Can A Person Be Taught Wrong, Yet Immersed Scripturally?
John the Immerser taught the people that they must repent of their sins - one of the conditions of receiving the remission of sins (Matthew 3:1,2; Luke 3:7-14). In Matthew 3:7-9, John the Immerser refused to immerse some people. Why?
The text implies that certain Jews must show fruits of repentance as an essential prerequisite before they are legitimate candidates to undergo the baptism of John (Mark 1:4). One of the essential conditions of the present plan of salvation, repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30), must be shown prior to being immersed for the remission of his sins. The same holds true of the Christian dispensation. If a person refuses to transform his/her life of sin, then that person will not have a scriptural immersion.
[NOTE: For example, there are those who teach a false doctrine in marriage, divorce, and remarriage, that is exemplified when a person who is involved in an adulterous marriage (Matthew 19:9; Colossians 3:5) can be immersed and the sin of adultery is supposedly washed away. If this person does not intend to dissolve this adulterous union, then he/she cannot be scripturally immersed.]
In Acts 19:1-7, Paul came to Ephesus and met twelve men who had received the baptism of John after it had terminated (John’s baptism was valid until the law of Christ was in effect beginning in Acts 2; read also Hebrews 9:15-17). John's baptism also looked forward to the One (Jesus the Messiah) who would come after him (Acts 19:4]. It was forward looking in its approach; but after the gospel of Jesus had come into effect on the Day of Pentecost, then the looking forward focus of John's baptism became null and void since Jesus and His terms/conditions for salvation had already come. John's baptism was no longer acceptable. The “about twelve men” in Ephesus give us a clear case that if one is taught incorrectly and baptized, their baptism is not acceptable and they must be re-baptized!
In order for one to be baptized biblically, according to the terms/conditions of Christ, he/she must know why he/she is being baptized - and it must be according to the teaching of Christ (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12). Clearly, if a person believes that he is saved before being baptized, his faith is not according to the teaching of Christ. If a person has not repented but has been baptized, his baptism is not according to the teaching of Christ. We must understand, repentance is a matter of faith, confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is a matter of faith; and being baptized in order to have our sins forgiven is a matter of faith (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Therefore, a person who has the faith that he is already saved BEFORE he is baptized is a person who does not have the faith that is according to the teaching of Christ (faith in the working of God of cutting away the sins at the burial, Colossians 2:11-12). He who is taught and believes in the doctrine of man (faith only) cannot be baptized right according to the doctrine of God. Those who would fellowship of those baptized in a denomination under a false plan of salvation and welcome them into the body of Christ, are causing such a one to continue in his sins, and doing great harm to the body of Christ (2 John 1:9-11). They are not “into” the true body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
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