Likewise in the OT, circumcision was the sign of the covenant between Jehovah and the men (Genesis 17:9 to 14), in the NT the sign of adoption by the Father is the baptism (Mark 16:16).

    Through the baptism Christian believers are spiritually buried with Jesus into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, they too may live a new life (Romans 6:3 and 4)

    Although there is a great difference between these two signs: circumcision from OT was just for men, whereas baptism from NT is for male and female, as they are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

    Paul said that the true circumcision is that which was made not by the hands of men, but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in the baptism and raised with him through the faith in the power of God (Colossians 2:11 and 12).



baptism and  circumcision


Figures of Baptism

    Apart from circumcision, there are other figures of Baptism in the Old Testament.

    The passage through the Red Sea e.g., was also an allegory of baptism, as 1 Corinthians 10:2 says: “Our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”.

    The difference is that at the passage through the sea, Egyptians were criminally drowned in the water at the same time that Israelites passed dry; but in the baptism of NT demons are extinguished and the Christian is buried with Christ, in order to be raised from the spiritually dead, just as He was (Romans 6:4).

The Flood

    “In the ark only a few people were saved through the water and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God” (1 Peter 3:21).

    The flood was an allegory of baptism. The difference is that at the flood of OT all creatures were criminally drowned in the water, except for those who came into the ark; but in the baptism of NT the old creature is spiritually drowned in order that the Christian can live a new life  (Romans 6:4).



Baptism of Naaman

    Another allegory of baptism in the OT is at 2 Kings 5. Like other physical illness, leprosy has its correspondent spiritual disease.

    In order to confirm metaphorically the effectiveness of the baptism to eliminate the power of sins,  Naaman had been healed of leprosy as he came seven times into the water of the Jordan.

    The bad consequence in this history was the leprosy of Naaman clung to Gehazi and his innocent descendants forever (2 Kings 5:27); but in the baptism of NT the spiritual leprosy of Christians is cleansed because Jesus took up our infirmities and carried all our diseases forever (Matthew 8:17).

Is the baptism necessary to salvation?

    Some Christians affirm that baptism is not indispensable to salvation though several texts in the Bible show not only its importance as well as its needfulness. One of them is Mark 6:16, in which Jesus said that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.

    According to Acts 22:16, it was said to Paul: Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.  Also at 1 Peter 3:21 we read that the water from the flood symbolizes the baptism that now save us. 

    However, in a banal atmosphere of religiosity, many churches practice the baptism just to propitiate the ingress of people to their list of members. They say usually that baptism is important but not essential to salvation.

    If baptism was not vital, Jesus would not insist with John the Baptist, saying that it was proper for them to do that to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:13 to 15). 

    We can see the urgency of the baptism as well, when the Ethiopian suggested to Philip in order to be immediately immersed in the water (At.8:36). 

The “good criminal"

    Many Christians allege the no-necessity of baptism using the example of the “good criminal” that was crucified beside Jesus and was saved without time to be baptized, for Jesus said to him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). According to some traditions, his name was Dimas.

    However I think that nobody can say with sure that this criminal had never been baptized before.

    He could be a disciple of Jesus, converted after his repentance from being a robber in the past time, and the crucifixion was a condemnation for his old deeds. All disciples were baptized with the baptism for repentance preached by John the Baptist.

    The last words from this criminal reveals a great intimacy with the teachings of Jesus, as we can see at Luke 23:40-42:

    - he rebuked the other criminal, who hurled insults at Jesus and admitted that they were being punished justly for what their deeds deserved, what means that he was repented;

    - he said that Jesus has done nothing wrong; nobody can attest what another person has done unless he spent a lot of time with this person;

    - he asked for Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Thus, he knew that Jesus had everlasting life as well as an eternal and spiritual Kingdom. He was sure that Jesus could remember him even after His death. None of His disciples had this knowledge up to this time. They were disputing for better places in an earthly kingdom (Mark 10:35 to 37).



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