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If Baptism Doesn’t Save Us, What Does It Do?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2022 6:30 am

If Baptism Doesn’t Save Us, What Does It Do?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 1, 2022 6:30 am

Episode 1022 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode


1. I am planning a trip to Israel and was looking forward to being baptized again in the Jordan river. I know you have said once is enough. But is it ok to do it again for this special occasion?

2. I was baptized as an infant and I don’t understand the repercussions of that. Can you help me understand the repercussions of baptism as a whole, I know it is in scripture, and that it doesn’t save you, but I am not sure what else it signifies or means.

3. Are pastors ignoring the Final Judgment if they don’t preach the fear of God?

4. How should I respond to those who refuse to forgive me?

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Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

If baptism doesn't save us, what does it do? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We pray that you had a wonderful weekend. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

That's 833-843-2673. Now, we have a YouTube channel, so you can go on YouTube right now and watch Adriel live in the studio and send him a question that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at

First up, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners last week. Hello, I have a question in regards to baptism. I was baptized, and I believe that it did take. We're planning a trip to Israel, and I was looking forward to being baptized again in the Jordan River. So, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this. I know previously you said that once is enough, but this type of ceremonial type baptism, possibly, I'm not sure. What are your thoughts?

Thank you. Yeah, well, once is enough. I mean, if you've been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in a church, in a Christian church, a solid Bible-believing church, you can't do that again. In baptism, and baptism, first and foremost, is not something that we are doing. Too often, I think of, you know, people think that baptism is my act toward God.

That's why they feel like, you know, maybe it didn't stick, because I don't know if I had enough faith, or I don't know if I had enough this, that, or the other. Well, baptism is first and foremost something that God does. God baptizes us as people through the minister, and it's based on God's Word. And so, if you've been baptized, you've been baptized.

There, you know, you have the promises of God, in particular the promises of the Gospel, extended to you, and it's your job to lay hold of those promises by faith. But I would say, you know, go enjoy Israel, but don't, you know, go through this ceremonial washing in the Jordan River. It wouldn't be a baptism. You've already been baptized. And baptism, let me just say this, is not a photo op. You know, when we're baptized, or when our children are baptized, it is not first and foremost that we can take pictures and show others and say, look, this is what a cool thing.

No, this is a holy sacrament that Jesus gave to the church, a sign and seal of his redeeming grace that he gives to us as a gift. And so the way to receive it rightly is through faith. And so that needs to be the focus. I hope that you enjoy your time there. I hope that it's edifying as you get to do some of the sightseeing. I've never been to Israel, would love to go sometime, but I hope that it's a blessing for you. And I would just say, rest assured in the fact that you've been baptized and embrace those promises that were given to you in baptism by faith, and go and enjoy swimming in the Jordan River, but don't try and get baptized all over again.

You just can't. There's one baptism. Let me give you just a verse really quickly. It's what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter four, verse four. There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

And we say amen to that. Thank you for your question. Great to answer.

Thanks for clarifying that. Adriel, appreciate that. By the way, my wife went swimming in the Sea of Galilee once. Oh, cool. And she said it was pretty cool. One of the weird things was, she said all night long there are party boats on the Sea of Galilee, which didn't quite fit what she expected. Wow. Now, Bill, have you been to Israel?

I have not. It's always been a dream of mine. So one day I hope to get over there. Someday you guys will make it to one of those party boats, perhaps out there on the Sea of Galilee.

No, thank you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call right now. Our phone lines will be open for the next 20 minutes or so. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Naomi.

Hi, Adriel. I was wondering your thoughts on infant baptism. I was baptized as an infant and I guess I don't really understand the repercussions of that. I was wondering if you could maybe give me a new light and kind of help me understand the repercussions of baptism at all because I know it's in Scripture, but it doesn't seem to save you. Thank you for taking my question and have a wonderful day.

Hey, thank you so much for giving us a call with that question. And faith in Jesus Christ is what saves us. I mean, Jesus is the one who saves us, so we might even say Christ saves and he uses faith as the instrument of our justification. But he oftentimes uses means in the work of his redeeming grace and baptism is one of those means that he uses in our lives as his people. And so I think we can agree and just say, look, faith is what saves us.

Faith in Jesus Christ. And baptism is this sign and seal of, I mean, I said it with the previous question, of God's redeeming grace in the Gospel, the washing away of all of our sins are being brought into the very death and burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ. I mean, Paul ties together our baptisms with Christ's death and resurrection in Romans chapter six. So when you're baptized, even as a baby, you're brought into the visible church, the community of faith, the covenant people of God. You think of what Paul said in First Corinthians chapter seven, that even the children of one believing parent are considered holy. Now that doesn't mean that they're just saved because their mom or their dad is a believer, but that language, holy or unholy, clean, unclean, it's the language that Paul uses there in First Corinthians chapter seven, is the language of God's covenant people, his covenant community under the Old Testament. The unclean were those who were on the outside, not a part of the worshiping community. And Paul says our children are not like that as believers.

No, they're treated as a part of the church and so they're the proper recipients of these signs. And so when you were baptized as a child, you were brought into the visible church. You were made a part of that and the promises of God were extended to you. And as I said with the previous question, we're called to lay hold of those promises by faith.

And so think of it like this. This is good for all of us. When you were baptized, this was a gift given to you by God, the sure promise of the gospel that as we believe in Jesus Christ, our sins are washed away, each and every one of them, and we are united to Jesus Christ. We belong to him so that this sign, this visible sign of the gospel that God gives to us, a visible word, we sink our teeth into it. We lay hold of it by faith. We embrace it. And so I would just say to you, embrace God's gift to you. And let me give you one resource that I recommend oftentimes to friends when we're having this discussion. It was an article, a brief article written by a professor that I had in seminary named Dennis Johnson.

If you just Google Dennis Johnson, how my mind has changed. It's actually a letter that he wrote to his daughter who had questions about the doctrine of infant baptism. And he's sort of explaining, as you asked, the repercussions, what was taking place there. It's very pastoral. It's not a long read, so you can sit down and read it in one sitting. And I think you'd find that to be a really helpful resource. Again, it's called How My Mind Has Changed by Dennis Johnson.

You probably just access it online for free. And I pray that the Lord blesses you and continues to draw you near to himself as you cling to his gospel promises. Thanks for your call, Naomi. Thanks, Naomi. Appreciate you being a regular listener to Core Christianity.

Great question. By the way, if you've got a question for Adriel about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, we would love to hear from you. Our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so. You can call us right now at 833 The Core.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Today, we're offering an excellent resource. It's actually something that was written centuries ago by one of the very early church fathers.

Yes. It's an oldie but a goodie. This is St. Augustine's Confessions. And it was written a long time ago, but it's still relevant today.

And it's edifying to read. I just want to read a quick passage here. And just to give you some information, this is St. Augustine talking about how he came to the faith. And throughout this work, he praises God for the redeeming grace that he experienced. And he says, I am determined to bring back in memory the revolting things I did and the way my soul was contaminated by my flesh, doing this not out of love for those deeds, but as a step toward loving you. He's speaking to God there. I move toward you this way because I would love to love you. I bring back up to expression the bitterness of my vile wanderings so you may sweeten them. You, my sweetness, never deluding, sure sweetness, ever delighting.

Isn't that beautiful? Get a hold of this resource, this book that we're offering today, St. Augustine's Confessions. Just an amazing personal story and a great devotional book.

So we strongly encourage you to get that. You can find that by going to forward slash offers. Again, forward slash offers.

Watch for St. Augustine's Confessions. Let's go back to the phones. Tammy's on the line from Nashville, Tennessee. Tammy, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi.

Yes. I was just wondering when someone gets saved and they get baptized and they grow in the Lord, but something happens in their life and they fall away from God and they never really maybe have the desire to go back to him and stay in their sin. Will they lose their salvation?

Hi, Tammy. Thank you for that question. Well, there's a couple of different ways of thinking about this. We all know individuals who are baptized or in the church for a while, you know, maybe really even involved in the church, maybe in positions of leadership, and then who turn away and abandon the church, even abandon the faith altogether. And the question that's often asked is, well, were they truly saved or did they lose their salvation? I think John speaks to this a little bit in his letters that he wrote, especially in 1 John 2.

He says, Children, this is verse 18, it is the last hour and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come, therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us. In other words, they used to be a part of the community of faith, but they went out from us. They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that it might become plain that they all are not of us. And so I think that there are some people who are in the church, even have prominent positions, teaching positions, who end up leaving, turning away from the faith, apostatizing. And John would say of those people who abandoned the faith altogether, maybe they had the external trappings of religion, but did they really embrace the gospel? Did they really believe in Jesus?

Well, I think there John would say, no, they went out of us or from us so that it might be shown that they were not of us. And I would say that those who believe in Jesus, who are truly united to him by faith, while we have seasons and we can have seasons where we're struggling with sin, where it feels like the spirit of God has just been quenched from our lives, and we experience the temporal discipline of the Lord and things can get really bad. The seed of faith, the ember of God's spirit is still always burning there within, and God is going to continue to work in that individual, in us, drawing us closer and closer to himself, disciplining us, sanctifying us. I think of Jesus' words in John 10, verse 27, my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one. Jesus keeps his sheep.

Now again, and I want to speak to you if you're struggling, that doesn't mean that if you're struggling, and boy, you've backslid in that. Well, that Jesus is done with you, that you've lost your salvation, the very fact that you're concerned about those things is a sign of the spirit of God at work in your life. We're just called to fix our eyes upon the Lord, to confess our sins, and to receive his grace anew and afresh.

It's not like we're being resaved all over again. No, we're walking in the light, as John says in 1 John. We're confessing our sins and walking in that freedom that's given to us in Jesus. When we don't, when we're walking in sin or when we're turning away from the Lord, we experience that discipline of God because he loves us.

So, Tammy, I don't think that you can lose your salvation if you're truly saved, but I do think that as a believer you can lose that sense of the sweet fellowship that we have with the Lord and with his people. When we confess our sins and repent, we regain that sense by the grace of God. So may the Lord be with you, and thanks for giving us a call. Amen. Thanks, Tammy.

Appreciate you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Harvey calling in from Illinois, and we've had a lot of questions about baptism today. Harvey, I understand you have a question about baptism as well. Yes. I was baptized as a Catholic because my mother was Catholic as a baby, and I never did like praying to statues, and as I grew up and I got out of the Catholic religion, and then I went to a first Baptist church in Denver, Colorado, and I got baptized there again, but you said I only need to get baptized once.

So what do you think this is? Because I just don't like praying to statues. I think that's idolizing, and that's why I went to a first Baptist church.

I believe in one and one only God. Amen. Yeah, well, hey, I'm with you in terms of talking to statues or praying to statues.

There's nothing we should do. We should pray to the Father, through the Son, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And so I'm grateful that you see that, that you maybe understood that from scripture, that it led you to that church that you were at. Really, we're talking here about what makes a baptism a baptism. Let me just say, you and I have some things in common, because I also was brought up in a nominal Roman Catholic home.

I was baptized in the Catholic church as an infant, and then really began walking with the Lord when I was in high school through just non-denominational churches, and ended up getting baptized in my non-denominational church while I was in high school as well, really just sort of working through these things and trying to understand these things better as a newer believer. And I would say where I'm at now is, again, if you've been baptized, it's not you that makes the baptism, it's God and His word. And so if you've been baptized and it was done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit on the basis of God's word, then that stick is God's word and promise to His people. And we lay hold of that promise every single day by faith.

And so I don't know that I would have done that now, believing the things that I do, but I don't think that you're condemned, Harvey. I think that it sounds to me like you're striving to follow Jesus and honor Him according to His word. And so first I just want to commend you for that and encourage you and agree with you that we shouldn't be in churches that are praying to statues and that kind of thing. Get into a good church, a solid church, and so I hope that the church that you're in right now loves the scriptures and teaches the Bible and is faithful to the word of God and continue to grow there in your faith. And rest assured again that those promises that are given to us through the word and through the ordinances of grace, baptism, and the Lord's Supper are sure.

These are concrete promises that we can lay hold of by faith, that we can sink our teeth into, and that's why they're given to us by God as a nourishment to our faith and as an encouragement to us. And so I hope that you embrace them as such and that you continue to grow in your faith and your walk with Jesus. God bless. Some great words of encouragement. Thanks for that, Adriel.

This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. After our live program ends today, we'll be recording a second program. So if you weren't able to get through in the last 20 minutes or so with your question, we're going to keep our phone lines open. In fact, we'll keep them open until about 2 30 central time for the next 40 minutes or so. So feel free to give us a call if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. We'd love to hear from you. 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's an email from one of our callers named Derek, and he says, since the instilling of fear is a mainstay for politics and news broadcasts these days, why don't the preachers do as Jesus did and teach the fear of God as a rightful replacement for all worldly fears? Does this relate to a general neglect of Judgment Day? I like this question a lot. I mean, I can't speak for all the preachers who are out there. I will say this. There are pastors who are out there, preachers who are out there, who instead of bringing the comfort of God's word, add fuel to the fire and are just sort of stoking people's fears.

Why? Because it's a really easy way to build a church. If you can stoke people's fears and say, hey, I'm going to keep you safe.

I'm here. I've got all the answers and you need to come to me for those answers. Well, yeah, this is a part of how people build platforms, how people build churches even. But the reality is we should be applying the word of God to the people of God to comfort them and helping people fear not the culture, not the things that are happening around us, but God who is holy.

We really need to recover that. And actually, this is just a good time to plug the book written by my friend, Dr. Michael Horton, Recovering Our Sanity. It's all about the fear of God as opposed to these other fears which seem to be driving so many in our society today and even many within the church. And so, yeah, when you turn on the news, regardless of what sort of brand of news you listen to, they're going to try to stoke your fears because they know that that gets clicks, that gets airtime.

They are going to paint that picture for you so that they can keep you captivated. And there are things I think that should be concerning to us in society, but we don't need to be despairing as Christians. We have the hope of the gospel and Jesus is the one who is going to continue to build his church through the faithful proclamation of the gospel and through Christians who are seeking to honor him and live for him. So even though there are things that are causes for concern, we have the reassurance that Jesus is building his church. I was just talking to our church about this yesterday when I was preaching. It's amazing when you think about how the church, the Christian church has grown in China since the late 1940s. There are some who say that by the year 2030 there are going to be more Protestant Christians in China than in any other country of the world.

And all of that with some of the restrictions, I mean serious restrictions that the state has tried to put on Christians there in that place. Well, how is it that the church is continuing to grow? It's because Jesus opens doors that no earthly power can shut. And when Jesus opens doors for his gospel, there's nothing anybody can do about it and we're called to be faithful to that gospel. And as we are, the Lord is building his church and we are receiving this great kingdom that he gives to us as his people. And so that's the message that I think folks in our church need to be hearing.

They need to be made confident in the gospel and in the power of the Spirit. Regardless of what's happening around us, we have the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ that keeps us secure and is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek. And so we're not ashamed of that gospel. We live in light of it and we proclaim it. And that's good news. That gospel is good news and we get to share it. So, praise God. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We have time for one more email. This one's from Catherine and she says, I think it does because my mother-in-law never forgave me. As a Christian, how should I respond to those who refuse to forgive us? I'm so sorry, Catherine.

There's no easy answer here. I mean, it sounds to me like you have sought forgiveness. You have forgiven where you've needed to forgive.

You know that the Lord receives you and I can say he does. When we go to him by faith, broken over our sin, the Lord Jesus receives you and yet it still hurts. It's still difficult when other people are unwilling to extend to us that same forgiveness. And this is why Jesus says forgiveness, in part why Jesus says forgiveness is such an important thing, especially for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. How can we, who claim to have been forgiven so much by God, all of our sins washed away through the blood of Jesus, how can we withhold forgiveness from those who have sinned against us? And so when others withhold forgiveness from us, we go to them and say, please forgive me.

And they seek to continue to punish by withholding themselves or seeking to do harm to us. It's very painful. And so I just want to pray that the Lord grants the healing that only he can grant to your heart and that he comforts you. As you know that he does welcome you to his table and grants you his peace. Father, be with Catherine. Be with her family, Lord.

It sounds like there's been some difficulty there, some division. I pray that you would bring healing, Lord God, where no one else can bring healing, that you would do the work, Jesus, that only you can do in granting peace to her heart and giving her that renewed sense day by day of the fact that you do receive her, that you have forgiven her and that that's the most important thing, Lord, that you've forgiven her sins and that you welcome her to your table. Be with her and bless her and bless her family. I pray gracious God in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 19:31:54 / 2023-03-17 19:42:03 / 10

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