The Lord Jesus told us that Satan, “is a liar and the father of it.” The enemy of our souls is also called “the wicked one,” and “a deceiver,” and a “murderer.” The desires of the devil are only evil continually. For 6000 years he has been deceiving mankind with lies. He started in the garden of Eden by deceiving Eve into rebellion against God. Since that time he has used many different lies to fool, trick, and deceive countless numbers of Adam’s sinful race.
For example, many have believed that true happiness can be found in earthly possessions, or in lustful pursuits, only to find out too late it was a lie. Young people seeking popularity and acceptance end up addicted to drugs, tobacco, or immoral pleasures, only to find also too late that they have been deceived. But there is a greater lie of the devil that affects multitudes in our community and many millions around the world.
THE GREAT DECEPTION
What is this great deception, that the Evil One has been telling and retelling for about 1600 years? Various groups tell it in slightly different ways, but the results and the meaning are the same. The lie that condemns millions is this: “Baptism washes away sins,” or “Baptism saves” or “Baptism makes one a Christian.” The central idea of this deception is, that by being baptized you become a child of God, a Christian. [NOTE. Sinners will die and go to hell because they are sinners, not for anything that the devil might do. We are here emphasizing the lie that gives to them a false hope of heaven.]
YES, my Friend, untold millions of men, women, and young people will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire because they have been deceived concerning baptism. Satan has deceived them. I pray that you will not be one of them. Please read this article for the sake of your eternal soul. There is still time for you to find the truth of God’s Holy Word. These victims of Satan’s deception think that they are ready to meet God. In reality, however, they only have religious works, which can never survive God’s righteous judgment. For God’s Holy Word says; “There is none righteous, no, not one.”1 “and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”2
How has Satan been able to deceive so many? There are several reasons, only two of which I will explain in this article. FIRST, consider that he has been spreading the same lie for 1600 years. It is well known that if something (even untrue) is told and retold often enough, it will be generally accepted as truth. This is the key to the success of propaganda in many non-democratic countries. And SECONDLY, he spreads his false teaching by religious teachers and organizations, those that are assumed to “know the truth.”
From the very beginning of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Satan has been busy perverting God’s message of salvation by grace alone. The Apostle Paul, by inspiration, wrote the following to the believers in Galatia only about 20 years after Christ:
“…but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”3
No one can say with certainty exactly where or when was the first time someone taught, ‘baptism for salvation.’ But it is sure that none of the apostles believed such a doctrine. For it was not generally accepted until the fourth or fifth century. In other words this perversion of the gospel was unknown to Christ, the inspired apostles, and almost all Christianity for 300 years. As sin always does, it grew little by little until it was only the minority [Our Baptist (Annabaptist) ancestors] who still believed and practiced the truth, for which they were severely persecuted.
With the beginning of the “Roman Catholic Church,” about 400 years after Christ, this doctrine really took root. After people began believing that baptism was necessary for salvation, the next step was obvious: infant baptism. After all, no one wants babies who die to go to hell. Baptism of babies is nowhere taught in the Bible, nor was it ever thought of by the apostles. But because it has been practiced by “good” people for so long it is accepted without any thought or examination of God’s Word.
Even after the great Reformation, when many came out of the Church of Rome and started the various Protestant denominations, the practice of infant baptism was retained. Most of these denominations, which started out with good intentions, failed to go far enough in pursuit of God’s truth, and have since regressed to the same false teaching, namely, that “One becomes a Christian by baptism.” It is a sad truth that many who are reading this have been deceived. May God grant to you grace to see His glorious truth. I say this because I have talked to hundreds of such persons through the years. Because these groups officially teach that “baptism does impart grace” it is called a “sacrament.” Even though this term is not found in God’s Word, it is used by Rome and all who came out of her.
My Friend, I am not seeking to quarrel or to cause strife unnecessarily. Rather I am compelled because of LOVE – My love, both for the truth of God and for you. God, by His grace, has given to me the truth of His Holy Word, and I could not claim love to Him nor to you if I do not seek to warn you that you are in eternal danger of losing your soul. I am aware that this is contrary to what you have been taught. I know that you may not want to hear it now. But again, I plead with you, for your soul’s sake to read on and ask God to reveal to you His truth.
Many quote from the Bible to try to prove this false doctrine. I remind you, my Friend, that Satan also quoted the Bible when tempting Eve and when tempting our Lord Jesus.
Let us now examine this teaching and compare it to the Holy Scriptures. Does the Bible teach us that Baptism is part of the Gospel? And “does it make one a Christian?” The Bible says;
“Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.”4
“Try the spirits whether they are of God.”5
We need therefore to examine this teaching, to determine if it is of God, or not. Our Lord Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”6 It is my prayer and desire that you, dear Reader, might know the truth and be set free by God’s grace.
Space does not allow me to give all of the variation of this satanic deception. All are agreed on one thing, that when one is “properly baptized” they become a member of the Lord’s Church and are part of the family of God. Many times I have asked different people the question, “If you died in the next five minutes, do you know for certain that you would go to heaven, and why do you think so?” One woman said, “Oh yes.” Then she proceeded to show me her baptismal certificate. Countless others will say something like, “O yes, I have been baptized.”
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY?
Many Bible verses are referred to in attempting to justify this doctrine such as, Romans 6:3,5; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16 among others. If you will look at these verses you will notice that in some of them baptism is not mentioned at all. It is read into the text with preconceived ideas. Not one of these verses nor any in the entire Bible teaches nor gives an example of infants being baptized. I confess that a couple of these texts taken out of context and not studied in the light of the rest of the clear teaching of the Holy Scriptures may seem to agree with this false doctrine. BUT, NOT ONE BIBLE VERSE INTERPRETED GRAMATICALLY IN IT’S CONTEXT TEACHES THAT ONE BECOMES A CHILD OF GOD AT HIS/HER BAPTISM.
I only have the space to give one example of how Satan and his apostles pervert the Bible. [If you would like to discuss any of the other texts, please call or write, and I will be glad to do so.]
Part of 1 Peter 3:21 is often cited in support. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” The entire verse is seldom read. Nor is the context fully examined, for that would reveal the abuse of this wonderful verse. Allow me to give to you the whole of verses 20 and 21. “20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto (even) baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
Peter here gives two “figures” or illustrations of our salvation in Jesus Christ. In verse 20 is the “figure” of Noah and the other seven souls saved in the ark through the water. Verse 21 is a “like figure.” That is, another type or illustration of our salvation in Jesus Christ, namely baptism. Just as the ark of Noah’s time was a picture of salvation in Jesus, so is baptism a picture. We are not literally saved by baptism. It is a “figure.” To remove all doubt Peter by inspiration says that, baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.” It is only the “answer of a good conscience toward God.” It is an act of obedience for one who is already a child of God by the grace of God in Jesus by faith. Go back to verse 18 and read that Jesus Christ is the One Who “hath once suffered (died) for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” This is the same truth taught throughout the New Testament concerning baptism. It is only a picture of our salvation in Jesus Christ, through His death, burial and resurrection. [This is why the only acceptable, Biblical method of baptism is that of believers by immersion.]
We could just as easily rightly explain every verse of Holy Scriptures used in support of this false doctrine. Allow me to use another line of reasoning to show you the truth of God.
If baptism does indeed make a sinner into a “child of God,” then how can we explain the multitude of “baptized Christians” who are drunkards, adulterers, murderers, child abusers, homosexuals and such like? Can a person have hope of truly being a child of God and spend his or her life filled with covetousness, envy, hatred, and pride? NO! For the Bible very plainly says:” Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,”7
This inspired text plainly teaches three very important truths.
1. REGENERATION (ie. The New Birth) is the work of God.
2. REGENERATION is abiding, that is, it is permanent.
3. REGENERATION will manifest itself in a changed life.
Allow me briefly to examine each of these points. First, notice that it says, “born OF God.” This truth should be self evident and obvious. No one gives birth to himself. The Bible is very clear that we are by nature spiritually dead, and can do nothing to please God until He gives us life. “But God . . . Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”8 and “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”9 The power to make dead sinners alive and the children of God, is not in the hands of men. Sinners must be made alive of God.
Secondly, regeneration is permanent. By this I mean that what God begins He finishes. Notice our text from John’s Epistle, “His seed remaineth in him.” Again this should not only be self evident, but also taught throughout God’s Word. When a sinner, dead in sins, is made alive by the Holy Spirit of God, He receives the very life of God. He has eternal life. The apostle Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”10
Thirdly, the regenerating work of God will manifest itself by righteousness. Note the words, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Peter says that those who have been born of God are “partakers of the divine nature.”11 This is why John said that there is a manifest difference between “the children of God” and “the children of the devil.” Not that the children of God are instantly perfect or sinless. No, for the same John wrote only shortly before, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.”12 But a person who claims to be a child of God and still has the same old sinful desires, attitudes, and habits is deceiving himself. The Bible says, “Now the works of the flesh (the human nature) are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do (habitually) such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”13 Therefore if someone claims to be a child of God but still has a life characterized by sin, they have been deceived. Read it again, “Whosoever is born of God doth NOT COMMIT SIN.” This describes multitudes of “baptized Christians.” Thus proving that baptism does not make one a child of God.
THE TRUTH OF GOD
Has Satan deceived you? You can not become a child of God by the works of men, nor by your own efforts. As Jesus said to a very religious man, “Ye must be born again.”14 Baptism cannot make you a Christian. Neither the “church,” the “priest” or “pastor,” nor good intentions can do what is the Work of God alone. Please read this one last Bible text. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”15 We become the sons of God by being born of God. It is NOT of blood. Your family does not matter. It is NOT of the flesh. You can not do good works to earn it. It is NOT of the will of men. No man has the power nor the authority to make you a child of God. You must be made alive by the sovereign power of God’s Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ.
Right now, dear Reader, won’t you turn from your sin and selfish pride and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of your soul? I urge you not to rest until you are sure that you are a child of God by His working. Cast away all hope of religion. Cast out any trust in yourself. Cry out to Jesus Christ, Who died for sinners. As we already read from Peter, that Jesus Christ is the one Who “hath once suffered (died) for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” Right now I urge you to cast yourself in faith upon Him.