BAPTISM AND THE CONVERSION OF SAUL
The conversion of Saul is recorded in Acts 9. We learn here that Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when the Lord appeared to him. At this point, he realized that Christ was actually God's son ( v. 6). Saul was told to go into the city where it would be revealed to him what he must do. Now blind, it was necessary for him to be led into the city. Once there, he did not eat or drink anything for three days. Eventually, he came in contact with a man appointed by God named Ananias who healed his blindness and baptized him.
Why was Saul baptized? Consider what he was told by Ananias in the account found in Acts 22. Verse 16 says that Saul was told, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." What was his baptism for? It was to wash away his sins.
It is also clear that Saul was not saved by faith only. In fact, Acts 22:16 makes it clear that Saul still had his sins prior to his baptism. This is true even though he had been praying and fasting for three days; even though he had now become a believer; even though he had repented, and even though he was sincere. He still had his sins because he had not been baptized. Remember, his baptism washed away his sins.
In addition, Saul was told by the Lord to, "...arise, and go into the city, and it will be told thee what thou must do." In the city, he was told to be baptized. Thus baptism is something that one must do. Hebrews 11:6 tells that one must believe. It is puzzling why people can look at a command which says that we must do something (such as Hebrews 11:6) and conclude that it is essential to do and even necessary for our salvation, and then go to another command where the word "must" is used, and say that one can obey this command if he wants to, and that it is not essential.
The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is essential; it washes away our sins and is certainly essential for salvation.
By Mike Johnson
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