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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

1st Peter 3:21

Elder C.H. Cayce


---December 10, 1912

"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.'' We have in these words a clear statement of the meaning and design of baptism. It is stated to be a figure of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and its design is, not to purify either the body from outward defilement or the conscience from sin, but that a good conscience may thus give answer outwardly to the work of God wrought in the heart. A good conscience is one which has been cleansed through faith by the application of the blood of Christ, which alone can purify from all sin. We have in this text, first, a refutation and condemnation of the perversion which nearly all professing Christendom has made of the ordinance of baptism, in the sense that by baptism all souls are regenerated and made fit to be heirs of glory. When vital godliness dies out of any people there straightway comes in formality and ritualism of various sorts, and salvation comes to be no longer ascribed to the death and resurrection of Christ for justification, and the new birth of the Spirit is ignored, and salvation and regeneration are held forth as the result of baptism or of other forms and ceremonies. This is true of Romanists, Episcopalians, Campbellites, and is also largely true of Presbyterians and Methodists. Campbellites teach that baptism is essential to final salvation, as an act of obedience, and the other named teach that baptism is essential to salvation, not merely as an act of obedience to God, but because in baptism the soul is regenerated, without which regeneration no soul can live eternally with God. It was the declaration of a Romanist preacher centuries ago that the wailing cry of the souls of unbaptized infants is heard throughout the regions of darkness forever. Such souls, it is asserted, are not in hell, neither can they enter heaven and dwell in the presence of God, therefore they roam, without rest or peace, forever in the regions of darkness. All who believe in infant baptism feel that they must have this ordinance attended to before their children die, else the children will lack something in that other world to which had they been baptized they would have attained. One many years ago said to us that she had lost one child by death which had not been baptized, and she then made a vow that no other child of hers should die without baptism. In reply to the question, "Why, do you think that your child is lost?'' she said, "No, but it lacked something in that world which baptism would have secured it.'' We could but say to her, "If your child is suffering through your neglect, instead of your suffering for it, where is the justice?'' Because Baptists have always insisted upon baptism as it is taught in the word of God, and have condemned sprinkling or pouring as superstitions of men, and because they have never received such sprinkling and pouring as baptism when members of other professed bodies of Christians have come to them, it has been for centuries charged against them by haters of truth, and believed by foolish and ignorant men, that they believe that baptism is essential to salvation. It has not mattered that they believe and have always taught the contrary, viz., that salvation is essential to baptism. Evil minded men continue to urge this charge against them, and foolish men believe it. If indeed we do not believe that baptism must be received in order to the justification of the soul and to an entrance into the world of glory, unless Baptists do not possess ordinary human sympathy with their fellowmen, we certainly should be found urging with all solemnity and persistence upon all men the necessity of being baptized, and did we believe this there would never be any question asked of any one who came to us asking baptism; we should only be too much filled with rejoicing that another had come asking for that which would save the soul. It is not we, as Old School Baptists, who believe and teach that one must be baptized if he would be saved, but those who practice sprinkling of infants and Campbellites, who practice immersion. Old School Baptists could not believe and teach salvation by ordinances of any kind, because they do believe and teach with all their hearts that salvation is alone through the atonement upon Calvary. They believe that it is the work of Christ for us that saves, and in which we are to trust and not our work. Baptism by immersion and emersion (into and from the watery grave) is essential to walking obediently in the commandments of the Lord, just as to follow all other commandments which He has given His people is essential to obedience. But obedience to the commandments of the Lord does not justify the sinner, nor secure his abode in heaven; this is secured to him alone by the finished obedience of the blessed Lord. There is no more salvation in baptism than there is in any other act of obedience which we may gladly render in token of our love to Him who loved us and died for us. We have not written here of all this with any expectation of silencing the charges of ignorant men to which we have referred, but that our readers who, it may be, have been disturbed by these false assertions, may have somewhat to reply when they hear such things said. In the text the apostle uses the expression, "The like figure, whereunto even baptism.'' Baptism here is assented by the apostle to be just such a figure of salvation as was the water of the flood, by which he declares that Noah and his family were saved. The waters of the flood, then, were a figure of salvation; baptism is also a figure of salvation. Let us note that the apostle here did not say that Noah was saved from the water of the flood, but by the water. The ark into which he was shut, saved him and all with him from destruction by the flood, but here the assertion is that there was a salvation by the water itself. What was that salvation? It appears to us that it could have been but one thing, vis., that by the flood Noah and his family were separated forever from the wicked antediluvian world, or saved from it. The same flood that saved Noah from the former wicked world, at which he vexed himself and against which he preached while preparing the ark, was the destruction of the world of wicked, men. Noah was by the flood forever separated from all his former life; so also were the people said to be "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea,'' when they passed over dry shod through the water standing as walls of brass on either side and under the cloud that hovered over them. True, the word "baptism'' always signifies dipping or immersion and emersion, but here the reference of the apostle is not so much to the form of baptism as to the separating work wrought at the Red Sea, by which all Israel were forever separated from Egypt and their former life there, and were shut up to the leadership of Moses. "Separated from Egypt and separated to Moses.'' So Noah was by the water of the flood separated to the new world that appeared after the flood. All this was a figure of that salvation which God works for His people through the finished work of Christ by His death and resurrection. They are in like manner (not figure, but in reality) separated to the Lord and from their former death in sin and ungodliness. Now baptism is here declared to be just such a figure of this salvation in Christ as was the water of the flood. As the antediluvian world became dead to Noah by the flood, and he to it, 60 through Christ believers have become dead to their former life, and hope, and bondage', and have been raised up to newness of life, and now live in a new world, with new hopes and desires and blessings, and by the water of baptism they declare this work to have been wrought in them. As Noah was saved by the work of God wrought in him, separating him from the ungodly world in spirit and feeling before the flood came, so are believers separated from their former life and love by the work of the Spirit in their heart before they receive baptism. Indeed, had not this work been Wrought in the, heart of Noah before the time of the flood, salvation by the water of the flood could not have been his, The water of the flood would not have wrought this righteous principle in him, and he would have been after the flood living the life of wickedness that all the world had been doing before. So also if righteousness has not been wrought in the heart of men before baptism there has been no real separation from others, and the water of baptism is to them but a solemn mockery. Let us remember that, after all, the apostle declares that there is a salvation in the figure baptism, but this salvation is not that salvation which puts away sin, the filth of the flesh. The apostle declares that this salvation is now, but the putting away of sin is not now; that was accomplished when Jesus died and rose again; He was put to death for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Redemption, in the real sense of the word, was finished when Jesus had finished the work which God gave Him to do, and was raised again from the dead,. So the apostle here connects baptism with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.'' The Apostle Paul sets forth the same great truth which is here declared by Peter in (Romans 6:3-4): "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.'' Here the meaning of the apostle evidently is that by real heartfelt experience of death to sin, and life to holiness and God, we have been baptised into Him, and into His death, and therefore we are in water baptism buried with Him, and rise there from to walk in newness of life. So Peter in the text connects our water baptism with the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ in His work for us by which we are saved, while we testify to this work as having been wrought in us by being baptized, and this baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God; it is our confession of what the Lord has done for us in the resurrection of Christ. Baptism, then, is a form of presenting a reality'; it is a form, but not an unmeaning form. The ordinances of the house of God appointed in His word are all of them filled with meaning. In them we do not find redemption, or justification, or eternal life, but they all testify of these things. So the supper tells of Jesus' body and blood, upon which we live and by which we are cleansed from sin. Baptism also sets forth three special things, according to the testimony of the word. In the first place, it sets forth our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for our justification and redemption. By our baptism we declare that our hope is in His work for us, finally finished when He died, and witnessed to us by His resurrection from the dead. In the second place, in baptism we declare that it is our hope that we also have become experimentally dead to sin by the body of Christ and alive unto holiness. Dying we are buried, and living again we rise to walk in this newness of life; and, in the third place, as our bodies are buried in the watery grave, and rise again from it, we declare that our faith is that our bodies are included in the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they shall one day also rise as did His crucified body, and be changed into the likeness of His glorified body, and so live forever with Him. In these three things are summed up all the principles of truth contained in the gospel of the Son of God, Lastly, baptism is itself salvation to all who believe. It does not indeed put away sin, which is the chief part of salvation, but it does separate us from our former lives in and of the world in the sight of all who love God, and indeed in the sight of all men. We are henceforth known as the professed followers of Christ, as those who henceforth do not live as others live, in the vanity of their minds, but as those who live in union with that which pertains to God and godliness. It is a great help to one who loves the Lord, and who has in heart and desire been separated unto the Lord, to have it known by all that this is his hope, and it will, we think, be the testimony of all believers that they have found a help to resist temptation after worldliness by the very fact that they have been baptized in the name of the Lord. Even the world does not expect those who have made this confession to live as they did before, or as the worldly live. There is gain surely when we know that the world no longer expects us to run in the way that we once did; at least we know that in our early life young friends did not, after we were baptized upon confession of our faith, expect us or ask us to join in many things that they did insist upon our doing before. We did find in this sense a salvation in baptism. We doubt not that many have found it so. C. H.C.


We copy the above from the Signs of the Times of December 1, 1912. It is from the pen of Elder F. A. Chick. This article sets forth the very position held by our people. For teaching this same thing we have been called Arminians, Half-Baptists, Semi-Baptists, Bildads, and other such names.

Note that Elder Chick says, "Let us remember that, after all, the apostle declares that there is a salvation in the figure of baptism, but this salvation is not that salvation which puts away sin, the filth of the flesh.'' If "this salvation is not that salvation which puts away sin,'' and if that salvation which puts away sin is an eternal salvation, then this is some other kind of salvation. If it is not an eternal salvation, is it not a time salvation? Then, why should we be called by such names as those mentioned above, because we call this a time salvation?

The term "total depravity'' is not used in the Scriptures, but they teach what we mean by that term, and what the term implies. The Scriptures teach that the sinner is depraved in all his parts. Are we heretics because we teach the same thing and call it total depravity? If not, then how can we be heretics because we teach, as the Scriptures do, that there is a salvation in baptism, and then call it a time salvation?

We would call attention to the fact that Elder Chick says, "We did find in this sense a salvation in baptism.'' As he was already a child of God before baptism, he already had eternal salvation. He must, therefore, have found a time salvation in baptism. Elder Chick experienced this in his life. His experience is, therefore, in harmony with the teaching of Holy Writ. This adds another evidence that he is a child of God. We would add here that what Elder Chick found in rendering obedience to the Lord is also found by all other children of God who walk in that path. On the other hand, they suffer and fail to find this salvation when they walk in disobedience.

The Scriptures abundantly teach this truth-hence the apostle could say, "Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.'' We should not make a brother an offender for a word; neither should we try to magnify our differences. We should try to minimize them, and try to get together. May the Lord help us so to do. C. H. C.