Old Testament Lessons on New Testament Baptism

by Roby Ellis          SPANISH/ESPAÑOL


A. In spite of the teachings of the New Testament, there are still many who object to the doctrine that baptism is essential for salvation.

B. Paul tells us that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4), and we shall see that there is much that we can learn about NT baptism from familiar OT stories.

I. We learn about baptism when we read of the flood (Genesis 6-7).

A. We learn that God can use water to save (1 Peter 3:20-21).

B. We learn that few will be saved (Matthew 7:14).

C. We learn that salvation requires both work and sacrifice on our part (Philippians 2:12; James 2:24).

II. We learn about baptism when Israel crosses the Red Sea (Exodus 14).

A. We learn that salvation demands a walk of faith (Hebrews 11:6).

B. We learn that liberty from sin demands more than repentance (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:1-7).

C. We learn that salvation is the work of the Lord, not of man (Exodus 14:13-14,30-31; Colossians 2:10-13).

D. We learn that we can go astray even after we have been saved by God’s grace (1 Corinthians 10:3-12).

III. We learn about baptism when we read about the OT priests.

A. We learn that we must be cleansed in order to serve as priests of God (Exodus 40:12-15; Colossians 3:9-10).

B. We learn that we must wash before we can enter the holy place (Exodus 30:17-21; Revelation 1:5-6; 1 Cor. 12:13).

C. We learn that we must keep ourselves pure in order to continue in His service (Leviticus 21:1-8).

IV. We learn about NT baptism when we read about the cleansing of Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5).

A. We learn that cleansing demands obedience (vs. 14; Matthew 7:21).

B. We learn that some people will not readily received God’s commands (vss. 11-12; Luke 7:30).

C. We learn that baptism involves an operation performed by God Himself (vs. 15; Colossians 2:10-13)!


A. Like the person who found himself unclean under the OT law, we must apply the “water of separation” (Numbers 19:13).

B. Did Israel have to be baptized in the sea? Did the priests have to wash before serving? Did Naaman have to be baptized in Jordan?

C. If so, “why should it be though a thing incredible” (Acts 26:8) that God would demand us to be baptized before He will save us?

D. The baptism of John was not a commandment of men, but one from heaven (Matthew 21:25)—just like baptism in Jesus’ name (28:18-20).      

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