“Did you know that it only takes 3 minutes to empty the dishwasher and 4 minutes to refill it?”
I wrote this on my Facebook page several years ago, and one lady jokingly responded, “Now he’s gone to meddling!”
When a person begins speaking to us about biblical doctrine, especially if he is asking us to scripturally question one or more of our long-held foundational beliefs, we may jokingly respond, “Now you’ve gone to meddling.” If the person continues, and we begin to realize that the cited scriptures conclusively teach a doctrine conflicting with our long-held belief, we may stop listening or reading. We may become frustrated and angry. We may walk away and demand that they stop meddling in our business.
Today, I’m meddling.
Did you know that the Bible teaches that one must be baptized (immersed) in water before he can be reconciled to God? Jesus commanded it. Peter taught it. Paul wrote it.
(Please be sure to hover over the scripture references to read the Bible’s teachings. This is important so that it is evident that the statements are biblical, and not my own opinion.)
We all have fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). This means that we all have sinned. These failures have separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:1-2). God has offered us a way back to him. (Romans 3:23-26). Jesus embodies, expresses, and culminates the saving grace of God. (Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:6-11). God pleads with us to be reconciled to him through the blood of his son. (2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2).
To be reconciled to God, we must be saved by Jesus. (Acts 4:12). To be saved means that our sins are forgiven. (Acts 10:42-43). To be saved means that our sins have been washed away, or symbolically, that we have washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-14). To be saved, we must call upon the name of the Lord. (Romans 10:13). To be saved, we must be born again. (John 3:3). We cannot be saved without being found in Jesus. (Ephesians 1:7).
To be reconciled to God, we must be saved, but how do we accept the saving grace of God?
Jesus commanded the Apostles to preach the gospel to everyone. He concluded that anyone who believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved. In one sentence, Jesus summarized the reconciliation process. Hearing the good news about God’s saving grace produces faith; faith produces baptism; and baptism produces salvation or reconciliation. (Mark 16:15-16).
Peter echoed this teaching when he stated, “Baptism . . . now saves you.” (1 Peter 3:21). In his first gospel sermon, Peter taught that to have our sins forgiven, we must repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38).
Before he was reconciled to God, the Apostle Paul was told to wash away his sins by being baptized. (Acts 22:16). Paul was also told that his baptism would be the means by which he would call on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16). It’s especially interesting that Paul had just spent three days and nights fasting and praying to God. Jesus knew that Paul was praying. (Acts 9:9-11). Yet Paul still had not called on the name of the Lord in such a way that his sins were removed from him.
In his inspired writings, Paul taught that we are born again when we are baptized. (Romans 6:3-5). In our baptism, we die to the old man of sin, and we rise to walk in newness of life. Paul also taught that we enter Christ by being baptized into him. (Galatians 3:26-27).
As we search the Bible for the answer to the question, “How can I be reconciled to God?”, we find many elements involved; grace, faith, repentance, confession, forgiveness, being born again, calling on the name of the Lord . . .and baptism. None of these can be overlooked. None of these can be omitted. None of these can be disconnected from the others. None of these can be deemed inessential to our salvation. For they all play a part in God’s plan of reconciliation.
Do you wish to follow us