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PART 18 - NEW TESTAMENT REVIEW

 

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

MATTHEW 3:13 “Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.”

Matthew 3:14 “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and you come to me?”

aaron—If we look carefully at these passages, we again see the two baptisms of the New Testament in plain view; (1) The visible water baptism unto repentance that John introduced. (2) The invisible baptism of Jesus that John desired, which we have defined as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Then the latter, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is accomplished only in the regeneration of the invisible elect as the initiatory rite into God’s royal priesthood. Which coincides nicely with the two circumcisions of the Old Testament: (1) The visible circumcision of the flesh—a command that Abraham and his offspring received from God; the visible initiatory rite for believers and their families into the visible institutional Covenant peoples of God. (2) The invisible circumcision of the heart: which is, according to New Testament revelation, the Circumcision of Christ. This circumcision of the heart is also accomplished in the regeneration process of the invisible elect as God's royal priesthood.

Matthew 3:16 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:”

 

Mark 1:4 “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

aaron—This shows the visible baptism of repentance and explains its precise purpose. It was and is for the remission of sins. The long held argument against the efficacy of water baptism is based on man's simple understanding /or lack thereof. It is true that from the perspective of performing the physical act of circumcision or baptism, there is absolutely no conveyed efficacy from the individual act itself. This is true simply because the entire efficacy of circumcision and baptism, because of the finished propitiatory work of Christ upon the cross, comes as a gift from God Himself as recompense for the simple act of obedience by His Covenant peoples. The depreciation of the efficacy of visible water baptism within today's Church is the consequence of the present revelation and their cognitive awareness of the invisible baptism. That is, the invisible standard for electing God's priesthood is the only standard that they are trying to apply to every individual Christian.

 

Mark 1:5 “And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”

aaron—There is no doubt that this passage is referring to adult baptism. It would appear that God brought great personal conviction upon the peoples of that era.

 

Mark 1:8 “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”

aaron—This is once again confirming the visible water baptism along side the invisible Spirit baptism. Now since Jesus Himself participated in the initiatory rites of visible water baptism, I am a bit puzzled how anyone would conclude that water baptism was not efficacious or even necessary, as some theologians within today’s Christian Church would have it.

 

JESUS’ BAPTISM

Mark 1:9 “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.”

 

Mark 16:16 “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.”

aaron—There is shown here, two basic requirements for anyone to become a part of God’s people: (1) Water baptism: which is the equivalent to physical circumcision in the Old Testament. (2) Belief. Some would say that belief must precede baptism, implying that only adults are to be baptized. But that would totally contradict the Old Testament examples that God has given for performing the visible initiatory rite of infant circumcision.

 

Luke 3:3 “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”

aaron—Notice again the real benefit of the visible water baptism of repentance: It is for the remission of sins. Now this “remission of sins” is a Covenant benefit that is given for their obedience to God's command concerning the circumcision /or baptism of their infant offspring. Then the Covenant benefit can be seen as God’s free and unmerited grace that is effectively given because of Christ's finished propitiatory work upon the cross.

 

Luke 3:7 “Then he said to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

aaron—This passage reflects the eternal benefits of this visible water baptism. That is, through their participation in this visible initiatory rite they could escape from the pending wrath that was to come.

 

Luke 3:12 “Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?”

Luke 3:16 “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”

aaron—Both the visible and the invisible baptisms are again evident in these last passages.

 

Luke 7:29 “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.”

aaron—It is only logical that one would not be baptized unless one believed. So I would judge that these folk met the basic requirements to be saved—they believed and they were baptized.

 

Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”

aaron—This "counsel of God against themselves" could be referring to the great conviction that God brought on the peoples of that era. Which is the same conviction that these blind guides of Israel openly rejected for themselves.

 

John 1:33 “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizes with the Holy Ghost.”

aaron—The visible and the invisible baptisms are again brought before us.

 

Acts 1:5 “For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

aaron—This passage is pointing toward the invisible baptism of the Holy Ghost that was visibly manifested on the Day of Pentecost.

 

Acts 2:38, 39 “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 you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

aaron—This is an extremely important passage for understanding God’s covenant relationship with the family and the efficacy of Water Baptism. That the covenant promises not only apply to the individual who has been baptized for the remission of their sins and made to be a part of God’s peoples, but by their obedience, these same promises are extended through them to their children and grandchildren... This is exactly the same family relationship that God established through visible circumcision in the Old Testament economy. The only thing required there in Gen.17:1—27; Ex.12:48 for corporately belonging to God’s peoples,  was their obedience concerning Circumcision and then the Passover celebration!

Peter also said that they were to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as an integral part of this act of obedience. We must now ask this important question: Is this promise the same as being baptized in the Holy Ghost? The real question is this—is receiving this "gift of the Holy Ghost" and being "baptized with the Holy Ghost" the same thing? I am somewhat Scripturally uncertain at present, but I think NOT! We should be able to develop this thought more as we progress in this manuscript.

 

Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

aaron—Many passages refer to this apparent baptizing as applying strictly to adults, but this must not be seen as a doctrinal standard for water baptism. To come to the Credo-baptism conclusion would simply perpetuate the doctrine of New Covenant Theology.

 

Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”

aaron—Simon is an example of an individual who believed, was baptized with the visible water baptism of repentance unto the remission of his sins, and he apparently failed to completely repent of all of his evil deeds. As this noted failure got him into a great deal of trouble. It was his past that he held on to. He made a great deal of money with his sorcery in the past, and with the miracle working Holy Spirit, he thought that he could continue to do the same in the future. His grievous error was trying to purchase the power of God’s Holy Spirit (Acts.8:13—24), and his forgiveness for this grievous error is only in the hands of God.

 

Acts 8:14—17 “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”

aaron—These passages describe a very interesting situation concerning the visible baptism and I assume the invisible baptism. It came to the attention of the Church at Jerusalem that some of the Samaritans had received the word of God. They do not tell us the exact sort of evidence that brought them to this conclusion concerning these Samaritans, only that they had received the word of God. Could it have been the simple fact that they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus? We might venture a guess here, by saying that they were excited about God. This excitement existed, because each of them had come to know God in a personal way. Yet according to this passage, none of them had received (Again my assumption—been baptized by) the Holy Ghost. Does this mean that a person, when they are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; Baptized with the visible water baptism of repentance for the remission of their sins, and without being baptized with the Holy Spirit, obtain a knowledgeable relationship with God and Christ? We have a mistaken tendency to combine all of these attributes together: That is, the visible and the invisible, thus, loosing our ability to distinguish between the two.

 

Acts 9:17—18 “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

aaron—Here again we have an example of the visible baptism and the invisible baptism. This relates to the baptism of the apostle Paul after his life changing experience on the road to Damascus. After being brought to the house of Judas in Damascus, God sent his servant Ananias to assist Paul in this transition. The first task was to restore Paul’s sight and to fill him with the Holy Ghost: the invisible baptism of the Holy Spirit. The laying on of the hands was the normal procedure for miraculous healings and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts.8:17). Then after all of this had been accomplished, it would appear that Paul was baptized with the visible water baptism of repentance unto the remission of his sins.

 

Acts 10:37 “That word, I say, you know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;”

 

Acts 10:47 “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

aaron—This passage is an example of the evident manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which may have been received before the individuals had been baptized with the visible water baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they prayed that he would tarry certain days.”

 

Acts 11:16 “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

aaron—The active Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, was the promise that was to become fully effective following the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ and the coming of the Day of Pentecost. Now before this specific point in time, what was the active power that sustained those who heard the word of God?

 

Acts 13:24 “When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.”

 

Acts 16:15 “And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

 

Acts 16:33 “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

 

Acts 18:8 “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

 

Acts 18:24—26 “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the Way of God more perfectly.”

aaron—This passage is a good example of the power that believers possess while having only John’s baptism. That is, though they had only received the visible baptism of repentance unto the remission of their sins, yet they were still empowered by a fervent spirit to boldly proclaim the things of the Lord. This is an extremely important situation for us to remember: It would appear that there can be an evident power working within the believers spirit without being "filled with the Holy Spirit".

 

Gal 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

aaron—According to this passage, to be baptized into Christ is to put on Christ—Some have termed this as Common Grace. This could represent the invisible benefits of the visible act of water baptism.  

 

Acts 19:1—5 “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were you baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then Paul said, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

aaron—It would appear that when these folk received a proper explanation of their situation, the baptism of Christ became efficacious in each of their lives. Though the thought of re—baptism here is highly unlikely.

 

Acts 19:6 “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.”

aaron—The thought that strikes my mind, is that it would appear that the apostle Paul was a Pentecostal. Though most of us, when we think of the gift of speaking in tongues, think first of the Church at Corinth. But this passage from Acts.19: clearly tells us that some Christians in Ephesus also had this supernatural gift of tongues.

 

Acts 22:16 “And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

aaron—As Paul rehearses his own conversion on the road to Damascus, he uses a little more detail when explaining his visible water baptism of repentance unto the remission of his sins. Here he says that his sins were being washed away by this visible baptism.

Amen.

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