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Baptism. The first sacrament of the Catholic Church, and believed by the majority of Christians (over half of which are Catholics) to effect grace upon the recipient. In the United States, this is a major issue as the majority of Christians are Protestant of various organizations and beliefs, resulting in a wide variety of theological claims. The intent of this article is to make a short and clear claim regarding the effect of baptism; specifically, to promote the sacramenthl value of the act and to refute what is commonly called believer's baptism.
The Case for Baptism
Men are clearly instructed to be baptized and that it is essential for salvation. This is because baptism washes away sin (Acts 22.16; Acts 2.38). Water may wash away dirt, but the act of baptism washes away sin. It was "prefigured" as an "appeal to God" made through Christ (1 Peter 3.21) Peter affirmed clearly that baptism saves and that it is done in the name of Christ. Peter makes it very obvious that baptism is not a simple memorial washing. He outright states that baptism "saves". Men who are baptized will be "saved" (Mark 16.16.). Baptism is essentially equal with belief. Men who refuse baptism reject God (Luke 7.30). When men are baptized in the name of Christ, they are "clothed with Christ" without exception (Galations 3.27). Everyone who is baptized receive the grace of Christ, and there is no added stipulation here that such baptism must include affirmation of belief. Christ himself states that men must be "born of water and spirit" (John 3.5).
Therefore, if a man believes and has been baptized, he will be saved (permitting, of course, that he does not persist in sin; which is another subject entirely (see Penance)). It is not a memorial washing. Nor is it ever mentioned that it is a public statement of faith, though we are called to publicly declare our faith elsewhere.
Baptism has a saving power effected through God's grace.
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