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There is a doctrine, that has spread like wildfire, that in order to go to heaven, a person must be water baptized. This doctrine is known as “baptismal regeneration” and is an EXTREMELY dangerous heresy, because it teaches a works based salvation.
The baptism of a believer comes AFTER salvation as a profession of ones faith on Jesus Christ, and is symbolic of His death, burial, and resurrection. If you get water baptized before you were saved, then you didn’t get baptized, you just got wet. Nowhere is the Bible, do you read of someone being baptized before they were saved. The entire epistle of 1 John, is based on the purpose of how to KNOW you are saved. Consider below.
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, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Yet, nowhere in that entire epistle, is water baptism even mentioned. Not once. There is a scripture however, which teachers of this doctrine love to use.
Acts 2:38: 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.
Here is what John R. Rice has to say about the subject.
It might properly be translated here “baptized upon the remission of your sins” or “baptized referring to, or pointing toward the remission of your sins,” or “baptized in the remission of your sins.” When one repents, he receives the remission of his sins. Then the obedient heart, following Christ in baptism, is promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, an entirely separate mutter from salvation. What Peter said was that people ought to repent and then, after their sins are forgiven, they should be baptized as evidence of that. That is exactly what people ought to be baptized for, that is, to show the remission of their sins. That Scripture, then, does not mean that people ought to be baptized in order to be saved. – John R. Rice
Personally I like to try to put things in my own context, but I don’t think John R. Rice could have explained it any better. Another scripture that is used to support Baptismal Regeneration is John 3:5.
John 3:5- Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of WATER AND OF SPIRIT, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
The “water birth” in this scripture is referring to the physical birth, not water baptism Jesus contrasts the two in the following.
John 3:6- That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The water that you a baptized with does not wash away your sins, the blood of Jesus Christ washes away your sins.
Colossians 1:20: And, having made peace through THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, by him to reconcile things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
One last verse to close this post to show that Baptismal Regeneration is pure damnable heresy.
1 Corinthians 1:17- For Christ sent me NOT TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
In the name of The Lord Jesus Christ I write unto you. Amen.