to mature:

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 2Cor 3:15

Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2Cor 3:16

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2Cor 3:17

Peter proved that it is not faith in our faith because baptism is the time and place Jesus appointed for you to REQUEST a holy spirit or a clear conscience. The FAITH is not in your faith but in the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer

(request for) of a good conscience toward God,)

by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 3:21

Paul agreed: baptism cannot be faith in OUR FAITH or of our works because only God can sprinkle away our evil conscience or UNholy spirit, remit our sins or save us:

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, Heb.10: 15

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; Heb.10: 16

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Heb.10: 17

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Heb.10: 18

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Heb.10: 19

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Heb.10: 20

And having an high priest over the house of God; Heb.10:21

Water baptism is the SIGN or MARK that you have faith: those who have saving faith WILL NOT argue with Jesus Christ:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,

and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb.10:22

A true heart is a new man.

Apeleutheros (g5558) ap-el-yoo'-ther-os; from 575 and 1658; one freed away, i.e. a freedman: - freeman.

You are not regenerated as a new, free man until you SUBMIT to the washing of the body as the time and place where God SPRINKLES the evil conscience out of our minds.

That evil conscience is an UNholy spirit or mind:

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 2Cor 3:15

The veil is a cover which hides both truth and God from you: you cannot go into God's presence because the VEIL has not been removed.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 2Co.4:3

Those who are CONVERTED turn to the Lord and He removes the veil:

Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2Cor 3:16

Let us hold fast the profession (assent, confession) of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Heb 10:23



The Jews rejected the counsel for their lives before the death of Christ by refusing to be baptized. Those who rejected the counsel after the resurrection, simply rejected Christ. The only way to have assurance is for an adult believer to "turn to the Lord" and be baptized for the remission of sins. This was how Jesus told the apostles to retain or remit sins.

Jesus Christ is interested in the whole person, not just the mind which believes. To be "saved" and capable of enjoying heaven it is necessary that we allow Him to purify both body and soul:

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Mt.10:28





To be able to participate in the coming of Christ is is necessary to put our bodies in "save keeping" with God as did Jesus and Stephen. There it can be preserved because it has been "washed" according to the prescription of Christ:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Th.5:23

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1Th 5:24

This is why Peter, following the order of Christ in Mark 16:16, demanded of those who already believed the gospel message:

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. Ac 2:38

The Spirit of God is the Mind of Christ according to 2 Corinthians 2. Therefore, to receive the gift of Christ's Spirit is to receive the Mind of Christ.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1Co.2:16

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Ph.2:5

who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, Phil 2:6LIV

When we have faith we will not say, "Perhaps this passage means something other than what versions say it means." Or "some believe that this is a mistranslation." Or, "It is possible to take this clause." Or, "Paul appears to link salvation and Baptism. However, there are two plausible explanations." Saving faith does not look for legal ways to "get around" such a simple command.

Baptism is rejected because it "appears" to contradict the meaning of "faith." However, the word "faith" must be made into an active verb before it is saving faith. The explicit words of Jesus Christ as Full Deity or the words of human phylosophers: that is the choice.

Kenneth Sublett