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Understanding Baptism

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The story of Cornelius destroys the notion of oneness theology. In this story we see that the Holy Spirit first falls on the Gentiles and then they are baptized. The Holy Spirit does not fall on unbelievers. If they try to wriggle out of this one, how about the thief on the cross? He never was baptized yet Jesus promises him that he will be with Him in paradise. How can the Jesus only crowd reconcile this fact? Not only was the thief never baptized in Jesus name but he was never baptized at all! Perhaps of greater importance is the fact that this belief system violates the key verse for today.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. -- Ephesians 2: 8-9 (ESV)

We believe this verse as the cornerstone of our faith beloved. Salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not of our own doing at all! It is the gift of God and not a result of works. I actually had a oneness adherent recently take offense at the notion that baptism was referred to as a work. He insisted it was a commandment. Nonsense. Jesus only added one commandment and that was to love one another. Even if you want to insist on using commandment; what is the definition of works? Obedience to commandments! There is no getting around this. The belief system of oneness Pentecostals that one must be baptized in Jesus name or at all in order to be saved is simply not supported biblically.

Salvation is a work of God not us. There is nothing we can do other than have faith in Jesus Christ to accept the gift God has so graciously offered. For the record, Oneness Pentecostals have other theological errors in their beliefs including denying the trinity. But that is a topic for another devotional. For our purposes today, we wanted to focus on baptism. Should we get baptized? Absolutely. Do we have to wait, take a class, or prepare in any way? Not according to the Bible. There is no harm in a delay of course because the faith is what saves us, not our outward act of obedience. This may seem small beloved but it is not. It is a wicked deception to take the free gift of salvation and add requirements to it that are entirely of man. To make people question their own salvation based upon the phraseology used when they were baptized. God is God all by Himself. He does not need us to set up any kind of ritual or magic spell in order to save us. These things are very clear when you approach the Bible to learn and hear from God rather than strip mining it to try and prop up what you may have already believed.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- May 25, 2016

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