The Weekly Focal Point - February 5

Baptism and Salvation

“Does baptism save you?” The best answer is actually a question: “Which one?” Unfortunately, the word “baptism” causes students of the Bible a lot of confusion because, like a few other select Greek words, it is not translated – it is simply transliterated. Were it translated it would naturally provoke our follow up question. The word “baptizo” is rightly translated by the phrase “placed into.” “Baptizo” is utilized in two primary and distinct ways in the New Testament (e.g.: Mk.1:8; Lk.3:16; Jn.1:33). If someone asked you, “Does being ‘placed into’ save you?” You’d likely ask, “Placed into what?” – which is precisely the clarification needed when responding to the use of the word “baptizo” in the Bible. If one means “placed into” Christ by God’s Spirit, then the answer is “yes!” (Rom.6:3).  When we are placed into Christ at the moment of repentance and faith, we are “clothed in Christ” and we become his “sons” (Gal.3:26-27). Instead, if one means “placed into water” as an expression of our repentance and faith, the answer is “no!” (Ac.8:36)  After saying that “baptism saves” us Peter clarifies, “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God” (1Pet.3:21). Both “baptisms” in Scripture are commanded – one saves us, the second memorializes the first.

- Pastor Mike

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Tragically, biblical truth is sometimes used in unbiblical ways. In fact, it’s all too easy to make this costly error without knowing it. We might uphold some aspect of God’s Word with resolute focus, while using that same affirmation to deny some other clear teaching of Scripture. A classic example of this occurs with the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.  God’s complete dominion over our lives is a thoroughly biblical and foundational truth.  But if my zeal for this doctrine causes my enthusiasm for evangelism to wane, then I’m using this biblical truth in an unbiblical way.
 
As a token of our appreciation for your gift, I’d like to send you an excellent book by renowned author Randy Alcorn called hand in HAND:  The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Choice.  Randy does a wonderful job examining God’s sovereignty and human choice in light of all Scripture.  This book will help you compare the different views on the issue, understand God more deeply, appreciate the freedom God’s given us, and learn how to communicate this doctrine with clarity and compassion.
 

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