As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" [ And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:36-40 NASB)
Philip obviously preached the whole gospel to him. The Eunuch wanted to follow the command to be baptized. There was no church service scheduled or no waiting period. The response was immediate. The procession stopped and the Eunuch humbly stepped down out of the carriage and into the waters of baptism. The scriptures clearly say that he stepped into the water. This gives an indicator that the baptism was more than a simple sprinkling of water on his head. Now, let's recognize that God is looking at the motive of a person more than at the method so let's be careful not to get dogmatic (strongly opinionated) about our preferences. God is touched by our obedience, not our self righteousness. Baptism doesn't save us. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 5:1; 6:23; 10:8-10,13, Titus 3:5, and even the criminal on the cross(Luke 23:43) that Jesus said would be with Him in paradise that day are all scriptural references to salvation as a divine act of God bestowed upon us as a gift. A gift is paid for by the giver at no cost to the recipient. Wages are earned, a gift is simply received (see Romans 6:23).
Baptism is a physical representation of a covenant seal. The Holy Spirit is our seal (see Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). Just as a ring is the representative seal of the covenant of marriage, baptism is the ceremonial act of our professed faith in the lover of our souls.
Let me be abundantly clear that the blood and body of Jesus is the ONLY atonement for sin. Faith in Him is what saves us (see Romans 5:1). There is nothing we can add to that. It is finished! Our obedience in baptism is a statement of our faith in Him. Perhaps you are someone who has accepted Jesus as your Savior but you have never been baptized. I challenge you to be baptized as an unashamed act of submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. We all need to follow the command in scripture to be baptized as a result of our acceptance of The Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism never precedes salvation, it follows it. Jesus was baptized (see Matthew 3:13-16). Jesus did not get baptized because he had received salvation, rather, because He was salvation. He was God incarnate (in human flesh). As a human, He set the example for His followers. John the Baptist baptized people, Jesus commanded baptism (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16), the apostles exercised this practice in the book of Acts, and the apostle Paul mentions it in 1st Corinthians chapter 1. After the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, Philip was miraculously transported to a place called Azotus (also known as Ashdod- a number of miles from Samaria). The Eunuch apparently was blessed in such a way that the scripture says he went away rejoicing. His encounter with the gospel of Jesus resulted in a changed life and the joy of the Lord. Restore the joy of our salvation, Lord Jesus!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris