More than semantics
Carefully consider Col 2 :8-23 (note verse 12) and 1 Pet 3:20,21 (Ampl), also Jn 3:23 and Acts 8:36-39. Think about the analogy there describing to “wash”, and then at least literally in a practical way. How would (could) you wash yourself after having traveled along a long and dusty road; or how can you symbolize burial (Col 2:12; Acts 2:38) in water? By lightly sprinkling a few drops of water onto your dusty face or by immersing yourself in the water? A friendly word of caution here – don’t casually brush this aside too hastily [lightly] or recklessly. Please read on.
Deeper than this, seriously contemplate Col 3:3 with Acts 2:38. It is clear that baptism (i.e. circumcision of the heart, the thought-life), involves a decision to put to death [ending] the old self-centered nature – by yourself by choice and out of a genuine love for God (Rom 12:9). Baptism in water symbolizes this burial and resurrection. For baptism also symbolizing the Christian belief in our bodily resurrection, consider for now just 1 Cor 15:42-22.
First, very carefully contemplate Rom 10:1-2; Mt 7:21-23; 15:6-9; then refer to the short section “witchcraft” in the meditation “Pornography and witchcraft”. Still trapped in mere religion, a perception that “blessing” [or “curse”] implies a type of witchcraft whereby a state, condition or result is transferred to the recipient as if no participation on the receiver’s part is involved is a tragic blunder and simply ignorant nonsense (Rom 10:38; 1 Tim 4:7; 2 Tim 1:7; 3:15-17; Gal 5:4,18). God gave us a free will and will not remove our free choice – whether babe or grownup (refer to the meditation “The will of man, the will of God”). God will not manipulate, for this is what a rapist, sadist, dictator or even murderer, does. No, God is not a manipulator or murderer but Love (1 Jn 4:8-10). Just like a “blessing” [or “curse”] is a declaration of a spiritual positioning, either observed or hoped for, is “baptism” a symbolical physical declaration of a choice exercised by a believer – it is not a babe being sprinkled with water and receiving a type of bewitchment from a preacher [for 16 years. Reconsider 1 Tim 2:5]. True Christian parents should raise that child by their example of a Godly thought-life and lifestyle and that child should then become a re-born Christian by making its own choice [soon] to follow Holy Spirit sent by Jesus Christ (Jn 1:12-13,17; 3:3-7; 4:23-24; 14:6, 23-26; Rom 8:14; 10:9-10). Think about it carefully and please read on.
From the meditation “Counseling and Delivery Ministries, the following excerpt: Observe carefully that worldly philosophies and reasoning tells you to [attempt to perpetually merely] “manage” the fallen state of man; while God on the contrary admonishes to kill [destroy; permanently crush] it. God’s Word says, “And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (higher things at the right hand of God where Christ is), not things that are on the earth. For as far as the world is concerned you have died and your new real life is hidden with Christ in God… So kill (deprive of power) the evil desires lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]; sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God)…” – Col 3:2,3,5. This is one reason why a believer’s baptism is symbolized by burial and the rising of a new-born creature (2 Cor 5:17) by immersion in water, not a sprinkling as a babe.
In the meditation “Rapture raptured”, it is shown how the sign of a beast (Rev 13:16-18) is culminated in lust and greed, and that Solomon was our example referred to there (his number 666 in 1 Ki 10:14,19-20 (KJV). If he could fall in his wealth and wisdom, we should take heed to try and rely on our self-righteousness…
We must remember that God = Love and that this Love never manipulates! Therefore, does this perfect Father-God always leave the [a] choice up to us; and a babe cannot make this choice. Remember, we are not talking about the issue of being saved, but what it means to be baptized. It is supposed to be a sign.
See how a decision is involved by the one having him/herself baptized [submitted to Jesus] after accepting and committing to following the teachings of Jesus the Christ of God (Mk 16:16). God never wanted [empty] rituals, ceremony and tradition [religion], but a personal relationship. We are to live and prove a meaningful inter-action between a Living God [Love] and His living children (Rom 8:14?).
This relationship can in no way or means be done on your behalf by any other man (1 Tim 2:5). Thieves will steal your sonship by telling you, you have to go through them (Jn 10:10; Gal 4:17).
If you wanted to be included in a covenant [on your behalf by someone else when you were a babe?]; think of Scriptures like Gal 5:4,18, and that that covenant was to Abraham that God would sent the Messiah. The law came 430 years later and was intended to serve from Moses until Jesus Christ [The Messiah] – Gal 3:16,19. When in this Messiah [Christ], you inherit that promise made to Abraham in Gen 12:3; 15:5; 22:17 but specifically Jer 31:31-34 (Heb 10:16) and his Seed [not seeds as in many but a single Seed that is none other than the Person] Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16,29). Not Jews (who reject Jesus Christ, God – even the covenant, Jer 31:32) or the self, but Jesus Christ and anyone who follows Him! It is not a covenant sealed with water, but with blood; and then the Blood of Jesus Christ!!! Selah with Jn 1:12-13,17!
Consider the meditation [by this author] entitled “The Covenant and the Law”, that tries to explain this understanding. No covenant of God was ever sealed by water; but flesh and blood. Even in a marriage (Gen 2:24); the man (flesh) will first penetrate his bride and her [virgin] blood will be the seal. Likewise the Communion (Mt 26:26-28; 1 Cor 11:23-30) involves the bread (resembling flesh, Jn 6:32-33,48-51,63) and blood (resembled by wine that reminds us of His blood on His cross (1 Cor 11:24-26).
To see if infant baptism is biblical, we need to refer to the Bible and consider the following questions honestly:
(1) Is it Scriptural for a baby to be “baptized”?
(2) Can parents enter a covenant with God on behalf of their babies?
(3) What covenant is this? What was the promise?
(4) Is Baptism [in water] a seal of any covenant?
(5) Is infant Baptism a believer’s Baptism?
(6) Does Baptism replace circumcision?
(7) If Baptism does not replace circumcision, why do we not circumcise our babies?
(8) Can both an infant Baptism and a Believer’s Baptism be valid for one person?
Infant Baptism is no baptism
You will probably be deeply shocked, but objective research will show that infant baptism is a custom which pagans had carried into the Roman Catholic Church 17 centuries ago. Constantine the Great (Emperor of Rome) then declared Christianity to be the State Religion. Every Roman citizen had to become a “Christian”. Paganism was outlawed, pagan temples were shut down, and the pagans were absorbed into the Roman Church. And these brought along their pagan views and customs, which soon infiltrated the State Church – the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. A little more of this in the meditation “Church – part two”.
At the Reformation of the 1500’s, Protestants (followers of Martin Luther) took over this custom from the Roman Catholic Church without changing it, and later developed doctrines to justify it. These doctrines are among those which are today known as “Covenant Theology”. Even before 1611 King James wanted the Bible translated into English “without embarrassing the head of the Roman Catholic church” (See “Church part 2”) who was… the king [or the Pope, depending who won the power struggle). Hence, Baptizo in Greek was opted to be transliterated to “Baptize” to retain the practice already in use [by sounding right]; and so was not translated into the original meaning of being submersed. Thus, babies have never truly been baptized. They have been subjected to a pagan ritual without their consent.
Surely Church leaders would not allow a pagan ritual?
Depending on your Church affiliation, that’s not the only pagan custom that your Church leaders might be ignorant of. Are you aware that most other “Church calendar events”, such as Christmas, Easter, Lent, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are also pagan customs which had been fed into the Church? This might shock you, but you’re not the only one. See the meditation by this author called “A short Christmas”- and “A short Easter message” for a discussion on this.
Many preachers simply echo from pulpits what they learn in Bible School or Seminary. Qualifying from their respective schools [institutions, seminaries], they are convinced of their doctrines and defend their literature (not necessarily the Bible) fervently. What a preacher is convinced of after his studies is often not a function of Truth, rather, it is a function of indoctrination. In arguing, both sides use the same Bible to justify [force] their respective viewpoints. Doctrines that are confusing do so because it contradicts Scripture. Remember that all Scripture is able to – and should – always explain [all] Scripture… in the same context.
Can the two viewpoints co-exist?
Never! They are irreconcilable. There cannot be two baptisms. The Bible speaks of only one: There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism. (Eph 4:4–5; even Eph 5:11; 2 Cor 6:14)
Which is Scriptural correct?
Believer’s Baptism is the Biblical one.
To explain this, we will have to choose between two strategies for now:
1. The doctrinal avenue.
2. The symbolical avenue.
1. The doctrinal avenue
This is the avenue which gets utilized and manipulated [twisted] in Bible Schools and Seminaries in attempts to justify existing practices of “denominations”. It is also the avenue which has been debated back and forth ad nausea, and has not convinced either of the stubbornly religious clinging to their camps (cramps?). We will therefore rather not start with doctrinal issues as an avenue to determine truth regarding baptism.
2. The symbolical avenue
This avenue, of all avenues, by far displays the Biblical outcome the clearest. We will explore this one first.
In order to comprehend the strategy of gaining understanding of the baptism issue, please consider the following: The entire Infant Baptism doctrine rests wholly on one doctrinal pillar, namely that baptism is a seal of the Abrahamic Covenant. For the sake of brevity, we will not attempt here to explain why this is so. Suffice to say that Covenant Theology states that any person who would be included in the Abrahamic Covenant (the covenant which God made with Abraham in Gen 15 and 17, specifically for us, Jer 31:31-34; Heb 10;16) would be saved. Check Gal 3:16,19; Rom 10:4,9-10; Heb 8:13; 9:8; also most importantly, Jn 3:15-21; 14:6; Acts 4:12 – can you spot the obvious? But let’s take it slowly first.
So, if we could prove that baptism is NOT the seal of any covenant, it would mean that the whole Infant Baptism doctrine would collapse on itself.
Consider the major Scriptural covenants:
1. God’s Marriage Covenant. Gen. 2:24.
2. God’s covenant with Noah. Gen. 8:20 – 21; 9:12 – 16.
3. God’s covenant(s) with Abraham (the “old” covenant). Gen.15; 17.
4. Holy Communion (the “new” covenant). Jer. 31:33-34; Mt. 26:26 – 28; Heb 10:16
ALL these covenants were sealed by BLOOD and FLESH, not water.
1. In the Marriage Covenant, husband and wife become ONE FLESH. In the consummation of the marriage covenant, the wife would bleed as her husband’s flesh penetrated her body.
2. At God’s covenant with Noah, Noah sacrificed some clean animals. Flesh and blood.
3. At God’s covenant with Abram, he had to divide an animal in two. Flesh and blood. At God’s covenant with Abraham, he had to be circumcised. Flesh and blood. Ultimately, Jesus then shed His blood for us…
4. During Holy Communion, we celebrate the content of the new covenant of God with His people with bread and wine (symbols of flesh and blood – that has to be continually in one body for it to be alive and functioning for the purpose that it was designed to). See how God’s Word (Jn 1:14) inside of us permanently and continuously ties in with Jn 6:32,47-51, 54-58
We therefore see that whenever God cut a covenant, He did so with BLOOD and FLESH as the seal of that covenant. The only exception is the so-called salt covenant – which is something entirely different – Num 18:19; 2 Chron 13:5. We won’t go into that in the scope of this meditation but would, for now, just like to point to Mk 9:49,50 (Lev 2:13; Ezra 4:14) in this regard.
The important aspect to note here is that there is not one biblical instance where God cuts a covenant and seals it with water! Hence, Scripture makes it abundantly clear: God does not consider baptism to be the seal of any covenant! And this is the very point at which the Infant Baptism doctrine collapses onto itself. Baptism is not the SEAL of any covenant. Rather, its function could be viewed as the same as that of Noah’s flood, or the Red Sea.
Baptism is clearly a SIGN of a submission, i.e. submersion. A decision by a believer to fully submit himself unto Christ by killing [not again respond to] and burying the old nature and rising- being born again (Jn 3:3) anew. Baptism by immersion then becomes an outward sign of what had happened inside by your choice [faith].
See the symbolism?
The only Biblical baptism is Believer’s Baptism.
It gets administered unto BELIEVERS – whichever age they might be, but certainly not babies. Babies cannot believe during babyhood. Their salvation is not the issue here for baptism is not what saves anyone. Therefore the question of what would happen to a baby not included in the covenant, should he/she dies before baptism, only shows a misunderstanding of God’s grace, Love and Sovereignty and His Gospel. A believer’s baptism is a baptism by immersion as a sign to others of what you decided and committed to inside and not by being sprinkled by someone else and a supposed inclusion in a covenant by someone else on your behalf when you’re a babe. This is not a mere technical issue, but a clear Biblical issue.
Note that all Covenant Theology is not all wrong. The Bible is full of covenants. God is a covenantal God. But baptism plays no part in covenants, because Baptism is a sign (Col 2:11-12) of (1). Identifying with the death of the old self-focused nature with what Jesus paid for with His BLOOD on His cross (Col 2:20), and immersion in the water grave that symbolizes death and burial. Rom 6:3–4; Mk 10:38. Then, also (2) by rising from immersion into water, we symbolize new life [new birth] or resurrection that identifies with the Resurrection with Christ (Col 3:1; Jn 3:5; Acts 8:14-17) His Spirit now living in us (Jn 11:23-26).
This is the central reason why it should only be administered to believers, and not to babies.
The New Testament compare Baptism to Noah’s flood and the Red Sea (1 Pet 3:20–21; 1 Cor 10:2), because Noah’s flood wiped away the sin of the pre-deluviam world. It was God’s final judgment of their sin. Also, the Red Sea wiped away the slave masters (Egyptians) in hot pursuit of the Israelites. It was God’s final judgment of their house of slavery and a foreshadow of His ultimate end of slavery (Law – see Rom 10:4). Similarly, baptism symbolizes the wiping away of the individual’s old, sinful life and attempts at self-righteousness by a decision to die to that old self (be buried). Jesus Christ once for all paid for all sin on behalf of all (Heb 10). With this we identify [confess] unashamed and openly with the symbolism of immersion in water.
Covenant Theology errs in confusing Baptism with Holy Communion.
The sign of the New Covenant (Jer 31:33) is Holy Communion (Mt 26:26–28) with the idea of flesh and Blood. The content of the New Testament (Heb 9:15-18) is that God will write His law on our innermost flesh, or on the fleshy tables of our heart [DNA?] (2 Cor 3:3; 5:14-17). This is sealed by Holy Communion (Flesh and Blood). Covenant Theology says that circumcision (the seal of the Old Covenant) was replaced by baptism (and hence makes baptism the seal of the New Covenant – in stead of Holy Communion). Hence, strangely, Covenant Theology has two seals of a New Covenant instead of one. BUT, circumcision was never replaced by anything. Circumcision is alive and well! The only thing concerning circumcision that changed from the Old to the New, was that circumcision of the foreskin was replaced by circumcision of the innermost flesh (also called the “heart”, i.e. your thought-life). Dt 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; 31:31-34; Rom 2:29; Gal 5:1-4,18; Heb 10:16.
How can someone’s heart be circumcised?
God calls the process whereby He writes His law (precepts) on someone’s innermost flesh “circumcision of the heart” – Col 2:11-12; 2 Cor 3:3. In the scientific world, indications are that this “writing” of God’s law on the fleshy tables of a believer’s heart might well involve a re-coding of the non-genetic part of the DNA helix (what scientists term “junk” because they know not its purpose). This might very well just give rise to a radical change in behaviour? Refer also to 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 1:18…
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism,wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Col 2:11-12).
Circumcision was never replaced by anything. It is alive and well. Circumcision of the heart, until this day, occurs at Baptism. At baptism God, by His Holy Spirit, according to an individual’s faith, writes His desires on our innermost flesh (our DNA?) that causes a radical change in behavior. Our desires change (Rom 12:9). Consider Jn 3:3,5-7. Praise the Lord!
Where did pagans get the original idea of baptizing babies?
This goes back in time to the fourth generation after Noah’s flood! Research shows that Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod was a godless man. He built the city of Babylon and devised a system of religion which led his followers away from God. This religious system became known as “The Mysteries”, and is still practiced today by pagans.
After Nimrod’s time, the Mysteries developed more and more as time went on. In this religious system, one of the ways by which people would try to get rid of their sin, was by purification by fire. They would make a high-flaming fire, and jump through the flames repeatedly, believing that each “pass through the fire” would burn away their sins. As time went on, they realized that the sooner in his life a person would “get rid of his sins” in this way, the better, to include them into their “state religion” as soon as possible. So they started to do this with babies. As soon as a baby’s physical body could endure the procedure, they would wrap it tightly in cloth – so as to resemble a ball. Then two grown-ups would position themselves on both sides of a high-flaming fire, and throw the baby through the flames repeatedly, each time catching it on the other side of the fire. This is what some scholars say “passing children through the fire for Molech” refers to. Other pagans seemed to have plainly burn [kill, “sacrifice”] their children as a “burnt-offering” (2 Kings 16:3; 23:10; 2 Chron. 33:6; Ezek. 16:21). At some stages in history, this practice was outlawed by God-fearing authorities – which caused the practitioners of the Mysteries to switch from fire (as an agent of purification) to water (which is also a well-known agent of purification). And voilá! we have baptism of babies – by sprinkling of water.
Crucial point missed in many theological doctrines
The root for misunderstandings in many major doctrines in church today probably stems from overlooking the basic fact that the New Testament only starts at the soonest at the cross of Jesus Christ. He had to be buried so we can legitimately inherit a [New] Testament (Heb 9:16,17). So then, when Jesus was saying things like He did in Jn 14:1,2; He was talking to an Old Covenant people about what He was shortly about to provide for on His cross for New Testament believers – namely, His Spirit in us permanently as a dwelling place when we allow Him in by killing self-righteousness. That is, us as His temple, His city whose light should shine to all the world, His Zion, His Bride, His Body. To us today, this has happened – if we believe in His accomplished exchange and provision on His cross! Even 1 Pet 2:24 reveals [hints, points, explains] that a package deal was over-paid for, for us, over 2000 years ago!
Jesus was circumcised (Lk 2:21-23), but did not see Himself righteous because of a covenant sealed by a ritual of circumcision, because He had Himself baptized as an outward symbol of what has happened inside some time afterwards. Then only did His earthly life change dramatically to operate in power as the Light [Life everlasting] unto men (Jn 1:1-4). As Son of Man He was liable to death [mortal] (Mt 2:13-23), but as Son of God, He had to give His Spirit [Ghost] up to die (Mt 27:50). Read more in the meditation entitled “Bottom Line” by the same author. Also, Gal 5:1-4; Rom 3:20-28.
Repent [Gr 3341, metánoia] means to change/alter your mind, mindset, way of thinking from evil to good but also from worse to better. A retrospection as prónoia (4307) is foreknowledge. Metanoéō (3340), means to repent with regret accompanied by a change of heart toward God. What could Jesus have repented from (Mt 3:11-15)? Not sin (Heb 4:15; 9:14), but the law! He realized that the past 18 years since He became a bar-mitsvâh, (son of law, taught by the figtree, Mt 3:7,8) this mindset resulted in no relationship with His Father – He bore absolutely no fruit whilst being a son of the law! Only after He submitted to His Father only [Holy Spirit – Lk 1:35-38; Jn 4:24; Mt 3:13-17), Father called Him Son (Mt 3:17)! Jesus later related Mt 21:33-43 (Lk 9:9-20); then Mk 11:11-14,20-24 happened… Note here that Jesus, that taught Mk 11:25 (Mt 6:12,14,15); practiced it in Lk 23:34 so that He [Love] could later get out of Hell to leave our sins there destroyed, paid for with His Blood (Is 1:18)! When reading 1 Cor 15:45, think about this: âdam  means to show blood, be made red, and âdâm  means “human being”…
Baptizo is a Greek word meaning to immerse, dip under, wash, or bathe. For the follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, the spiritual confession is at least:
(1) To ceremonially [symbolically] be washed from sin. Refer to the first paragraph of this meditation again – enough water was to be present to symbolize this washing! Ponder, for example, Acts 8:36-38.
(2) To declare publicly to be willing to die to the law (self-righteousness, Rom 7:4,6) and to live for Christ (Holy Spirit, Jn 7:38; 6:63), and to signify repentance is a reality and that the old way of thinking has died to sin and legalism and self-righteousness and Babylonian gods.
(3) That resurrection from death is a reality
Note at Mt 20:22: The Greek word for baptize is “baptizo.” This word was used by Plato (fourth century B.C.) to describe a man being “overwhelmed” by philosophical arguments; by Hippocrates of people being “submerged” in water, or sponges being “dipped” in fluid; and by Strabo (first century B.C.) to describe people who could not swim as being “submerged” under water. Josephus in the first century A.D. used the word to describe the city of Jerusalem as being “overwhelmed” or “plunged” into destruction by the Romans; and Plutarch (also first century A.D.) used this word in referring to a person being “immersed” in the sea. In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the O.T.), “baptizo” is used to describe Naaman dipping himself in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:14).
From classical Greek right down to New Testament Greek, the same basic meaning has been retained: “to immerse, submerge, dip or plunge.” Jesus is stating that the disciples will indeed be plunged into the same sufferings that He would be experiencing with the religious (Mt 5:10). Persecution is an inevitable part of the Christian life (Jn 15:18-20; Phil 1:29-30). The only Christians who don’t suffer persecution are those who aren’t living a godly life (2 Tim 3:12). Persecution is from Satan and is designed to uproot God’s Word in our lives (Mk 4:16- 17) by taking our eyes off of Jesus (Heb 12:1-3), and therefore falling into strife or despondency (Js 3:16).
There are many forms of persecution. Having your life threatened because of your faith in Jesus is one way you can be persecuted, but it is not the most damaging. History shows that the church has always flourished under persecution with increased numbers and zeal. During intense, life-threatening persecution, people’s priorities get straightened out and the Lord assumes His rightful place. This always works for our good, regardless of what our outward circumstances might be.
A far more deadly form of persecution is simply men speaking evil of you or separating you from their company as Jesus mentions here in verses 11 and 12. It’s more deadly because it’s more subtle. Many who would never directly deny the Lord will fall into self-pity or strife [contention, bitterness] because of someone’s criticism. This will render you just as ineffective as would a radical reaction such as your life being threatened.
It helps to recognize that it is not you that they are persecuting, but rather Christ in you (Acts 9:4). You are actually becoming a partaker of His sufferings (Phil 3:10) and will share His rewards (Rom 8:17-18; 2 Tim 2:11-12; Heb 11:26). With this in mind, we can actually shout and leap for joy.
The Strong’s dictionary explains “baptise” [derived from the Greek “baptizo”] as:
907 . βαπτίζω baptizō ; from 911; to dip, sink :— Baptist(3), baptize(9), baptized(51), baptizes(1), baptizing(10), ceremonially washed(1), undergo(1).
908 . βάπτισμα baptisma ; from 907; (the result of) a dipping or sinking :— baptism(20).
909 . βαπτισμός baptismos ; from 907; (the act of) a dipping or washing :— washing(1), washings(2).
910 . βαπτιστής baptistēs ; from 907; a baptizer :—
By the time the translators were ready to translate the Bible into English (1611 A.D.), there was already a tradition in the church – a way of baptising with an obscure transliteration. To avoid a major change in theology, a tradition was continued and so practised what the WORD not really meant. We should take heed to what Jesus remarked in Matthew 15:6-9 about the same principle seen in human interpretations and transliterations… “Sprinkling” is not “baptism”! “Baptism” means “submersed”, “subjected”, “submit[ted]” – a decision, an outward confession of an inward change that was a believer’s choice.
There is a water baptism or believer`s baptism (Mark 16:16); and a Holy Spirit baptism or empowering (Acts 8:15-17). This is no heavy theological doctrine to avoid, but a simple, practical instruction and a basic step for the believer – Acts 19:1-6; Mt 28:19.
Jesus went through at least three kinds of baptisms
In true obedience to His Father although He had Himself baptized in water only once.
So we observe the following:
1. A baptism of suffering – Mt 20:22. His immersion in suffering and hardships for the sake of the Gospel. The hardships of Jesus were due to offense taken by religious mindsets of man.
2. A baptism in water – Mt 3:13-15. Without death [of self; self-righteousness; law], there is no remission of sin (Rom 7:4,6; and so on). We are to follow Jesus, not Moses, or self (Phil 3:9). This is pointing to His death, burial and resurrection. We submerse ourselves unto Him as a Person.
3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit – Mt 3:11 (Later, for believers: Acts 8:14-17) – as a way of life. Refer also to Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33 and Acts 2 :38,41. Ponder the meditation “The Gospel” for every day Live in Christ that far supersedes religion and its externalism.Note. Hebrews 6:2 clearly mentions that there are baptisms (“purifications”, plural). There is the baptism into the body of Christ, for example, which is performed by the Holy Spirit at salvation. This does not contradict the “one baptism” in Eph 4:5 because the reference there is to our immersion and rise from water that symbolizes the entire collective changes that had happened inside of our way of thinking from self-righteousness to Jesus Christ being our only righteousness by our own choice (conviction, demonstration). The different kinds of baptisms in the Scriptures above can be seen as certain distinct consequences that are inevitable as a result of our single commitment to a life that is utterly and continually submersed into Christ (Rom 13:14) in what we think (2 Cor 10:5) and do (Mt 6:1-34).
Note at Eph 4:5: Many times we will hear people ask the question, “What faith are you?” And the reply will refer to the “Catholic faith” or the “Baptist faith” or any one of the other “denominational” groups. This implies that there are different faiths or different ways of believing which will all get us to God’s Kingdom [on earth!]. That’s not true. There is only one saving faith. Men present alternatives that place themselves into positions that are not the plan paid for by Jesus Christ as the only Head of His Church.
It is true that there are many different “systems” within Christianity which can all be distinguished by different beliefs. But if the foundational faith in the true gospel is not adhered to, then whatever belief system a person has, it will not save him. There is only one saving faith (Rom 10:9,10; Jn 16:9;14:6).
God has not initiated nor condoned all the different beliefs in the body of Christ. He delivered just one faith to His followers and any deviation from His Word is not according to the faith spoken of here (1 Jn 2:4). Research into the formation of the “churches” will reveal shocking unscriptural facts.
Note at 1 Cor 12:13: This is not describing water baptism, nor the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is more than one baptism mentioned in scripture (Heb 6:2). The word “baptize” means to “immerse”.
Note at Acts 2:38: These Jews had been cut to the heart by the sermon that Peter preached and they called upon Peter and the other apostles to tell them what they had to do to get right with God. These people were convicted in their hearts, not their brains. We cannot argue people into salvation. We can present the truth but the Holy Spirit has to do a work in their hearts (Jn 6:44). It is with the heart that man believes (Rom 10:10). Peter then told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Many battles have been fought among Christians over this verse.
Repentance is not the main point of contention. Most will not deny that repentance is a part of receiving salvation (Mt 3:2: “Repent” comes from the Greek word “metanoeo” and literally means to have another mind. It is used 34 times in the New Testament. Repentance is a necessary part of salvation (Mt 4:17; Lk. 13:3). Repentance may include godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:9), but sorrow does not always include repentance. Repentance is simply a change of mind accompanied by corresponding actions (Mt 3:8; Js 2:17). In Lk 15:18 is a good example of true repentance. This son did not claim any goodness of his own or try to justify his actions, but he humbled himself and appealed to the mercy of his father (compare with Lk 18:9-14). Likewise, we cannot approach God in self- righteousness, but we have to humble ourselves, put all of our faith in the Savior, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chron 7:14). That is true repentance. But the real argument is over water baptism. Even more specifically the argument is: is water baptism a requirement for or an evidence of salvation?
Being baptized in water is a command of Jesus and should be obeyed as any other command [precept] He gave, but putting our faith in water baptism as a means of salvation is an offence to Christ and what He has done for us. It’s saying that Jesus didn’t pay it all; that there is also a price that we must pay [a work to be done by us] in order to be saved.
Those who preach water baptism as necessary in order to obtain salvation, invariably also preach other actions of holiness that we must do to be saved because they have accepted the belief that faith in what Christ has done is not enough. They believe we must do certain things to be saved and they cite this verse and water baptism as an example. If a person believes that, the burden of salvation shifts from Jesus to us (Heb 10:14). Refer also to 1 Cor 1:17, and acutely consider verse 18 to chapter 2 :2!
The answer to this problem is found in this verse in the little word “for.” The Greek word that was translated “for” in this verse is “eis” and can mean “because of, as a result of, since” or it can also mean “so as to obtain.”
In Mt 16:16: The word “Christ” comes from the Greek word “Christos” and means the same as the Old Testament Hebrew word “Messiah,” which means “anointed.” Therefore, the words “Messiah” and “Christ” can be used interchangeably (Jn 1:41; 4:25). “Christ” is the New Testament term used to designate the anointed one of God, and is used 60 times in the gospels and 494 times in the epistles for a total of 554 times in the New Testament, all in reference to Jesus. Jesus applied this title to Himself in John 17:3. In addition, the possessive “Christ’s” appears 16 times, “false Christs” twice and “anti-Christ” 5 times in the New Testament.
Because the word “Christ” means “anointed,” some scholars have argued that Jesus was not the Christ until His baptism by John the Baptist. They conclude, therefore, that the term “Christ” could not refer to the deity of Jesus. However, the angels announced to the shepherds the birth of “Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). Also, Luke 2:26 states that Simeon saw the “Lord’s Christ” when Jesus was presented in the temple 40 days after His birth. Jesus was Christ at His birth.
The term “Christ” is used interchangeably with the term “Son of God” many times in the New Testament. Examples are here (i.e. Mt. 16:16); Matthew 26:63; Mark 14:14-61 (“Son of the Blessed”); John 6:69; 11:27; 20:31; Acts 8:37; 9:20; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 2:20; and 2 John 3 (“Son of the Father”). As already noted (Mk 1:1: The scriptures clearly refer to Jesus as the Son of God 95 times. There are at least 25 other references to the Son where “Son of God” is implied. Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of God (Jn. 10:36). The Father called Jesus His Son (P 2:7 with Acts 13:33; Mt 3:17; 17:5; Lk 9:35). The term “Christ” and “Son of God” were used interchangeably (Jn. 6:69; 20:31; Acts 9:20). The scribes and Pharisees always interpreted Jesus referring to God as His “Father,” or reference to Jesus as the “Son of God,” as blasphemy (Mt 26:63-66; Mk 14:61-64). John 10:24-39 reveals the Jews belief that Jesus’ reference to His Sonship was “making himself God.” The terms “Son of God” and “Christ” are always in reference to the deity of Jesus.
At Jesus’ mock trial before His crucifixion (Mt 26:63-66; Mk 14:61-64), He was asked if He was the Christ. When He answered “yes,” the high priest rent his clothes and said He had spoken blasphemy (which meant He had claimed deity for Himself) and condemned Him to death. Also, in light of 2 John 7-11, the term “Christ” must refer to more than just the humanity of Jesus.
Peter, here, was proclaiming Jesus to be God just as surely as Thomas did after Jesus’ resurrection when he said to Jesus “my Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). Jesus not only accepted Peter’s claims but blessed Peter for what he said (Mt. 16:17).
As explained above in the note on Mt 16:16; there are two examples of different groups of people being born again before they were baptized in water; therefore, water baptism cannot be a requirement in order to obtain salvation. It, therefore, must be an action that comes “because of, as a result of, or since” the remission of sins. It is an act of obedience which only a person who is already born again can perform (Acts 8:36-37).
Water baptism is an outward show of an inward change. It has great benefit as an action that resists the devil and a witness that identifies us as one with Christ, but it cannot save.
Note at Mt 7:21: Jesus makes it very clear in these statements that it’s the doers of God’s will, not just the professors, who enter into the kingdom of heaven. This same principle is stated in many other scriptures, and the whole second chapter of James is devoted to this subject.
However, there is an apparently opposite teaching in the Word, which is just as well meditationed (Examples: Gen 15:6; Dt. 9:4-6; Mt 9:11-13; Jn 8:4-11; Rom 3:22-24; 4:4-5,16; 5:2,8,17; 9:10-12; 10:3-13; 11:6; 1 Cor 15:10; Gal 3:1- 3,7,9-12,21-26; Ep. 1:5-12; 2:8-9; Tim 3:4-7) that states we are justified by faith in what Jesus has done, and not according to our goodness. None of us are good enough (Rom 3:23). God’s standard is perfection (Js 2:10). Therefore, we need a Savior (Rom 8:3-4; Tim 3:4-7). Read Rom 3:24-27; Heb 10:14!
Both of these doctrines are true, and, instead of contradicting, they complement each other. We are saved by grace through faith alone (Eph 2:8-9; Ti. 3:4-7), but saving faith is never alone (Js 2:26). Just as gold can be distinguished from other look-alike metals by examining its physical properties, so true faith can be distinguished from mere profession by examining fruit (vv. 16-20).
It is very dangerous to make a final judgment of someone’s spiritual condition (v.1), because we look on the outside while God looks on the heart (1 Sam 16:7). But for the purpose of discerning so that we might be used, we can use a person’s actions [lifestyle] as an indication of his spiritual condition.
Note at Mt 23:26: These scribes and Pharisees were only aware of external actions and ignorant of the issues of the heart. Religion (man trying to approach to God), will always differ with Christianity (God coming to man), in this respect. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).
Religion deals only with the actions of men because it is administered by man who is carnally minded. True Christianity goes to the very heart of a person. Jesus said if we would clean the inside of the cup and platter (i.e. our hearts), then the outside would be clean also (i.e. our actions). It is impossible to change a person in his heart and not have that change reflected in his actions (Prov 23:7; Mt 12:34).
One of religion’s favourite messages is that if you will just act right, you will be right. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must be born again (Jn 3:3-7). And if you are born again, then holiness is a by-product and not the way to a relationship with God (Rom 6:22).
In this instance, this is speaking of something that takes place automatically to every born-again immediately upon salvation (Note Jn 3:3: The new birth is essential for entering into the kingdom of God (v. 5). As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, this is not a second physical birth, but rather a spiritual birth (Jn 1:12,13,17). Our spiritual man became dead unto (separated from) God through sin (Rom 3:23; 6:23; 7:9,11; Eph 2:1,5). Just as we didn’t accomplish our physical birth, we cannot produce this spiritual rebirth. We are totally incapable of saving ourselves (Jer 13:23; Rom 3:10-12; 8:7-8; Eph 2:3); therefore, we need a Savior (Tim 1:4; 2:13; 3:4,6). We simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we are saved (Acts 16:31). Faith is the only condition (Rom 3:28; 10:6-9). Faith alone saves. However, saving faith is never alone. As stated in James 2:17-18, “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone . . . show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” Salvation is not a reformation, but rather a regeneration, a new birth, a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), that can only be accomplished by a creative miracle of the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:13; 3:5).
We are placed (baptized) into the body of Christ (Note at 1 Cor 12:27: This phrase “the body of Christ” is one of the dominant ways of referring to all true believers. In verses 27 and 28, the term “the body of Christ” and “the church” are used interchangeably (also Col 1:24). This designates all born-again believers. Regardless of spiritual maturity or what local church group they may or may not associate with. You cannot be a part of the body of Christ without being born again and you cannot be born again without being a member of the body of Christ.
This terminology is especially appropriate in describing the relationship between the individual members of Christ’s church (Note at 1 Cor 12:14: This is a tremendous analogy. The human body is made up of millions of different cells yet they all have to function in harmony to make one healthy person. Likewise, for the body of Christ to be healthy, there has to be unity. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for diversity. Our bodies have tremendous diversity but when these different parts are controlled by one head, they greatly multiply our abilities.
For instance, the foot is an amazing thing. It gives us mobility as well as stability. But it can’t do what the hand can do. Think what it would be like to have four feet and no hands. We need both in cooperation to be effective. Our feet help our hands and vice versa. There is no jealousy or strife between different parts of our body and there shouldn’t be between different parts of Christ’s body, either.
Paul continues this analogy using the ear (v. 16), the eye (v. 16), and our sense of smell (v. 17). In verses 22-24, Paul expands the analogy to say that the seemingly feeble parts of our body are necessary and need more attention (Note at 1 Cor 12:22: Most scholars agree that Paul is speaking of the internal vital organs of our bodies. No one would classify the stomach in the same class of strength as a weight lifter’s bulging biceps, and yet the muscles in the arms would be nothing if it weren’t for the nourishment that comes through the stomach. Likewise, the more visible and noteworthy members of the body of Christ are dependent on that which every part of Christ’s body provides (Eph 4:16) to function at their full potential. As we strengthen other members in the body of Christ, we will increase our own effectiveness.
Just as Paul details here, there are no unimportant members of the body of Christ. It takes all of us working together as one body to manifest the complete life of Christ to this world.
That means we are united with Christ in a very real way and also to each member of Christ’s body.
The Lord has united every born-again Christian by baptizing us all into the body of Christ. That is already a reality. Like it or not, want it or not, every Christian is completely one with every other Christian in his spirit (Note at Mt 26:41: Our spirit is not our problem. The born- again Christian receives a new spirit at conversion (2 Cor 5:17), which is just like Jesus (1 Jn 4:17) because it is the Spirit of Jesus (Rom 8:9; Gal. 4:6). Our born-again spirit is always willing to do God’s will. It’s our flesh [self-focussed thoughts, Rom 8:7] that is the problem.
The flesh, as Jesus is using it here, not only includes our physical bodies but is also describing our soulish part, too (Note at Mt 22:37: The English word “soul” comes from the Greek word “psuche,” translated “heart, life, mind, and soul.” The scripture tells us the soul needs knowledge (Prov 2:10; 19:2; 24:14); it knows (Ps 139:14); it considers and counsels (Ps 13:2); remembers (Lam 3:20); chooses (Job 7:15); refuses (Job 6:7); it seeks (1 Chr 22:19); it binds or makes a decision (Num 30); it loves (1 Sam 18:1; Ps 42:1; Song 1:7); hates (2 Sam. 5:8; P 107:18); has joy (Ps 86:4; Isa. 61:10); grieves (Jud 10:16); and desires (Dt 14:26; 1 Sam 20:4). Soul implies emotion, intellect and will – all self-focussed, as apposed to our spirit that is God-focussed. God is a Spiritual Being (Jn 4:23,24).
These scriptures best reveal the mind to be the principal and leading part of the soul followed by the will and emotions. We could also describe the soul as being the hidden part of all existing beings or what most people would call the personality. The soul is the centre of the feelings and emotions, appetites and desires, as well as sense perception and consciousness (1 Sam 30:6; 2 Sam 13:39; 2 Ki 4:27; 23:3; Ps 107:5,9,18,26; Mt 26:38; Mk 12:33; Jn 12:27; Heb 4:12; 10:38).
The soul may also speak of the totality of a person — his total being or self (Lk 12:19; Acts 2:43; 3:23; 1 Pet 3:20). The New Testament usage of the Greek word may be analyzed as follows: the natural life of a man’s body (Lk. 12:22; Acts 20:10); the invisible or immaterial part of man (Mt 10:28; Acts 2:27); the disembodied portion of man (Rev 6:9); the seat of personality which perceives, reflects, desires, and feels (Mt 11:29; Lk 1:46; 2:35; Acts 14:22); the center of the will and purpose (Mt 22:37; Acts 4:32); the center of appetite and desire (Rev 18:14); the totality of a person (Acts 2:41,43; Rom 2:9; Js 5:20; 1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 2:14); and the hidden man or inward man (Lk 21:19; 1 Pet 2:11; 3 Jn 2).
The soul and the body do not get born again. It is the spirit of man that becomes totally new at salvation (2 Cor 5:17). So, although every believer receives the same miraculous spiritual rebirth, the visible results of that inward change will vary from person to person according to how much he renews his mind (Rom 12:1-2).
God has given every believer everything that it takes to walk in victory (Jn 16:33), but “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). That is to say that our spirit, which is where God has deposited all of His power and glory, is locked inside our flesh.
That does not mean that we cannot tap this divine source. As much as we will renew our minds (Rom 12:2) and act on the Word of God (Js 2:20), we can experience this divine flow through our physical bodies. However, just as in the physical, muscles have to be used to increase in strength, so our soulish and physical parts have to be exercised unto godliness (1 Tim 4:7-8). Prayer is one important way of exercising ourselves unto godliness, and this is why Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray with Him.
Any failure to function as one in our relationships with other believers means someone is not flowing in the Spirit. Our flesh is the part of us that gets in strife with other believers. As we operate in the Spirit more and more, we will come more and more into unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Note at Rom 7:18: The term “flesh” comes from the Greek word “sarx.” “Sarx” was translated “flesh” 147 times; “carnal” 2 times (Rom 8:7 and Heb 9:10); “carnally” 1 time (Rom 8:6); and “fleshly” 1 time (Col 2:18). There are many ways that the word “flesh” was used in the New Testament, but for simplification, we will group its usage into three main categories.
First, it can refer to the physical flesh of man (Lk 24:39) or beasts (Ex. 1 Cor 15:39). When used in that context, the term is descriptive of only the physical makeup of man and is neither good nor bad as can be seen by the fact that Jesus was made “flesh” (Jn 1:14).
Second, “flesh” can describe the weakness and frailty of man, or man apart from God. This is the way Paul used the term in Romans 8:3 when he said, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh.” Paul is saying that man, without the quickening power of God in his life, was unable to keep the law. Paul described his own efforts at holiness without the power of Christ as works of the flesh (Phil 3:3-9). “The flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41).
Third, “flesh” can refer to all that is sinful in man. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul describes the works of the flesh as “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” In this sense, the term “flesh” can be used almost interchangeably with the sin nature of man when describing those who are not born again, or the effects of the residual old man on those who are born again.
In this instance, when Paul used this parenthetical phrase, “that is, in my flesh” he was specifying the natural part of his person or the second category of “flesh” described above. He was stating that in himself, apart from his born-again spirit, there was no good thing. He had to include this explanation or his statement would not have been accurate, for in his spirit there was a good thing (i.e. Christ).
Note at Rom 6:14: The “old man” is dead and gone. Yet there is a “residual old man”, or the unrenewed mind and emotions, that the “old man” left behind. It is these lingering effects of the “old man” or sin to which Paul is referring.
Note at Rom 6:6: Walking in resurrection power in our physical life is dependent on knowing that our old man (NIV-old self) is crucified. If we don’t believe that, then there won’t be newness of life (v. 4) or victory for us.
As explained, the old self is already crucified. Yet some people have effectively voided the power of that truth (Mk 7:13) by teaching that we still have an old self or sin nature which is constantly being resurrected from the dead. There is no scripture that mentions a daily or even periodical resurrection of our old man. Only Jesus has that power. Satan has no power to accomplish resurrection of any kind.
This common belief that we still have an old man or sin nature does not come from scripture but through observation. People observe a drive to sin and they assume that it is their old sin nature that drives them to it.
The scripture does teach that sin produced human death (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12,15,17; 6:23; Eph 2:1) and therefore everyone was born with a spirit that was dead to (or separated from) God. This is the part of us that the Bible calls sin), or the old man (this verse). Therefore, the scriptures do teach that everyone was born with a sin nature or old man. But Paul is making a very clear presentation in these verses that for the Christian, the old man is dead. We do not have a nature that is driving us to sin.
If that be so, then why do we seem so bound to sin even after we experience the new birth? The reason is that our old man left behind what this verse calls a body. Just as a person’s spirit and soul leave behind a physical body at death, so our old man left behind habits and strongholds in our thoughts and emotions. The reason a Christian tends to sin is because of an unrenewed mind, not because of a sin nature. Remember that sin is to not trust Jesus – Jn 16:9; not the deeds that result (as fruit of sin). Example: stealing is not the sin, the sin is not trusting Jesus [that He will/can provide, by giving life, ability and opportunity], et cetera.
God made the mental part of us similar to a computer. We can program our minds so that certain actions and attitudes become automatic or rhetoric. For instance, when we were children, it was a major effort to tie our shoelaces or button our shirts, but as adults, we can now perform those duties without even thinking about what we are doing. It’s like it is just a part of us, but in actuality it was an acquired trait. Also walking, driving, and so on.
Likewise, our old man ruled our thinking before we were born again. He taught us such things as selfishness, hatred, and fear as well as placed within us the desire for sin. The old man is now gone, but these negative parts of his body remain. Just as a computer will continue to perform according to its programming until reprogrammed, so our minds continue to lead us on the course that our old man charted until renewed (Rom 12:2).
Therefore, a Christian does not have a part of them that is still of the devil and is driving them to sin. Instead, the Christian has been liberated from the part of them that was dead in sin (i.e. old man-Eph 2:1) and the rest of the Christian life is a renewing of the mind that results in the resurrection life of Jesus Christ being manifest in our physical bodies (2 Cor 4:11).
Someone might say, “What’s the difference? Whether it’s my old man or an unrenewed mind, I still struggle with the desire to sin.” The difference is enormous! If we still have a sin nature, then we are doomed to a life of schizophrenia (lit.-split mind, Js 1:6-8), but if it is just our unrenewed minds that cause the problem, then we can see the situation improve as we renew our minds… recall Rom 12:9…
If we retained a sin nature, even after the new birth, then a person who was bound by a particular sin before salvation would still be bound to it after salvation. They would just have to refrain from the physical act but in their heart they would continue to be guilty of committing that sin in thought (Note at Mt 5:22: In this verse, Jesus is showing that the new Testament He had dealt with the heart and the motives [choice] whereas, the old Mosaic covenant dealt with outward acts. First John 3:15 clearly states that “whosoever hates his brother is a murderer.” This is exactly what Jesus was saying here and compares with Mt 5:27-28). Yet, there are millions of examples of people who experience the new birth and are so changed, that the very sins that used to enslave them before salvation are now so repulsive to them that they have no desire to commit those acts (Rom 12:9). They can’t even relate to the old self that did those things because they are a new person (2 Cor 5:17) with a renewed mind and a deeper insight.
It is truly liberating to learn that I don’t have to commit sins, I chose to do so. Therefore, I can change through the renewing of my mind (Rom 12:2) because there is no longer a part of me that is a sinner by nature. This is the point that Paul is making in this verse. To experience the resurrection life of Jesus, we have to know that our old man is dead (2 Cor 5:17), then through the renewing of our mind we destroy the body that the old man left behind, with the end result being that we will not serve sin any longer.
Note at Rom 5:21: The sin that is being spoken of here is not the individual acts of sin that we commit, but rather the propensity for sin itself. The American Heritage dictionary defines propensity as “an innate inclination; tendency; bent.” It is this inherited inclination to sin that Paul is speaking of.
The word “sin” is used 45 times in the book of Romans (Rom 3:9, 20; 4:8; 5:12, 13, 20, 21; 6:1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23; 7:7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25; 8:2, 3, 10; 14:23). The plural “sins” is used four times (Rom. 3:25; 4:7; 7:5; 11:2.
Of this total of 49 times that “sin” or “sins” is used in Romans, these two English words come from three Greek words. One of these Greek words “hamartema” is only used once in Romans 3:25 and only three other times in all the New Testament (Mk 3:28; 4:12; 1 Cor 6:18). Of the remaining 48 times, the Greek word “hamartia” was used 47 times and “hamartano” just once (Rom 6:15).
This is very significant because the Greek word “hamartia” is a noun while “hamartano” is a verb. A noun denotes a person, place, or thing while verbs describe the action of nouns. Therefore, in all but one instance in the book of Romans, the words “sin” or “sins” describe man’s tendency towards sin and not the individual acts of sins themselves. If you think of the word sin in these chapters as denoting the act of sin, you will miss what Paul is saying.
The believer’s fight is not against individual acts of sin but against the inner tendency to sin. If the propensity to sin can be broken, then the actions of sin will cease. Our individual acts of sin are only an expression or indication of how well we are doing in our war against this condition of the heart that causes us to sin.
Romans 5:12 says that this propensity to sin (or what many call the sin nature) entered the world through Adam. It is this sin nature that caused us to sin, not our individual acts of [fruit of] sin that gave us a sin nature.
At salvation, our old man (Rom 6:6) or sin nature died but the tendency to sin remained through the thoughts and emotions that the old man left behind. The Christian doesn’t have a sin nature any longer that compels him to sin but is simply dealing with the renewing of his mind. Note 17 at Jn 8:44: All of us were born in sin (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:19) and were therefore “by nature” (Eph 2:3) the children of the devil. That’s the reason we sinned. Our sins don’t corrupt our nature, but our corrupt nature makes us sin. That’s why we must be “born again” (Jn 3:7) and become new creatures (or a new creation) in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
Paul makes a very clear statement that the reason this sin shall not have dominion over us is because we are not under law (see the note at end of this meditation) but under grace. However, most Christians today are still operating under the law so it’s no surprise that sin is still having dominion over them. Understanding our freedom from the O.T. law is a prerequisite to breaking the dominion of sin in our lives.
The reason this is so is because the law strengthened sin by producing guilt that condemned us and killed us (see note at end). The law also brought the wrath of God against our sin (see note at end). However, once we accept the atonement of Christ for our sin, we no longer need to fear the wrath of God. That was placed on Jesus. We also don’t need the law to condemn us and kill us. We have already come to Christ for salvation which is what the law was designed to do – to be a “trainer” only so we could come to Christ by faith (Gal 3:24-25).
Knowing this frees a person from sin, it doesn’t free a person to sin. Every Christian continues to sin to some degree, not because we have to, but because we are still in the process of renewing our minds. However, when we aren’t condemned and feeling separated from God because of our sin, we are free to run to God for help instead of away from God in fear. Therefore, understanding God’s grace and our freedom from the law is the key to breaking the dominance of sin in our lives.
There is water baptism which is to be administered after conversion
Note at Mk 16:16: This scripture has led many to believe that water baptism is a part of salvation and that the born-again experience cannot be a reality without it. The same kind of thinking would make seeing Jesus a prerequisite for salvation, based on John 6:40. (Although “see” can be spiritual, or intellectual. You can “see” God in His creation…).
It is faith in the redemptive work of Christ that produces salvation and not our actions. When James writes that faith without works is dead (Mt 3:8; Js 2:20) he is saying that results follow a true follower of Jesus Christ with His anointing (Christ, Life) inside permanently. Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone; it must be acted upon. This is what Mark is referring to when he speaks of baptism.
Water baptism is a command of Jesus and is the initial action upon believing. This statement of Mark could be rendered, “he who believes with saving faith (i.e. faith that produces actions) will be saved.” In this sense, water baptism is very important. It is an opportunity to act on our new profession of faith. How can an infant do this? Anyone who would refuse to follow the command of Jesus in water baptism would be suspect as to whether they really believed or not.
However, there are Scriptural examples of people being born again before they were baptized in water. Cornelius and his friends were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues before they were baptized in water (Acts 10:44-48). John 14:17 records Jesus as saying that an unbeliever cannot receive the Holy Ghost (Jn 14:17: Jesus’ statement here that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit is very important. This means that until a person is born again, he cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers cannot receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Man, apart from the quickening of the Holy Spirit, cannot believe what he cannot see. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Jesus also made a clear distinction between the Holy Spirit being with the disciples and being in them. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is always involved in all of God’s dealings with man. This was certainly true of the Lord’s revelation to the disciples of who Jesus was. However, the Holy Spirit had only been with them but He would be in them.
Likewise, today, some may claim that they have the Holy Spirit because of the fact that no man can come to Jesus except through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn 6:44), but it is only through the baptism of the Holy Spirit [God] that He actually comes and lives continually in the heart of the believer. Peter used this as a proof of salvation in Acts 11:15-17, so Cornelius and his friends must have been born again before their water baptism. When Peter was rehearsing the conversion of Cornelius before the believers at Jerusalem, he referred to the baptism of the Holy Ghost [God, Jn 4:24] as a proof of the Gentiles’ conversion but he never mentioned their water baptism (Acts 11:1- 18). This would have been unthinkable if the early church had held water baptism as a requirement of salvation.
Also, in Acts 19:1-7, the apostle Paul found some disciples who had believed on Jesus through the preaching of John the Baptist, and had been water baptized by John, but they had not heard of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Paul re- baptized them with Christian baptism and then they received the Holy Ghost, but the fact remains that they were Jesus’ disciples before they were properly baptized in water. The crux is that we turn from attempts at self-righteousness and the idea that we can save ourselves to acceptance [and an outer evidence, show] that Jesus is our only Savior. We then submit to His Spirit and follow Him as our Guide, Counsellor, Teacher (Jn 14:26)… Who dwells in us permanently. We will therefore stop to perpetually seek answers from men and religion and instead have a living and real ongoing [unending] relationship with the person Jesus Christ [God Triune].
Water baptism is the sign of the new covenant [testament] in the same way that circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. The apostle Paul made it very clear in Romans 4 that although Abraham was circumcised, his circumcision was only a sign. Abraham was justified in the sight of God before his circumcision. Paul goes on to state in Galatians 5:1-6 that anyone who trusts in circumcision is fallen from grace; Christ will profit him nothing.
Circumcision was a command of God that had to be kept (Gen 17:9-14), yet Abraham was justified over 13 years before he was circumcised (Gen 15:6 with Gen 17:23-26). Likewise, water baptism is a command but keeping this command does not produce justification.
Jesus administered forgiveness of sins without any mention of water baptism (Mt 9:2; Lk 7:48,50; 18:14; 19:9; 23:43) as did Peter (Acts 3:19-4:4) and Paul (Acts 13:38-43 with 1 Cor 1:13-17).
Philip told the Ethiopian eunuch, who asked Philip to baptize him, that if he believed with all of his heart, he could be baptized (Acts 8:37). Philip used water baptism only after an individual had already believed. This is how Mark is using water baptism.
Water baptism is an outward show of an inward change. It has great benefit as an action that resists the devil and a witness that identifies us as one with Christ, but it cannot save.
Religion is independent of God. Relationship with God is dependant [trusting] on God..
Jesus spoke of His suffering as a baptism (Mt 20:22-23). John spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire.
Note at Acts 1:8: The Greek word used for “power” is “dunamis” and denotes miraculous power, ability, might, strength. It is the root word from which we derive our words “dynamic,””dynamite,” and “dynamo.” This clearly speaks of the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit as being the power source in a believer’s life.
It was this anointing power of the Holy Spirit that worked miracles in the life of Jesus (Acts 10:38). We receive the same Holy Spirit power and we can expect to see it accomplish the same miraculous works that Jesus did (Jn 14:12) if we will believe. By His grace alone…
Note at Acts 2:4: This filling of the Holy Ghost was subsequent to their born-again experience (Note at Jn 14:17: Jesus’ statement here that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit is very important. This means that until a person is born again, he cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers cannot receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit . Peter used this as a proof of salvation in Acts 11:15-17. Paul later revealed in Rom. 10:9 that a person had to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead before they could be saved.
These disciples had already done this. John 20:28 specifically records Thomas kneeling before the resurrected Jesus and confessing that Jesus was both Lord and God. No doubt all of these disciples had already been saved and yet they had not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This same thing was true of the people who believed on Jesus in Acts 8:12-17 and Acts 19:2-7.
Therefore, it is possible to be saved and yet not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of (Jn 7:37-39; Acts 1:4-5). Since the Holy Spirit is now given and we do not have to tarry for His coming, we can receive salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time, but it is not automatic. We must ask and believe (Mt 7:7; Lk 11:13) for the baptism of the Holy Ghost just as we believed for salvation.
The Greek word Baptisma means “to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet).” The root word means “to dip” or “immerse”. We can be immersed into Christ, water, suffering, or the Holy Spirit. So, there are many baptisms spoken of in the New Testament.
However, Paul is singling out one specific baptism here. He is probably speaking of the first baptism mentioned in this note, which is when the Holy Spirit takes every person who is truly saved and places them into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. This fits the context well and helps make Paul’s point about unity. There is only one person who administers this baptism (the Holy Spirit), and there is only one thing that we are all baptized into (i.e. the body of Christ). Since we are all one body through this baptism, we ought to function as one body.
Baptism can also be seen as follows:
Baptism is a rite involving water. The term is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘to immerse in or wash with water’ (Mark 7:4 ). Washing rites characterize priestly preparation for offering sacrifice in the ot (Ex 40:12-15 ). On the Day of Atonement, the high priest bathed both before and after his offering (Lev 16:4 , 24 ). Visitors to the Temple would not enter the inner courts without washing hands and feet. Water washings are linked not only with religious purity but also with concern for sinfulness and moral purity (Is 1:16-17 ; Jer 4:14 ; Ezek 36:25 ). More domestic versions of these concerns are found in Jewish ablutions in Jesus’ time. Jn 2:6 speaks of large stone jars that hold water ‘for purification’ (see Mk 7:2-4 ). John’s baptism and the ablutions of the Qumran covenanters belong to this tradition of cultic and moral ablutions. Jews also apparently performed baptisms of proselytes as part of the purification of new covenant members (m.Pesahim VIII.7; Eduyyot V.2).
Baptism in the nt begins with John’s baptism, which was a prophetic call to repentance and forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:4). When Jesus is baptised, however, it is understood quite differently: it is not for sin (Mt 3:13-15); rather it is a theophany (i.e. a self-revealing of God and not living under a set of rules) in which Jesus is identified as ‘Beloved Son’ and commissioned as the herald of God’s kingdom (Mk 1:10-11 ; Is 42:1-9). Christian baptism of converts retained the sense of rites of purification (1 Pet 3:21) as well as adoption as God’s children. Paul speaks of God pouring his Holy Spirit into converts’ hearts, enabling them to say ‘Abba Father’ (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15-17, meaning “real” Father – that is perfect, able and willing ). This baptism was in some sense to Christianity what circumcision was to Judaism. John 3:3-5, in fact, makes baptism — not circumcision — the formal entrance rite into the Testament community (Col 2:11-12). The interpretation of Christian baptism was fluid in the first century. At Corinth it was compared to Israel’s exodus through the sea and it’s eating of the manna in the desert (1 Cor 10:1-4). In other places it was compared with Noah’s escape from God’s wrath on sinners (1 Pet 3:21). It was also compared with Jesus’ death and resurrection; Christians symbolically die to their sins and former lives, a death they share with Christ, and are buried with him; as they rise from baptism in purity, they also share the new life brought by Jesus’ resurrection (Rom 6:1-4 ). Hence baptism may be compared to a new birth (Jn 3:4-5). Although adults were generally baptized, some say there is a suggestion in Mk 10:13-16 that infants were also baptized. The argument rests on the term ‘hinder’ (Gk. kōlyō), which may have been part of the technical terminology of baptism: Jesus tells his disciples not to ‘hinder ’ the children from coming to him; compare the language of the eunuch in Acts 8:36 who asks, ‘what is to prevent (Gk. kōlyō) my being baptized?’ But “coming to Him” implies they were able to “come to Him”, and “receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God” on their own. A personal submission must involve own action, a choice, not someone taking action “on behalf of” someone else.
Baptism in water – Jn 3:5
The Bible is very clear on this subject and cannot possibly be misunderstood. Only tradition and man’s hindered logic and limited reason make its true meaning meaningless. Infant baptism is a misconception that ignores [misses] the rich meaning in the symbolism and testimony of water baptism. Baptism in water is not to wash physical dirt from our bodies (implies bathing– 1 Pet 3:21), but is a prayer and submission to obtain a clean conscious and be saved on grounds of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection (victory over death, Satan and all evil spirits) as well as the indwelling saving grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we – ourselves – publicly testify and fully submit to Him.
1 Peter 3:20,21
The ark had three floors. We are baptized into the threefold Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sin is buried under water, God removes unrepentant mankind and gives man a new start through righteous Noah.
1 Cor 10:2; Heb 11:29
Passing through the Red Sea symbolizes repentance and baptising by moving away from the old masters, leaving them behind with no return to slavery and moving toward faith – the promised land.
Acts 2:38; Rom 6:4
Death, burial and resurrection. Entering water shows death of the old nature and sin. The self dies to be born again as a new creation – a new person emerges. Water burial is a final act of commitment like a funeral. A public testimony and symbolic declaration that the believer has passed into the order of the new covenant by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a self-declaration and decision.
Col 2:2; Eph 1:20; Jn 16:7
Coming up from the water symbolizes resurrection. Jesus told us if He did not die and be raised from the dead and go to His Father, He would not be able to send the Holy Spirit. The fact that a believer is baptised in the Holy Spirit is proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 15:3,4
This is what separates us from the other (dead) religions of the world: we have the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, and the living Holy Spirit producing His fruit inside of us. Our desires change.
Therefore, water baptism signifies:-
- Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
- The believer as a partaker in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
- The believer has repented and is willing to immerse himself fully into everything Jesus accomplished for him the believer proclaims and publicly confess the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and fully submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the (new) life of the believer with no pride or shame.
Note on Mt 3:11: John the Baptist introduced baptism as we know it in the church today. Under the Old Covenant there were many “washings” (Heb 9:10) which may have symbolized baptism, but it had not been done unto repentance (Mk 1:4) as John administered it. However, the Jews didn’t question baptism and even expected it to be a practice of the Christ and of the messenger that God would send before him (Jn. 1:25). John baptized for two reasons. The first was for the remission of sins (Mk 1:4, Lk 3:3). The Greek word “eis” is translated “for” in these verses and literally means, “because of; by reason of; on account of.” The second reason was to make Jesus “manifest” (or known) to the nation of Israel (Jn 1:31).
Note on Mt 3:15: Jesus had no sin (1 Pet 2:22); therefore He didn’t need John’s baptism of repentance for the remission of His sins, yet He was immersed (“… went up straight away out of the water…”, Mt 3:17), because He changed from being a son of the law (bar-witsma) to the Son of God (Jn 5:19)! So there is a repentance! This had at least two purposes. (1) It publicly announced Jesus as the Lamb of God to the people (Jn. 1:29,31). (2) It fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9:24 as Jesus was anointed (Acts 10:38) by the Holy Ghost (v. 16) and empowered to begin His ministry. (3) It foreshadowed His death, also to law (Rom 6:3-6!), His submersion unto the Father and His ministry, His burial, His resurrection. If Jesus openly demonstrated this and needed to be anointed, how much more do we, Lk 24:49 with Acts 1:8;2:1-4. Jesus was not obedient to become [be] the Son, Jesus Christ was obedient unto the Father because He was [is] the Son. Carefully contemplate Jn 15:1-16:3! Do you seen how Jn 8 leads to Jn 9?If Jesus needed to be anointed, how much more do we (Lk 24:49 with Acts 1:8 and 2:1-4).
A further very important note is that God wants a personal relationship with us, not empty rituals, ceremony, or traditions. Something internal, not merely external. He wants to indwell us from where He can give us strength, He can guide us and show His grace and love. The obvious then, is to note that the requirements Jesus have for being saved, is noted by Paul in Rom 10:9-10. Just be sure to note the warning in Js 2:19. Our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (refer to the meditation entitled “The Gospel”), requires a response out of own free will, and is not anything an infant can do by his own free will. Neither anything any one can do on your behalf.
When not done before, we need to do the following first:
- Repent. This means to have a new mind, a new way of thinking – Mt 4:17; 18:3; Mk 1:15; 6:12; Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30; 26:20; and so on.
- Confess. To publicly and openly [verbally] confess Jesus as Savior and Lord is the requirement to be saved (Rom 10:9,10; even Rom 1:16-17), not baptism as such; however, but rather to identify with Jesus’ burial and resurrection by our own choice and decision is certainly an open confession, just as our living [deeds] are – Mt 3:8; Js 2:14-26; Acts 2:38-45; Mt 21:25,26; and of course have the people Jesus were referring to in Mt 28:19, to be more mature than infants to be discipled [taught] first, [also to grasp baptism]. Repentance is only true once manifested in words and deeds [also by not serving any other gods]!
Have faith: to take God seriously – Heb 11:6; Jn 14:15;15:14; (1 Jn 2:4; Gal 1:6-9).
Then, of course, is all this effectively summarised in Mark 16:16…
Note that none of these can be done by an infant or by some one else on your behalf. God is Love, and Love is not manipulative – He gave you your free will to choose whether you will submit to Him or whether you will rather follow man’s ideas [traditions, doctrines] on how to serve and love God. You choose between [serving] God or yourself.
When the Israelites were “baptised” unto Moses, they were immersed (obedient) under Moses. Similarly, when a believer is baptised into water, he submits to (is immersed into) the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is under God`s control and is the Lord`s. Water baptism shows a person has repented, and is leaving the old life behind. That he believe in the Name of Jesus Christ, that he confessed Jesus is Lord and is submersed (fully committed) in this. Acts 2:38; 8:12,15-17; 9:18; 10:47,48; 22:16; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5.
The infant cannot grasp, understand nor declare this… A personal belief, new life and relationship in – and with the Father through Jesus Christ is testified by the believer.
Jesus Christ Himself endorsed this baptism, He was baptised (submersed, not “sprinkled”) and allowed His disciples to baptise men and woman – Mt 3:13-17. He commanded the church to preach the Gospel, make disciples and baptise those who already believed and repented (Mt 28:19; Luke 16:16) – not infants!
There is only one baptism (Eph 4:5) – that of believers… question: what can an infant believe? What can an infant submit to, be immersed under? No one can “immerse” anyone [in Christ] on anyone else’s behalf. This involves a personal choice resulting in a personal relationship with God.
How else then, is baptism fully demonstrated, if not by full immersion?
Note at Rom 3:19: This very clear statement by Paul comes as a complete shock to most Christians. Christianity as a whole has embraced the Old Covenant law and most Christians have never thought that the law was not intended for them (Heb 8:13). However, Paul is saying that the law was given to the Jews (Gal 3:19; Rom 9). The purpose of that law was to produce guilt (see note below), therefore, anyone who is denying their guilt before God can profit from its condemning effect (2 Cor 3:9; 1 Tim 1:9). But a Christian who embraces the Old Testament law (not everything that is in the Old Testament is law) as God’s gift to them has misunderstood its purpose.
That is not to say that a Christian should reject the Old Testament as God’s holy Word, God forbid. It certainly is God’s Word and is, therefore, profitable for doctrine, reproof, etc. (2 Tim 3:16,17). However, it needs to be interpreted in light of the New Testament. Jesus not only set us free from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13), He also set us free from the law itself (Rom 4:16; 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 8:2; 2 Cor 3:7; Gal. 2:19; 3:24-25; 4:21; 5:18; Eph 2:14-15; Col 2:14; 1 Tim1:9; Heb 7:18-19; 8:7-13; 10:8-9). A desire to live under the commands of the Old Testament law is a return to bondage and a misunderstanding of our Testament in Jesus.
Note at Rom 3:19: Paul begins to make a series of radical statements here. Radical because the Jews of his day, just like many church people of our day, thought that the law of God was given so that we could earn our salvation through keeping it. That wasn’t its purpose. The law was not given for the purpose of producing justification (Rom 3:20, 28; 4:13; Gal 2:16; 3:11; Gal 5:4; Ti. 3:5).
The law was given to kill (2 Cor 3:7) and condemn (2 Cor 3:9). The law strengthened sin (1 Cor 15:56) and made sin come alive (Rom 7:9). The law gave sin an occasion against us to deceive us and work all manner of lust in us (Rom 7:8,11). In short, the law strengthened our enemy – our own unrenewed “self” that sins through our own lust and greed, the law does not strengthen us. God gave the law through angels (Heb 2:2; Gal 3:19; Acts 7:38,53)!
Why would God give us something that strengthened (amplified) our enemy? Because sin had already beat us and we didn’t know it. Mankind was deceived into thinking that although we weren’t perfect, surely our sins weren’t that bad. We really are pretty good people and the outcome would be “okay.” The only thing that is wrong with that thinking is that God doesn’t grade on a curve. It doesn’t matter if you are better than someone else. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (v. 23) and the wages for sin (any sin) is death (Rom 6:23).
James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” If a person commits any sin he is guilty of them all. It’s similar to breaking a window. It doesn’t matter how big a hole you make in the window. If it’s broken, the whole window has to be replaced. If we break even the slightest command, we are guilty of breaking them all. But read beyond Rom 3:23 (v 24,25). Yes, you were your own enemy, but God is Love, and His Love [Him] is bigger than we grasp. It’s not how we love Him, it’s how He loves us. For He so loved the world…
So God had to break the deception that people had fallen into, of thinking they were surely good enough to be accepted by God. The way He did this was to give the law. It made sin and its lust come alive in us. To those who would receive it, it became obvious that if this holy perfection of the law was what God demanded, no one could be saved by his own goodness.
That was the point that God wanted to make and that is the point that Paul is making here. No one can be saved by keeping the law because all have sinned and come short of the law’s perfection (v. 23). That is why He that is slow to anger, and quick to forgive, paid for us.
So, the law stripped us of every excuse and made us guilty before God. The law gave us a knowledge of just how sinful we were and removed any deception of us ever being saved because we were such “nice guys” in comparison to others. As Paul said in Galatians 3:23, “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” The law took away every hope of salvation except faith in a savior. That was the purpose of the law. Note at Rom 1:5: This is the first of twenty-four times the term “grace” is used in Paul’s epistle to the Romans. The Greek word for grace is “charis” and is translated many different ways throughout the New Testament. It is translated: favor, thanks, gracious, thankworthy, thank, thanked, pleasure, liberality, and acceptable. The most common way it is translated is by the word “grace” which is used 129 times in the N.T. Praise our perfect Father for His grace and Love, for the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, “the word ‘charis’ (grace) contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved. The New Testament writers used ‘charis’ pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving.”
Another form of the Greek word “charis” (grace) is “charisma” and is translated “gift.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines “charisma” as “a gift of grace, a gift involving grace on the part of God as the donor.” In other words, “charisma” is a specific form or manifestation of the grace of God. It is used to describe as a free gift: righteousness (Rom 5:16-17); spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:28-31; Rom 12:6-8); eternal life (Rom 6:23); the five ministry gifts (Eph 4:11); celibacy (1 Cor 7:7); healings (1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30); and miraculous intervention (2 Cor 1:11).
Suffice here to say what the writer of Hebrews 10:14 said: “For by a single offering He has for ever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy”. Contemplate for yourself the following: Heb 8:12,13; 9:8-15; 10:1-10… Jesus really took your sins and condemnation away. In Him you are His holiness, in Him you are His perfection before God the Father. See John 1:12 and 1 John 3:1,20-23.
But for His grace, we have to believe [trust and rely on, cling to] Jesus, not the law.
Be free [from guilt, and from the idea of having to earn approval, the law] and be blessed in Jesus name! His blessings are free of charge and completely separate from what you do or fail to do (as acts or deeds or works) – God’s grace is for all His children – full stop (Gal 3:29; Gen 12:3). If you are His child (Jn 1:12), you will receive His blessings.
The deeds, acts and works are as a result of the child of God for His unfathomable Love, not to obtain His love (like a bribe, putting a price or human value to it). The motive is all wrong if we in any way attempt to obtain blessings from God by our attempts [works]. This is an offence to God, not impressing Him and “forcing” Him to “owe” us anything (blessings).
Therefore, baptism is our public submission unto Jesus Christ – accepting His death, resurrection and Him empowering us by sending His Holy Spirit to indwell us as His heavenly Jerusalem, His Body, His ecclesia, His Church. He dwells in us and we in Him. We submit to this, trusting Jesus Christ, relying on His promises, and keeps clinging to Him.
Does it matter who baptises you? Does this person have to be ordained? Where does it say so in Scripture? As long as it is in the name of Jesus [or Father, Son, and Holy Spirit]; no, it matters not who is standing next to you and who is dipping you under the water, it is between you and God. You are submitting to Jesus Christ, and making a decision to remain immersed with Him, not man.
There is no covenant of God sealed by a ceremony in water, or using water, that you can be included in – especially not on your behalf by any other human. Jesus Christ was the covenant [promise] and we – in His Name – have the authority to be called sons [mature like Jesus] of God (Jn 1:12). No, there is no covenant of God sealed by water, but a baptism – a submission – into water by a believer to symbolize trust in His Word and commit to the Godhead and to identify with His resurrection.
Again look at Col 2:8-12, and 1 Pet 3:21, read and understand the context – as no infant can.
Are there consequences if a person has never been baptised by believer’s baptism?
Metaphorically, He might have left the days of Noah, but the giants might not be dead, might have left Egypt, but Pharaoh might still be after him. Might have accepted Jesus, but might fight ever-losing battles against sin. Might have survived the giants, but might never be born into the post-deluvian world. Might have left Egypt, but might never have taken possession of Canaan. Might have left his old life, but was never reborn into a new life… In other words, the New Testament is not fully implemented because the spirit [God-consciousness, not soul (intellect, emotion, will) that is self-conscious] is not truly re-born [submersed permanently and fully].
What should such a person do?
Get yourself baptized by immersion as a believer! First submit to Jesus Christ, not heretical preachers or Moses (Mk 8:38; Rom 1:16). Then you follow Jesus Christ (Jn 10:27-28), not thieves (Jn 10:10). Go away from manipulators who claim your name must be in their little book (records of memberships) – there is only ONE Book of Life, and it is in the Name of the Lamb of God Who paid for all our sin, Who is the Head of His Church (Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27). Then renounce your Infant Baptism in the Name of Jesus! It was an untrue ritual!
Why renounce infant baptism? It is true what we read in Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:18; 2 Pet 1:3-4; and Heb 10:14 – what Jesus has done for us on His cross is a done deal. However, just be sure that whereas the water ritual of “Infant Baptism” does not represent a Biblical covenant, it does seem to represent an occultist covenant that we must get out of our minds (Eph 5:11). NO Biblical covenant is ever sealed by water whereas occultists make water covenants most often! This was meant to forge the strongest imaginable spiritual link between any two parties. It could be equated to a spiritual contract (mindset) but can never overpower the Love of God (Rom 8:29-39; Phil 2:8-11). Hence, if you have been “Infant Baptized”, and have taken Communion as well, some say it could mean that you have made a spiritual contract not only with Jesus Christ, but also with some or other demonic entity in ignorance. Which demonic entity this would be, would depend on the denomination that baptized you. In most cases this entity is probably the Queen of Heaven, also known as the Whore of Babylon or the Woman riding the Beast. But, they all are the devil (Jn 8:44). You need to understand and renounce falsity (deception) as soon as possible! Don’t blame your parents. Forgive them. They meant well, in ignorance. Don’t freak out either, contemplate peacefully again 1 Pet 1:18-23…
There are a number of ways to get out of a legal contract (mindset).
1. Both parties might want to get out of the contract, agree and tear up both copies of its contents, and forget about it.
2. The party who wants to get out, might plead with the other to release him of his obligations.
3. The party who wants to get out, might have a rich friend who could buy him out of the contract.
4. The party who wants to get out, might die.
Options 1 and 2 aren’t viable in this case. No demonic entity would willingly give up his rights to a human soul (but don’t give good attributes to an evil being! The devil only has the power and persistency a human gives to him – Js 4:7!). Option 3 is viable. We have a rich friend in Jesus (Ps 24:1; Acts 10:36; 1 Tim 6:14-16; Col 1:12-20). And He has paid for all our mistakes once for all. We can acknowledge that He has bought us out of wrong contracts! Option 4 is also viable. If the [spiritual] baby who had the contract dies to the self, and is “buried” with Jesus Christ in baptism, he is released from false obligations – Col 3:1-17 and 1 Pet 1:18!
Afteryou’ve had yourselves baptized by immersion, pray (declare, announce in your heart) something like the following: Lord Jesus, I repent of the ignorance of my parents who had me baptized by sprinkling of water when I was a baby. I forgive them. I now realize that this was false and a grave sin before You, and that my Infant Baptism had forged a spiritual covenant and contract between me and a demonic entity. The devil is the father of all lies (Jn 8:41-47,51). Thank You for Your forgiveness, Lord Jesus (1 Jn 1:9). Therefore, I now proclaim that I have died to my self with Jesus in the waters of baptism. Thus, I declare my commitment to You Jesus the Christ (Heb 12:2; Rom 12:1-2,9) and will ignore the devil from now on. I reject from this entity everything that I have ever received from him, and declare that in all eternity, I never want anything from him again. I hereby declare a spiritual divorce between myself and this entity – for all time and eternity, in Your authority, Lord Jesus. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that you have sealed this prayer and declaration with your Blood in Your flesh on Your cross. Amen.
If I had my children baptized as babies, can I pray this on their behalf?
If they are still spiritual minors and you are their spiritual guardian, you should teach them the Truth from God’s Word. Also repent of your sin of ignorance of having them “baptized” (sprinkled) as babies. If they are older[possibly at least 12], they are responsible before God for their own spiritual affairs. They, like us all, have to make the decision themselves, and pray their own prayer. Consider Rom 10:17.
Peace and Truth to you, in Jesus Christ (Jn 8:32,36; 14:6)!
 At any rate, is the N.T. believer not in any way supposed to be in the covenant that was for the Jews. See Mt 9:16,17 with Heb 7:22; 8:13; 9:8-14; Jn 1:17; Rom 7:4,6,8,10; 8:1-4,14; 10:1-4; 11:6; Gal 5:4,18… That was for them (Rom 9:4), for a certain purpose (Gal 3), Study “The Gospel”; “Unclean Food”, by the same author.
 Gal 4:21-31. Some are stars that shines Light (Jn 1:1-5; Mt 5:14) to the dark [religious]world [dust, sand of sea]; (Gen 3:14; Job 4:19; Is 52:2; Mt 10:13,14; Lk 10:8-12; Acts 13:50,51; 1 Cor 2:2,5-9; Ps 102:14). The devil eats the carnal-minded that rejects Spiritual Truth (choosing law above Voice, Jn 10:27,28; Rom 8:14).
 For example, infant baptism as including someone in a covenant; or the “house in space built by God”; etc
ot Old Testament
nt New Testament
 See the meditation by this author entitled “Rapture Raptured” for an exegeses on the sign of the beast, and end time teachings. If you experience fear [unbelief, uncertainty] when reading the Book Revelation, you are misinformed. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, His cross-exchange for us. God is Love, not fear.