Question: “May a person who believes his sins forgiven submit to a scriptural baptism while thus believing?”
Answer: “There is something unscriptural in the case as presented; but what is it? Is it the baptism, or is it the understanding of when a person is pardoned? If the latter, does that invalidate the former? This is the point of issue in this question, and it is continually ignored. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16.) The thing to be believed is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. A person that believes this, and, on this faith, is baptized, is scripturally baptized; but if he believe he has been forgiven before he is baptized his faith is unscriptural–that is, he mistakes the point in the path of obedience at which pardon is promised and can be claimed. Does a mistake as to the point at which God bestows the blessing cause God to withhold the blessing form one who, through faith, does what God tells him? If so, where is the precept or example that shows it? If it is so, it must be because God requires a person to understand at what point in the path of obedience a blessing is promised before he can receive it. Does any one believe this? I have never found one that would affirm it. I have asked for a single precept or example in the New Testament or the Old Testament that would prove it. I have never seen one produced that was claimed to teach it. I can produce scores of examples and precepts from the Old Testament and the New Testament showing that a misunderstanding on the part of man as to when, in the path of obedience, a blessing was promised, or even of what the blessing was, did not prevent God bestowing the blessingwhen the point was reached. To deny the blessing would be given in this instance because the person mistook the point at which the blessing was bestowed is to set at defiance the teachings of God through the Old Testament and the New Testament, which were written for our example and admonition. God is pleased with the faith that does what he tells to be done without waiting to know when and how God will bless.”
Another Statement (pp. 52-53): “Christ was baptized ‘to fulfill all righteousness,’ or to obey all the commands of God to make men righteous. (Matt. 3:15.) It is difficult to improve on the examples of Christ. All blessings and all the promises of God connected with the service of God ought to be proclaimed to encourage men to trust in and obey God. But when man does so trust God as to do what he commands, God accepts that service from the humblest of mortals, and man should throw no stumbling-blocks in the way of these little ones of God. There is no greater hindrance to the cause of God at this day than magnifying things not taught by God into questions that create strife among the people of God and divert their minds from the great work of saving men and women from death.”
My Comment: Lipcomb consistently stresses (1) the example of Jesus and (2) the faith that saves. If Jesus was baptized to obey God, then following that example is sufficient, and the faith that is required for baptism is a faith in Jesus and not a faith in the promise or blessing of baptism. Anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ and obeys God in baptism through that faith receives the blessings God promised in connection with baptism whether they know it or not (not only the remission of sins, but the gift of the Holy Spirit as well) and even if they had a mistaken notion of what God had promised. God’s promises do not depend upon a perfectionistic understanding of what God has promised but rather are received through faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. God gives his grace (blessings) through faith and not through perfectionistic understanding.