The following scriptures have one thing in common. Romans 10:16 “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 “And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” Each of these scriptures talks about not obeying the gospel.
How does one obey the gospel? We understand that the gospel is God’s message, the good news to mankind. How can one obey the gospel? Let us first get a better definition of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” From this we understand that the essence of the gospel is the death of Christ, His burial, and His resurrection. Is that good news? Absolutely! Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, we can have the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of our own resurrection.
But how does one obey the gospel? How does one obey the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? Romans 6:1-5 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” When we are baptized, we obey the gospel. In baptism, we die to our sins, just as Christ died on the cross. We are buried in water just as Christ was buried in the tomb. We rise out of the water to walk in newness of life just as Christ was resurrected from death. In baptism we obey the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Our baptism is a form of the teaching of the gospel. Romans 6:17 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
Some want to have baptism as sprinkling of water or pouring on of water. However, it is clear that baptism is meant to be a burial in water so that it can be like the burial of Christ in the tomb. Some want to discount the importance of baptism and say it is not necessary for salvation. But through baptism we obey the gospel and we must obey the gospel if we are to escape the judgement of God and everlasting destruction (1 Peter 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). We also need to be reminded that it was at our baptism where we died to sin and rose to walk in newness of life. Continue to walk in newness of life.