Topic(s): Salvation

Todd Clippard

Mark 1:4 teaches that John’s baptism, during the time of its validity, was for the remission of sins. The phrase “for the remission of sins” means ‘for the purpose of obtaining remission of sins.’ This phrase appears in two other places in the New Testament, and means the same in both cases (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38).

However, John’s baptism cannot be practiced for the remission of sins today because it has been supplanted by the baptism of Jesus (i.e., the baptism of the Great Commission–Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). I use the term “supplanted” as given in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: “to take the place of and serve as a substitute for especially by reason of superior excellence or power; see replace” (1185-1186).

Both baptisms required immersion in water for the purpose of receiving forgiveness of sins. The difference between John’s baptism and the baptism commanded by Jesus is as follows:

John’s baptism required one to believe the preaching of John and afterward embrace the coming of Jesus the Christ (Acts 19:4). Therefore, it did not require a faith in Jesus at the time one obeyed it. Those who submitted to John’s baptism and continued in faith when Christ came were not required to be baptized again–at least there is no evidence of the apostles or the 120 being baptized again on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Not even Apollos is spoken of as being baptized again in Acts 18:24-28.

Jesus’ baptism requires the preaching, hearing, believing, and obeying of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see the aforementioned verses concerning the baptism of the Great Commission). This would include a faith in the perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection from the dead by Jesus (John 8:24; Acts 2:21-41; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:3-11).

Ephesians 4:5 teaches there is only one baptism for today. Therefore, it must be the baptism commanded by Jesus in connection with the giving of the Great Commission. This baptism, like the one preceding it, is a saving baptism  (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

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