Baptism Equals

By Wendell Tenison

Introduction:

Baptism is one of the most least understood subjects in the new testament. For the most part it is only an immersion whereby, the recipient gets wet. It behooves us to understand baptism more perfectly, because it is mentioned so many times in context with different aspects of the working of God to the establishment of the new child in the kingdom of Christ. Therefore, it would be gross negligence on our part if we fail to seek out what God has revealed unto us.

Baptism = entry into the Lord's body, his church, or the church of Christ.

The body of Christ and the church of Christ are synonymous terms. The apostle Paul leaves no doubt that these two terms are synonymous and there is no room for dispute. Therefore, it is proper and scriptural to say the body of Christ, or the church of Christ.

Eph 1:22-23 "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,....."Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

Col 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Col 1:24 "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:"

We are married to Christ, Rom.7:4, and we have been espoused to one husband, 2Cor.11:2, the Spirit and the bride say come, Rev.22:17. Since the beginning of the creation of Adam and Eve, women would wear the name of their husbands as this is by divine edict, Gen.5:2. This being the case, no church has the right to wear any other name than his Sacred name. Because, there is none other name under heaven whereby men must be saved, Acts 4:12.

1 Cor 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

Eph 4:5-6 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;.....One Lord, one faith, one baptism,.....One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Now we come to the heart of the matter. There are as many bodies (churches) as there are Holy Spirits, Hopes, Lords, Faiths, Baptisms, Gods and Fathers. No, there is only one of each! An elementary student can understand this, but, men of much learning cannot seem to get it. Therefore, by one Holy Spirit are we baptized into one body, the church of Christ. But, the masses do not believe this; there fight is with God and not me!

Baptism = an Escape:

We will look at escape from four different aspects:

Escape from the bondage of sin:

Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.....He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

This is a direct command of the Lord and we should not question it. Being saved from our sins is an escape from the bondage of Satan and deliverance into the fold of God where there is safety.

Many who are weak in faith towards God, disbelieve that the gospel was preached to every creature. We remember the word of the Lord, whereas, he said, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem:

Matt.24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

To confirm that the gospel was preached in all nations we go to where the apostle Paul said:

Col.1:5-6, 23 "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;.....Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doeth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:....If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; where I Paul am made a minister."

Col.1:13 "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"

Here we see a delivery from the power of darkness and a translation or being changed from one state to another, or an escape from darkness to light.

Gal.3:26-27 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.....For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

11Pet.1:4 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

The only way to get into Christ, is to be baptized into him and that is the same thing as putting on a garment for the protection you get from it. To be in Christ is to escape the pollution of the world where there is immunity from spiritual disease.

1Cor.10:1-2 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;.....And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;"

The baptism of the children of Israel in the Red Sea served as an escape from the Egyptian army and delivered them safely to the other side. The same is true when we are baptized into Christ, we escape from bondage and are delivered safely to the other side.

Escape From Temptation After We Have Been Saved:

1Cor.10:12-13 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.....There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

A warning is given to us that we should be on guard of falling from the grace of God. After we have escaped the pollution of the world, God will provide a way of escape from temptation in order not to be overcome again by the power and influence of Satan.

Impossible to Escape if We Fail to Abide in Christ:

Heb.2:3 "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;"

Heb.12:25 "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:"

The writer of Hebrews which I believe to be the apostle Paul, did not walk and learn from Jesus, but those apostles and others who were with him, confirmed his words unto the world. Paul makes a special appeal to these Hebrews not to neglect the great salvation of Christ, because there is no escape. Neglect is one of the most serious problems with people after their first love has faded.

11Pet.2:20-22 "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, they are entangled again therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.....For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.....But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

There Will be No Escape by the Wicked and Rebellious:

Matt.23:33 "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna)?"

What Christ spoke to the Jews of that day also applies to us today if we reject his teaching.

1Thess.5:1-5 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.....For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.....For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.....But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.....Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

As a final note to this segment of baptism, the apostle Paul through the revelation of Christ, through the Holy Ghost of God, gives fair warning to the unrighteous, that they will not escape in that day.

Baptism = Sanctification:

To sanctify is to dedicate, to set apart for holy use, to make holy.

1Pet.2:5-9 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.....Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.....Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,.....And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they are appointed.....But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Yes, we are set apart for holy service in that every Christian is a priest to offer spiritual gifts unto God Almighty. However, this is not the case with far too many, for they sleep with the drunkenness of apathy, and the disbelief in his word.

Jn.17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

How can those be sanctified through the truth or word of God when they refuse to accept it? To ask the question is to answer it.

Eph.5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;.....That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,.....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."

The church is made up of many members and the Lord sanctified it by the washing of water by the word. The Lord expects his bride to be spotless and free from spiritual adultery.

1Cor.6:9-11 "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,.....Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.....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."

Heb.10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

1Pet.3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

Not only does the Lord sanctify us, but we are to sanctify or set God apart in our lives and be ready to give an answer to all who asks why we believe the way we do.

Baptism = A Death, Burial, and Resurrection:

1Cor.15:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;.....By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.....For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;.....And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

The apostle Paul gives us several things of great importance in theses verses: he preached unto them the gospel; they received the gospel; they stood in the gospel; they were saved by the gospel. Next, he points out that Christ died for our sins; he was buried; and that he arose the third day. In other words, the gospel is the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ.

11Thess.2:14 "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The new testament tells us in many places that we are called, but this is the only verse in the bible that specifically tells us how and that being through the gospel of Christ. In years gone by, and years to come, men have said that God called them in some mysterious way, but it is only through the gospel, that is, the new testament, are we called.

Rom.10:16 "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord who hath believed our report?"

Those who believe and obey God have always been in the minority regardless of what law was in effect. It will continue to be that way until the end of time, because men refuse to hear the message from God.

Rom.6:17-18 "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.....Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."

That form of doctrine that they obeyed was the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, which made them free from sin.

Rom.6:1-11 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?....God forbid. how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?....Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?....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.....For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:.....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.....For he that is dead is freed from sin.....Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:....Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.....For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.....Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

This summary of the verses tell the exact story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, how that baptism brings us into the same as with Christ, experiencing the same, but without the endurance of the cross. We shall see in the next verses how the death on the cross relates to our salvation in baptism.

The key verse in this reading is verse four, where it says, "We are buried with him by baptism into death." So baptism is the act by which we are buried with Christ into death, thereby destroying the body of sin.

Matt.20:20-23 "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.....And he said unto her, what wilt thou? She said unto him, grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.....But Jesus answered and said, ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, we are able.....And he said unto them, ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."

This baptism is defined as Christ being overwhelmed or submerged into deep suffering, pain and the bitter cup of agony. It is impossible to live with him in glory without our going with him to the cross (that is dying to sin), being buried with him (planted in the water grave) and raised from the grave as he was (that is, from the water grave) and as he arose to heaven to live with his Father (we also live here with the Father and finally with him in heaven.)

11Cor.5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

That is, the spiritual man being born making us a new creature in Christ.

Col.2:11-13 "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......And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

Again, we see the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in baptism. The circumcision of Christ is the circumcision or the cleansing of the heart instead of the flesh of our physical bodies. However, the sins of the flesh are forgiven. Furthermore, it is an operation of God performed by the Holy Spirit, just as God formed Adam.

Eph.2:5-6 "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).....And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

Gal.2:20-21 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.....I do not frustrate the grace of God: if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

11Thess.1:7-9 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,.....In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:....Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

Make no mistake about it, those who know not God, who do not obey the gospel of Christ, will be destroyed with everlasting fire. We have the responsibilty to know what God expects of us.

The Question is Why?

Satan began his deception with Eve and he hasn't looked back, preying on the weakness of men, women and children.

In brief, the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; the gospel must be obeyed; that obedience is baptism into the death of Christ; and failure to do so is everlasting destruction.

Baptism = A Birth:

Births, birthdays, and marriages are the most celebrated of all events and we look forward to each time of the year to observe them. Unlike the natural birth and marriage, the same in the kingdom of God differ somewhat, but on the other hand, they serve in the same capacities. Whereas, after the natural birth, many years go by before marriage, but the spiritual birth and marriage happen at the same time. The spiritual marriage we are referring to is the marriage to Christ, Rom.7:1-4.

Ps.104:29-30 "Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.....Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth."

Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."

Beyond any shadow of doubt, we see that the Holy Spirit of God creates all babies upon the earth. The saying is true that "our baby is a gift from God." We shall also see in this study of "baptism = a birth," that the Holy Spirit of God creates all spiritual babies in Christ Jesus and God joins together as one, Christ and the newly formed creature as the bride of Christ. However, we are individually and collectively the bride of Christ, known as the church of Christ.

Job 14:1-5 "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.....He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.....And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgement with thee?.....Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one........Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, that thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;"

O, but if this were not true. However, there is no reason for the man who is born of God to be full of trouble, because God has provided through Christ an entrance of long lasting peace, comfort and hope. That is not to say that we will not experience the unpleasant things of life, but our understanding of his word and faith in God will show us the right paths to follow as we near our appointed bounds.

Jn.3:1-8 "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:....The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.....Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.....Nicodemus saith unto him, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?....Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.....That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.....Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again......The wind bloweth where it listed, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell which it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

There is no doubt that Jesus had reference to water baptism as the new birth. The introduction of baptism in water by John the Baptist and Christ, served to pave the way for the one baptism spoken of in Eph.4:5. As we have already learned that the Spirit of God creates all babies upon the earth, now the Spirit of God creates all spiritual babies born into the kingdom of God. Quite obviously, the Lord attached some requirements before a man can enter the kingdom of God and that is being baptized in water. This new man in Christ is as the wind that blows, you can hear it, but you can't see it.

The baptism of the children of Israel in the Red Sea, John the Baptist and of Christ, did not constitute a new birth, but a death, burial and resurrection. The children of Israel became dead to the bondage in Egypt through the burial in the Red Sea and were resurrected to become a new and mighty nation. The Jews who were baptized by John and Christ were supposed to have repented, and leaving behind an attitude of rebellion, then being resurrected to serve God more perfectly. Baptism was not offered to the Gentiles under the law of Moses, nor could the Jews be married to Christ, since they were still married to God under the law of Moses, Rom.7:4.

Eph.2:12 "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commomwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

1Jn.5:4-8 "For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.....Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?....This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.....For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.....And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."

Christ came into the world by blood and water, that is, being born of a woman and taking on flesh and blood, Gal.4:4. Furthermore, Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit bearing witness that he was the Son of God. As we say, it is matter of record; when the record is by God, Christ and the Holy Ghost, it cannot be changed or modified. As Christ came by water and blood, also at his departure he left water and blood at the cross. Before there can be a birth, there must be a spirit, water and blood; as Job pointed out that he had his spirit before he was born, Job 3:11, 10:18-19. The conclusion is that those born of God must be born of Spirit, water and blood; the Holy Spirit being the spirit and the blood and water of Christ making up the rest. As we shall see later in this discussion that it is by the Holy Spirit of God that all of this takes place.

Rom.8:11 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

What is Involved in a Birth?

A Father:

Gal.3:26-27 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.....For as many of you as has been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

Rom.4:16-17 "Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,.....(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."

God is our heavenly Father, and we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham, who being of the faith and the seed of Abraham, making him the father of us all.

A Mother:

Gal.4:21-31 "Tell me, that ye desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?.....For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman.....But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise.....Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.....For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.....But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.....For it is written, rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.....Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.....But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.....Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.....So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free."

In short, Isaac represented the new law being the son of the free woman and Ishmael represented the old law being the son of the bondwoman. The mother of the old law was Mount Sinai and answered to Jerusalem and mother of the new law is the heavenly Jerusalem which is free. So heaven is our mother since God is in heaven and the seed comes from heaven.

The Seed:

Luke 8:11..sqq "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God."

1Pet.1:22-23 "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:....Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."

In the parable of our Lord of the sower and the seed and Peter's address to the Jews scattered, the seed is the word of God sown in the hearts of men. There is no other seed but the uncorrupted word of God that can make a new life in Christ. However, the corrupted seed of God, that is, the Devil perverting it, makes children unto himself and believe me he has plenty of them.

The Begetting:

Like the natural process of reproduction the seed or the word of God does not always find its way to fertility. More times than not, it is sown into the heart and rejected as the parable indicates, but that does not mean that at some point in time that it will not become fruitful.

Matt.1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

It was by the Holy Ghost that the Lord was conceived and so it is by the Holy Ghost that we are conceived by the word of God.

1Cor.4:15 "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."

When the gospel is preached, that is, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ which is the word of God; at the acceptance of the seed into the heart the begetting has taken place. Faith in God, repentance of sins, confession of Christ to the world that he is the Son of God and baptism for the remission of sins will almost complete the birth process.

The Spirit Given:

As a matter of background of the spirit of man, we must review a few verses before we continue.

Zech.12:1 "The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him."

Job 3:11; 10:18-19 "Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?.....Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!.....I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave."

Make no mistake about it, God forms the spirit within us before we are born.

1Jn.4:13 "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

 Rom.8:11, 16 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.....The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

Many members of the church of Christ do not believe that we have the Spirit of God, but only the Spirit through the word. There is a big difference in the Spirit of God and the word of God that the Spirit has given. Actually we have both and are led by the Spirit through the word and only by the word that the Spirit has given. Therefore, we cannot make the claim as many do that the Spirit told us to or not to do anything.

The Delivery:

A birth cannot happen unless there is the delivery, therefore, the delivery of the new creature in Christ is very much like the delivery in the natural birth.

Rom.6:4 "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."

Col.1:13; 2:12 "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:.....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."

As it is in the natural birth the water breaks first; when the new creature in Christ breaks the water, he is born into the family of God. God has delivered us from darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. As the scripture says, this is an operation which God performs as he does in the natural birth.

After the Birth:

1Pet.2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

1Cor.3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ."

11Cor.5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Rev.21:9 "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife."

Rom.7:4 "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

Eph.5:29-30 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:.....For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."

1Jn.3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

The main points of the verses are:

The seed (word of God) remains in us that we do not practice (Greek New Testament) sin. Verses 4-10 of 1Jn.3, have been grossly been misunderstood by the church in years gone by. The Greek New Testament uses the words practice or practices instead of commit or doeth, showing that we no longer live in and practice sin, but rather live in and practice righteousness. However, we do sin, otherwise, we would be perfect and have no need of the blood of Christ.

Baptism = Salvation:

In this segment of the study, we shall see that obedience is mandatory before salvation. It is ludicrous to think that we do not have to obey God when he demands our obedience.

Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.....He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Belief + Baptism = Salvation:

Unbelief - Baptism = Damnation:

Acts 2:37-38 "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?.....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."

Repentance + baptism + in the name of Jesus Christ = the remission of sins + receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 16:30-33 "And brought them out, and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved?.....And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.....And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in the house.....And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."

Salvation = believing on the Lord Jesus Christ + hearing the word of the Lord + being baptized.

Acts 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

Heb.10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

1Pet.3:20-21 "Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.....The 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:"

Heb.5:8-9 "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;.....And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Christ learned obedience by the things which he suffered and there is absolutely no way that we can escape obedience, seeing that we are not better than he.

Baptism = Circumcision of the Heart:

Circumcision was first introduced to Abraham, Gen.17:11 and was extended through his seed Isaac to the end of the law of Moses. We all know the circumcision made with men's hands is for the cleansing of the flesh. When the law of Jesus Christ invalidated the law of Moses, his testament rose to higher dimensions in that it is spiritual and the requirement of circumcison has been changed from the flesh made by men to the circumcison of the heart made by Christ. That is, from the cleansing of the flesh to the cleansing ot the heart. Contrary to the belief of some, a perfect clean body is not requisite to salvation in Christ.

After the church of Jesus Christ was established in A.D.33, only Jews were allowed to enter his kingdom/church, however, later on Cornelius and his household were the first Gentiles as promised by God to obtain salvation in Christ in his church, Acts the tenth chapter. Because of the law of Moses being in effect for 1500 years that required circumcision, many of the Jews who became members of the Lord's body, still wanted fleshly circumcision as a part of the commandments of Christ. The apostle Paul had this to say:

Gal 5:2-6 "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing...... For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law......Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace......For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith...... For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

In no uncertain terms Paul makes it very clear that circumcison of the flesh to abide by the law of Moses is disastrous to the Christian, because the law of Moses (apples) cannot be mixed with the law of Christ (oranges). However, he did make his point very clear that circumcision made with men's hands without any spiritual ramifications is not harmful to the Christian.

Circumcision = cleansing of the heart:

Col 2:11-14 "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......And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;.....Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

There is no question as to how the circumcision of Christ is performed. It is being buried with our Lord in baptism where the operation of God takes place on the heart. According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, page 215, for the word "operation" in verse 12; "working, efficiency. In the N.T. only used of superhuman power, whether of God or the Devil." Therefore, this is a secret miracle performed by God unseen by man. Also, there is no doubt Jesus took the law of Moses out of our way and nailed it to his cross. When he died, it died.

Rom 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:.....But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

Jews and Gentiles alike who are circumcised in their hearts by the circumcision of Christ are Jews inwardly in the Holy Spirit and not as the Jews circumcised outwardly in the flesh according to the letter of the law of Moses. Our praise is not of men who glory in the performed act, but ours is of God who performed the operation himself.

Gal 6:16 "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Those of us who have been circumcised in heart by the circumcison of Christ are the chosen Israel of God.

Conclusion:

The popular belief is: "believe only in God for obedience is a work and we cannot work for our salvation, therefore, baptism is not necessary unto salvation." The scripture plainly tells us that we cannot earn our salvation because it is by the grace and the gift of God that we are saved. The problem is that obedience to the commands of God are confused with man earning salvation on his own merits. We are the servants (slaves) of Christ. The master/servant relationship with Christ is the same as the earthly; whereas, the earthly slave is owned by the master and he must do whatever the master commands. If the master is just, he will provide all things necessary for the servant to live. However, the servant earns nothing seeing that all things the master gives is only by his grace. So it is with our Master the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus our Lord is just and he does provide all things for us, but it is not because we have earned anything. It is only by the grace of God and the Son. The following two verses will clarify any doubts as to the master/servant relationship.

Luke 17:9-10 "Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not......So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."

Jn.6:28-29 "Then they said unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?.....Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."

Hearing the word of God, faith in God, repentance from dead works, confession of Christ before the world and baptism into Christ for the remission of sins, are the works and obedience that God demands.

The only time in the entire bible that the phrase "faith only" is used, is found in the book of James. Let's read it.

James 2:17-26 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.....Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.....Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble......But wilt thou know, o vain man, that faith without works is dead?.....Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar?.....Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?.....And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.....Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.....Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?.....For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Because the book of James is such a threat, some are saying, that it should not be in the bible. Those Jews were very interested in working the works of God and so must we work his works to be pleasing unto him.

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© 1996, 2001 by Wendell Tenison