Water Baptism Is A Work
Water baptism is a work and therefore cannot be the means of salvation. It should be one of many results of salvation.
Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are not saved by our own works or by the works of any other mortal man. In the case of baptism by immersion, someone chooses to be baptized, someone provides the water, two people walk into water or climb into a baptistery and one person immerses another in the water. In the case of infant baptism someone decides that the baby should be baptized, brings the baby to the ceremony and someone sprinkles water on the baby. If infant baptism saves, why don*t those who believe it become nurses and midwives and baptize every infant that is born?
One must be God*s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. That happens when an individual receives Christ. Then he will desire to walk in the good works that God has ordained for him. One of those good works will be to be baptized. Another of His good works will be to baptize others. Until he becomes God*s workmanship he will not be willing or able to walk in the good works that God has ordained for him.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
There are two commands in the Bible regarding baptism: to baptize and to be baptized. We are not saved by obeying either one. If baptism saved there would be no need to receive Christ. Many individuals who have been baptized as infants use that as an excuse not to receive Christ. That is an eternally fatal mistake. The bottom line is that they want to be the person that they want to be, rather than the new creature Christ wants them to become. They want to choose the works that they will do rather than walking in the works that God has ordained for them.
Luke 3:16: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
John 1:33: And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Luke 1:15: For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother*s womb.
If John, who was filled with the Holy Ghost all of his life, could not baptize with the Holy Ghost, neither can any other mortal man. Whatever we believe about the meaning of being baptized with fire, we ought to at least understand that none of us can baptize anyone else with the Holy Ghost. If that baptism requires someone greater and mightier than John the Baptist it certainly requires someone greater and mightier than any mortal alive today.
1 Corinthians 1:16: And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
If water baptism was the means of salvation, Paul would have baptized everyone, the people of Israel would have been baptized and it would have been recorded.