The title is not a misspelling. I know fully well that the last instruction that Jesus gave to His disciples is called The Great Commission. But something is being left out of this commission given by our Lord by most “Christian” groups and most “Christian” denominations. The Great Commission can be found in Matthew 28:16-20 and it says,
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’.
Jesus is speaking to His disciples who had just a matter of days ago, witnessed Jesus being taken away from them at the garden. He was then put on trial and eventually he was crucified, for our sins. He had just risen from the dead and He gave this great exhortation to these 11 disciples. Can you imagine what their attitude must have been at this high water mark in their relationship to Christ? Their thoughts must have been,
I’ll do anything He asks, nothing is too difficult now that He has risen from the dead. Nothing He could tell me to do is too trivial to do either. Anything you ask of me Jesus, I’ll do. No questions asked. I will perform any duty no matter how difficult or insignificant it might appear to be on the surface.
God, let this be my attitude, that the name of Jesus might be glorified and made known to a lost and dying world. Unfortunately, a part of this commission is scoffed at and ridiculed for being insignificant, trivial, or it is looked at as not having any worth and need not have any place in our relationship to Christ. If this were the only verse where this practice is mentioned, this view would somewhat understandable. Good hermeneutics demands more than one verse on which to build a doctrine, especially a major doctrine. This practice however, is mentioned in other places, and remember when Jesus speaks, this carries a lot of weight even if the practice is mentioned in just one verse. The practice of which I am speaking is baptism. Now, remember, you can argue with me any time and as much as you wish, but please don’t argue with God over what He wrote. If a church or preacher does not teach that one ought to be baptized upon believing in Jesus as his/her Savior, then this church or preacher is not following The Great Commission. Some have said that the baptism part of the commission was for that day and time, or it was for only Jews. Another view is that it was only for Gentiles who first had to become Jewish Prolelytes before becoming Christians. This was refuted by Paul himself when he confronted Peter to his face.
Maybe Mark 16:16 will help to shed some light on this. Again Jesus is speaking to the 11 and says,
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Many have said that since Jesus did not mention baptism after the conjunction, (but), then this doesn’t say that those who are not baptized are damned. Well, sorry to rain on your parade with a little logic, but, Jesus does say, “He that believeth and IS BAPTIZED shall be SAVED”. There is a flip side to being saved which is being lost, or more harshly, as Jesus put it, damned. The reason He does not say, “He that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned is because this would be very redundant. If a person does not believe, why would he/she be baptized, and if the person did not believe, a lifetime of being dunked would not save this person. Some will now accuse me of believing in a works based Christianity where one’s salvation depends on works. To that again I say that your argument is not with me but with scripture. I also will contend that baptism is no more a work than any other method chosen by men to acknowledge acceptance of Jesus and what He did at the cross to pay for our sins in full. My being baptized no more pays for my sins than repeating the “sinners prayer” to accept Christ. My being baptized to acknowledge my acceptance of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross no more pays for my sins than signing a card that says I have accepted Jesus. What being baptized DOES do that these others do not however, is that it submits my will to His by obeying His command. How do I know what the will of Jesus is on this matter? He said it Himself, that He wants His ministers to baptize and that if one wishes to be saved, he/she should be baptized. I know some will be upset because I am upsetting your nice pristine apple cart of pet doctrines. Just remember, I did not say or write the verses above, Jesus did.
There are also others who commanded baptism. Peter on the day of Pentecost said in Acts 2:38,
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.
Again, if you want to consider baptism a work then you will have a problem with this verse. Baptism, though takes much less work than does repentance. We’ll have to remove that repentance thing also. This Christianity is getting easier and easier. Why, we can just pick and choose, leaving out what does not fit into our preconceived ideas. By taking out these two articles in this verse, the believer doesn’t have to do anything other than believe, which is mentioned in Mark 16:16. You know belief is kind of border line on becoming a work. Belief does not come very easy to some. If we get rid of the work of belief then we have totally gotten rid of Acts 2:38. Everyone should try this Christianity religion. It’s a buffet of take it or leave it, one Bible fits all and one God fits all. You, dear reader, are probably thinking this is absurd. YOU ARE RIGHT, it is absurd. Anytime we try to tell God what He should have included or what He should have left out, it is absurd. The writer is simply trying to point out the absurdity of those who would call baptism a work and therefore leave it out because their doctrine calls for it to be left out. It is absurd for us, the beggars that we are, to make demands on what should be asked of us to receive salvation from God.
Do I believe in baptismal regeneration? No. Do I believe in magic water? No. But I also don’t think one can begin the Christian life, a life of following Christ, by disobeying His clear command to be baptized. Whether baptism is a work or not really isn’t even the important thing. The important thing is now that you know what Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who spoke through Peter in his sermon in Acts 2:38, have to say about baptism, will you obey. Will you obey the gospel or will you continue in your stiff necked disobedience to His obvious will that is written in His book? I pray that you will unleash His grace that He will shower you with when you obey His gospel. It isn’t my gospel or yours, it is His. Baptism is not an ordnance of the church, it is Christ’s ordnance. It is a better ordnance than just an ordnance of the church, because He died for you. He died for you that you might be saved. It is an unchanging ordnance because it is an ordnance of an unchanging God. If it were a church ordnance we could do what we wanted with it. As men, we change our minds with our moods. God changes not. Accept Jesus and what He did for you at the cross to redeem you from your sins, and then obey the gospel by obeying His command to be baptized. You will be amazed how He will work in your life when you put His will ahead of your own desires. You will not be disappointed at how His Spirit will work in you life when you submit to His will. I pray that you won’t let another day go by without having your eternal abode settled.
See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?