Baptizing in the name of the Lord

by | December 4, 2017 8:51 am

By Derrick Coble – West Sparta church of Christ

Baptism is one of the most fundamental doctrines of the inspired Scriptures. Yet, in order for baptism to be truly effective, it must be administered in the proper way and for the proper reason. That is, baptism must be performed upon a candidate who understands the nature of the Lord’s church (Acts 8:12), why he is being baptized (i.e. in order to be saved) (1 Peter 3:21), and the necessity of true belief, repentance, confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and faithfulness (John 3:36; Acts 17:30; 1 John 4:15; 1 Corinthians 15:58). Furthermore, one must understand that full bodily immersion in water is the only means by which he (or anyone else) can obtain remission of sins (Romans 6:3,4). These are the commands of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit concerning salvation.   That is why Jesus stated, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19). The phrase “in the name of” denotes authority. Thus, baptism is administered under the authority of the entire Godhead (Colossians 2:9), making one a follower of the Lord (1 Peter 2:21).

With this in mind, it is helpful to note some examples of those who were baptized in the name of the Lord. First, notice those on Pentecost (Acts 2). After Peter forcefully preached that they had murdered the Lord (Acts 2:36), those who were pricked in their hearts asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Here is Peter’s response: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38, emphasis DC). Hence, they could only be saved by Jesus’ authority, which included repentance and baptism. Those who gladly received this word were then baptized and the Lord added them to His church (Acts 2:41,47). Second, notice the Samaritans to whom Philip preached (Acts 8). “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12 emphasis DC). Philip was preaching about Jesus and His authority (Acts 8:5), which resulted in men and women submitting to His authority through the waters of baptism (Acts 8:16). Third, notice Cornelius and his house (Acts 10). God had shown Peter that he should not call any man common or unclean (Acts 10:28). As a result, when Cornelius (a Gentile) sent for him, he went “doubting nothing” as the Spirit had told him (Acts 10:18-21). Finally, after speaking with Cornelius concerning the reason for his visit, Peter concluded, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34,35). Peter told him the good news that God was making His fellowship available to everyone. It was then, while Peter was preaching, that the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word, “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:44-48, emphasis DC). If Cornelius and the others with him wanted to be in fellowship with God, they had to be baptized. It was not an option for salvation but a requirement to be followed in keeping with the authority of Christ.   Fourth, notice the disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19). When Paul passed through Ephesus, he found some disciples that had not been instructed correctly concerning their baptism. These were good and honest disciples who had not been baptized in the name of the Lord because they only knew John’s baptism. They had been baptized in preparation for Jesus (Luke 3:8-12) when Jesus had already died for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:26-28; Acts 19:4). It was a grave misunderstanding on their part and it was dire to their salvation that they be baptized correctly. So, “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4,5, emphasis DC). After hearing Paul’s inspired instruction they realized their error and followed Christ’s authority.   Fifth, notice the Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians 6). Corinth was a city that was steeped in wickedness; yet, many changed their lives to become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). In fact, some of the Corinthian Christians themselves had lived in the past as idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, and drunkards (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Even so, they had the opportunity to change, and they did. Paul said, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11, emphasis DC). By the authority of Christ through God’s plan of salvation, Christians are those who are washed (baptized) in the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5), sanctified for God’s own use (1 Peter 2:9), and justified by His grace (Titus 3:7).

Upon examining the evidence, Scriptural baptism can only be administered in the name of the Lord. No one else was crucified for the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 1:10), no one else has all authority in Heaven and in Earth (Matthew 28:18), and no one else has provided one baptism that can save (Ephesians 4:4). That one baptism is a part of God’s Heavenly plan. It is an immersion in water (Acts 8:38), preceded by faith and repentance (Acts 8:36,37) for the remission of sins (Acts 22:16) “in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 28:19,20).

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