Christian Church of God - Grand Junction, Colorado

We believe in baptism by immersion following repentance of sins and the necessity of the receipt of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.

Is Christian baptism merely a quaint custom? Is it just an emotional religious experience? Or is it a vital God-required ceremony, symbolic of ones’ deep conviction to begin a new life? On the Day of Pentecost, Peter exclaimed to the assembled Judeans and proselytes, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

A Key to salvation:  Baptism, in fact, is the singular, key ceremony that begins a new way of living for every Christian. Scripture makes clear that baptism is required for Christians, as is the subsequent ‘laying on of hands’ for receiving of the Holy Spirit. The complete meaning of these acts and the advance preparation for them are explained in this belief statement. Participating in such a pivotal event without understanding its meaning and requirements can lead to personal disappointment, unnecessary anxiety, or even a life of false hope! We will now examine every basic aspect of baptism as revealed in the Words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

Christians seek salvation:  To begin our journey toward understanding baptism, let’s look at life-and-death matters as defined in scripture. In the book of Genesis, we discover the source of human life. (All Biblical quotes are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.) “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7) No other source of life is mentioned in scripture. That breath of human life has been passed on to all of man’s descendant through the blood, without which we cannot physically live. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, …” (Lev 17:11)

Since Adam had physical life, in Genesis we also learn of the potential for Adam and his descendants to receive eternal life. “…The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen 2:9) Adam and Eve were permitted to eat from the tree of life.

Instead, they chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was sin for them because doing so was in direct disobedience of God. He had even given them warning of the spiritually lethal consequences, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.“ (Gen 2:17)

This momentous choice to disobey God had a profound effect on the course of human history. It removed access to eternal life from humanity for this entire age. Not only that, it initiated a learning period for mankind which is still going on today - that without trusting and obeying God - only tragic suffering is the lot of all mankind. And in the end, it would result only in certain death, the eternal death. That is the lesson of sin and that’s what is called ‘the law of sin and death.’ ( see Rom. 8:2)

Looking again at Genesis 2:17, “…in the day that you eat of it, dying you shall die.” (LIDV - literal translation) Carrying forward to this generation, we find that Adam’s nature was passed to all. We are made aware of that in clear terms in places such as 1st Corinthians 15:22 and Romans 5:12-14. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-”

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He gave a gift to the Israelites and ultimately all humanity. That law makes perfectly clear what sin is. Jesus summed it all up as two great laws when He said, “ ‘and you shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment, and the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

In this sweeping statement, Jesus makes it clear. If we behave contrary to these foundational laws, we sin. So when we disrespect God, we have sinned. When we harm others by word or deed, or even by thought, we have sinned. For example, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mat 5:28)

This makes clear one of the reasons behind the clamor by Christians to seek salvation - to avoid eternal death! Eternal death is the state of loss of life to the extent of non-existence. That’s what we are saved from by the offer of salvation: eternal death. This is also known as the second death. [1] (Rev.20:14)

next page

[1]  In using the term ‘eternal death’ the author refers to the Biblical ‘second death’ found in Rev 20:4 and 21:8. This is where God utilizes the ‘lake of fire’ to completely annihilate the unrepentant persons and unwanted items. Even institutions such as ‘death’ and the ‘grave’ (Hades) are done away with when they have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer needed.