Question:I have discussed with a lady the fact that one has not put on Christ until she has been baptized into Him. She is a Baptist, but has been discussing the Bible with an open mind. She said her preacher told the congregation this weekend that they are "bought with His blood." She wants to know if she and the members are Christians. She admits that the members are baptized for the purpose of joining the local Baptist church. Additionally, she wants to know where the Bible speaks against church creeds. How should I respond? Thanks.
Let's start with a basic concept first. Under the Old Testament, how did a person enter into the covenant? "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant" (Genesis 17:10-14). Every male was to be circumcised in order to be a part of the covenant. A lack of circumcision was a rejection of the covenant.
So, under the New Testament, how does a person enter into the covenant of Christ? "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11-12). Paul states that circumcision under the Old Testament was a shadow of baptism. Instead of a physical circumcision, through baptism a person puts off sin. So can a person be in a covenant relationship with Christ if they reject the means of entering into that covenant? Obviously they can no more do it than an uncircumcised Jew could claim to be under the covenant of Abraham.
Paul stated, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). So how does a person get in Him in order to receive the redemption through His blood? "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). Being baptized into Christ puts us in contact with his death. "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" (Romans 6:3-4). So can a person be in Christ without entering through the door God established?
When we have redemption through Christ's blood, we also have forgiveness of our sins. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Since it is in baptism that sins are washed away, can a person claim to have redemption through Christ's blood while still being in his sins?
The sad thing is the most Baptists were baptized to enter into the Baptist congregation, not to enter into Christ. They did it to obey the Baptist conventions, not to obey the command of Christ. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Their baptism made them Baptists but not Christians. Just as those in Ephesus, when they learned that they had been baptized into John, turned around and where baptized into Christ, so must Baptist become Christians by being baptized into Christ (Acts 19:1-5).
A creed is "the written body of teachings of a religious group that are generally accepted by that group." The problem with any creed is that it is a replacement for the Bible. The Bible states that it contains everything that we need.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).
"As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).
If a creed has something in it that is not contained in the Bible, then it is an addition to God's word. If a creed leaves out something that is in the Bible then it has removed something from God's word. Yet God has always stated that His word is not to be changed (Galatians 1:6-10). If a creed is exactly like the Bible, then it is a Bible and not a creed. Therefore, creeds, created by men serve no useful function. Every advantage claimed for a creed is done in superior fashion by God in His own word.