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HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS,

and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1Corinthians 10 (part 5) Baptism

1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Our Journey
(part 5)
 

BAPTISM

 

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”
- 1Cor 10:1-2 NKJV

I believe this is important to look at. Oddly, baptism - although widely taught by Jesus, John & the Apostles (including Paul) - is still misunderstood in the churches today. Great arguments often arise among the saints as to its place in salvation. This topic deserves an in-depth lengthy study on its own; but let us look briefly at baptism here, as Paul equates what Israel experienced in the Exodus at the Red Sea with our own personal journey from darkness to Light.

On the Day of Pentecost, after the disciples had been visited and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke to the masses who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast.

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
– Acts 2:36-39 NKJV

This word – from what some have called the first Christian sermon - was preached by the Apostle Peter on that first Pentecost after the death and Resurrection of the Messiah. He preached repentance and baptism to all and any who would desire to have the salvation and new life that these men had found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
– Acts 2:40-41 NKJV

Whenever a soul was brought to the knowledge of Christ Jesus in the New Testament there was always a water baptism. (John 4:1-2, Acts 2:41, 8:12, 8:36-38, 10:47-48, 16:14-15, 16:32-34, 19:4-5).

This was the same message that God had sent John the Baptist to proclaim.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”

– Matt 3:1-2,5-6 NKJV

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
– Matt 3:11 NKJV

The Greek word we use for ‘baptize’ is ‘baptizo’ which means to “make overwhelmed”, from the root word ‘bapto’ meaning, “to overwhelm, to immerse or dip.”

 



Keeping it simple here, before we get too involved, let us say that baptism by immersion in water signifies our being cleansed from our past sins, being separated from the world unto God, and dedicating ourselves to Him. In this we are preparing ourselves to come into His presence. (The baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire we will discuss later.) From my study of the Scriptures, I have come to believe that this “cleansing” was not a new concept exclusive to the New Testament. Let’s take a look…

When the newly set free Israelite’s were to meet with the God who had saved them, they were to cleanse themselves by washing before they came before Him.

“On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. And when they set out from Reph′idim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. And all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses. “Lo, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you for ever.”

Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. 10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, 11 and be ready by the third day; for on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”
– Ex 19:1-11 RSV


That calling to be a “kingdom of priests” has been for some throughout the ages as well. (Rev 1:5b-6, 5:9-10). The New Testament epistles charge us to be consecrated; to purify and cleanse ourselves (2Cor 7:1, 1John 3:1-3, James 4:7-8).

 

קָדַשׁ

qadash (Strong’s Heb 6942)

to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate

A primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally)

 

Before Aaron & his sons could enter the tabernacle of meeting to minister to the Lord, they had to consecrate themselves by washing.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”
– Ex 30:17-21 NKJV

Has not God called us to come into His Presence to serve Him? Are we not called to be the temple of God? Where God will dwell must be holy. He will not abide where uncleanness remains.

Again, the destiny of the Church is to become a “kingdom of priests” that will minister His Life to the nations, in the same way that the Tribe of Levi was set apart to teach to the people the ordinances of God.

“Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.
11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him.”

- 2Chron 29:5,11 NIV

“they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
– Eze 44:23 NKJV

We know the Levitical priesthood failed in their commission to minister Truth even to the nation of God’s people Israel -

“Her priests do violence to My instruction and profane My holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they do not explain the difference between the clean and the unclean. They disregard My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.”
– Eze 22:26 HCSB

God’s Word tells us, concerning His chosen priesthood, that “the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 2:7 ESV) And what was True then is True today as well. Are we consecrating ourselves, removing all that defiles from His temple (the Church, beginning with ourselves) and discerning between the clean & the unclean; or will the Lord judge us as He did the spiritual leaders of His people then, saying -

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I will reject you from serving as My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I will also forget your sons.”

- Hos 4:6 HCSB

May we live up to the calling of God upon our lives, not shutting our ears to His instruction, especially when it comes to the revelation perhaps that what is commonly believed is contrary to the Scripture. And this includes baptism.

“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” 
- Gal 3:27 NRSV

In a way, the whole of our Christian life is a baptism. Our dying to self, death and resurrection. Remember Jesus said that His disciples would indeed be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with (Matt 20:23 KJV). In water baptism we are cleansed from our past sins, and testify that we are choosing this route of death & resurrection.

Jesus Himself, our ultimate example, the One is whose steps we are to follow, was baptized in water by immersion. Realizing that there was no “Jesus” before the baby in the manger has helped me tremendously in understanding the Scripture. There indeed was the Logos, the Word; but the Man Jesus, in whom is God’s seed, did not exist until the Child was born in Bethlehem. And this Man, whom God “made Lord and Christ” is our Forerunner. And His ministry began when He was baptized.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
– Matt 3:13-17 NKJV

While Jesus had no past sin to be cleansed from, He did this to fulfill the requirement of the Father, and to be an example for us. This act of obedience to God, along with His passing the testing in the wilderness, marked the beginning of Jesus’ life of public ministry.

He had been immersed in water by John; He emerged from the desert immersed in the Holy Spirit.

“Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the [Holy] Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of Him spread through the whole region round about.”
– Luke 4:14 AMP

During His earthly ministry Jesus taught water baptism as well, as we find His disciples baptizing others as they shared the Good News.

“Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.”
– John 4:1-3 NAS

After His Resurrection, Jesus reaffirmed His teaching that those who would follow Him were to be baptized…

“Later Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
– Mark 16:14-18 NKJV

Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13, which are quotations of the first half of Joel 2:32, And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved” do not cancel out or contradict what Jesus taught in Mark 16:16, or Peter declared later in Acts 2:38. Baptism is an essential part of our coming before the Lord and receiving the fullness of deliverance from Him.

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
– Matt 28:16-20 NKJV

And as we read, Peter, in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, preached baptism and repentance.

In his epistles he teaches that water baptism is for the cleansing us from the sins we’ve committed prior to surrendering our lives to our Savior and Lord Jesus.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.”
– 1Pet 3:18-22 RSV


Uncleanness to Sanctification. Darkness to Light. Death to Life.


Noah and his family coming through the floodwaters, and Moses and the Israelites passing through the sea surrounded by water are types of our water baptism that cleanses us from sin. In Noah’s time, God washed the earth clean of the wickedness that had filled it. The Israelite’s passed through the sea, while their oppressors did not emerge after them, but were destroyed. For Israel, this represented being set free from the wickedness to which they were bound; passing from the kingdom of darkness into a new life of following God.

It’s been said that our baptism in water represents dying (being submerged), burial (total immersion) and resurrection (coming up out of the water). We see this in the passion of Christ, who suffered, died on the Cross, and was raised to a new life by God. This is the route the Jesus said we must take as well if we would come after Him. Our dying is the denial of our fleshly lusts and desires, our death is taking up our cross, and only by following Jesus, who is The Resurrection, will we be raised to Life, to become a “life giving spirit.”

Again, we are addressing that “kingdom of priests” here, no the masses of church-goers and people of the nations that God will allow into the Kingdom; who will be ministered to by the overcoming saints in Eternity.

Without that cleansing, the reality of baptism, the Elect cannot be made perfect and prepared to become the dwelling place of God.

Friends, I’m trying to keep this short! There truly is so much more. Thank You, Lord, for continuing to lift the veil in our day. So, before I get off onto the Eternal Tabernacle, let us just see that the Elect, the Church, will have been perfected through baptism…

“Messiah loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 so that He might make it holy by cleansing it, washing it with water and the word, 27 and might present the church to Himself in all its glory, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, but holy and without fault.”
– Eph 5:25-27 ISV

And to those whom God has called to comprise the very walls of the Temple itself, as His “Kingdom of priests”, the Spirit, through Peter, exhorts -

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
- 2Pet 1:5-11 NIV

We are baptized into our Deliverer Jesus, and to Him we look for guidance, and to reveal to us what Father God requires of us.

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
- Gal 3:27 NKJV

Or as the Amplified Translations puts it -

“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.”
– Gal 3:27 AMPC

In Paul’s admonition to the saints in Romans we read again of this baptism -

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
- Rom 6:1-4 NKJV

Are we immersed in Christ? Or are we still struggling to keep our head from going down into the water?

" Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
– Matt 16:24-25 NKJV

Sharing the Gospel with the Ethiopian official, Philip taught water baptism –

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
    and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
     so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
     For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.’
– Acts 8:26-40 NRSV

This entire incident with Philip is a study in itself, but we see clearly that along with the Good News that the Messiah had come and broken the bonds of sin upon mankind came the charge to be baptized. And truly the Spirit was present at the eunuch’s baptism, and was pleased to see the Father’s will fulfilled.

The Apostle Paul, before his encounter with the Lord, his transformation and ministry; indeed, before he had even yet begun his discipleship, was baptized in water and commanded to repent and turn to the Lord.

“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’

“And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’”
– Acts 22:6-16 NKJV


Honestly, how baptism (as well as repentance) has lost its importance in modern day doctrine I don’t understand. The misguided teaching that ‘being saved’ has absolutely nothing to do with anything we could possibly do, not a single “work” we do could ever please God - and since they believe that baptism (as well as repentance) is a work, then it must not be required to be “saved.” How sad that such a misunderstanding could gain a foothold in the churches. I dare say the First Century disciples of Christ would find little in common with today’s church-goers when it comes to what they believe, as well as the hope that they have. The entrance onto the path that leads to Life, the Way, always included baptism and repentance for those who believed the Messiah had truly come.

When addressing the believers in Rome, Paul wrote….

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
- Rom 6:1-4 NKJV

If we are to “come after” Christ, we must be cleansed, washed, sanctified. Those who will be revealed in that Day as His brothers will have been consecrated by their repentance, obedience and faithfulness. Hopefully all of us will be among those “living stones, (who) are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Pet 2:5 NKJV)

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, the anointing oil, a bull as the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; and gather all the congregation together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”

So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. And the congregation was gathered together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. And he put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the intricately woven band of the ephod, and with it tied the ephod on him. Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and the Thummim (the Lights and the Perfections) in the breastplate. And he put the turban on his head. Also on the turban, on its front, he put the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord had commanded Moses.” – Lev 8:1-9 NKJV

I am coming to see the act of water baptism as a type of our Christian experience. Our dying to self, our complete surrender and our entrance into new Life in communion with God. And indeed we must be cleansed before we can come into the Father's Presence. 

 

 

Surely, we’ve only looked at the tip of the iceberg here. I pray we do not lessen the significance of baptism in our sharing of the Gospel.

God’s wisdom and understanding to us all,
Michael


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