Salvation Comes Through Baptism
(1263) By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adams sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. (Page 353)
First of all, sin is sin is sin. There is no such thing as different degrees of sin as far as guilt is concerned.
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in ONE point, HE IS GUILTY OF ALL.
There is only one requirement for baptism, that is, you must be saved; you must be born again; you must believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Belief (trusting faith/salvation) always comes first. The teaching here is of water baptism and I will prove that a little later when we discuss infant baptism. The requirement for baptism is belief!
Acts 8:36-37 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou BELIEVEST with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
It is those that BELIEVE that are saved, and those that are damned are the ones who do not believe. Baptism only comes after believing. Baptism is not the element missing for those that go to Hell, rather the element missing is belief.
Mark 16:16 He that BELIEVETH and is baptized shall be saved; but he that BELIEVETH NOT shall be damned.
Notice, it did not say, but he that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned. It is unbelief that condemns people to Hell. They choose not to believe Gods Word, and trust in the deceitful words of men.
(1257) The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are reborn of water and the Spirit. God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (Page 352)
Multitudes of Scripture are clear; salvation comes from putting your trust in Christ. The Lord teaches the difference between a natural birth which one passes through the water sack, and the saving birth, the birth of the Spirit.
John 3:4-7 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb (natural birth), and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (natural birth) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh (natural) is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit (spiritual) is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Baptism is a picture of the Gospel. It is commanded of the Lord, only for those who are saved. It is the first step in obedience once someone is saved. One is baptized because they are saved not to get saved. When one is baptized, he is making a public profession of his faith in Christ. I preach in the nursing home, and I have seen those that have trusted the Lord who are not physically able to be baptized. As a matter of fact, the thief that hung on the cross could not be baptized, yet he put his trust in the Lord and was saved.
(1265) Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte a new creature, an adopted son of God, who has become a partaker of the divine nature, member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. (Page 354)
One becomes an heir of salvation and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit after he believes, not after he is baptized. Read what Gods Word has to say.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom (Jesus) ye also TRUSTED, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
It says, after that ye believed, not, after that ye believed and was baptized. My friend, the Holy Spirit only indwells the saved. There is no other way that you can interpret this verse. It is very clear.
(1267) Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: Therefore . . . we are members one of another. Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. (Page 354)
I agree that all true believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. However, when the Catholic Church speaks of baptism they are referring to water baptism by sprinkling. Paul had some things to say about baptism. He said that God didnt call him to baptize, rather to preach the Gospel. If baptism is necessary for salvation, why wouldnt Paul emphasize baptism?
1 Corinthians 1:14-17 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
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