Water Salvation (3)

The Bible contains a number of inspired stories of various individuals and people that were saved through water. The New Testament makes it clear that water is also connected to our salvation (I Peter 3:20-21; I Cor. 10:1-2; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 10:47-48; John 3:5).

The final Bible story of water salvation that I would like for us to consider is when Naaman dipped in the Jordan River.

Naaman had leprosy, a painful and life-threatening disease. So he traveled to the house of Elisha, the faithful prophet of God in hopes of being healed (2 Kings 5:1-9). Elisha sent a messenger to him with the simple instructions he needed to follow to be healed of his leprosy. “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).

With such simple and clear instructions to be healed, one would think that Naaman would happily run to the Jordan and eagerly dip seven times to be cleansed of his leprosy. “But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy. Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11-12).

Thankfully his servants were able to persuade him to reconsider. “And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?’ How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’ So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:13-14).

It’s not hard to see the many parallels to water baptism in the New Testament. Christ’s command to sinners to be baptized is quite simple and clear (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; John 3:5). Yet, how many people today still become furious if you tell them that baptism is necessary for salvation?

As Naaman was cleansed of his leprosy by dipping in the Jordan River, the sinner is cleansed (or forgiven) of his sins when he is buried with Christ in baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4). Our sins are washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16). Our sins are cut off or removed in baptism (Col. 2:11-12). This is not the working of men, but of God (Col. 2:12). Will you gladly and humbly obey the Lord’s command to be baptized to be saved? Or will you stubbornly turn away in a rage, remaining lost in your sins?