Why baptism really matters

No doubt many people today would say: “Why are you bothering with baptism? It’s only a ceremony, isn’t it? Having a few drops of holy water sprinkled on the head of an infant by a clergyman in church, or just having a bath? What real difference can it make? You’re wasting your time.”

What must we do to be saved?

The short answer is that the New Testament has a great deal to say about baptism, from the lips of Jesus himself as well as through his apostles. Now the plain fact is that the Bible is all we have. If we want to know who Jesus was, what he taught and what he commanded his followers to do, we must go to the Bible for the answers. To look elsewhere is to rely on the opinions of men, whether of individuals or of bodies of men in Synods or Councils. What the Bible has to say about baptism must be vital for us. If Christ and his chosen apostles have declared certain things about baptism, then we ought to want to know what they are.

The really important question must therefore surely be: What did Jesus command and teach and what did his apostles do as a result?

“Born of Water”
To Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who came to him by night, Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. When Nicodemus took these words literally, Jesus further explained: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3,5). But why should he say, “Except a man be born of water … ” unless it was a clear reference to baptism? John the Baptist had been actively preaching repentance and baptizing many in the River Jordan. Jesus himself had been baptized by John saying, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15, R.S.V.). There can then be no doubt that when Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water …”, he was saying that to enter the Kingdom of God, a man or woman must be baptized.

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Bible Prophecy

THE BIBLE is a most remarkable book. Its account of the origin of evil; its unparalleled record of God’s dealings with the nation of Israel; its searching message through their prophets; its “good news” proclaimed by Jesus Christ and his apostles; above all, its unerring analysis of the weaknesses of human nature and its contrasting portrayal of the holiness, the truth and the mercy of God, made especially plain in the person of His Son — all these are outstanding features found in no other book in the world.

They prompted Henry Rogers over 100 years ago to declare: “The Bible is not such a book as man would have written if he could, nor could have written if he would.” [In The Superhuman Origin of the Bible Deduced from Itself] In other words, God is needed to explain its existence.

In this short work we shall consider one of the Bible’s unique features: its prophecy. Now strictly prophecy is not just foretelling the future. A prophet was one who “spoke for” another, a spokesman; and prophecy was the message the prophet spoke on behalf of God. But since Bible prophecy contains quite a lot of “prediction”, or foretelling future events, for our purpose here we shall take the term in that sense.

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