We have heard of groups that teach that baptism is essential for salvation, and even those who teach that the baptism must be in their church, but a new error seems to be emerging: that the baptism of Jesus takes away sin!
The teaching is found on this website and comes from Paul C. Jong of South Korea.
The basic belief breaks down into three areas like this:
1. John the Baptist is like the High Priest
“In the age of the New Testament, God sent John the Baptist, a descendant of Aaron (1 Chronicles 24:10, Luke 1:5) and the last High Priest of the Old Testament (Matthew 11:11-13). John the Baptist, as the God-sent prophet, representative and High Priest of humankind, baptized Jesus in order to pass all the sins of humankind onto Him, the Son of God, who came to save sinners.” (All quotes are taken from the above website).
John, it is said, passed all the sins of mankind on to Jesus.
“This important concept is also known as the forgiveness of sins. Sins are forgiven when we become cleansed of all sins once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is to believe in a series of truths: Jesus Christ’s divinity, the incarnation of the Son of God, His baptism and crucifixion for the salvation of us all, and His resurrection.”
“Sin is ‘hamartia’ in Greek. And its verbal form is ‘hamartano,’ which means ‘to miss the mark.’ Hence, one of the most serious sins is to incorrectly believe in Jesus, and thus lack the ability to be saved. To neither know nor believe in the truth is to commit the sin of disobedience and to blaspheme against God.”
We are cleansed from sin once and for all through, first, the gospel of water (baptism). If we do not believe correctly about Jesus then it is impossible to be saved.
3. Baptism has special meaning
“Baptism means (1) to be washed (2) to be buried (to be immersed) and in spiritual meaning, (3) to pass on sin by laying on of hands, as ministered in the Old Testament days.
“In the New Testament, the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist was to wash away all the sins of the world. ‘The baptism of Jesus’ has the meaning of taking away the sins of all mankind, to wash away the sins of the world.
“Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of all human beings and the High Priest of the lineage of Aaron, and took all the sins of the world upon Himself. This was the purpose of His baptism.
“The spiritual meaning of the word ‘baptism’ is ‘to pass on, to be buried.’ So, ‘the baptism of Jesus’ means that all sins were passed onto Jesus and that He was judged instead of us. In order to save mankind, Jesus had to take away our sins with His baptism and die for them.
“Thus, His death is also the death of you and me, all the sinners of the world, and His resurrection is the resurrection of all people. His sacrifice is the salvation of sinners, and His baptism is the very witness to washing away all the sins of humankind.
“The Bible tells us, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism” (1 Peter 3:21). The baptism of Jesus is the righteous way of saving all humanity by washing away our sins.”
There is a spiritual meaning to baptism and it is through the baptism of Jesus that we are saved.
Let us look at these issues carefully from Scripture and we will discover that there are few, if any, Scriptures used to support the teaching and, more importantly, there are many Scriptures that show just how wrong it is.
John the Baptist
Nowhere does the Bible speak of John as a High Priest – even though from the family of priests (Luke 1). John is always spoken of in terms of being a forerunner, looking forward to someone else. He is also called a prophet – Matthew 11:9 – and a prophet could not be a priest.
There is not one Scripture that talks about John placing the sin of mankind on Jesus; indeed, it is said that the Lord did it (Isaiah 53:6).
Emphasis is put on correct understanding in order for your sins to be forgiven. This means that some can never be saved because some will not just understand. Jong claims that if you do not know the truth then you commit the sin of disobedience. This is illogical because, if you do not know something, you are not disobeying.
Always in Scripture the forgiveness of sins is linked to confession and repentance and not to a “correct understanding”. See for instance, 1 John 1:9 where the forgiveness of sin is linked to the character of God not to the mind of man. Also see Romans 6:23 where forgiveness of sin in order to receive eternal life is shown as a free gift; man can do nothing for it with his mind or his body. This is shown further in Ephesians 2:8-10, where we can do no works at all to receive forgiveness and salvation but once received we are to work it out.
However, the central area we must look at is baptism, as this becomes the key for the forgiveness of my sin and without an understanding of what Jong says happens, then I cannot have my sin forgiven and I am on my way to hell.
We will look at a number of phrases here.
Baptism… in spiritual meaning … to pass on sin by laying on of hands
There is not one Scripture that even gets close to teaching this, and especially when we talk of the Baptism of Jesus by John. Not one Scripture talks of sin being passed on to Jesus. Indeed, evidence surrounding the event would suggest otherwise.
John wanted to prevent Jesus from being baptised (Matthew 3:14) – that would not have happened if he knew the vital act that was about to take place.
When Jesus was baptise, heaven was opened (Luke 3:21, 22). The opposite reaction as to when Jesus dies on the Cross – the Father turns away and we have darkness.
In the New Testament, the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist was to wash away all the sins of the world.
Hebrews 9:13-16 shows that, for there to be forgiveness of sin, there needs to be the sacrifice and blood being shed. Neither of these things happened at Baptism, only at Calvary.
The spiritual meaning of the word ‘baptism’ is ‘to pass on, to be buried. Nowhere do we find such a meaning for the word baptism.
Note that it is said to be the ‘spiritual’ meaning! How this was revealed and to whom, we are not told. What is clear is that the Bible does not teach this and there is no proof for such a claim.
The Bible tells us, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism” (1 Peter 3:21). The baptism of Jesus is the righteous way of saving all humanity by washing away our sins.
1 Peter 3 is often used as seeking to prove that baptism is necessary for salvation, but a careful reading will show that this is not what is being said.
At first glance, it may appear, this Scripture teaches that baptism now saves you; but note in the previous verses to what it is referring. Baptism saving you corresponds to the flood. We need to discover two things here: What actually saved the people; and what – and to – was the salvation.
If this was to teach us that New Testament baptism saves, then we would need to see that it was the water that saved Noah and his family. However, the water did not save them; rather the opposite – it nearly destroyed them. What actually saved them was the ark. We need to discover in New Testament terms what or whom the Old Testament picture of the ark represents, and the answer is not baptism but Jesus Christ. Being put into water does not save us; our safety comes from being in Christ and having a sure relationship with Him.
What sort of salvation was this? Are we talking about the salvation of receiving Christ into the life? No, in Old Testament terms, they needed that relationship before they got into the ark. This was a salvation that would take them out of one world system into another. Salvation is not being used here in the sense of being born again. It is a full deliverance, through God’s judgement, into the new world order that Christ has yet to set up on earth.
This teaching is clearly not seen within Scripture and should be rejected by all those who want to embrace the truth of mainstream Christianity.