From Sinner to Saved Through Baptism
▸ Sinners Must Be Baptized
The act of baptism is clearly explained by Paul. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). In verse four it says that baptism is a burial in water. The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word bapto meaning to immerse, dip or plunge under water; to wash. Baptism is not sprinkling or pouring water upon a person. Paul suggests that in baptism the believer is symbolically identified with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and as He was raised from the dead, so the Christian is raised from the death in sin to a new life in Christ.
It takes the shedding of blood for the removal of sins, so the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ was shed on the Cross, for the sins of man. By being buried in the watery grave of baptism that a sinner’s sins are washed away and when he comes up, he is a new man for the old man who partook of the sins of this world is dead and lives no move. And therefore, the new man is at this time without sin and is as pure as the day he was born. So you should know that without baptism a sinner cannot benefit himself of the blood of Christ, therefore he cannot be freed from the bondage of sin which keeps him from inheriting eternal life. But if a sinner will have faith in God and follow God’s will by being baptized, he will become one of the “saved”.
▸ The Saved Has Been Forgiven of Sin
By baptism a sinner’s sins are forgiven which puts him in a condition of being “saved”. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “He” who has a sinner is now free because of the blood which Christ shed on the cross. Men are forgiven not because of their merit, but because of the grace of God. We are not to abuse this gift by sinning more, that grace may abound (Romans 6:1). But the saved are to lead lives of love, far removed from those things which lead to sin.
▸ The Saved Are New In Christ
After a sinner has become saved, he is to take off the old man and put on the new man. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:9,10). By putting off the old man he is rejecting the sinful things such as fornication, uncleanliness, evil lust, and covetousness, which is idolatry, and anger, acts of vengeance, desire to harm others, speaking profanely of the will do God, and all filthy communication. By putting on the new man he puts on: kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and patiently bearing the afflictions of this world.
▸ The Saved are Added to the Church
Through baptism a saved one is added unto the church. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them…..praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:41,47). Christ is the one who has made possible man’s justification and reconciliation to God, who has caused the debt of sin to be forgiven and to be remembered no more, and who has enabled those who believe in Him to be added to His body, the church. And as a member of the Lord’s body, he is to take an appropriate place, and fulfill a function.
▸ The Saved Must Study the Bible
The saved are commanded to study the Word of God. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Through studying the Word of God he will learn the Will of God and grow in faith. Through his learning he might rebuke the ways of the world, correct himself from his faults, and be instructed how to live faithfully every day.
▸ The Saved Must Teach Others
Jesus tells the apostles in the Great Commission to go and preach the Gospel to every creature. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Here we find we are to proclaim the good news of salvation to all sinners everywhere and to call them to repentance and to the forgiveness of sin through baptism (16:16) And now, he who was once a sinner and now is saved, is out doing his duty as a Christian and preaching the way of salvation to those of this world that they might have the hope of eternal life.
To sum it up, all men are sinners living in sin, living in darkness, lost and not having salvation, and living without God, without Christ, and without the hope of eternal salvation. But by hearing the Word of God and thus learning the Will of God, he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He then can repent of his sinful ways, and begin a life of obedience to the Will of God. Then he is to confess his belief before men that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And then, by being buried in the watery grave of baptism that through the grace of God his sins are forgiven. It is by the forgiveness of sin that he was able to put off the old man of sin and put on the new man, and as a new man he became a member of the Lord’s body. And as a babe in Christ, he must study the Word of God, and learn God’s Will. God’s Will is that he teach the Gospel to those of this world who are sinners that they might obtain salvation. “From Sinner To Saved Through Baptism” is a continuous cycle. But only if we as Christians do our duty and preach the Word of God to sinners, can there be this continuous cycle of conversion.
If you are already a member of the Lord’s body, I hope this article has been a benefit to you in a way that if tomorrow as you are talking to your friends at work, at school, or wherever it may be, that if one of them ask you, “What must I do to be saved?” that you would be able to teach him the Will of God that he might have salvation. But if you’re not in a saved condition, I hope this article has been of benefit to you in a way that you have learned the way of salvation. For in the lesson I have presented to you, I have explained God’s Will to you in a way that if you have never heard the Gospel preached before, that it has taught you everything you need to know, in order that you might come forward and confess you faith in God, and be baptized for the remission of your sins.
[You can tell that the above article is a reproduction of one of my sermons. These two articles are from my first sermon. Naturally, like most young men I wrote it out word for word. My sister, Kathy, typed it for me. Although I preached this lesson almost forty-five years ago, it represents the plain and simple plan of salvation which I still preach today. The point is, though men may change, the Will and Word of God remains the same.]
– Daniel R. Vess