Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
Baptism Pleases God
The religious world is a place of great confusion. Among those who believe in Jesus Christ, variety is the common theme of how a person should worship the Lord, approach Him in prayer, obey the commands of the Lord and what a person must do to be saved. There is one revelation of truth and more than a thousand different churches teaching hundreds of diverse interpretations of what God has taught. The crucial teaching of scripture is the plan of salvation. This is key because it establishes hope of eternal life. Without the right information, there is no second chance. Jesus died to save all men and became either the author of confusion or the sole message of truth from the Father. The problem does not lie in the word of God but what man has done with the truth of God’s message to save man.
Most religious groups teach salvation by faith alone. A consequence of this teaching is the denial of baptism as having any role in salvation. This is a tremendous advantage for Satan to convince man that being immersed in water is of no value save an outward expression of an inward grace. Baptism is frowned upon. It is ridiculed as salvation by works. The body of religious dogma places baptism as a minor role in the plan of redemption with millions of people believing the lie that faith or grace alone saves. Satan gains his minions through the error of false teachers refusing to acknowledge clear teaching of scripture of the role baptism. This does not suggest salvation by baptism alone. There are many steps to take for salvation to be granted but the final point when a man leaves a state of sin and enters the grace of redemption is the waters of baptism. Jesus Christ proves this by His own baptism.
John the Baptist was quite surprised when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized. His reaction was expected when he pleaded with Jesus to baptize him. The answer of Jesus helps us understand why baptism is essential for salvation. John was correct to realize the greatness of the Lord but like many men, failed to grasp the plan the Father had in sending His Son to earth. In his innocence, John thought he knew more than the will of God. He was wrong. Jesus did not come to wash away sins. The Lord was thirty years old and had never broken a single commandment of God. He was sinless. Jesus was not coming to repent for there was nothing to repent of. The Lord was coming to fulfill the righteous pattern of His Father giving all men an avenue of salvation. Jesus established the law in His baptism.
John took Jesus into the Jordan River, immersed Him and when Jesus rose from the waters of baptism, the seal of God poured forth from heaven in approval. The Holy Spirit affirmed the action of Jesus in the presence of a dove. God’s voiced echoed from His eternal throne that the baptism of His Son pleased Him. Why did it please God? It was the will of God as a pattern of righteousness for all men to follow. Luke records in the book of Acts every time a person was saved, they were baptized. Paul proves in his epistles to Galatia, Rome, and Colossae that baptism is necessary for salvation. Peter affirms the same in his writings. How men can deny the critical need of baptism is an example of how powerful the teaching of Satan has permeated those who believe in Jesus Christ.
It will be a sad day when men stand before Jesus Christ – who did not believe baptism was an essential part of their salvation – and hear those terrible words of condemnation. The example of Jesus will stand in stark contrast to the false teaching of men. Baptism is not a matter of interpretation. Satan has successfully convinced religious people to ‘almost become a Christian’ and never realize they are lost. To almost become a Christian is to miss heaven totally. Baptism is not an outward sign of anything inward to save. It is the acceptance of the will of God, confirmed by the example of Jesus Christ, taught by every disciple of truth in the New Testament; and followed by every believing heart that seeks salvation today. It pleases God because it is the will of God.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Jesus Christ, Son of God)