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    The Spirituality of the Law
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THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF BAPTISM


READERS ARE ADVISED TO STUDY THE SCRIPTURES

ALONG WITH THE INFO  PROVIDED

God alone is God, and He alone is righteous. Man without God is totally depraved. There is no inherent “good” or “righteousness” in him. His thoughts, emotions and works are evil. Man needs God’s righteousness in him. In order for him to receive this righteousness, he must first be made aware of his depravity by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, by God temporally taking away the carnal mind or consciousness of sinful values, so that man can see His righteousness.  The conditions of repenting and believing must be fulfilled in order that man may receive this righteousness, thus experience the “new birth” or the renewing of his mind. The maintenance of this “new birth” in sanctification is required day by day, and the keeping of God’s Ten Commandments, thus being found faithful to this calling all the way to the end, the man will pass safe in the judgment and dwell will God in heaven forever.

1.  Water “baptism” is a public declaration made by the one who has accepted Christ as his/her personal Saviour, and has begun the walk in Christ. Such a testimony is required as an outward manifestation of what has already taken place in the heart/mind. When the Gospel of Christ is preached, and hearers are convicted of sin, “baptism” is required as a sign of “repentance”.

Acts 8:35-38

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

2.   The nature of the baptism which is acceptable by God is one where a person is baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ”.

Acts 2:37-38

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

3.   To be baptized in the name of Christ, is to be “baptized into his death”, this is, “our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” And we therefore are resurrected in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection, that is, walking in the newness of life (sinlessness).

Romans 6:1-8

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

      6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that

the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

4.   Baptism signifies the taking away of the old man or “carnal mind”, and the acceptance of the new man or the “spiritual mind”. The carnal mind causes one to transgress God’s law. It is the mind of the flesh. Its experience is “death”, but the experience of the spiritual mind is “life”.

Romans 8:6-8

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

5.   Baptism also signifies a renewal of character, a “new” creature, where old things are past away and all things has become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

6.   What are the “old” things as compared with the “new”? The old things are resulted from the carnal mind, which is the lust of the flesh and the works of evil. The new is the fruits of the Spirit, the works of righteousness that comes from a renewed mind, which is created after God.

Colossians 3: 9-10

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Galatians 5:17-25

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 7.   Water symbolizes the “word” of God. The water or the word washes or cleanses. The result of this cleansing is that one be without spot or blemish. Therefore, one cannot claim to have been baptized and still is partaking of evil.

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

8.   Baptism is a signal that one has taken a course to live holy, by giving up the idol-values of the heart/mind. This washing comes from God. It is He. who cleanses the heart from sin, by removing the old spirit/man and substituting it with a new spiritual/man via His word.

Ezekiel 36:24-27

24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your

filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

9.   Washing equates to a regeneration taking place in the heart/mind. This experience is that of justification or a renewal of thoughts by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:4-7

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

10. When you are washed you are “sanctified” or “separated” from sin or unrighteousness. The thoughts, emotions and works of evil are no more. With such an experience you “shall inherit the kingdom of God”.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


CONCLUSIVE STATEMENTS

So we see when one is submersed under the water, which symbolizes the word of God, it typifies that one is washed or cleansed from the old man (evil thoughts) to the new (holy thoughts) – the rising up from the water.

The literal water baptism does not take away sin. But only cleanses the body. It is the spiritual meaning that counts, that is, having a good conscience before God. It is repentance that precedes baptism. And Peter had said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you”, and this baptism is “in the name of Jesus Christ”. Acts 2:38. This “name” means salvation from sin within. Acts 4: 12; Matthew 1: 21.

Acts 2:37-38

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 1 Peter 3:21

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

The reason why a newly professed Christian has sought baptism it is because he/she sees it as one of the requirements of God, as shown by the example of Jesus Christ, Himself. When Christ was baptized, it was not a confession of guilt on His part, but He identified Himself with sinners, taking the steps we must take and the work we must do in serving our fellowmen. As Christ told John the Baptist, “…for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Matthew 3:16

One should not take baptism if one has not decided to walk in the course of righteousness. It is a conviction of the heart that leads to one to decide to take baptism, but it is justification (new birth) that would compliment such a decision. Justification comes by the faith of Jesus after one repents and believes the Gospel. This is a significant point, in that, many person baptize to become a member of a religious body without experiencing change of character. They continue to walk after the things of the flesh. They go after their own lust of sexual vileness, carnival revelry, vain ambitions, drugs and alcohol, crime or violence. They seek to bring their worldly experience and practices into the church, covered with Christian terminology. There is no change of heart or idol-values. A true Christian is not to be so. The old conversation of the flesh (way of life) must be put away, and a new life of Christian nobility and character must be adopted. There should be no compromise of the things of the world and the things of God.

If one wants to be baptized, it is important to reflect on why one has made such a decision, and as one continues to pursue such a course, one must gain an even greater understanding of the will and purpose of God from the Scriptures. Let the Scripture be one’s guide.

May God continue to bless the heart of one with His righteousness, who has decided to take up this mantle with grace and peace.

AMEN

Emphasis Supplied

Written by:

Stacia Holder



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One Response

  1. Great Study,enlightening!

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