Bible Studies...

 Naaman and Water Baptism
by Mark J. Ward

There are many preachers who teach error on a very important matter concerning one's becoming a child of God. This will lead many people to falsely believe that they are "Christians" when in reality they are not. Does the Bible teach that folks are Christians before or after scriptural water baptism? Please read on.

The Bible teaches that the Old Testament was written, in part, that we can learn and make spiritual applications to our lives for the good. Romans 15:4 teaches, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Lessons and truths are imparted from the many hundreds of stories that we can read of from Genesis through Malachi. One such example, is a lesson we can learn from a leper: Naaman in 2 Kings 5.

The Texts - 2 Kings 5 & Acts 22

2 Kings 5:1 "Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, [but he was] a leper. {with: Heb. before} {deliverance: or, victory} {honourable: or, gracious: Heb. lifted up, or, accepted in countenance} 2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. {waited...: Heb. was before} 3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord [were] with the prophet that [is] in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. {with: Heb. before} {recover: Heb. gather in} 4 And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel. 5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand [pieces] of gold, and ten changes of raiment. {with...: Heb. in his hand} 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have [therewith] sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. 7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, [Am] I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. 8 And it was [so], when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. 9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. {I thought: Heb. I said} {strike: Heb. move up and down} {I thought...: or, I said with myself, He will surely come out, etc} 12 [Are] not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. {Abana: or, Amana} 13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, [if] the prophet had bid thee [do some] great thing, wouldest thou not have done [it]? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."

Acts 22:4 " And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. 6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise , and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt [there], 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise , and be baptized , and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

The Comparison

In looking at the above passages, note the following:


1. Naaman had leprosy.
2. God gave a plan for removing it.
3. Naaman could not add to, subtract from, or substitute for the plan given by God.
4. When Naaman did what God said do to remove the leprosy, the leprosy was removed by the power of God which was applied after the conditions were met.


1. Paul had sins and was not a child of God.
2. God sent a preacher to tell him what he must do to be saved.
3. Paul could not add to, subtract from, or substitute for the plan given by God.
4. When Paul did what God said do to remit his sins, he received forgiveness of sins by the power of God which was applied after the conditions were met.

No Special Power in the Water

In both the case of Naaman and scriptural water baptism for the alien sinner, there is no special power in the water! The result of Naaman's leprosy being cleansed was doing what God said do to get the result God said would follow. Similarly, the penitent alien who believes and confesses Christ is ready to be planted in the watery grave of baptism to receive the remission of past sins, become a child of God and rises to walk in newness of life!

Doing what God said do (includes), "Arise and be baptized.." to get the result God said would follow, "...and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." is what happens in scriptural water baptism. It's NOT "water salvation" (as some false teachers like to jest), but rather, it is God's plan of salvation for the alien sinner. This does nothing to remove God's mercy, His grace, Jesus' death on the cross, the effectiveness of faith, repentance and confession from the equation, for they are ALL part of God's plan of salvation!

Doing God's Will with Love

Obeying God "from the heart" includes doing it out of LOVE for Him and what He has done for us. After all, John 3:16 should remind us of part of what God has done for us...our love toward God would have us obey Him gladly. God did not ask "too much" of Naaman. Nor does God ask too much of us in becoming His children. Romans 6:15 teaches, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. {which...: Gr. whereto ye were delivered} 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Yes, there is a pattern that God requires man to "obey" in order to become a Christian. We must "obey" (do) something, in order to meet the conditions God has set.

Don't Be Deceived!

Don't believe preachers and teachers in religion who say water baptism is "for those already saved". You will not read of any "Christians" who were ever taught to be baptized in the New Testament, but rather you read of people being baptized in order to become Christians (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27)!

Be not deceived! The one baptism of Ephesians 4 puts one into Christ, is for the remission of sins and fit subjects are aliens who are in the process of coming toward God. It is wrong for anyone to leave off some of God's conditions in His plan of forgiveness. Check your Bibles and read for yourself.

Thanks for reading. - mjw

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