Derek Prince - The Requirements For Christian Baptism
We’ve studied the requirements for John’s baptism, let’s study the requirements for Christian baptism. Jesus said, first of all, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them. So, a person who is to be baptized, must have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You remember what I said the Gospel is? It’s three historical facts Jesus died, He was buried, He rose again. If you believe that, it’s reckoned to you as righteousness. You are justified. So, we have no right to baptize people, who have not been confronted by the simple facts of the Gospel.
Second, the next requirement was repentance. On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. In verse 38 we read the response of Peter when the convicted but unconverted crowd said to him: Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter answered in verse 38: Repent! You remember what we said, repentance is always the first step. Repent and let every one of you be baptized, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s program. It’s all in one verse, why should we split it up? and separate it by weeks or months? I was so ignorant about the Gospel that when I got saved, I got baptized in the Spirit. It didn’t happen in a church, it happened in an army barrack room. I only learned later that you’re supposed to wait. At the same time I was baptized in the Holy Spirit I got the gift of tongues and interpretation.
Thank God I hadn’t been put together with Christians who said you have to wait so long to get all this. Peter didn’t say that. He said it’s a package deal. Repent, be baptized in water, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And I can tell you, if you present the truth to people that way and they respond, that’s how it will happen It doesn’t take a long time. It’s not a long, drawn-out process. It’s a crisis, in a way, you move from one dimension to another dimension. Thirdly, to be baptized people have to believe. In Mark 16:15–16 Jesus said to His disciples, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. And what a reproach it is on us that after 2,000 years we still haven’t done the job. That’s just by the way. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.
So you are not qualified to be baptized if you have not believed. You have to be a believer. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. Let me point out to you that Jesus never offers any guarantee of salvation to those who believe without being baptized. You may say, I’ve settled this with the Lord. Well, that’s up to you. But you have no Scriptural guarantee of salvation unless you’ve been baptized as a believer. And baptized, I mean, the whole of you right under and right up. Immersed. The other condition is stated by Peter in 1 Peter 3:21. 1 Peter 3:21, he’s talking about the days of Noah and we won’t go into that, we’ll just get the application of this.
In 1 Peter 3:20 he says: When the longsuffering [or the patience] of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is eight souls, was saved through water. That’s a significant phrase, isn’t it? Peter’s saying God wouldn’t send the flood until the ark was prepared. So, He was waiting patiently until the ark was ready, then He released the flood. And it says out of all the people on earth today, how many were saved? Eight. That’s a very solemn thought. I’ve seen calculations that the population of the earth was probably at least two million. It’s a very, very solemn thought. Out of possibly two million people, eight were saved. Salvation really is not for the majority.
So many questions today in our, 'democratic society' are solved by the decision of the majority. God’s issues are never settled that way. They’re settled by God’s decision. So then Peter goes on, speaking about the ark and Noah and the flood he says There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism. Do you understand? He said baptism saves us. And then he says: Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, it’s not just having a bath to get clean, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.
So that’s the fourth condition. It’s that you can answer God with a good conscience. In other words, you say, God, I know I was a sinner. I’m sorry. I repent. I believe Jesus died for me. I believe that through faith in Him I’m justified, reckoned righteous. I’ve done all I can, Lord, in my condition as a sinner. Please accept me. You answer to God with a good conscience. You can’t do more than God asks. If you’ve done all that God asks, you’ve answered to God with a good conscience. So let me just recapitulate the four conditions for being baptized as a believer. Number one, you have to have heard the Gospel. Number two, you have to have repented. Number three, you have to believe the Gospel. And number four, you have to have a good conscience toward God. Now, I don’t want in any way to be controversial but I think without all controversy I can say one thing. An infant is incapable of fulfilling any of those four conditions. Is that right? I think no one can deny it, it’s a simple fact.