|1 Corinthians 1:14-17 |
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name.
16 And I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides these, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent speech, so that the cross of Christ should not become of no avail.4 [How might the cross of Christ become of no avail?—If people incorrectly think that water baptism saves them, then bearing the cross is thought to be useless; this has happened in Christianity, whose billions consider the necessity of bearing the cross foolishness and of no value. So Christianity is perishing; and Christianity also being blind to the true gospel, is perishing on two counts.]
4 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent speech, so that the cross of Christ should not become of no avail. How might the cross of Christ become useless?—if people thought that baptism, (water baptism), saved them, then the cross would be of no avail; and is that not exactly what has happened in Christianity? Eloquent speech about the gospel could not eliminate the need of bearing the cross, but as we all know, belief in water baptism can and has convinced billions that bearing the cross is foolishness. Christianity has no use for the cross; they think they have no need of the cross other than for decoration or jewelry. But as the next verse says: to those who are being saved, (actually experiencing the destruction of even the desire to sin within them), the cross is the power of God; but to Christianity, the cross is foolishness and they are perishing.
If water baptism could save a person, then Jesus is not even necessary because water baptism by John the Baptist among the Jews was taking place before Jesus even began his ministry. To bear the cross, to expose yourself to hearing His commands to you, and to obey what you hear Jesus speak to you, is the only way to salvation, which is to be freed from all sin, even the desire to sin.