Baptism is the Gospel part 2

In the last post, we noticed how the Bible often speaks about baptism as the gospel and we entertained the possibility that it does this because baptism is, in fact, the gospel. Baptism is the gospel, experienced not only with words, but also with water.

In this post, we are going to consider an alternative view of baptism, specifically that baptism is not the gospel but something done as witness to one’s faith. In other words, we are going to consider that baptism could be a human work.

First, we need to determine if baptism is a work by looking at the scriptural evidence for this view. I suppose someone could point to some scriptural passages such as is found in Acts, where you have people being baptized upon confession of faith. However, that does not exactly state that baptism is a work. The fact is there are no scriptural texts explicitly stating that baptism is a human work.

Secondly, we need to determine if baptism is a work by looking at what humans do when they are baptized. The answer to that is nothing. When people are baptized, they are entirely passive. They get wet and hear someone speak the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” There is no effort put out by the one who is baptized. Giving money to earthquake victims in Nepal is a good work. Praying for God to bless that person you can’t stand is a good work. In comparison, baptism does not seem like much of a good work.

Baptism is not called a human work in the Bible and does not seem like one due to the passivity of the one receiving it, because baptism isn’t a human work at all, but a work of God. God is the one who pours out his grace on the person being baptized. Baptism, rather than a witness to our faith, is a witness of God’s faithfulness to us.


Pastor Dave