Discovering a new family in commitment
I have a book in my library entitled, “Baptism, the Water That Divides.” True statement! For centuries, the only baptism practiced by Christians was total immersion “for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Again, for centuries this was it. Immersion in accordance with Scripture and early church praxis. No exceptions. Then, things began to change. Zwingli introduced the idea that baptism was “an outward sign of an inward grace.” No scripture teaches this. Our Catholic friends introduced the idea of infant baptism and several Protestant denominations now practice this form of “baptism.” Baptism has even been equated with Old Testament circumcision! Now, there is much confusion over this ancient rite. Please read the following very carefully.
Monday…Have you ever tested your parents or your boss just to see how much you could get away with? Most of us could answer in the affirmative. I have been asked hundreds of times if there will be people in heaven who have not been baptized. Yes, there are exceptions. Old Testament saints come to mind. That is why the Lord could say to the thief on the cross that, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” That man lived and died under the Old Covenant. The church would not begin for some two months down the road. Why chance an exception? Why see how much one can get away with? Read Acts 22:16 and see the obvious truth. If you have not submitted to Christian baptism, why take the chance? Do what is commanded!
Tuesday…There are three pictures in your New Testament which illustrate and clarify the meaning of baptism. One is found in Romans 6. Take a minute or two and read the first several verses and note the obvious, namely that baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and it unites us with Him.
Wednesday…A second picture is found in Acts 22:16 which we have already referenced. Do you see? Baptism is a picture of sins being washed away. Is there magic in the water? No. Do we believe in baptismal regeneration? No. Do we teach baptism as a work? No. Baptism is the time at which one is brought into contact with the blood of Christ and that blood symbolically washes away our sin.
Thursday…The third picture is found in John 3. Read that chapter and note how Jesus teaches Nicodemus about the ‘new birth.’ That new birth comes about by water and by the Spirit. Read a good commentary on this verse and see the obvious: when we are born, we are born out of water. When we are born again, we are born ‘out of water’…the waters of baptism.
Friday…I Corinthians 12:13 is a seminal verse on baptism. Read it and meditate on it and see how the Spirit places us into the Body of Christ at our baptism. The word, ‘baptism’ deserves a bit of explanation. The Greek word, “baptidzo” (look this up with Greek characters instead of English) means “to dip, plunge or immerse.” Pretty straightforward. When the translators of the KJV came to the Greek word, they were afraid to translate it correctly because King James was an Anglican and they practiced sprinkling. So, they transliterated the Greek instead of translating it. Big mistake. Here is the bottom line: after hearing the truth of the Word, one should believe it and repent of sin. This change of heart should be followed by a confession of Christ as Lord and then one should immediately submit to Christian baptism “for the remission (forgiveness) of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And we are back where we started.
By Dale Holzbauer