A Better Baptism #14

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Many denominationally-minded souls will now surely raise some “what about” objections. What about Matthew 28:19? What about Paul’s own water baptism (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16)? What about him water baptizing his converts (Acts 16:15,33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17)?

“The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). To signify to Israel that pagan Gentiles have converted to Christ, those Gentiles were to be water baptized for Israel’s benefit (Matthew 28:19). As water baptism indicates Israel’s cleansing from heathen idolatry, it also evidently serves a likewise purpose for the believing (formerly pagan) Gentiles in Israel’s program (nothing to do with us!). God is not showing anything to Israel today, for national Israel is temporarily fallen (Romans chapter 11). This will change once our dispensation closes.

Indeed, Paul water baptized—but only during Acts. Water baptism existed before him, and during the transitional phase of Acts 9–28, he was water baptized and he water baptized others. However, Jesus Christ did not send him to water baptize. Read 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”

After the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in Ephesians 4:5 that only one baptism is necessary in this the Dispensation of Grace—and it certainly is not water baptism. Paul wrote of water baptism only once; here, he says Christ did not commission him to do it. It was not part of the special revelation Christ gave to him to give to us. Paul water baptized only during his “Acts” provoking ministry to Israel (see Romans 11:11-14).

That transitional period has passed, and so have all the temporary, bizarre situations people stumble over when they read and teach the Book of Acts. Paul being water baptized showed Ananias and other believing Jews that Paul had now come to faith in Christ. Water baptism showed (past tense!) how idolatrous Gentiles in Paul’s ministry had trusted Christ as well….

Bible Q&A #655: “Are the ‘angels’ of the Revelation really ‘pastors?’

A Better Baptism #6

Monday, September 23, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

The Holy Spirit, reflecting on John the Baptist’s ministry some years later, comments in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This agrees with God’s promise 1,600 years earlier to make Israel “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).

It was wholly appropriate that Jews be water baptized who believed on Jesus as Christ. After all, they were now His priests—and the Mosaic Law stipulated priests wash in water. They were manifesting their faith, their change in mind, moving from idols and returning to the one true God. Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:16-17 predicted John the Baptist’s ministry would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Also, it necessarily meant that those who refused John’s water baptism were expressing their unbelief (idolatry!). Note Luke 7:29,30: “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”

Jesus Christ was water baptized to be Israel’s High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1) as well as to identify Himself with Israel’s believing remnant. Read John chapter 1: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Not to be outdone, however, sinful man and Satan muddle up such simple Bible truths….

A Better Baptism #5

Sunday, September 22, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Throughout my childhood, I constantly heard about water baptism by immersion as if it were the only mode. “Immersion” is the “true” Bible water baptism, it was—and still is—declared ad nauseum. In all actuality, however, the type of water baptism associated with Israel’s repentance is sprinkling (aspersion). It is not affusion (pouring) and not immersion (dunking)! Ezekiel 36:25 again: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”

If the Bible is right, and it is (!), then the “baptism by immersion” groups have greatly erred and thus misled us. People who promote water baptism by immersion insist on using John’s water baptism as a pattern—failing to realize, of course, that Ezekiel limited John’s ministry to sprinkling! Preachers incessantly appeal to new Christians with, “Come, and follow Jesus in believer’s baptism. You must be immersed, by the way!” Yet, again, according to Scripture, that was not how Jesus was water baptized! John’s water baptism, to state it again and again, was sprinkling. The mode of water baptism in Israel’s program is sprinkling. Why did John urge Israel to participate in his water baptism?

John the Baptist announced in Matthew chapter 3: “[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] 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: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Being water baptized is the only way Israel’s believing remnant can survive God’s fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming….

A Better Baptism #4

Saturday, September 21, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

God the Holy Spirit declares through the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36: “[18] Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: [19] And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them…. [24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. [25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”

As per the Mosaic Law (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28), God instituted five courses or phases of chastisement or curses for Israel disobeying His commandments. As the Jews continued to worship and serve pagan gods, so JEHOVAH God disciplined them to try to reform them. The fifth and final stage of judgment was Israel exiled from the land of Palestine and scattered worldwide amongst the Gentiles. Ezekiel lived during the opening decades of that Babylonian Captivity. As the Holy Spirit promised to drive Israel from the Promised Land, so He would be faithful in bringing them back.

Approximately two centuries after Ezekiel, the Holy Spirit calls Israel to repentance through the Prophet Malachi. Chapter 3, verse 7: “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” How do they “return” to the God of Abraham? Here enters the ministry and message of John the Baptist! Ezekiel 36:25 again: Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” How shocked we are to see this water baptism….

A Better Baptism #3

Friday, September 20, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Water baptism carries the idea of setting apart, or sanctification: Israel’s priests, Aaron and his sons, were “hallowed” with a washing of water (Exodus 29:1). Earlier in Exodus, Israel had entered into a covenant or agreement with the LORD God. We read in chapter 19, God’s words to Moses: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

It was not God’s ultimate intention that priests in Israel be limited to a single tribe (Levi). Eventually, Israel would become a “kingdom” and every Jew would be a “priest.” As of yet, under Moses, Israel is neither a monarchy nor a converted nation. In fact, even after Israel demands her first king, Saul, some four centuries later, she is still evil. David is then king, followed by Solomon and various other royal figures, but pagan idolatry becomes increasingly widespread amongst the Israelites.

Second Chronicles chapter 36: “[14] Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. [15] And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: [16] But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”

If God is to use Israel in the capacity He originally intended for them, He must wash them with water as He had their Levitical brethren be water baptized. National Israel must be “hallowed,” separated from her heathen idolatry….

Idolatry and Insanity! #6

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 19 and 20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We have the indwelling Spirit of God, so we should act like it!

Dearly beloved, it simply does not make sense—yea, it is downright foolishness—for us to return to the slave market of sin. Almighty God Himself, at Calvary’s cross, has fully paid the price to free us from sin’s dominion. He liberated us from the power of sin… so should we return to it? No!! As saints, we are called to a life of holiness/separation and good works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14). Yet, how often we revert to our former identity and behavior!! Like Amaziah, we know such nonsense failed us before, but the sin that conquered us deceives us so we return to it (thus failing again).

As Christ died and resurrected, so do we according to Romans chapter 6: “[11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” This entire chapter and the next two chapters are exceptional doctrine on the subject.

Brethren, let us read and believe these verses, thereby avoiding idolatry and its accompanying insanity!

Idolatry and Insanity! #5

Monday, September 16, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we indicate a desire to do God’s will—at least to some extent. We finally realize we have been wasting our life and energy thus far, ignoring our Creator. Now, it is time to stop living for self, self, self! Wealth, fame, possessions, education, sex, drugs, and so on, did not satisfy us. Seeking meaning and happiness in all places but the right one, we were really in unfathomable bondage. Bothered by failure, monotony, and hopelessness; we lacked peace and security amidst life’s pressures, disappointments, and uncertainties.

However (!), we saw the brilliant light of God’s marvelous grace and love exhibited in the Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). When we trusted Him alone, we became heirs of eternal life. We began to understand the victory we have in Christ. Excited about our new identity and new life, having God’s joy and peace, we were relieved to be freed from sin. Alas, as the evil world system appealed to us before, so it enticed us to return to the old mindset and old lifestyle. Sin again deceived us!

Likewise, Amaziah enjoyed victory with JEHOVAH God… but never completely broke away from worldliness. He did not have a perfect heart, one committed to the LORD God; it was therefore quite easy for him to lapse into overt pagan idolatry. This is true of much of the world today—even the vast majority of professing Christians. To a large degree, they ignore the one true God who can give them ultimate victory. They prefer to worship and serve the creature (themselves or similar beings) when they should be allegiant to their Creator. What weaklings we are, and yet we worship ourselves as though we were the Almighty. Preposterous….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?