Have You Forgotten?

by Tom Wacaster

I recently read of a soldier who enlisted in the Confederate army during the Civil War.  He was a watchmaker by trade, and upon enlisting he took with him his watchmaker's tools. While in camp, he had considerable business. When the order came for battle, the watchmaker looked about his tent in dismay and said, "Why, I can't possibly go now, for I have twelve watches to repair and I've promised them for Saturday."  This soldier had forgotten the purpose for which he had been enlisted in the army.  His task was NOT to make watches, but to serve the leader under which he had enrolled.  Unfortunately, this man is a fitting representation of a great number who are enlisted in the Lord's army, called to do battle against the spiritual hosts of darkness and wickedness, and yet they have allowed a great number of distractions to keep them from their purpose.  Many a Christian has simply failed to realize that there is a battle going on.  They have become wrapped up in the affairs of the world and forgotten the purpose for which they have been called. Friend, are you so busy that you have not the time to help those about you?  Are you so busy that you neglect your family?  Are you so busy that you do not have time to seek the Lord's will in your life through a daily reading and study of His word? If so, then I would suggest that, indeed, you ARE TOO BUSY.  "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier of service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:3-4).  "Wherefore, take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

What Does The Bible Say About Baptism

by Tom Wacaster

So far as this author knows the generally accepted position among the protestant denominations is that baptism is an act of obedience that follows salvation rather than one that precedes salvation. In other words, most religious folks who claim to be of the "Christian faith" have come to believe the commonly held position that they were saved at the point of faith, and then, at some convenient time to both candidate and preacher, they were then baptized as a "symbol" of their salvation already received at the point of faith. But the question we want to raise in this article is this: "What does the Bible say about baptism?" More specifically, what does the Bible say with regard to the purpose and design of baptism? Closely associated with this question is another one: "Must a man believe the truth, and obey the truth, with regard to this subject, if his baptism is to be accepted by God?" I want to address this second question first. Must a man believe the truth, and obey the truth, with regard to the matter of baptism in order for his baptism to be accepted by God? In this connection, please consider the words of our Lord: "If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31 -32 ASV). We learn (1) that being a disciple involves abiding in the word of Christ. Those who teach error concerning baptism are not a disciple of Jesus. But notice carefully the next verse: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." In light of our Savior's words, can a man believe error, embrace error, and then obey error and expect to be free from his sin? If so, then error is as powerful as truth in accomplishing the desired end. Does that make sense to you? Yet there are some who will tell you that it makes no difference why you were baptized so long as you were baptized. The Bible is clear in teaching that it is essential that my obedience to the Lord be what He says to do, in the manner in which He says to do it, and for the purpose He said to do it. We come, then, to our second question: "What does the Bible say about baptism?" More specifically, what is the relationship of baptism to forgiveness of sins? I will focus on just one scripture, enough to convince any honest soul as to the importance of baptism and its purpose. That scripture is Mark 16:16: "He that

believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Please notice the following: The simple subject is "He." The predicate is "shall be saved." The qualifying demonstrative pronoun is "that" — setting forth the characteristics of the "he that shall be saved." The "he that shall be saved" is the "he that believes and is baptized." It does not say "he that believes shall be saved"; neither does it say "he that is baptized shall be saved"; but "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The language simply could not be any clearer. Each responsible person reading this article must now consider the impact of our Lord's words upon their individual situation. Please consider the following three sentences, each of which represents a definite theological doctrine, none of which can be harmonized one with the other.
 
"He that is baptized and saved, shall [later] believe" — this represents those who hold to infant baptism. The infant child is baptized and thus saved from "original sin" [a false doctrine in itself], then later comes to believe.
 
"He that believes and is saved shall be baptized - this represents the majority of the protestant denominational world, i.e. one is saved at the point of belief and at some point in time subsequent to his belief and salvation, is baptized.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" — This is the truth so stated by our Lord. Such a one believes, obeys by being baptized, and thereby is saved from his alien sins upon completion of both belief and baptism. This squarely places baptism between an individual and remission of his sins.
 
You, dear reader, fall into one of these three categories so far as what you believed and/or did. Did you believe and obey truth? Or did you believe and/or obey error? It is unfortunate that the religious leaders of our generation have denied the very thing our Lord commanded in order to receive salvation. If you were baptized as an infant, you were not baptized according to truth (option #1 above). You had no sin for which to be forgiven, nor did you believe, a prerequisite to baptism as per Acts 8:36-37. If you were baptized because you had already been saved, you believed a lie, and you obeyed a lie (option #2 above). If you have not yet been baptized for remission of sins (Acts 2:38), then we plead with you to believe the truth of Mark 16:16, and submit to its teaching. There is too much at stake to do otherwise. Our Lord's command is clear and concise. May we have the courage to obey in loving faith, for only "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." It really is that important.