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All About
Water
Baptism


by Herbert W. Armstrong


       Is WATER baptism essential to salvation? What about the “thief on the cross”? Was he saved without it?

       What is the proper form, or mode — sprinkling, pouring or immersion?

       Should babies and children be baptized?

       Suppose you were baptized by a minister you have since lost confidence in. Should you be baptized over again?

       Suppose you were baptized “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost [Spirit].” Should you be baptized again “in the name of Jesus” only?

       Should one be baptized IMMEDIATELY, or only “after a six months’ probation”? Must the ordinance be performed by an ordained minister?

 
W  
E ARE saved by GRACE, and through FAITH — make no mistake about that; but — there are conditions!

       And millions are being deceived, misled into think­ing they are saved, when they are not!
       People have been taught, falsely, that “Christ com­pleted the Plan of Salvation on the Cross” — when actually it was only begun there. The popular denomina­tions have taught, “Just
BELIEVE — that’s all there is to it; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are that instant saved!
       That teaching is false! And because of deception — because the
TRUE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ has been all but blotted out, lo these 1900 years by the preaching of a false gospel about the Person of Christ — and often a false Christ at that — millions today WORSHIP CHRIST and all in vain! “In vain do they worship me,” said Jesus, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-9).
       Man is mortal. Man has no immortality inherent within himself. Christ Jesus, only, of all men who have lived, has immortality (I Tim. 6:16). The penalty of sin is
DEATH — the second, or eternal, death, from which there will be no resurrection. And ALL have sinned and come under this sentence. Only GOD has eter­nal life inherent in Himself (John 5:26) — only GOD has eternal life to give. And as the Father has life in — inherent in — Himself, so has He given to the Son, Christ, to have immortal life inherent within Himself. And through Christ, God gives it to us (I John 5:11-12) — and whoever has not Christ has not eternal life. Eternal life is a GIFT no man has until he receives it as GODS GIFT (Rom. 6:23).
       The
BLOOD of Christ does not finally save any man. The death of Christ did pay the penalty of sin in our stead — it wipes the slate clean of past sins — it saves us merely from the DEATH PENALTY — it removes that which separated us from God and reconciles us to God.
       But we are
SAVED — that is, given immortal life — by Christ’s LIFE, not by His death (Rom. 5:10). Christ is a living Saviour! He is not dead — He rose from the dead! We could never be saved by His blood alone, if He had not risen from the dead (I Cor. 15:17-18).
       We are mortal, without immortal life inherent in us, under penalty of eternal
DEATH from sin — unless saved. To be saved, we must be born of God, who is a Spirit. We were born of human parents, and therefore we are human — flesh — dust — of the earth, earthy (John 3:3, 6; Gen. 2:7; 3:19; I Cor. 15:47-49). To be born of God, we must, first, now in this life, receive the impregnating LIFE — the Holy Spirit — from God. We are then merely begotten, spiritually — comparing to an unborn human babe still in its mother’s womb — not yet really BORN. We then become merely HEIRS of the Kingdom — not yet inheritors.
       Becoming converted means being
CHANGED. When one receives the Holy Spirit of God, his whole viewpoint, his outlook, his purposes, goals, ways of thought — everything — becomes CHANGED! It is a renewing of the MIND — the Spirit of a sound mind. But he is as yet merely begotten. And, as the unborn babe must be fed, through the mother, and must develop and grow physi­cally before it can be born, so the converted human, now spiritually begotten, must be fed on the spiritual food of GODS WORD, and must GROW SPIRITUALLY — must grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ as He reveals His knowledge through His Word (II Peter 3:18). He must OVERCOME the down-pull of his human nature and achieve self-discipline. He must learn PATIENCE, must grow in LOVE, FAITH, and UNDERSTANDING. He must do the WORKS of Christ; and, in this spiritual growth — this life of active service — he must ENDURE persecutions and afflictions and trials UNTO THE END.
       It is only those who, during this Christian Spirit-begotten life, have grown in knowledge and grace, have overcome, have developed spiritually, done the works of Christ, and endured unto the end, who shall finally be given
IMMORTALITY — finally changed from mortal to IMMORTAL at the time of the second coming of Christ (I Cor. 15:53-54).
       So, being, as we say, converted — receiving the Holy Spirit of God — is merely the beginning! Then begins a lifetime of
LIVING under the GOVERNMENT OF GOD — by God’s laws which express His will, instead of by self-will and desire.
       A
PERSON IS NOT EVEN BEGOTTEN OF GOD UNLESS HE IS CHRISTS (I John 5:12). AND HE IS NOT CHRISTS UNLESS HE HAS RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT (Rom. 8:9). One is not even converted — spiritually begotten — not even STARTED on the way to final salvation, unless and until he RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM GOD!
       The question, then — how to make the first
BEGIN­NING of becoming a Christian — how to START on the Christian life — which leads to eternal life — is how to thus be CHANGED and receive God’s Holy Spirit!


                                                                 
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Source: “Introduction”, pp. 3-8 in booklet:
All About Water Baptism
by Herbert W. Armstrong, © 1948, 1954, 1972.

(To be continued . . .)


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