What Saves? Baptism or Jesus Christ?
By Buddy Bryant

A preacher in the city of Wichita Falls, Texas read one of our circulars and wrote an article in the paper saying that salvation by grace through faith (which we emphasize in our literature) for forgiveness of sins, is a man made religion.

Let me quote some of the article he wrote and give Scripture he referred to in trying to prove water salvation.

He refers to Acts 2:38 and has it printed in bold capital letters. "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."


Repent and be baptized cannot be joined together to procure remission of sins, because "repent" is a universal command to all men everywhere (Acts 17:30) and "be baptized" is a specific command to believers only (Acts 8:12).

The passage is simply saying "repent", and ye shall receive the gift the Holy Ghost, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

The Greek word "FOR" is "Eis" and means, upon, unto, because of, but never in order to obtain,

In the article, the preacher speaks of the faith mentioned in this passage and says that faith alone will not save. Then he refers to James 2:14-17 and calls attention to verse 24.

Notice verse 17. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

Is the "FAITH" in Acts 2:38 dead faith or is it a living active faith? If it is dead faith (the author of the article believes it is) then it is the same kind of faith James refers to in James 2:17, which God condemns. If it is a living faith, then the people Peter spoke to had faith (living faith) before they were baptized. Either way, the author of the article is in a fix he can't get out of.

I wonder if he would give us an answer to this problem?

In James 2:21-24, James speaks of Abraham and him being justified by works when he had offered up Isaac.

Rom. 4:1-6, He was justified by FAITH 40 years before this.

In my discussion with the author of the article on Mark 15:16, 1 asked him to produce one Scripture that said "He that believeth and is Baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth  (AND IS NOT BAPTIZED) shall be damned." He could not produce one in his favor, yet I gave many that said the believer is not condemned ... John 3:18-19; John 3:36; John 5:24; Rom. 5:1,

The only place I know that says a man that believeth and is not baptized shall be damned is found in the Mormon Bible in 3rd Nephi 11:33-34. 1 wonder if this man's doctrine didn't come from men just as the Mormon Bible did.

What Saves, Baptism Or Jesus Christ?
The Scriptures teach that alien sinners are saved by faith without water baptism.

By saved, I mean one made safe by the God of heaven; no longer an alien, but a son of God, an heir of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.

By faith, I mean one who has trusted Jesus Christ with all his heart for salvation.

Before water baptism, I mean that faith comes before water baptism and hence the alien sinner is saved before and without water baptism.

Some Questions We Need To Ask In Order To Clarify Water Baptism For Salvation

1. Do you baptize a child of God or a child of the Devil?
2. Does one coming for baptism have a pure heart or an impure heart?
3. Do you baptize a man with a clean soul or one who has a filthy soul?
4. When a person is on the way to be baptized for remissions of sins, is he being led of God or being led of the Devil?
5. Is a candidate for baptism condemned or is he out from under condemnation?

The issue in this article is not, "Is Baptism A Command?" I believe it is a command, but for what is it commanded?

Is it a means of obtaining salvation, or is it to declare that one is saved?

The issue is not "Is Baptism Important7" I agree that baptism is important. But for what is it important?

The issue is "At what point in obeying the thousands of the Lord's commands is one saved?"

Which of the commands of the Lord are given as conditions with which one must comply before he can be saved, justified, or become a child of God?

John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."

What Jesus Says Is An Absolute Must In Order For A Man To Be Saved
1. MAN MUST HEAR-Luke 14:35, "He that hath ears to hear let him hear."

a. Rom. 10:17, "Faith (Living active faith. NOT DEAD FAITH) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

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

c. Where does the Bible say every soul that is not baptized shall be destroyed?

2. MAN MUST HEED-Heb. 3:7-8, "...the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts,. . . "

a. NEGATIVELY- Rom. 8:9, "...if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

b. Where in the Bible does it say if any man hath not baptism he is none of His?

3 MAN MUST REPENT-Acts 17:30, God "...commandeth all men every where to repent."

a. NEGATIVELY-Luke 13:3-5, "...except ye repent, ye ghall all likewise perish."

b. Where in the Bible does it say except ye be baptized ye shall perish?

4. MAN IS TO BELIEVE-Acts 16:31, "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." NEGATIVELY-John 8-24, "...if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."

Some Scriptures That Tell How To Be Saved
1. John 3:14-16, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have, eternal life."

2. Eph. 2:8-9, "For by GRACE are ye SAVED through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of WORKS, lest any man should boast,"

a. Acts 22:16 is used to teach that baptism saves. Note-Paul was told to wash away his sins. Was this literal or symbolic? It could not be literal because Paul said in Eph. 2:8, it is not of self, and in Rev. 1:5, we are told that Christ washed us from our sins in His own blood,

Either Christ washed away Paul's sins in His own blood or Paul washed them away in water. Which will you believe?

b. Eph. 2:8 did not say "For by GRACE, through FAITH and BAPTISM are ye saved."

c. Matt. 3:13-17, Jesus declared BAPTISM to be a work of righteousness. Note the word "US" in v.15. Baptism must be included in the term "WORKS".

(It cannot be included in the term SAVED; it cannot be included in the term FAITH; it cannot be included in "THAT WHICH IS NOT OF OURSELVES"; it cannot be included in that which is "THE GIFT OF GOD".)

d. Titus 3:5, Baptism is a work of righteousness and we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done.

3. John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son HATH (Present Tense) everlasting life. . . "
Note-It is the unbeliever that the wrath of God abideth on,

4. John 5:24, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me hath (Present Tense) everlasting life. . . "

Note-And shall not come into condemnation. 5. John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that BELIEVING ye might have life through his name."

6. Phil. 3:9, Paul had no desire to stand in hisown righteousness but in the righteousness of God which is by FAITH in Jesus.

7. I Cor. 1:21, VThen ". . the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

Note-It did not say that it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching and baptism to save them that believed.

8. Rom, 3:25-26, We are told that Jesus Christ is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 9. Gal. 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision-, BUT FAITH which worketh by love."

a. Does the faith a person has worketh by love when that persom comes for baptism?

b. If it does not, what kind of faith is it? Does it hate God and the things of God? Is it a dead faith which God condemns?

10, Acts 26:16-18, "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose,to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by FAITH that is in me."

a. Jesus Christ, in this special commission to Paul, sent him to preach the gospel.

b. The result was that they would have the following things, (1) Eyes opened..(2) turned from darkness to light..and from the power of satan unto God..(3) forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among the saved.

This was to come by FAITH THAT IS IN ME.

c. Note-Christ sent Paul to preach the gospel. Rom. 1:16, The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. I Cor. 15:1-4, ". . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."

(1) Gal. 1:6-9, Paul said...... If any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have received, let him be accursed."

(2) I Cor. 1:17, Paul said that Christ rent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. 11. Luke 19:5-10, Zacchaeus was saved before he was baptized.

12. Gal. 3:26, We are told that "...ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

a. The play made by some on the words "PUT ON CHRIST" is answered in Rom. 13:14. Paul said to the people who are already saved, already baptized, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.. . "

b. You cannot put a coat on unless you already have one.

13. Acts 15:8-9, These had their hearts purified by FAITH, also Rom. 5:1.

14, Acts 10:43-48, Cornelius was saved and received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized.

a. Lost people cannot receive the Holy Spirit.

b. John 14:17, We are told that the world cannot receive the Holy Ghost.

15. Gal. 3:8, We are told that God foresaw that He would justify the heathen through FAITH.

16. Gal. 3:8, We are told that Abraham had the gospel preached unto him.

Rom. 4:1-3, Note these words about Abraham. 17. 1 John 1:7-, Rev. 1:5, We are told that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins.

If His blood cleanses us from all sin what is left for baptism?

Scriptures Used By Some People To Try And Prove That Baptism Saves
1.Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. . . "

a. Note it is he that BELIEVETH NOT shall be dairrmed.

b. Baptism is a commandment and if commandments save, let us note the first one man is to keep.

(1) Matt. 22:37, The first commandment is to love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

(2) Matt. 22:39, The second is to love thy neighbor as thy self.

(3) Acts 2:41, Another is to be added to the church.

(4) Heb. 10:25, Another is to attend church.

c. Which commandment must I keep to be
saved, and how many will I have to break before I am lost again? (Many people believe that you can be lost again after you are saved.)

d. The thing that determines a person being damned is unbelief.

2. Acts 2:38...... 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."

a. Repent ye in Act 2:38 is second person plural, and "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" is also second person plural, be baptized is third person singular.

b. God is simply saying REPENT and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and be baptized every one of you (You who have repented and received the gift of the Holy Ghost) because of the remission of sins.

Remember, a lost person cannot receive the Holy Ghost. The person who repents and believes in Christ as Saviour is saved.

c. Repent and be baptized cannot be joined together to procure the remission of sins, because ilrepentance" is a universal command to all men everywhere, Acts 17:30 and "be baptized" is a specific command to believers only, Acts 8:12.

3. Rom. 6:3-4, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?"

a. Note-Rom. 6:2, Paul is speaking to people who are dead to sin.
(1) Rom. 6:7...... he that is dead is freed
from sin."

(2) Baptism is a burial. You bury a dead thing. You don't bury a dead thing to make it alive.

4. Acts 22:16, Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

a. Note how he was to wash away his sins "CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD."

b. Acts 9:1-19, We have the record of Paul's conversion and you will notice that Ananias said that God had chosen Paul and that he was sent that Paul might receive the Holy Ghost.

(1) Every time Paul tells of his conversion he goes back to the Damascus road.

(2) Acts 9:9, Note, it was three days before Ananias came to him.

5. I Pet. 3:18-21, Note verse 21; "The like figure (picture) whereunto even baptism doth also now save us......

a. Baptism is a figure (or picture) of that which saves, Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4.

b. You can put a log across a creek that is full of water and you can see the shadow of that log in the water, however, a 4 year old child has enough sense to know that you can't walk across on the shadow.

c. Many people are trying to cross on the shadow instead of the real thing.

(1) Let me tell you, Jesus is the real thing.

(2) Isa. 45:22, God said "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. for I am God, and there is none else."

(3) Acts 4:11-12, Peter said there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved.

(4) John 5:24, God tells us that the person who believes on Him HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.

(5) 1 John 5:11-13, God said, "And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life and THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON."

(6) 1 John 5:13, 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..."

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