Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dead in the Water

Pastor David Martin has written openly against baptism for the remission of sins. With one of his objections, he writes - "If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to 'lose my salvation' and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?"
The reader will note that within this objection there is the false doctrine of "once saved always saved."
But on the other hand Mr. Martin is exactly right, although he doesn't know it. When a person submits to baptism their only hope for salvation involves being dead in the water. In Romans chapter 6 Paul helps the Christian understand baptism as a death, burial, and resurrection, in which the one baptized is dead to sin, buried with Christ, and raised to walk in newness of life. He then says, "...reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:11).
To the Colossian church, the apostle also wrote - "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil-desrire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience" (Col. 3:5-6).
Also, the Corinthians knew that the love of Christ which allowed for His death also compels us to give up our lives for God - "For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Paul applied this principle in his own life, when he said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). To the church at Corinth he put it most simply, "I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31).
Therefore, yes, part of the objection is correct. The only chance we have to live is if we die. So when you obey the gospel, consider yourself dead in the water.
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever desires to lose his life for My sake will find it" ~ Matthew 16:25.

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