The Relation Of Faith And Baptism -- By: Larry Smetak

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 18:1 (Spring 1975)
Article: The Relation Of Faith And Baptism
Author: Larry Smetak


The Relation Of Faith And Baptism

Larry Smetak

In the relation of faith and baptism, at least three views are possible; baptism begins faith, baptism plus faith, baptism symbolizes faith. The first of these is that baptism initiates a person into a covenant relationship with God. Luther wrote’ concerning the question, “What does baptism confer?” His answer was: “It worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlasting salvation on all who believe.” Later he wrote, “Baptism is called a ‘washing of regeneration’ because through baptism (we) receive a new life in Christ.” The order is baptism, teaching, then faith.

Next is that view that baptism plus faith must be included before one can properly be saved. The formula is stated as follows: “(a) Faith, (b) repentance, (c) confession, (d) baptism. Baptism is connected with the remission of sins, salvation, and the act of putting on Christ.” All four of these steps are considered necessary to enter the Kingdom of God.

Finally is that view that baptism comes after salvation, and is only symbolic in its meaning. One of the Bible distinctives of the Baptists states: “Only believers are to be baptized, which excludes not only unbelievers who are adults but infants who neither believe or disbelieve. Baptism is not a step in receiving Christ but a testimony that one has already received Christ.” The formula to be noted here is faith plus

nothing brings salvation. Baptism follows only as the believer is obedient to Christ His Lord and Savior.

What is the evidence of the Bible regarding the relation between faith and baptism? This study will concentrate on the Book of Acts, noting the practice of the early church. The proofs will be sought from three areas: Bible implications, Bible practice, and Bible commands.

Bible Implications

Implications are not as strong as direct assertions of practice or commands, yet they cannot be overlooked.

Logical steps of salvation. If one were to logically set down the steps of salvation, an order will show up no matter which procedure one would follow. As seen in the introduction; the first group, would establish an order of baptism, confirmation, and faith. Group two would establish this as faith plus baptism equals salvation. The third group would suggest the order of faith alone for salvation, with baptism following in personal obedience to Christ.

One cannot be saved without baptism in the first two groupings. In the third, baptism is not included in salvation. This distinction is important, and will be considered in greater detail at a later poin...

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