Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Water Baptism

The teachings get a little more serious from here on. Post any questions. I'll be happy to answer what I can.

Water baptism, as the New Testament teaches it, is the means by which a new believer is united with Christ. When I was saved, I had a concern as to whether or not I needed to be baptized. I had been baptized as an infant into the faith of my parents and did not know if that would 'carry over'. The counsel I received from my pastor at the time was that if I felt that my infant baptism was sufficient, then I did not need to be baptized again. That was a very clever answer. Without the full knowledge of what baptism truly represents, my original baptism would be sufficient. And that is how I left it. I eventually moved and therefore changed churches. I came, at some point, to an understanding of water baptism and decided to be baptized. OK, I'll teach it and you come to your own conclusion.

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27-28

That is what baptism does; it unites you with Christ (you put Him on) and the body of believers (ye all are one). Take a look at verse 27 in the Amplified version:

For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.
Galatians 3:27 AMP

Baptism is more that some sort of ritual or ceremony. Anywhere you find baptism in the New Testament, it is never spoken of as a singular act. It includes the entire redemptive work of the Lord.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:38-41

The word 'baptize' means to dip or immerse. In order to be baptized, you must be dipped or immersed in water. A sprinkling is not the same, and as you follow this teaching, you'll see why.

Let's look at Jesus' teachings on baptism.

First, he goes to John to be baptized himself:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Matthew 3:13-14

John's like, "Wait a minute, Jesus. You've got this backwards. You're supposed to be baptizing me." I don't think John had a complete revelation of what he was doing. Here he is baptizing all these people and Jesus comes along and John tries to make Him do it his way. It's not really suggested that you try to make God fulfill your calling YOUR way. Listen up and see what He says and then do it HIS way. Look at how Jesus answers him:

But Jesus replied to him, Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him.
Matthew 3:15 AMP

Jesus basically says that in order to fulfill ALL righteousness (which is what He came to do), that, first, Jesus himself must be baptized, and John himself must do it. Jesus clearly supported what John was doing, to him. It is then significant also, that both the Father and the Spirit put Their own stamps of approval on this event.

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:16-17

God has ordained baptism for all believers.

(to be continued)


Anonymous said...

You continue to make me think....and rethink....thanks..........looking forward to seein g all of you on Sunday.....Mary catherine