ESV - 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
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I shudder to see people spend such great energies trying to wrest Scripture. Yes, without obeying Scripture, there's no salvation. The bible clearly and directly teaches that without baptism, and the general obedience that follows hearing the Word, there is no salvation. Mark 16:16, "He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved;" 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" Eph 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Mat 3:15, "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." If Jesus could travel about 40km to get to John for baptism, so that He could leave us an example, I dread to see people dice with death like this. People fight just about every directive in the bible, yet they still want to claim its promises. There is the case of the thief on the cross - he was saved because of two principles at work. One, he had no time to be baptised, but you and I have. Two, God is Sovereign, He's not answerable to man or to any being, animate or inanimate. And He exercised that Sovereignty in the case of the thief. He has also commanded that we baptise all who believe - that's the bible's teaching. Matt 28:18-19 There's no single case in the bible where anyone accepted the teaching of the apostles, then went without being baptised as a saved person. None whatsoever. EVERYONE who believed was baptised - by full immersion in water. A. Acts 8:38, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." B. Acts 10:46-48, "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." C. Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:" D. Acts 8:12, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." E. Acts 9:18, "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized." (Paul himself was baptised, after Jesus was resurrected). I could go on and on. Yet there's no single incident where anyone was accepted into the faith any other way other than through baptism. In the final analysis, we have the power to choose God's way or ours. And the consequences follow our choices. For those who will enter unto the Kingdom, please follow the example of Jesus. It costs you nothing. And obey the Word. Bless.
In my view to fully answer the question, 2 questions arise that must be answered. The first one is what does one need to do in order to be saved or to get salvation? The second is what is baptism and what is its role in salvation? One is saved only through believing and accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour. We are called upon to accept the sacrifice that Christ paid for us on the cross. His death in our place takes away our sins makes us holy and righteous befor God - only if we claim it and confess our sins and repent. Baptism on the other hand is a public testament that I have accepted Christ as my Saviour, He has cleansed me from sin and I am a new creature. By being immersed in water I am accepting Christ's death on my behalf and I am raised to the newness of life. That is why Paul symbolises as washing away of sin. However I must point out that baptism is a public proclamation of that which has ALREADY happened. If you have not accepted Christ, confessed and repented of your sins before an ordained pastor immerses you in water, there is no miracle that is going to happen in the water. You going into the water a dry sinner and come out a wet sinner! I emphasize that baptism is an outward show of a decision that has been taken by a soul. Salvation comes about as a result of conscious decisions between a soul and the Holy Spirit. It is a prerogative of every Christian to be baptised and join the body of believers, the chruch. This body has publicly proclaimed that they have forsaken the world, accepted Christ and living a life modelled on Christ. There will be insatences where a believer does not get the opportunity to be baptised, this does not preclude him/ her from salvation. As stated salvation has already been freely given when the soul is justified by God. The thief on the cross is a case in point. For those of us who have opportunity to be baptised we must make it a point that we are baptised, this is a directive from the bible. We must not be found wanting in this regard.
Faith in God: "But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31) [See also Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17; and James 2:24 Repentance from Sin: "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30) [See also Luke 24:46-47; Acts 2:38] Confession of Faith in Christ: "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven," (Matthew 10:32) [See also 1 Timothy 6:12; Romans 10:9-10] Baptism for the Remission of Sins: "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name." (Acts 22:16) And Peter said to them, “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 2:38) [See also Romans 6:2-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:26-27; Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21] Walking in Obedience: “He that says, I know him, and yet does not keep His commandments, is a liar, the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4) [See also Matthew 7:21; James 2:14, 24; John 3:36; 1 Thess 1:3; and 2 Peter 1:10-11] Where are you in your walk with God?
I totally agree with Mr. Houdmann, that Context is everything in the study of what Scripture is saying.Pulling out one verse without seeing all the surrounding verses and other Scripture related to the subject can cause us to lose the true meaning of the Scripture. As to this whole discussion of Physical Baptism being necessary for the completion of Salvation, it seems we can go back to John 3, and see what Jesus says brings about entering or seeing The Kingdom of God. Jesus cut to the point immediately, that a Spiritual Transformation must take place for one to be Saved or in the Jewish mind enter into the Kingdom of God. Jesus took Nicodemus straight from all the Physical trappings of physical rituals and ceremonies and sacrifices to the fact one must be Spiritually Born Again to be saved. We must see this as Truth in everything related to Salvation. It is the Spiritual Work of what the Godhead[ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ] does inside us that brings Salvation, not anything of Physical ritual, ceremonial or acts. Water Baptism is obedience, just as praying without ceasing and scripture reading and service and giving and all the other things we do Because we are Saved. It is not the Cause of Salvation. Being Born Again is the CAUSE, enacted by God. Everything else is the effects or results of this Spiritual Supernatural Change that are part of working out your salvation Paul writes about in Philippians 2:12 that comes from being Spiritually Dead to being made Alive.
Being "baptized into Christ" is not a one time thing, this scripture points to being "fully immersed" into Christ. This is done by the "washing of the water by the Word" which should be a constant ongoing thing in a Christians life. Many denominations call this "Sanctification." There are many "baptisms" in the new testament. It would be wise to spend some careful time in hermeneutics before adding the word "in water" to every reference to "baptism."
What does the Bible mean when it speaks of baptism or being baptized? Unless it specifically mentions water, or the context indicates it is speaking of water baptism, don't assume water baptism is the only choice. Look at 1 Corinthians 10: "1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;" Those who were with Moses were the ones who stayed dry. The Egyptians were the ones who got wet. Look at how we use the words baptism or immersion. A soldier is said to undergo a "baptism of fire" when he is in his first actual battle. We can be "immersed" in a book (our focus is on it, to the exclusion of other things). Baptism in the scripture may mean being immersed in water, but it can also refer to other things. Look at Acts 1:5 "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.". A specific contrast between the external ceremony of water baptism and being baptized in the Holy Spirit (the second not requiring any water).
Lest we forget (and we most assuredly do forget, or do not understand in the first place), not everyone Paul ministered to was a Gentile. Many of those he witnessed to were Jews who had accepted grace through faith, but were stumbling along with remembrances from Judaism. Doesn't mean they got "lost," just that they were drifting. Who is Paul addressing here? _____ (fill in the blank). 3:27 For as many of you that entered into Spiritual Union with Messiah have put on Messiah. Now there is neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, there is no male and female, for (all of you who received Messiah as Savior by Grace through Faith) are all one in Messiah Jesus.
"Does Galatians 3:27 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?" Baptism is an illustration of salvation; ultimately it is salvation. "Baptism"/ "baptism in water" was spoken by Jesus in parable. It simply meant the death and resurrection of the soul (the elects'/ the "dead in Christ"). "Born again" simply meant "resurrection": a change from the state of being mortal to spiritual being. Jesus died and was resurrected to everlasting life -- so too His followers shall be in the same manner: "born again".
We were in our baptism translated "into Christ;" our voluntary act of faith brought us under such operation of Divine grace as made the rite effectual for the transcendent change which the expression indicates; for it is abundantly apparent that a spiritual transition such as this cannot be wrought by a man's own volition or action, but only by the hand of God; as John testifies (John 1:13) Having accepted Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and relying on him alone for justification and salvation, we become the sons of God. But no outward forms or profession can secure these blessings; for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Rom. 8:9). In baptism we put on Christ; in that respect we profess to be his disciples. Being baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death, that as he died and rose again, so we should die unto sin, and walk in newness and holiness of life. The putting on of Christ according to the gospel, consists not in outward imitation, but in a new birth, an entire change.
Here is what the Bible tells us that baptism does from Romans. Romans 6:3-11, "3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our LORD."
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