Saturday, July 14, 2012
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).
Do we in the Dispensation of Grace have any relation to the three baptisms of today’s Scripture?
BAPTISM #1: WATER BAPTISM
Water baptism is perhaps the most controversial Bible topic (someone once aptly termed it “religious TNT!”). Christendom argues more about water baptism than anything else. For salvation, or for a testimony only? Sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Adults only, or infants too? What type of water? Priest or preacher? What words should be said when its administered? How many times forward? Backward?
The above confusion regarding the doctrine of water baptism is immediately dispelled when we, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). When we study God’s Word dispensationally, we understand that all of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.
We are the Church the Body of Christ, so we must be careful to never confuse ourselves with the nation Israel (which the professing “Church” has done for almost 2,000 years!). All this talk in religion about “following Jesus in believers’ water baptism” is predicated on the false presumption that Jesus was water baptized as our example. Actually, He was setting an example for Jews, His kingdom of priests, who needed the Old Testament priests’ ceremonial washing to enter His earthly kingdom (John 1:31).
Water baptism does not belong in our dispensation: Paul wrote, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Corinthians 1:17). There is “one baptism” for our Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5). What is it? “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). When someone places his or her faith in Jesus Christ alone as personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit places that person into the Body of Christ. There is no water or preacher/priest involved in our baptism.