BAP-07 - Some Things Baptism Won't Do
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The apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins,”
In this series of lessons we've stressed the essentiality of baptism.
But today, we want to take a slightly different approach. Today we ask the
question: What will baptism not do?
I hope you'll get your Bible as we consider this subject together.
The Scripture teaches that when, by faith, one repents of his sins and
confesses Jesus as the Son of God, then he is baptized into Christ for the
remission of sins. All past sins of that person have been forgiven. Acts
2:38, Baptism is for the remission of sins. Acts 22:16 Saul was told, “Arise
and be baptized and have a sins washed away.”
There's no doubt baptism will forgive a person of past sins. The Bible
teaches that baptism will add someone to the Lord's church. Acts 2:47
teaches those who gladly received His word and were baptized the Lord
added to the church daily those who were being saved. By one spirit are all
baptized into one body, 1 Corinthians 12:13. The Scriptures teach that
baptism will put a person into Christ. Romans 6:1-4 and Galatians 3:27 “As
many of us as were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with
Christ.” The Scriptures clearly teach that a person is saved. It will save a
person. Baptism will save a person from sin. “Baptism does now also save
us,” 1 Peter 3:21.
But today we want to consider: What are some things baptism will not
Let's realize first of all that baptism in and of itself cannot save a
person who doesn't believe and won't repent. We want to stress that we're
not saying baptism is some magical mysterious act that in and of itself
removes sin. We're not saying there's something magical in the water, that
there's some potion, or that baptism is some magical talisman that you can
just run to when things happen. That's not the idea. Baptism alone will not
save someone who's not willing to believe and repent.
Let's say that somebody comes in off the street. They say, ‘We
realize this is the church here, and we heard that you baptized folks.’ We
say, ‘Yes. Right! To baptize people for the remission of sins.’ They say,
‘Well we don't really know much about the Bible, and we really don't know
much about Christ. We think we better get baptized anyway.’
Are we going to baptize that person? We'll say to him, ‘Do you
believe?’ They say, ‘Believe in what?’ We'll say to them, ‘Are you willing to
repent?’ They say, ‘What's that mean?’ Are you going just take me baptism
in hopes that it might work? Of course not!
Baptism without belief, confession, and repentance preceding it will
not save a person. We don't believe nor do we teach there's anything
mystical or magical in the water. If the salvation was in the water, I would
never get out of it. Would you? I want to make sure that somehow I stayed
in the water of baptism until the Lord came. If that's where the salvation is
something mystical or magical in the water- that's not the case.
For baptism to be effective as God plan it must be preceded by belief
and confession and repentance. Must a person believe in Christ to be
baptized? Absolutely! Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I'm He you'll
surely die in your sin.”
Now think about this example with me. Do you remember the
Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8? Philip and Ethiopian eunuch are traveling in
his chariot down the road back. As he's going back to Ethiopia and he's
been taught about Christ and somehow he gets to the point: How to get
into Christ through baptism. The Ethiopian eunuch in the distance says,
‘Look here's water! What hinders me?’ Here was the hindrance: ‘If you
believe with all your heart, you may,’ Acts 8:36-38.
What about repentance? Is repentance also essential to be saved?
And does it precede baptism? Absolutely! In Luke 3 certain Jewish elite,
they came out to Jesus. They said to they came out to be baptized by
John. The reason is just because everybody else is doing it. And so John
said to them in Luke 3:5-8, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee
from the wrath to come?” Then he said this, “Bring forth fruits worthy of
repentance.” These people wanted to be baptized, because everybody else
was doing it. They hadn't repented. What did John say? ‘Nope! I'm not
baptizing you until you've proved by your actions, until you stop living a life
of sin, and bring forth fruits of repentance. It would do you no good to be
Baptism alone will not do anything. It must be preceded by belief in
Christ. It must be preceded by repentance, a desire to change one's life.
And it must be preceded by confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of
the living God.
Now let's think about some other things that baptism will not do.
Friend let's also realize that baptism in and of itself, a baptism will not
remove the physical consequences of sin. I want you to think about this for
just a moment. The Bible teaches no doubt David committed a great sin
against God when he sinned with Bathsheba. David was forgiven of that
sin, Psalm 32:5, and 2 Samuel 12:9-14, of his adulterous relationship with
Bathsheba the Scripture teaches God washed them thoroughly of his sin.
He was cleansed of that sin. Did David being forgiven mean that there were
no longer any consequences, physical consequences of that sin?
Such is not the case. David faced the death of his son. That young
son who came from that adulterous relationship, he died. Amnon and
Tamar, you've got David's son Amnon, and then you got the events with
Tamar. There was war and the strife that occurred because of what David
did. Were there physical consequences of strife between him and his son
Amnon and in between Tamar? Absolutely! Was there are problems with
Absalom? Because that, Absalom eventually murders Amnon his son and
flees. A lot of that goes right back to David's sin as the Scripture will point
out. You've got the treason of Absalom, you've got the death and the defeat
of Absalom, and so you've got the death of one son, the death of his older
son, problems with Amnon and Tamar, and a lot of that stemming directly
from a physical consequence of David's sin.
Friend baptism, listen carefully, does the Bible teach that baptism
washes away the spiritual consequences of sin? Absolutely! “Repent and
be baptized for the remission of sins.”
If one obeys the gospel becomes a Christian, and his sins are
washed away. Spiritually speaking he's been made clean again. He can
walk in newness of life, Romans 6:4. He's a new creature, 2 Corinthians
5:17, spiritually. But baptism is not going to remove every physical
consequence of sin.
Now let me give you some illustrations. Let's say that a person is a
murderer. Let's say they committed murder. Let's say they've committed
some heinous murder, and let's say after they commit that that they
realized ‘I've sinned. I've done wrong.’ They want to obey the gospel,
become a Christian, somebody teaches them the gospel, and they learn
about Christ. All their, even the sin of murder, all their sins are forgiven that
they repented of. They're baptized for the remission of sins. The moment
they're baptized does the jail cell open? Do they walk out? Well not quite.
They'll still have to suffer the physical consequences and serve their
sentence for that.
Think about this with me. As we think about someone suffering the
physical consequences, let's say that in one's previous life someone had
subjected their body to drug use over and over again. Finally, they reached
a low point. They realize this is wrong. I need Christ. I need to learn the
Bible. I need to go to heaven. They change their life. They repent. They
leave that life of drug abuse behind. They obey the gospel, become a
Christian. Have all their past sins been washed away? Absolutely! Spiritual
consequences have been negated the sin by the blood of Jesus.
Does that mean now the body's a hundred percent? They don't have
any effects of drug abuse? Of course not! They may have liver problems.
They may they're going to still have to deal with that a dependency that the
body had upon that the that resist that there may be other physical
consequences to go along with that.
Baptism does not remove the physical consequences that we may
have subjected ourselves to in a life of sin. Does it remove sin? Absolutely!
But there may be consequences physically to subjecting ourselves to sin,
which indeed is often harmful to the body itself.
Then let's think about this. As we think about some things baptism
will not do, let's also realize that baptism will not remove the temptation to
Don't get me wrong, becoming a Christian is an awesome thing.
Obeying the gospel and having every past sin forgiven is wonderful! But the
moment I think about this, now the moment I come out of the waters of
baptism is every sin or tempt is every temptation alleviated? Of course not!
Baptism is not going to remove every temptation to sin. It doesn't. You
know sometimes I think people think baptism is a cure-all. If I'm baptized,
it'll remove. I've lived this way, but if I'm baptized that'll take care of the
problem. No. Baptism is not. You're going to have help from God, you're
going to have help from other Christians, you're going to have the avenue
of prayer, and you will be a child of God.
You still have to resist temptation. Jesus was baptized in Mark 1:9-
13. The voice from heaven came down God said, “This is my beloved Son
in whom I'm well pleased, hear ye Him.” After His baptism was every
temptation removed? No. In fact it was actually heightened. Jesus then was
taken into the wilderness and was tempted greatly, sorely by the devil. With
everything devil threw everything he could at Jesus after His baptism.
Baptism didn't remove the temptation. It made Him right with God,
gave Him an avenue of help, but Jesus still had resist it.
Give you another example. What about Simon the sorcerer? Simon,
he's been a magician, a trickster all his life. He hears the gospel. He
realizes it's truth. He obeys that gospel. He's baptized for the remission of
his sins. Then, Simon for the very first time in his life sees a bona fide
miracle. Somebody's healed. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given, and
momentarily he reverts back to that lifestyle. Give me! I'll give you money if
you give me this power. Simon found himself in sin. Did being baptized
remove that temptation for Simon? No. He still had to learn to resist
temptation. And friend the same is true for every child of God. Is it the case
that I still have to resist the devil? Absolutely! 1 Peter 5:7-9 to Christians
Paul said, “Resist him steadfast in the faith knowing the same temptations
have been faced by brethren throughout the world.”
In fact- listen carefully- now don't get me wrong baptism puts one into
Christ. It washes away one's sins. Now that you’re a child of God, the battle
with Satan is most likely going to intensify. Let me explain.
Before, you were a child of the devil, John 8:44. The devil had you
right where he wanted you. He had his finger on you. He had you in his
group. You were in a lifestyle of sin. You were lost, and that's right where
he wanted you. You were under his control. Now you been severed from
Satan by obedience to the gospel. You're no longer a child of his. And I'll
assure you, he wants you back. He wants you to be back in his circle. He
wants you to do his things. He wants people to be lost and go to hell. And
so the devil is going to intensify, Ephesians 6:11, everything he can. He's
going to throw everything at you he's got. He's going to try to tempt you.
He's going to use every tool in his arsenal. He's like a roaring, raging lion, 1
But here's the good news again, you have the power in Christ to
resist him. You have help from God. You have the Avenue of prayer. You
have other Christians to help hold you accountable and to hold up your
arms and strengthen you. But friend I think sometimes the impression is
left, when I become a Christian ever temptation's going to cease to exist.
Baptism does not remove the temptation of sin. It's still there even
though I'm a Christian. And I have every right and need to resist it. I still
have to do my part in resisting temptation.
Another thing baptism will not do is it will not remove the memory, or
what will not better say as- the guilt of sin. When I'm baptized is my
memory of sin erased?
Well of course not! There is still guilt of sin, 1 Timothy chapter 1 or a
memory of it. 1 Timothy 1:12-16 Paul said he was ashamed after becoming
a Christian. Paul said he was still ashamed of his former live in rebellion
and disobedience to Christ. Memory of past sins can help us repeat those if
we're not careful. I've got to realize, ‘Hey I realize a life of sin. I know I've
been forgiven of that, but if I dwell on it and I'm consumed by it, I'm not
careful-I can be dragged back down into that again.’ So what we need is
and sometimes this is the hardest part, listen carefully-now does the Bible
teach that God has forgiven me of sin if I've obeyed the gospel? Absolutely!
Hebrews 8:12 God says this, “I'll be merciful to their sins and their lawless
deeds I'll remember no more.”
What I need to learn is if God is willing to forgive and forget I need to
learn to forgive myself. I need to learn to forget as well. Philippians 3:13-14
Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind.” There's the idea of
forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those
things which are ahead. “I press toward the goal of the upper prize of God
in Christ Jesus.” I've got to learn, hey am I going to realize there's things
I've done? Am I going to be able to forget those? No, but I've got to realize,
and I've got to learn from them. And I've got to learn to forget the things in
the past and stay focused on the things that are in the future.
And so, baptism is not a memory eraser. It's not going to erase the
things I've done in my past, although it does forgive me of those, and
although, I do have the strength now to reach forward, to look up to. “If then
you were raised with Christ seek those things which are above,” Colossians
Now friend let's realize this as well, because sometimes I think there
is confusion on the part of people concerning this: Baptism is not going to
remove the problems of life.
I think sometimes people think to themselves, ‘you know I've got a lot
of problems in my life right now.’ People with problems in their life need
God. People with problems in their life who've not obeyed the gospel need
to obey the gospel. I think somehow in there a connection is made. ‘I need
God. I need to obey the gospel; if I'll do that all my problems will
automatically be removed.’
Is God going to give you help to deal with your problems? Absolutely!
1 Corinthians 10:13 says this: “No temptation's overtaken us except such
as is common to men, but God is faithful, who with the temptation will also
make the way of escape that we can that we can bear it.” We can bear it
.We can endure it. We can overcome it.
The Bible doesn't teach that baptism is going to magically remove all
the problems of life. In fact the Scripture promises Christians that problems
and persecutions are going to come. Paul said in Acts 14:22, “We must
through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 2 Timothy 3:11-12
Paul said, “All who desire to live godly in Christ, Jesus will suffer
persecution.” So tribulation, persecution, and trouble is promised to come.
And some, the Bible says some, because of that may even fall a way. They
had they don't remain faithful.
Here's the good news: God, He's going to give us what we need to
endure. ‘My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. Let patience have
its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. If
any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and
without reproach and it will be given to him,” the Bible teaches. I can find
help. I can find wisdom. I can endure through the strength that God gives
As a child of God, the problems of life can never overcome, they
should never overcome, and they should never overshadow the joy of
I want you to look at this verse Romans 8:18. Paul said “This I
consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Are there going to be problems? You bet there are! Am I going to
have to face difficulties? There's no doubt I am! Satan's at work. Sin is
rampant, and sometimes we do things to ourselves that bring trouble in this
Heaven is worth it all. Keeping my focus on heaven and on God is
going to make things bearable in this life.
The Scripture teaches that baptism doesn't make spiritual growth
unnecessary. Meaning this: that when I'm baptized that doesn't mean that
I've got to stop trying and that doesn't mean that I've got to stop growing.
In fact the Scripture teaches when I'm baptized, I need to work
diligently that's the moment that I'm a babe in Christ. I've got to work
diligently to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. 1 Peter 2:2 says
to Christians this, “but as newborn babes,” and no doubt you got the
infantile state of Christianity. One is just obeyed the gospel is a babe in
Christ. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes desire the pure
milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” When I become a Christian
that's the moment I need to be chomping at the bit. That's the moment I
need to be excited to grow in Christ, grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And so just because I've become a Christian doesn't mean I can plop
down, close my Bible, and say ‘well God's going to do everything now.’ No,
I've got to get up, get to work, get busy, do my best to grow spiritually, and
try to have the fruit of the Spirit in my life that God wants me to have.
I want to address another issue and this is one that people often
confuse as it relates to baptism: What is one thing baptism will not do?
Along with the other please realize baptism will not make an unscriptural
Now let me illustrate it this way. Baptism is not going to make a
wrong marriage into a right marriage. Baptism doesn't wash away sinful
The Bible teaches- now listen carefully- the Bible teaches that for
baptism, we already mentioned this, but the Bible teaches baptism in and
of itself without belief or repentance- it won't do anything.
What about a man and a woman who may be in an unscriptural
marriage? Let's say you've got two people, and they're married. They've
both been in marriages before, and they didn't divorce for Scripture
reasons. You've got two people who we are in a clear unscriptural
marriage. Neither one of them has a right to be married to each other. What
some people will say if they're not Christians, you can teach them the
gospel and baptism is going to wash away that unscriptural marriage.
Friend listen carefully, again now baptism in and of itself without belief and
repentance won't do anything.
What about these two people in that unscriptural marriage? Do they
have to repent? Do it does anybody have to repent and be baptized?
Absolutely they do! They're in unscriptural marriage. They don't have a
right to be in that marriage. They’re living in adultery, and they're living a
life of sin. Before we can teach them about baptism washes away sin,
we've got to tell them: you have to repent of sin. We're living in sin;
therefore we've got to get out of that unscriptural marriage.
Now let me give you the authority for that. Mark 6:17-18 John the
Baptist said to Herod, who had his brother's wife, he said “It's not lawful for
you to have her.” Why was not lawful? He was in an unscriptural marriage,
and he was didn't have the right in the sight of God to be married to that
person. And one must get out of that. From the beginning, Jesus said that
divorce was not God's plan. Whoever divorces for reasons other than
fornication is living in an unscriptural relationship. And people got to change
their life to get right with God.
Listen to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The Bible says of some living in
homosexuality and immorality and ungodliness and adultery and fornication
and revelry, “such were some of you.” What's that mean? They changed
their life. “Then you were washed; you were sanctified in the blood of
Now let me crystallize this in your mind with an illustration. If we're
going to say baptism makes an unscriptural marriage right, we really better
think about that nowadays.
Are we ready to say that if two homosexuals are in a marriage-and
we'll recognize that marriage is not scriptural- if two homosexuals in
unscriptural marriage are we going to say then if those two people are
baptized, they're in a right marriage? Of course not! People say ‘well that's
not a right marriage.’ Neither is. An unscriptural marriage is not acceptable.
Neither is an unscriptural marriage not recognized in sight, neither is an
unscriptural marriage. If we're going to say baptism washes away
unscriptural marriages in the day and age which we live, we better think
very carefully about that. Because friends we would be led logically, we
would be led to say if that's true that baptism washes away the sin of a
homosexual marriage and somehow it sanctifies that which we know is
ludicrous according to the Scripture.
As we think about things baptism will not do, let’s realize yes baptism
is essential. But baptism that preceded by belief, confession, and
repentance. That's the baptism that God sees as one that saves a person
soul. But baptism is not going to rid one of every evil or difficulty or
temptation in this life. And it cannot make a wrong the situation right without
repentance occurring first.
Friend if you've never obeyed the gospel our hope and
encouragement for you today is that you'll become a child of God, that
you'll submit to the will of God, and that you'll obey the gospel of Christ.
If you've never done that we're begging you, we're urging you today:
become a child of God. Meet the do what God says to be saved. And if
you're willing to do that then friend you can be washed of every past sin
and the spiritual consequences of that.
You can be right with Christ and you can ultimately know ‘I'm a child
of God. I've got the hope of heaven. I now have something every day to
look forward to.’
May God help each of us each to do it just exactly what He wants us
Study Questions for: “Baptism: Lesson 7”
1. What must we do for the remission of sins according to Acts 2:38?
2. What was Saul told to do in Acts 22:16? Why?
3. In Acts 2:47 what did they do when they received the word gladly?
Where were they added?
4. According to Acts 8:36-38, what did the eunuch need to do before he
5. Why did John not baptize them at that time in Luke 3:5-8?
6. According to 1 Peter 5:7-9, what must we resist steadfast? Knowing
7. What is the devil compared to in 1 Peter 5:8?
8. What was Paul ashamed of in 1 Timothy 1:12?
9. What does Hebrews 8:12 tell us about God and our sins?
10. According to Philippians 3:13-14, what should we forget? What should
we press on towards?