“?An outward sign of an inward grace” sounds biblical but this wording is not in the Bible. What do many mean by “an outward sign of an inward grace”? This phrase is usually used to console consciences in the definition of baptism as an outward sign of an inward grace meaning that baptism is more about the heart. However, Jesus commanded baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be His disciple (Matt 28:19–20). Furthermore, the apostle Paul noted that there is one baptism (Eph 4:5).
More Than a Sign
Baptism is not just a sign. Baptism is more than the pattern of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ where the old self is buried and rises to a newness of life (Rom 6:4–5). Furthermore, baptism unites repentant believers with Christ (Rom 6:3–6). Baptism partakes of the reality signified in the gospel of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. This is the gospel that saves (1 Cor 15:1–4). Baptism is a command of Christ, “While going, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). Jesus taught, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Which baptism is the one that Jesus commanded? Baptism in the name of the Lord is water immersion (Acts 10:47–48). The believer washes away sins at baptism (Acts 22:16). God forgives sins at baptism (Acts 2:38). Baptism is the exact moment that the believer goes from self-condemned into God’s forgiveness. Baptism is a passive activity where God saves and not for one to save oneself by any works. This baptism is an act of subordination and the Bible never calls it “a work.”
Baptism in Jesus’s Name
Is there anything special about the water? No. However, those who baptize are leaders of faith. There is something special and vital about Jesus’s name and His command for the believer to be baptized in His name. A person does work for the forgiveness of one’s sin as though baptism is a work. Baptism is passive in that the believer submits to participate. Christ does the saving, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:25–27). Paul expressed, “He [Christ] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb 5:9).
Being saved by grace and not by works does not contradict submitting to Christ in baptism (Eph 2:4–9; Col 2:12–13). Baptism is not an individual’s personal work since one does not baptize oneself and baptism is from God. Therefore, these scriptures present that baptism is the point at which Christ cleanses believers of their sins and makes them without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. If what is referred to as “an inward grace” is the forgiveness of sins by Christ and the change of the believer to a new life, Christ is the source of grace at baptism. Some refer to “inward grace” asserting the forgiveness of sins before baptism or others teach that a moving of the Holy Spirit causes repentance and faith before baptism. However, no scriptures teach that salvation is complete without God raising believers from burial in baptism in newness of life (Col 2:12–13).
Some say, “Well, I was already baptized after I was saved” or “I did not feel anything at my baptism like when I was saved.” Both of these baptisms are not the baptism that Christ commanded to be saved. Twelve men who were baptized in John the Baptist’s baptism had to be baptized again into Christ’s baptism (Acts 19:1–7).
How do you know if you were baptized correctly? The Scriptures reveal only one baptism which is immersion within water in the Lord’s name (Eph 4:4; 5:26; Acts 10:43, 47–48). Peter’s preaching in Acts 2:38 provides the instruction to know if you were baptized correctly. Peter proclaimed, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:41 and 47 were necessary for the first converts to Christ. Here are four observations from Acts 2: (1) The first believers repented to be baptized in Jesus’s name (cf. Acts 8:38–39; Rom 6:4; Col 2:12–13). (2) Baptism is in Jesus’s name as Jesus taught (Matt 28:19–20; Acts 2:38). (3) Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). (4) Through baptism, God adds the believers to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).
Today, church leaders will add believers to their churches apart from the believer’s salvation. Who authorized them to add people when Acts 2 teaches that the Lord adds to the church? However, God adds to the church and any church that one joins apart from salvation is not the church that Christ built and bought with his blood (Matt 16:18; Acts 20:28). Believers want to follow Christ and obey the baptism that He commanded. No one wants to be baptized apart from what Jesus taught, so repentant believers do not want a manmade baptism with invented teachings about cleansing without the forgiveness of sins. Repentant believers do not want to wait for manmade time to be baptized. Believers in the Bible were baptized immediately (Acts 16:25–34). Paul was commanded, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
Scott, how do you see anyone entering into the kingdom without obedience? I ask this because you seem to be saying the apostles didn’t follow Chrst into it. (Matt. 19:28)
Amen Frelon !
I’ve never denied that. I confirmed that the Apostles entered the kingdom REv. 1:5-6, Col. 1:13, Heb. 12:28. A kingdom that was to come before those living with Jesus died (Mark 9:1).
I want to make one more comment on this and then go to “Outward sign of an inward Grace”.
I clearly see your view on this Scott and I agree that it is the blood of Christ that gives atonement. Then I see men as Isaac, Jacob David and Abraham who were men of God before Christ came and shed his blood. Israel was God’s people also, but they were a backsliding people. They were in need of repentance. John came to give them a way back into the fold (my sheep hear my voice).
By contrast, I see that a child of God today may become rebellious and have need for repentance. Yet we do not have to be rebaptized to receive that atonement again because we are already born into the family of God.
When Christ arose, all men could have the atonement by his blood. Not only those from that time on, but the blood was applied to those who followed God by promise.
“Outward sign of an inward Grace”.
The only outward sign that I see could be applied to us is the fact that Jesus said, “ye shall know them by their fruits”. If we have the love that God requires of us and walk in a manner that people can recognize Christ in us, I guess that can be an outward sign.
Many use that phrase in their belief that one must receive the Holy Ghost in order to be saved. This view is a contradiction to the teaching in Acts 8 concerning the events with the people at Sarmaria.
I certainly do not deny that Abraham and the patriarchs of faith nor those of the physical Israel would not be saved or forgiven of there sins (Heb. 11:16). Yet, Hebrews 11:39 says, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise”. There was more. I believe that God gave blood for atonement, because we have profaned the life that we have by the blood (Lev. 17:11-14, Gen. 9:4-6). Hebrews 9:22, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” These could not make completion (perfect from telios) for forgiveness. The blood of bulls and goats purified and gave remission (forgiveness), which literally translated from apheimi as “left behind” while the blood of Christ “took away” sins, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away [aphaireo] sins” (Heb. 10:4 and verse 11).
The Apostles had to have obeyed the Gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9). The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Apostles were no exception to the obeying the Gospel. The baptism in Jesus’ name is that of the death, burial, and resurrection being instituted by Christ afterward. Yet, the baptism of John was only for the Jews and preceded the death, burial, and resurrections of Christ.
What have I said that is wrong? What am I clarifying?
It appears that there could be a little controversy between the Law, John’s baptism, and the baptism into Christ. We read that under the Law, the people offered up purification offerings unto the Lord. Then once a year the high Priest went into the most holy place to offer up the sacrifice for sins; for himself and the people. This stayed or paused their sins from year to year.
John’s baptism, unlike the Law, did not stay their sins. John was sent to prepare a people for the Lord. What does this mean? It is evident that the people were not prepared for the Lord before hand. Then after their baptism of John, were they prepared? If not, then we would have to say that John’s mission was not accomplished. Also, John’s baptism was unto repentance for the remission. Since Israel was already God’s people who had backslide, in order for them to be a prepared people again, there was a need for repentance. Their obedience to John’s baptism was a work required of God for the remission or their sins. This means they were forgiven or pardoned. If they were pardoned, then they were saved (prepared) people who would enter into the Kingdom when Christ arose. The apostles had to have already been forgiven before the day of Pentecost. If they were not saved, then they were still of the world and jesus had already told them that the world could not receive the Holy Ghost.
Then we have the New Testament of which Christ is the testator. We are taught that under this Law, we have remission of sins through our obedience to the baptism of Christ which is a work required of God in order to be pardoned from our sins. From the day of Pentecost on, ( for it was then that the gospel begin to be preached), all men were required to be baptized into Christ. After that time if anyone obeyed John’s baptism, it was of no effect because that command was replaced by the rules enacted by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is evident then that the twelve in Acts 19 obeyed John’s baptism after the resurrection of Christ, not knowing the gospel preached by the apostles. Since their baptism was of no benefit, they were told to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Thanks for allowing my comments Scott.
Now, what you say I can understand clearly and it is plausible yet lacking confirmation. I draw no lines regarding anyone holding this position. At the same time, my position is that the Apostles needed to obey the Gospel including the baptism in Jesus’ name. This is not because they were not forgiven at John’s baptism of repentance, which they were. Still, forgiven is past tense. They were forgiven of past sins and were not able to have continual forgiveness under Christ in the New Testament without baptism in Jesus’ name. Remember it is the blood of Christ and the atonement in Christ that is eternal and does not need perpetual sacrifices (Heb. 9-10). The blood of Christ is that eternal cleansing agent of the New Testament. My position is that John’s baptism was not forgive for all time, but that baptism in Jesus’ name does put someone in Christ to have such forgiveness by walking in the light and confessing one’s sins to the Father.
I’m truely sorry Scott, I hadn’t noticed another commenting with us on here in our discussion. …”Bible study” is way off in stating a fire baptism is necessary. I can’t read anything in the bible about a hell fire baptism . I do read in Matt. 3:11 where John said:…. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
I believe the fire here means “power” the apostles received on the day of Pentecost.
I don’t want to start another discussion away from this one, but I’d like to note Matthew 3:11 baptism of fire in verse 10 and 12 are referring to Hell. John said in verse 10, “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Verse 12 says, “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This is not to reject Acts 2’s reference the tongues of fire and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Also, I hope you read the following comments from Frelon and myself.
Thank you Scott, I too believe that everyone must believe and be baptized for the remission of their sins in order to be saved, Scott. But the bible isn’t tricky, people are when they don’t want to accept what the bible say in a whole. Some read and believe what they prefer. Some believe tha all they hav to do is believe. I have often ask wsat is it they believe andthey say, that Jesus paid for their sins on the cross and they need not do anything, yet we can read we must hear the gospel, believe, confess, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins.
I truely believe water baptism is necessary to be save because we take part in the Lord’s death burial and resurrection in baptism and are raised up to walk in newness of life. In that he died, he died unto sin once but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise recken ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6″10-12)
Scott, what do you mean by “fire baptism is necessary” will you explain ? I agree Eph. 4 says there’s one baptism…so which is it, water baptism or fire baptism?
The comment above as “Bible Study” is not me. Fire baptism is Hell. It is certainly not necessary (Matt. 3:10-12).
What is the one baptism? From the article above, “There is only one baptism (Eph. 4:4), the baptism of water (Eph. 5:26) which is done in the Lord’s name (Acts 10:47-48).” This baptism is of the Spirit (Matt. 28:19).
Scott, I took you s saying that water and fire baptism were necessary. This is why ask which one then is the one baptism is Paul refering in Eph. 4.
This is a long debated topic and will continue to be thorughout time. I personally believe water baptism is necessary for salvation. However, when studying this topic, I found the bible can be tricky with words. It says things like “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”. I have see this to be like “he that believeth and drives a car shall be saved”. According to this method of interpretation, one could say, if you believe you shall be saved regardless of the wording after believe. It also says “repent and be baptized”. If baptism weren’t necessary, the word trick could apply here. “repent and drive a car and be saved”. If we repent and believe we shall be saved. However, through all the earthly wisdom of today, I have really studied this topic much and have found no matter how you look at is, water baptism is necessary, fire baptism is necessary, and there is only one Lord, One faith, and one baptism. Whosoever will let him come and take the water of life freely.
I’m in agreement except that fire baptism is Hell and I am convinced that it is not necessary. See the verses before and after Matthew 3:11. Fire is in contrast to the Holy Spirit and not speaking of the tongues of fire in Acts 2. Fire is also the common term for Hell used by Jesus.
John the Baptist was certainly under the Old Testament. The Temple was still in action and John and Christ kept that law and those sacrifices. The New Testament came with the death of Christ (Heb 9). “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:11). The prophets after the Babylonian captivity were certainly apart of the Law and the Prophets. In fact, the Law that Paul refers to included quotes from Psalms, Isaiah, and Hosea in Romans 3:9-19. The Law is also from heaven, and certainly was the baptism of John and the baptism in Jesus’ name.
John the Baptist did not specifically preach anything in addition to the Law like Christ did nor did he speak of being born again. Jesus even spoke concerning the Law saying, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
I absolutely agree that we are not without law. For we under the Law of faith, the law of liberty, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (Rom. 3:27, 8:2, James 1:25).
I never said that the Apostles were sinners though the Day of Atonement ceases with Christ, and atonement and reconciliation is in Him. The Atonement that the Apostles had by Christ in person, repentance with John, and the sacrifices in the Temple have ceased.
As you can see, I agree with the same scriptures that you do, but I do not understand the difference between us other than you have reservation on behalf of John’s baptism and baptism in Jesus’ name regarding the forgiveness of sins and covenant. With all this, I don’ t understand your point or where you are going.
The point being made here Scott, that John was sent by Christ to bring a message to prepare a people for him, John preached the kingdom being at hand and he baptized them FOR remission of sin unto repentance. We are baptized in the name of Christ under the new covenant FOR the remission of sin. Do you see any difference in how those living under the law who obeying the teachings of John and us today? I ask you several times did John’s baptism give remission of sin. I ask you if John’s baptism was from heaven. You haven’t answered these questions…Remember, John decreased and Christ increased. Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
I want you to see the apostles were not like the 12 you spoke of in Acts 19. Those 12 were not aware of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and were still following after John’s baptism. John decreased already and Paul knew this and this is why he baptized the 12 again.
I did answer these verbatim saying, “The Law is also from heaven, and certainly was the baptism of John and the baptism in Jesus’ name.” Also I said, “For the scriptures show that John’s baptism was of repentance unto the forgiveness under the Old Testament.” Your questions were certainly answered.
I don’t disagree with anything that you just said in the last comment. Are you agreeing or presenting a contrast? I don’t know.
May God bless you.
Hi Again Scott and thank you for your reply.
I want to say that John and Jesus was living under the law as everyone at that time but John’s baptism was not of the Law. You can’t read that it was ever of that Law. Jesus ask some if John’s baptism was from heaven or man. I believe it was from heaven, don’t you?
Jesus died to bring in the new and living way which freed us from the law of sin and death through obedience to Christ. Read Hebrews 10:1-9 . They that were living under the law at that time and even before were held in bondage to that law until Christ Died , was buried and resurrected, See the point? In Rom. 8:2-4 we read- For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Under the law they had to offer up sacrafices yearly for sin regardless if they had commited any sin or not. And it just stayed their sin for a year.
Jesus taught the same as John taught while on earth that the kingdom was at hand, plus some to the apostles. Yes, John preached while living under the law the same as Christ did but they were teaching something different than the law. Jesus taught one must be born again to enter into the kingdom and so did John. The following into the regeneration took place when Christ arose and came into his kingdom or else we would have to say they were left without any law. The apostles followed Christ into his kingdom is what that means or else we would have to say he picked sinners to go preach to the world. Jesus prayed to the Father that they be one even as he and the Father are one. Read ( John 17:12-24).
The new testament is his blood which he shed for many. Hebrews 8:13 says: In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away. Heb.12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
We are always learning through our studies and this doesn’t mean we are sinful but continung to grow in knowlwdge :)
I read your discussion above and I have a question.
Is it possible that John’s baptism was not in affect any longer and Christ was risen already when the 12 in Acts 19 said they were baptized of John’s baptism? And do you believe the apostles had to be re-baptized also besides the 120 on the day of Pentecost? If so, then do you believe that John’s baptism wasn’t for the remission of sin unto repentance?
These are great questions and worthy of consideration. Yes, John’s baptism was not in affect anymore after Jesus was resurrected. The Scriptures are very clear about that. Jesus taught His baptism after His resurrection (Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19). For the scriptures show that John’s baptism was of repentance unto the forgiveness under the Old Testament. Acts 19 also shows this. The Apostles would certainly have needed to be immersed in Christ’s name, because this is an essential part of the Gospel that they taught to obey the death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Rom. 6:3-7). These scriptures teach that it is impossible for someone to be saved without obeying the Gospel, so the Apostles have had to been re-baptized though baptized for the first time in Jesus’ name and a part of His new covenant. Yet, the Scriptures do not specifically speak of when the Apostles were immersed in Christ’s name. Though we read that Paul was (Acts 22:16). Peter also spoke of the necessity of baptism in Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21. Yes, the Apostles had to be re-baptized like these in Acts 19.
God bless you,
Thanks Scott for your reply.
If the purpose of John’s baptism was for remission of sin, then wouldn’t it be wise to say the apostles were already saved since John was sent by Christ to prepare a people for him and this is how the apostles followed Christ into the regeneration? Now Jesus told them to go preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. Christ told them the Holy Ghost would guide them into all truth and show them things to come.
Wouldn’t you think these were already prepare for the Lord by John’s preaching to repent and baptizing them for the kingdom of heaven was at hand? They followed Christ up until his death and even after and they were told to go wait in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding you here but are you saying these had to be re-baptized because they were yet sinners?
Remember Jesus had power to forgive sins too while he was alive on earth……..
Things to consider….John’s baptism=remission of sins
Baptism in the name of Christ=remission of sin .
Who sent John and for what purpose?
I don’t understand what you mean by “the apostles followed Christ into the regeneration”. The regeneration is to be spiritually born again by which is through baptism in Jesus’ name.
Yes, I absolutely agree that Jesus forgave while on earth, but if all forgiveness needed not the blood of Christ, then He died in vain. John’s baptism was not the end all nor was Jesus coming in the flesh. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection changed everything. Jesus met the righteous requirement of the law and made a way through the death that man deserves and provided life through Him by His resurrection.
John’s baptism was under the Old Testament and only for the Jews. Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, and Act 19:4 show that this baptism was a “baptism of repentance” since they had show deeds worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8). John the Baptist simply prepared the way (John 1:19-28).
Repentance precedes baptism in Jesus’ name was not only for forgiveness of past sins, but for all to enter the Church, to continue in grace for forgiveness by walking in the light and confessing sins unto God. John’s baptism was not the burial of the Gospel, but rather Jesus’ baptism was that burial, an essential part of the Gospel by which we are saved. I think my last comment show the necessity of baptism in Jesus’ name to obey the Gospel of Christ for which Christ’s Apostles are no exception nor any Jew baptized by John as seen by Acts 19.
Is there a passage that you find that contradicts this conclusion? I will certainly honestly consider.
Also Scott, consider Mal. 3rd chapter. John was that messenger.
I want to add that all the other scripture I have read in regards to Baptism DOES state that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. I find it confusing that one part of the Bible contradicts all of the others related to baptism. Before I knew him, my husband taught Acts and he insists it is not a requirement to be saved yet in my heart I believe it is necessary. Do different versions of the Bible say different things about it? I was raised without Christ and did not go to church until my son came to me crying that he did not know who he was because all his friends were Lutheran, Catholic, etc. We went that Sunday to church and the rest is beautiful history. I was baptized but they wanted my son to be an adult/teen fully understanding what he was doing. He will be Baptized the Sunday after Christmas.
Thanks for your comments and questions. You bring up some important things to consider.
Different translations do say different things. The Bible is not contradicting itself. Many people want to change the Bible and that causes problems that look like contradictions. My NIV says, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” Your study Bible may change this since it is Bible with a man’s interpretation.
Kay, some bible translations are interpretations from the original languages and some are just translations of the words. I want the words since Jesus said that His words are spirit and life (John 6:63) and those words will judge us (John 12:47-48). Good translations that seek to translate words are the King James, New King James, American Standard, New American Standard, English Standard, and more. I encourage you to use these. The English Standard is easy to read. I think you will like that one.
Some people do teach that water baptism in Jesus’ name is not necessary for salvation. We must always honestly read Jesus’ words. What did Jesus say about baptism? You can clearly see for yourself about baptism. Through the book of Acts, Christians were baptized immediately to be saved. I encourage everyone to do the same. Also, remember that obeying Jesus is necessary for salvation (Heb. 5:9, Matt. 7:21), so since Jesus commanded baptism then it is necessary for salvation.
Please, don’t be a certain type of Christian from a certain type of church. Just be a Christian. Christians only follow Christ and the words His Spirit gave us in the Bible. Christians shouldn’t have denomination churches that divide us (1 Co. 1:10ff, Gal. 5:20).
I love to hear of baptisms. I appreciate you sharing yours and your sons, and I know the angels rejoice. Be sure that the baptism is immersion in water since original word “baptizo” means immersion and in the Bible everyone went down into the water to be buried in water (Acts 8:38, Rom. 6:3-6). Be sure that the baptism is clearly in Jesus’ name and into the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Be sure that there is no extra stuff added like being baptized into a certain church rather than into the Church of Jesus Christ.
I’d love to continue this discussion anytime here.
May God bless you with love, joy, and peace in Christ.
Years later, I found this comment. Thank you. You will be pleased to know we were both baptized with full immersion – also not into a church but the Church of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you as well in the same.
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God bless you, Kay. This is wonderful to hear.