FAQ on the Christian Faith
The baptism of Jesus and His death on the Cross are equally significant. We cannot say that either one is more important than the other. But the problem is that a lot of Christians nowadays only know the blood of Jesus on the Cross. They believe that they have been forgiven because He died on the Cross, but it is not only the Cross with which Jesus took away the sin of the world. Since He was baptized by John the Baptist, and laid all the sins of the world on Him, His death on the Cross could virtually be the judgment for all our sins.
Believing in the Cross only without the baptism of Jesus is just like offering a sacrifice to the Lord without laying hands on it. Those who offered such offering couldn't be redeemed for it was a lawless offering, which Lord couldn't accept. The Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying "If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him" (Leviticus 1:3-4).
The Lord is just and lawful. He has established the fair and just law in order to wash away our sins. When we offer a sacrifice according to the law, the sacrifice is accepted by the Lord to make atonement for us. However, one of the most common fallacies that many people make is that they believe they'd be saved only if they confess Jesus to be their Savior, for the Lord is love. The Bible says, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13), whereas it also tells us that "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
In order to confess that Jesus is the Savior, we should know the law of salvation that God has established. If we could be saved simply by believing in the name of Jesus, there would be no reason whatsoever for the Scriptures to be written about the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and those who practice lawlessness in Matthew 7:21.
However, the amazing and perfect way of the Lord's salvation is clearly recorded in the Bible. Indeed, we can clearly see from Leviticus chapter 3, 4 that a sinner laid his hands on the head of the sacrifice to pass his sin on to its head and slew it and sprinkled its blood when he offered sin offerings and peace offerings. Offering a sacrifice without the laying on of hands or offering a sacrifice with blemish is invalid and cannot make atonement.
Both the words of the Old and New Testaments have their equivalents to each other (Isaiah 34: 16). The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is equal to the sinner's laying hands on the head of the sin offering in the Old Testament. When He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan, He said, "Permit it to be so now, thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).
Here, "all righteousness" means "justice and fairness." It means that it is fitting for Jesus to become the sin offering for mankind, to be baptized by John the Baptist in the form of the laying on of hands to take away all the sins of the world in the fairest way according to the sacrificial system, composed of the laying on of hands and blood, which God established in the Old Testament.
It would consequently mean that He died for nothing without reference to our sins since they were not yet laid on Him, if we believe only in the Cross, but not the baptism of Jesus. It results in regarding His blood as unclean and incapable of washing them away (Hebrew 10: 29).
Therefore, His blood would virtually be effective in washing away sins in the hearts of believers, only if they believe that all their sins have been laid on Him when John the Baptist baptized Him by laying hands on Him. The apostle John testified that the one who overcomes the world believes that Jesus is the Son of Lord and came by water and blood. Jesus came by water and blood, not only by water, not only by blood (1 John 5:4-6).
He explained to His disciples the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, and showed that the sin offering in the Old Testament was He Himself. And David said in Psalms, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of me" (Psalms 40:7).
As a result, His baptism does not nullify the Cross, but actually it is the gospel of the Lord that completes and fulfills the meaning of the Cross. It also teaches us that we cannot have redemption unless there is the baptism and precious blood of Jesus Christ. What you mean by being saved is that you obtain the remission of sins by believing the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:8, Acts 2: 38).