REBLOGGED FROM CYBERBRETHREN.COM By Rev. Paul T. McCain
What is Baptism according to the witness of the New Testament? What does it give or what is the good of it? How is Baptism related to the faith of the one to be baptized? Is it necessary for salvation or not? What may we answer first of all is that according to the clear teaching of the New Testament Baptism is the “washing of regeneration.” The early church, which always simply identified Baptism with regeneration, and the church of all times, with the exception of the Reformed communities, have understood Titus 3: 5 in this way— and rightly so. There Baptism is “the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” In Baptism the Holy Spirit is bestowed; we are “baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12: 13). According to Rom. 6: 3, the baptized are baptized into Christ’s death. Those are all realities that happen not alongside of Baptism but in it. Water Baptism in the New Testament, as long as it is Baptism into Christ, in the name of Christ, is Spirit Baptism; it is being born anew and at the same time from above “of water and the Spirit” (John 3: 5). The New Testament knows nothing of a being born again without Baptism or apart from Baptism. Baptism is therefore not a sign but a means of regeneration. To regard it only as a sign of a regeneration that also may take place without it or apart from it is unbiblical.