The Meaning Of Baptism
©2016 Dr. Irene Bonney Faulkes DD


“This book is intended to show what the Bible actually teaches.

We must follow the Bible and its true meaning.  We dare not follow our own ways and ideas.

The subject of baptism has produced many different ideas.  The manner of baptism is carried out in different ways.  The meaning of baptism often is lost in the traditions, theology and sometimes ignorance of those who teach it.”

CHAPTER 1

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES

Water can never cleanse us from our sins or our sinful nature.  We read about water baptism particularly in the book of Acts.  Water baptism in the Scriptural sense is baptism by immersion.  It is for believers in Jesus Christ.  Some churches christen or sprinkle and call it baptism.  A baby is not able to repent or believe, as commanded in Acts 2:38.  Therefore according to the Bible it is not right to “baptise” infants.  As it is for believers only, it has nothing to do with bringing salvation.  It does not effect the born again experience and neither does it place us in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Note Acts 16:31 where Paul said to the jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household”.  It was that belief of mind and will that brought salvation and not water baptism.  In fact, Paul said, “Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel”, as in 1 Corinthians 1:17.  We may well ask, “Why was it that Paul did not baptise?”

The older denominational churches do not generally practise baptism by immersion.  Rev. Gordon Moyes, of the Wesley Mission (Uniting Church/Church of South India), Sydney, Australia, has produced a booklet showing that the Early churches for the first few centuries practised baptism by immersion.  His church as we know, does not baptise by immersion, despite the fact that some Methodist Ministers will baptise a member in a river or in the baptismal tank in a church that follows baptism by immersion.  Rev. Moyes has shown that historically, all believers were baptised by immersion.  During the dark Middle Ages of the church’s (or Christendom’s) ongoing existence in ignorance, most of the evangelical and Bible truths were lost and were not followed.

A copy exists of one of the oldest books on the history of the early church in Europe after the Apostles.  It shows that christening was introduced in the case of sick persons who believed on Jesus Christ on their death beds and were unable to get up to be immersed in water.  At that time there was a large spread of the gospel right throughout Asia as well as Europe.

Water baptism by immersion is a symbolic experience and a proclamation of something spiritual that has already happened in the life of the person.  Although baptism is a spiritual and inward experience of obedience and witness, the spiritual experience of the new birth has already occurred.  It is a type of something spiritual that has already happened.  That took place when the person placed complete faith in Christ.  He became spiritually a part of the baptism of Jesus Christ on the Cross into death and then resurrection, Galatians 2:20.

Water baptism is not part of salvation.  A person can go to heaven without baptism by either sprinkling or immersion.  The bible meaning of baptism is never by sprinkling.  Baptism by immersion has importance to someone who has known the Lord Jesus for a long time and who may even be baptised in the Holy Spirit, speaking in other tongues.  This importance lies for them, only in the matter of obedience.

Jesus submitted Himself to John’s baptism, in order to “fulfil all righteousness”.  This was still under the Law and the Old Covenant.  We do not follow the example of Jesus and submit to John’s baptism.  The baptism we are required to have performed is different.  John’s baptism was a baptism “to repentance”.  Our baptism takes place after our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ with all that it means.  It is faith alone in Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection that has  given us salvation and redemption, Ephesians 1:7, “In Whom we have redemption through His blood”.  We are not saved by any kind of water baptism.  That would be works and we are saved by grace through faith, and not of works. We have already “been resurrected with Christ”.  We cannot compare John’s baptism to Christian baptism in its meaning.  We can follow the example of Jesus only as obedience.

Peter tells us that our baptism is “the answer of a good conscience towards God”, 1 Peter 3:25.  A good translation of the Bible says, “It means the ability to face God with a clear conscience”.  Hebrews 9:14 tells us that our “consciences” were made clean when we believed on Christ.  At that time we were saved and “purified” by His Blood.

We get baptised because we have already repented.  We have already believed.  We have been placed with Jesus Christ as He hung upon on the Cross.  He arose from the dead.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.  Baptism by immersion was done in the book of Acts on new converts.  It was done immediately.  The position of a believer who has been born again for some time is different, as it is a matter of obedience that person should be baptised by immersion when he hears the truth of it.  This is to fulfil the command of Jesus, “Baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.  The believer’s whole life is to be one of obedience.  For that person, water baptism is merely one act, once, in the whole life.  There will be many other more important commands from the Scriptures for the believer to obey.  For that believer, even if he has been a believer for a long time, it also is a public declaration that he or she knows he is crucified with Christ and has risen with Him.

For the new convert and the heathen, water baptism will have a far more important meaning than for someone who has been a believer for some time.  It shows obedience.  It is a public declaration of his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.  It will indicate to the rest of the world, to the unbelievers and to the heathen, that the person has made a break with his past life.  He or she is now a believer in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is now Lord of the life.  No longer will that new convert follow sin, the world or Satan who is the god of this world.  He is also the god of all the heathen and acts through his demons.

According to the Bible, the new believer in Jesus should be baptised by immersion in water as soon as possible after his or her belief in Jesus and confession by mouth of Jesus as Lord.  The immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit with a whole new supernatural language of the Spirit should also be ministered.  A believer is a believer, even when he is not baptised in water.  Any person can be baptised by immersion, one minute, one hour, one day or even years after he believed in Jesus and was born again.

Water baptism is material.  A person on earth performs it.  At that time, the minister does not impart anything.  The new birth is different.  It is a spiritual experience with the person’s spirit.  The waters of the Word and of the Spirit of Christ do a miracle within him.

If a person has not been baptised in the Spirit before he takes water baptism, an ideal time for him to receive is as he comes up out of the water.  In my own personal ministry, I will get the believer baptised in the Spirit on conversion.  This obviously is before he has water baptism.  There have been occasions when I have baptised the born again one later in water after his baptism in the Spirit.

In the great commission to the church, Jesus commanded baptism for those who believe.  The value of it is in that it is done in obedience to the Word of God, because the person has already believed in Jesus Christ.  It witnesses to the fact that his conscience has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Water baptism comes after the salvation experience.  Orthodox churches and other churches, some Protestant and Pentecostal, believe salvation is given at the time of baptism.  They believe baptism places the person (or baby) in the Church, whether by sprinkling or immersion.  That is sacramentalism.  The Bible and the Gospel are not sacramental in relation to salvation.  The message of the book of Acts is about individual people who received individual salvation.  The importance is always on that and not on water baptism.  That was added.  It was never sacramentalism.  Salvation was and still is an experience that happens outside of the rite of baptism.

Baptism comes from the Greek word, “baptizo”, which means to “plunge, dip or immerse”. It is taken from the actions of dipping a cloth in a bucket of dye.  John the Baptist performed baptisms in the River Jordan.  Jesus Himself submitted to being placed underneath the water.  We therefore know that to be baptised will mean we must be immersed or plunged into a body of water.

Peter preached as in Acts 2:37,38 “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins”.  Wuest, a converted Jew and a Greek scholar translates it –

“Have a change of mind, that change of mind being accompanied by abhorrence of and sorrow for your deed (of crucifying Christ), and let each one of you be baptized upon the ground of your confession of belief in the sum total of all that Jesus Christ is in His glorious Person, this baptismal testimony being in relation to the fact that your sins have been put away, and you shall receive the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise and to your children and to all who are at a distance,  as many as the Lord our God shall with a divine summons call to Himself”.

The need for water baptism, meaning by immersion, is found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.  This passage speaks of the experience of the fathers of Israel who “were under the cloud and all passed through the sea; And were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”, verses 1,2.  Another translation reads, “God made them safe and guided them by sending a cloud ahead of them”, referring to the cloud by day that went before the Children of Israel as they marched.  In passing through the Red Sea, other translations read – “And were all immersed unto Moses” or “All, as it were, accepted baptism as followers of Moses” and “All underwent baptism as followers of Moses”.

This occurred when God performed the miracle of piling up the waters of the Red Sea so that they went through safe from Pharaoh and his army.  Perhaps water splashed on to them, typifying water baptism.   The cloud of the Presence of God was with them under the old covenant.  That typified the baptism in the Holy Spirit that God gave under the new covenant.

The whole of chapter 10 is then made relative to the Gospel believer.  There is meaning in these verses about baptism.  We are to be immersed in baptism as followers, not of Moses but of Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 3:5,6 make it clear that Moses was only a servant in God’s house, whereas “Christ was faithful as a Son in charge of His own household”.  Therefore, baptism unto Moses cannot begin to compare to baptism unto Christ.  It is a type only of Christian baptism.

The Children of Israel were baptised unto Moses by the waters of the Red Sea.  This was not a literal baptism into his person.  When we are baptised in the waters unto Jesus Christ it does not mean a literal baptism into His person.  It is typical only, of something that has already happened in a spiritual way that we experience.  Nevertheless, the act of baptism does touch the person’s inner being and is indeed a spiritual experience.  However it only happens once in the life of the believer as said previously.  The spiritual experience of having died with Christ and having been raised with Him, happened at conversion.  That spiritual experience is continuous, according to what Paul said Galatians 2:15, “I see myself (continually) hanging with Christ on the Cross” and also in Romans 6; Ephesians 2:6.

However, the believer’s baptism is centered on the meaning of the Cross of Christ.  It is “believer’s” baptism.  This means the person has already believed.

CHAPTER 2

GENERAL MATTERS

Baptism in water is an immersion.   Baptism means “immersion”  It comes from the Greek word, “Bapto”, to “dip, plunge or immerse, as cloth is immersed in a vat of dye”.  Sprinkling is not baptism.

Also, it is the believer who is to be baptised.  A baby is not able to believe.   It is an act of obedience.  Peter said in Acts 2:38,39 –

“Repent and be baptized every one of you

         in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins

                and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,

                               for the promise

                   is for you, for your children, and for

                            all who are afar off

         everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him”.

It is also a public confession of faith, which is where its importance lies.  Matthew 10:32, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven.”

A believer is to be baptized because he now has a good conscience.  It is done because the person knows he is right with God and has been born again and washed in the blood of Jesus.  He has experienced the experimental meaning of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The believer becomes publicly, part of the fellowship of believers.

The purpose is not to make him a member of any earthly church according to its name.  It is in respect to the believer’s connection with the believers as a whole, without any relevance to which church they may wish to attend..

The question one asks a new believer wanting to be baptised is, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, that he is Lord?”  On the confession of his faith he is baptized and the removal of gold and ornaments has no part in this.

In Acts 8:38,39 there was one requirement that Philip asked of the Ethiopian before he baptised him.  He questioned him as to whether he believed with all his heart.  That remains the sole requirement of a candidate for water baptism.  He must believe on Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour with all his heart.  Thus he must already have the born again experience.  This means he is already born of the Word, 1 Peter 1:23 and of the Spirit.  Being born of the Spirit has nothing to do with speaking in tongues.  It means he is “born from above” by the supernatural action of the Spirit of Christ coming into his heart, Romans 8:9, John 6:47,63,64; 1 John 3:23.  Notice that it is God’s Spirit who gives life and not any so-called baptism whether by sprinkling or by immersion.

After believing in Jesus he should be baptised in water.  There is nothing in the Scriptures where new converts who wish to be baptised in water or baptised in the Holy Spirit, Acts 10:44,47, are to be told to remove their gold jewellery, or to perform any other action.

This means that our salvation is totally by grace through faith.  We cannot add works, or the legal actions of removing gold or ornaments.  It is going back to the “rites” of pagan and non-Christ religions.  To add works to grace changes the gospel.  It then becomes another gospel, Galatians 1:8 –

See Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

And Galatians 3:2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?

Regarding rites, one purpose is to unite society.  The purpose of the gospel has nothing to do with worldly society.  It also changes the Christian gospel that is grounded on a Word-based personal relationship with Christ.  Christianity is not based on rites.

A rite in Christianity becomes “sacramentalism”.  It makes salvation to be through the “sacraments” of the so-called Christian Church, whether it is by baptism, confirmation or the Mass or Eucharist.  The Mass was introduced as a continuation of the Pagan Roman “sacrifice” that was eaten.  This was required to be done by all citizens or else they would be put to death.  Gradually the Mass crept in to the church.

Salvation does not come through water baptism.  The sacerdotal system, or authority of the system having priests, says salvation comes through baptism into the church.  This becomes that church’s way of salvation for a person.  In such church salvation rests on the priest giving salvation through the sacraments instead of the person willingly “receiving” salvation for himself from Christ alone.

The teaching that says a person is born again through water baptism means that those teachers, even Pentecostal teachers, have not left completely, the age-old teaching of paganism or of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches.  The New Testament does not teach baptismal regeneration.

CHAPTER 3

THE OLD MAN

Regarding the “old man” or the “carnal nature”, it is impossible that the “old man”, which is part of the inner man and not material, can be left behind in the waters of baptism as is taught in some circles.  It is impossible that on rising up out of the water, a person can “put on newness of life”.  That new man is a “spirit”-ual man and not material.  The material waters of baptism have no effect on either the “old man” or “newness of life”.

Romans 6:4 says, “We were buried therefore with him through “the immersion into His death”.  His death occurred on the Cross and that is where we were “immersed into His death” and not in the waters of baptism.  A translation reads, “Our baptism in his death (not water), made us share his burial”.

Romans 6:6 shows we are not buried with Him in the waters of baptism.  It reads, “And we know that our old being has been put to death with Christ on the Cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed”.

Romans 6:8 says, “Since we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him”.  Where did Christ die?  In the baptismal tank?  All would agree that such is not the case.  He died on the cross.  Therefore we also died with Him on the cross and not in the baptismal waters.

No one can ever “bury the old man in the waters of baptism”.  All would know that something invisible, as “the old man” could never be placed into something as visible as water is.  Some people would believe a person is sanctified at the time of water baptism.  This cannot be as there is no once-for-all action of sanctification, whereby the person is “sanctified” in experience for all time.  This is contrary to Scripture.

We “were sanctified” by Christ legally and before God.  “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” Hebrews 10:10; and “sanctified in Christ”, 1 Corinthians 1:2; and in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “whom (Christ) God made our sanctification”.  This had nothing to do with the waters of baptism.

If we consider the “burial of our old man in the waters of baptism” has to do with practical daily living, the waters of baptism could never have any effect on such a walk.  Instead, we are to “reckon ourselves dead unto sin” (it happened on the Cross), Romans 6:10 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ”.  Colossians 3:5 “Put to death that in you which is earthly” is a way of continual sanctification (holiness).

The power of a walk dead to the flesh or old man, is by the Spirit, Romans 8:9, “You are not in the flesh (old man) but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you” and Romans 8:10, “by the Spirit you put to death the lusts of the flesh”.

The baptism that was of real spiritual significance to us was not baptism in water but a spiritual baptism with Christ on the Cross, in his death.  Then we shared, spiritually, with Him in his burial in the tomb.  The grave or tomb, were not the waters of baptism but the actual grave or tomb in which the body of Jesus lay those centuries ago.

Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been put to death on the cross with Christ (not in the waters of baptism)or “With Christ I hang upon the cross and yet I am alive”.  The “I” that was crucified with Christ was “the old man”.  Then when Christ arose out of the tomb, we rose with Him in newness of life, His life that we have within us.  Christ is not crucified in any water of baptism.  Therefore we cannot be crucified with Christ in the baptismal waters.  It happened on the Cross.

It has nothing to do with a supposed “burial of the old man in the waters of baptism”.  That idea is the remainder of the centuries old Orthodox belief in baptismal regeneration (born again).  According to the Roman Catholic Church, the christening of a baby is most important.  Also other churches, Protestant and Orthodox, say regeneration happens in baptism, in christening.  This has no place in the person born again of the Spirit of God and who as a child of God is led by the Spirit.

It is clear from a Spirit-led thoughtfulness, comparing these scriptures with others, that many ideas in all manner of churches and denominations are incorrect.  These ideas fall far short of the glorious truths contained herein.

Let us look at the three verses in Galatians 2:19-21.  These verses show that to believe in Christ is “to die”.  It is the death of the carnal man, the old man, the sinful nature, the “I”.  This “death” gives rise to a different kind of living.  “To live for God” has the thought of life beyond death, not just a different kind of life in this world.  This is by a life that has experienced death in a legal sense and over which death has no more say, as in Romans 6:10,11.  In the above verses from Galatians, Paul said “and we died” to the Law and “were crucified with Christ”.  In Greek, the word for “crucified” is in the perfect tense, meaning “I have been nailed to the cross with Christ and am still hanging there with him”.  See also Galatians 3:1; 6:14; Romans 6:5.  If it were water baptism, we would have to be “in the water of baptism all the time, to be crucified all the time”.  Now, understanding this, see Romans 6:2-8; 7:6; Colossians 2:20; 3:3.  It is not water baptism that brings about this “dying” but believing in Christ.

It refers to the act of God introducing a believing sinner into vital union with Jesus Christ.  This is so that the believer might have the power of his sinful nature broken and the divine nature implanted through his identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  That alters the condition and relationship of that sinner regarding his previous state and environment.  It brings him into a new environment, the kingdom of God.  God legally places us in Christ when He died so that we might share His death.  We then come into the benefit of that identification with Him.  This is to be separated from the evil nature.  This is part of the salvation He gives us when we believe.  Our new environment is Christ.

This salvation gives us righteousness and life.  We are placed in Christ by God the Holy Spirit in order that we might share Christ’s resurrection and have divine life imparted to us.  This is in vital union with Christ, as in 1 Corinthians 6:17, that shows “But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him”.

We should read from Colossians 2:11-14

This shows there is no need of the ritual of circumcision, as taught by false teachers, in Galatians, Colossians and Timothy etc.  Paul showed them they had the spiritual substance of it in Christ.  In Him, believers are so filled by Him that they possess all that was symbolised by the rite  This has nothing to do with water baptism.

 The circumcision of the believer is not made with hands.  It is a spiritual thing.  It is a circumcision of the heart.  It is the real substance of the physical rite of circumcision or of water baptism.  The spiritual experience is the “putting off of the body of the flesh”.  Water baptism can never do this.

We understand our circumcision under the gospel as being something inward.  We learn this from –

Romans 2:28,29

          “For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly;

       nor is true circumcision something external and physical.

           Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly,

                     And real circumcision

                           is a matter of the heart –

                     it is spiritual and not literal.”

The circumcision given as a rite to Abraham symbolised this.  Through the Cross, the corrupt nature is put off.  It is ruined and is put off in Christ.  The believer thus died.  It is by the circumcision of Christ and not done by rites, water baptism or efforts of our own.  It is done in what Christ has provided and confirmed.  Man, not Christ performs water baptism.

Let us examine closely Colossians 2:11-14.

 Verse 11  “In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ.”  We were circumcised “in Him”.  It was a spiritual circumcision.  We put off the body of flesh.  Where? In the circumcision of Christ – not in the waters of baptism.

Verse 12 “When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”  “We were buried together with Him in the baptism”.  This means we were circumcised in Christ when we were buried IN the baptism.  What baptism?  Not of water.  The circumcision on us is spiritual and so the baptism must be spiritual.  Romans 6:4 shows us it is the baptism into death.

The meaning of “being baptized into anything” is to be “brought under it and saturated with its influence and power”.  It is a “Spirit-ual” happening.  This cannot be by baptism in water because water is a material element, not “Spirit-ual”.  We were circumcised in Christ by means of being under the power of His death so really and thoroughly that “Spirit-ually” we were buried with Him, lying in the grave, Romans 6:4 “Our baptism in His death made us share in His burial”.  Also, Galatians 2:19“For under the Law, I died”.

Was Christ in the waters of baptism when we had water baptism?  Of course not.  Yet we were buried “together with Him”.  His burial was not in our water baptismal tank.  It was at His death on the cross.  That was His baptism.  Matthew 20:22,23 “Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  We are able to be baptized with the baptism that He is baptized with, that is His death, when we believe on Him.  It is then we are crucified with Christ, Galatians 2:20.  The correct translation is “I am (continually) hanging on the Cross with Christ”.

“Cup” is a familiar image for great suffering and judgment, Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 49:12.  Mark 14:36 “Father…take away this cup from me; not what I will but what you will.”  (In the Garden of Gethsemane).  This is what the cup and His baptism were, suffering, judgment and death with burial in the tomb.

See Luke 12:50 “I have a baptism to be baptized with”.  Mark 10:38, “or endure the baptism of agony that I am to endure?”

 Verse 13 (Colossians 2)

“When you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses.”

 The fulfilment of the symbolism of circumcision in us is in our dying with Christ whereby the body of our flesh was put off.  We cannot “die daily” or “crucify our self” again.  It is an accomplished act, done by the Spirit of God when we believed in Christ.  It did not happen when we were baptized in water.  It had already happened.  In actuality it happened on the Cross.  In our experience it happened the moment we believed on Jesus Christ.  We were spiritual babies just born but it happened when we received Him as Saviour and Lord.  We must treat our “self” as dead and crucified.  We cannot pander to “self” (e.g. self esteem).

At the same time the believer was circumcised and put to death in Christ, he was also raised together with Him.  We now are to live in the power of the resurrection life of Christ.  Romans 5:17 “those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion (reign) in life through the one man, Jesus Christ”.

Verse 14 (Colossians 2)

“He set this aside nailing it to the Cross”.  It is obvious that the past three verses have nothing to do with water baptism.  The scene is the scene at the Cross and not in the waters of baptism.  Verse 11 clearly states “circumcision is spiritual”.

Water baptism as explained elsewhere is the symbol of all this actuality.

CHAPTER 4

ONE BAPTISM

Ephesians 4:4,5 speaks of there being “one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you” before mentioning the word “baptism.

The one body is the body of Christ.  All members of the body are connected to become one, by the Holy Spirit.  The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  He is in all who believe.  The one hope is the resurrection of the dead, as explained in Romans 6:5,8.  “By being raised to life as He was”.

These verses not only speak of the future resurrection of the dead, when our bodies shall be changed into immortal bodies but also of our present spiritual experience where we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, see Colossians 3:1-3.

  In 1 Peter 1:3,5 we are told of a “living hope” in connection with the “resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” and that we have a “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.   Colossians 1:5 mentions the “hope laid up for you in heaven”.

Going back to Ephesians 4:4,5, we must keep in mind “one body, one Spirit and one hope”.  Now we look at “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” and then in verse 6 “one God and Father of all”.  The “one Lord” is our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is everywhere by His Spirit, living within believers to whom He is Lord.  The “one faith” is the faith in Him and truth of the Gospel.  It is shared by all and its message is within all who believe.  Jesus’ words are “Spirit and they are life” received by the believer and living within him.  As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:10, “the truth of Christ is in me”.  “One body, one Spirit and one hope” are all external, spiritual and not material.

To follow the thought of Paul, “one baptism” cannot be external or material.  The “one baptism” can never be a baptism in water or even in the Holy Spirit, the latter being internal affecting the material body in speech.  Unfortunately, because of centuries of tradition from the Orthodox Churches and denominations formed after the Reformation, many follow this thinking.  They cannot see “one baptism” any further than water baptism.

“One body, one spirit and one body” have something that is shared inwardly by all.  The same applies to “one faith”.  If we think “one baptism” is about water baptism we miss the continuity of Paul’s thought.  One reason we can prove this is that water baptism does not have content that is shared by all.  The water of baptism is in many places on the earth.  It can be in a single tank, a single river or in a single lagoon that is used only by a small number of believers.

The “baptism” spoken of is explained in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body”.  This is the other reason we can say that “one baptism” referred to in Ephesians is explained by 1 Corinthians 12:13.  Our baptism into the body of Christ was effected “in the Spirit” and not in the water of any baptism.  It was after salvation experience.

This concurs with my belief that believers also must experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit to be in the body of Christ, as that verse goes on to add, “and we were all made to drink of one Spirit”.  That this speaks of the baptism in the Spirit is made clear from John 7:38,39 where the outpouring of the Spirit is spoken of as “Let him come unto Me and drink”, said Jesus.

That verse 13 follows on from the discourse about the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as to what each is and regarding the fact that it is the various members of the body through whom they are manifested or operative.  Obviously Paul is saying that those “baptized into one body” and who were “all made to drink of one Spirit” consist of the body, Christ, Who is the Head, Ephesians 4:15.  Seemingly, he was unaware of a body of Christ or an assembly being in any condition other than he explained.

This “one baptism” is by the Spirit, without any connection with baptism on the cross, in water or baptism in the Holy Ghost.  Baptism in water is done by a person.  Baptism in the Holy Ghost is done by Jesus.

Then we have the fact that as well as being “one Lord” there is “one God and Father”.

Believers have one hope.  We find all about it in the following –

What is this hope?  It is –

Colossians 1:27 – “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. “

and Titus 12 “…in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…”

What kind of hope do we have?  It is found in –

Colossians 1:5  “…because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel…”

We need to understand about this hope –

Ephesians 1:18 “…so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,… “

1 Peter 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,… “

 1 Peter 3:15  but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;… “

It is a purifying hope, as seen in 1 John 3:3 – “And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. “

We have to hold it within us, see Hebrews 3:6,

“Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.”

We are waiting for “the hope”, as Paul writes in –  Titus 2:13 “…training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly,…”

All these verses are self-explanatory.  All the faithful in Christ  have a wonderful hope of glory, of eternal life and of the coming of Christ for His own.

CHAPTER 5

REGARDING FORMULA FOR BAPTISM

The words of Matthew 28:19 were not originally meant by the Lord as a baptismal formula.  He was not giving instructions about the actual words to be used in the service of baptism.  He meant that the person being baptised would show in a public way he was owned by the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Matthew, when he wrote what Jesus said, did not intend it as a formula to be spoken as a Trinitarian phrase at the time of baptism.  Instead, “In the name” of means” with fundamental reference to.  It distinguishes Christian baptism, demanding allegiance to the triune God from John’s baptism, that required only repentance.

According to Vine’s dictionary, “Name” means, “in the authority of”.  As Matthew wrote to Jews whose conception of God was One, with no Son, he included Jesus’ words showing baptism was to be in the “authority of” the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  All three were Three Persons in the One God (Trinity in Unity).

Matthew wrote his gospel for the Jew.  He emphasised the Trinitarian God, without using the word “Trinity”.

See Matthew 3:1,2,15-17  – In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. “, 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness. ” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. “

12:28 – (Jesus was speaking to the nation of Israel) – “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you”.

 22:13 – Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Jews knew there was One God but they were blind to the fact that the Holy Spirit Who was also (and is) God in the Old Testament is a distinct Person.

In Matthew 28:18 the word “name” is used, as written;  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

“Name” is singular and not plural.  It can never apply to a plurality of names, one for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit.  It can be said to refer to the name “Jehovah”, the name in the Old Testament of God.  Isaiah 49:7 reads, “Thus says Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One”.  This shows the name “Jehovah” refers to Jehovah, the Father, who is the Redeemer and his Holy One, who is Jehovah the Son.

“The Lord of Hosts” or “Jehovah of Hosts” was used for the first time in 1 Samuel 1:3.  It appears 281 times in the Prophets and never in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible).  “Jehovah of Hosts” is a title for Christ, the Son, as evidenced by comparing Isaiah 6:1-3 that speak of the incarnation of Christ – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:

        “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

        the whole earth is full of his glory.”

and John 12:41 – “Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. “

as well as Isaiah 8:13,14 – “But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over — a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

 with 1 Peter 2:5-8 – like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:

        “See, I am laying in Zion a stone,

        a cornerstone chosen and precious;

        and whoever believes in him  will not be put to shame.”

7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

        “The stone that the builders rejected

        has become the very head of the corner,”

8and

        “A stone that makes them stumble,

        and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

Matthew was emphasizing to the nation of Israel in his gospel by using those particular words of Jesus, that the name “Jehovah” shows more than one Person, viz., the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  We repeat the verse, –Matthew 28:19 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. “

The eyes of Israel were not open to the truth that there was (and is) a Son of God in the Old Testament, as Proverbs 30:4 clearly declares, “What is His name and what is His Son’s name”.  The truth of the Angel of the Lord having to be the Son as He forgave sins, was closed to them, Exodus 23:20,21.  Therefore Matthew, a Jew, emphasised to all other Jews that the One God is Three Persons.  Hence the Trinitarian, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This belief in the Trinity did not originate in the Roman Catholic Church.  It existed in the Early Church and in the churches of the second and third centuries.

It was not until the second century, that the formula accompanying baptism has been recorded as Trinitarian.  Until that time there is no record.  However, in the book of the Acts, it was “in the Name of Jesus” etc. and that appears to have been a description of the meaning of the act or a reference to the confession accompanying the baptism and not a formula said at baptism.  Nowhere in Acts is it shown to be a formula.

It is not the formula that counts.  It is the act of water baptism itself and its meaning.  Whatever is said does not alter that.  The candidate, through the grace of God and His calling through the operation of the Spirit, has already repented of sin and placed his faith in Jesus the Messiah as Saviour and Lord, John 16:8-11 – And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

 John 3:3,5-8 – Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Both conviction of sin with repentance and faith in Christ are the work of the SpiritWater baptism follows as the public declaration of his faith in Jesus the Messiah, (Jesus Christ).  It concerns his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When a person is born again, of the water and of the Spirit, the experience with water and Spirit is at the one time, in the one split second and happens in the same second.  That alone shows when people are taught that water here is to do with baptism by immersion and Spirit is speaking in tongues, they are taught error.  Their baptism in water by immersion and their speaking in tongues occurs at different times and not at the one moment.  The above explanations should show clearly that water baptism by immersion has nothing to do with being born again.  People are born again always before they are baptised in water by immersion.

Philip baptised the eunuch of the Queen of Sheba, in Acts 8:25-29.

We quote it – Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.”

The eunuch believed first in his heart and then requested baptism by immersion.  It is unscriptural to say that a person is born again when he speaks in tongues!  Being a Pentecostal has nothing to do with being born again.  The Bible does not mention such a thing as “a Pentecostal”.  Many people are in heaven today, who were never baptised by immersion or spoke in tongues.  Look at the thief on the cross to whom Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise”.  He was near death, never baptised in water.

There is no clear evidence from the Scriptures as to whether leaders such as bishops, pastors or elders, were given the right to baptize.  In Acts 10:48, Peter “commanded them to be baptised”.  Apparently Peter’s six companions or some other Christians present performed the baptism.

It would appear the apostles did not baptise in water (see Paul in Corinth – Acts 19:5 – On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:14,17 – I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

CHAPTER 6

“BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT”

 “Born of water and of the Spirit”, John 3: is explained as follows:- In John 4:10 Jesus said, “I have given you living water”.  This living water has nothing to do with ordinary water.  It is of the Spirit of God.  It is a spiritual teaching by Jesus in a manner similar to His use of language that believers eat His flesh and drink His blood.

Water is a type of the Word in the new birth.  This is clear from Ephesians 5:26, that reads “having cleansed her by the washing of water of the Word”.  This is stated in Greek and in all English translations that says,  “by the washing of the water by the Word”.  It is not as in the Tamil or Malayalam Bibles, where it is wrongly translated, “water of baptism”.  We are born again by the Word, 1 Peter 1:23“born anew through the living and enduring word of God”.   In John 3:5, the Spirit is likened to “water”.

We should note that water is a symbol.  Water cleanses from filth.  In the Bible, this is the water of the Word.  The Spirit works regeneration through the water of the Word within and cleanses by the blood of Jesus. We read Psalm 51:2 – Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Zechariah 13:1 – On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

 John 15:3 – You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.

1 Peter 1:23 – You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Water does not wash away sins.  The Blood of Jesus washes away sins.  Water baptism is a type of what has already occurred in the person’s spirit, according to Romans 6:3-6

“All of us who have been baptised into Jesus Christ (not baptized in water) were baptised into His death?  We have been buried with Him by death.”

We have had a spiritual baptism into death, when we believed on Jesus as Lord.  Romans 6:3,4

“If we have been united with Him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be destroyed.”  When was the body of sin destroyed?

This is with Christ on the Cross and in the grave.

Water refreshes the thirsty and as applied by the Spirit, the “fainting” souls of sinners are refreshed.  Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”

In the new birth, there is created within us a longing that is like to the thirst of a deer panting after a long run.  John 3:6, “That born of the flesh is flesh”.  It has material element.  The baby has flesh, just as the mother has flesh.  That birth is not spiritual.  The new birth is spiritual and not touched by natural things.

“Water” in the Word often means “The Spirit”, as Jesus showed in John 4:24, when speaking of the living water of salvation.  Also this is shown in Isaiah 44:3,4; Revelation 22:17,1; Psalm 46:4.

It is further explained about the new birth in Titus 3:5, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”.  This verse has nothing to do with water baptism or baptism in the Spirit with speaking in tongues.  As well, it is spirit-ual only.  It is a washing in regeneration and a work of the Holy Spirit. 

We are born of the Spirit.  This also can be understood by the meaning of the type, “water”.  It has nothing to do with baptism by christening or by immersion.  John 3:6 says, “born of the Spirit”. It is Spirit that gives birth to spirit.  We are born “from above” in the new birth.  Water is not spirit.  Water is not from above.  Spirit works like water but in a spiritual sense, in working this change of regeneration.  As water cleanses the filthy, so the Spirit applies the blood of Christ for cleansing the polluted nature and renews it in true holiness.

It is “spirit”, as “what is born of the Spirit is spirit”, John 3:6.  This means when a person is born again there is a new spiritual being, (creature, nature, life).  Ephesians 2:1,5 shows He “Made us alive together with Christ.”  This was a secret, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits.

There is within the unbeliever a spirit that may be quickened and saved.  He is made alive in Christ when he believes.  He is born again as in 2 Corinthians 5:17, the believer is “a new creation” or “a new being” or “a new person altogether” or “in a new world” or “there is a new world”.  “His old life has passed away; a new life has begun”.

It is in the spiritual realm.  Nicodemus thought he would have to return to the  “womb and be born”; an impossibility.  Man, the same as Nicodemus did, tries to put spiritual truth into the carnal ways.  He tries to give spiritual truth a carnal understanding.  “The carnal mind is at enmity with God”, Romans 8:6-8 – To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law — indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul explains being born again in Titus 3:5 as  – he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

“By the washing of regeneration” (or “laver of regeneration” or “through means of the bathing of a new birth” or  “through the ‘spiritual’ water of rebirth”).

  The key word is “regeneration” and not “washing”.  Regeneration occurs within.  That rebirth is a washing and it is within.  This cannot be by or in or through water baptism.

Being “born from above“, as in John 3:3, shows it is not by natural means –

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

It is in the spiritual realm, that he who is “born of the Spirit is spirit”.

It does not have any material element John 3:4 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

7:37-39 37On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Water as a symbol of “Spirit” and the new birth is as in Ezekiel 36:25-27 – 25I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Being a supernatural act from heaven (from above) it can have nothing to do with “natural” water.  It is totally an act of God through the Holy Spirit.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit as shown in John 3:3-6 –We are born of the Spirit.  It has nothing to do with baptism by christening or by immersion.  We see this in  John 3:3-:6 that  says – 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit…”

Jesus repeats all that He meant in the whole passage regarding the new birth as by “water and Spirit”,v.7.  In John 1:13, being “born not of the will of man” shows it is not by natural means.  It is of “spirit”.  This means there is a new spiritual being, (creature, nature and life).  In Ephesians 2:1,5 God “Made us alive together with Christ.”  This was a secret, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits the second we believed.

Also, the Spirit is compared to “wind”.  John 3:7,8 clarifies what Jesus meant by being “born from above”.  It needs the “wind” of the Spirit – “Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above’.  The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’.” Further verses showing the action of the Spirit are, Acts 2:2, “Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind”; Ezekiel 37:9 “Come from the four winds, O breath (or Spirit); ” Song of Solomon 4:16 “Awake, O north wind”.

Then the Spirit witnesses to our spirits, Romans 8:15,16 – 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,…

The Spirit witnesses personally.  If certain actions in a person are undesirable to us, there is no reason to say they are not a new creature.  Every one born of God is equally so, though one may be more beautiful than another, as having the image of his heavenly Father more evidently impressed on him.  Some who are truly born of Paul explains God may not have this image impressed on them to such a degree that others can see it.  With the children of God it is the same as natural children in world.  All are different and some are more clever or more beautiful etc.

For the believer, the old life of being controlled by sin, the flesh, world, Satan and darkness has gone.  Believers now share His resurrection newnessChrist’s oneness with the race means He acted in their name.  He was their substitute.  He offered to God on their behalf an offering of obedience and purity that God accepted.  Because of this, God forgives.  He restores sinners.  “He died for others”.  Jesus did this by acting as representative.  He died in their name or instead of them.  This now results in a change in the believer’s life.  His personal attitudes and dispositions are changed more and more.  He lives for Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:8-21.  Christ did for them what they could never do for themselves.

Such newness of life does not refer to a new quality of experience or conduct but to a new quality of life imparted to the individual, 2 Corinthians 5:17, calls it “a new creation”.  This is not the Christian’s experience or behaviour.  The “new creation” is that miracle that is done within the new believer by the Holy Spirit.

The new creation with the newness of life is not referring to a new kind of life the believer is to live but to a new source of spiritual life put within him by God.  By this he is enabled to live the new life of the new creation in the resurrection life of Christ.  It has nothing to do with acts, legalistic or otherwise.  It does not refer to outward change of behaviour or habits.  It is not following laws and regulations.  However, a new conduct proceeds from this new life in due course.

It does not happen when he comes up out of the waters of baptism.  He happened the time he believed in Jesus.

The new creation is a special feature of 2 Corinthians 5:17,18

 “If anyone be in Christ there is a new creation; the old order has gone, to be replaced by the new (in every way).”  (or “This new order in all respects is God’s doing who reconciled us”, or “The older order has gone and a new order has already begun” or “his old being has passed away and behold, all has become new” or “His old life has passed away; a new life has begun”).

In verse 21 we read, “He (God) made him (who was without any acquaintance with sin) to be sin on our behalf, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Jesus was made sin by imputation, meaning that God regarded Him as being the sinner in our place.  Then we are made righteous in Christ, by imputation.  God regards the believer as being totally righteous in Christ.  This is “in Christ”.  It can never mean that we are as righteous as Jesus is.

This happened because of imputation.  “To impute” means “to regard as belonging to”.  Thus, God regarded our sin as belonging to Jesus.  It was reckoned to Him and He was charged with our sin.  It does not mean that He in His being became sin or took on the nature of sin.  He is, was and ever will be holy.  Our sin was charged to Him, in the same way in which someone might buy you a motorbike and charge it to another person.  God charged our sin to Jesus.  We received instead, of His righteousness.

We understand the transfer of righteousness to us from Romans 4:4-8 where God declares the ungodly to be righteous, verses 4,5 

4Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

God acquits the guilty.  He says they are innocent.  Unto those who believe in Christ, God “reckons righteousness to a man apart from works” or “credits a man with righteousness apart from his actions”.  The sinless Christ took our condemnation that for us there might be condemnation no more.  Christ in his sinlessness took responsibility for our sin.  We then are given the “righteousness of God”.  “Substitution” and  “imputation” are explained in above paragraphs.

Also, Romans 5:19 reads that “By one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous”.  Christ’s perfect obedience alone was  righteousness.  This righteousness is credited to our account.

After believing in Christ there is to be righteous living, as Ephesians 2:10 shows “We are created in Christ Jesus for good works”, produced by the Spirit.  In Ephesians 4:24 we are told to “put on the new man which is after God, created in righteousness and holiness of truth.”  This means we are to live according to that new man who is in us.  This does not happen in the tank of water baptism or christening.  We do not leave our “old man” behind in those waters.  Our “old carnal nature” was legally crucified on the cross with Christ.

The apostles generally just mentioned “believing”, Acts 4:4 – But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand.

Acts 15:11 – On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.

Acts 17:34 – Some of them joined him and became believers.

 Romans 3:22 – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,

Romans 10:9 – because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The emphasis is on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour from all sin, See  Acts 24:24 –

“He sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus”.

Romans 3:30 –

“He will justify the circumcised (Jews) on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised (Gentiles) through that same faith.”

Romans 4:16 – For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,

1 Peter 1:21 – …so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Christ comes to us as the Spirit, even in the new birth.  “I will not leave you fatherless I will come to you (in Holy Spirit) John 14:18; Romans 8:9 – But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:45 speaks of the resurrected Christ – Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

 It is evident that being “born from above” or being “born of water and of the Spirit” is not Water Baptism.

CHAPTER 7

BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD AND CIRCUMCISION

This “Baptism” does not consist of Water Baptism.

John 4:14 – …but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Isaiah 12:3 – With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

 Revelation 1:5 – …and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood,…

The outward baptism which is material, is not an actual washing of the inward man.  Neither does it wash the body.  The Apostle distinguishes between the outward ordinance of baptism and its typical meaning and the work of regeneration itself.  This is made clear in Galatians 6:15 that reads – For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!

What is circumcision in the Old Testament?  “Circumcision” meant “to follow the whole system of Mosaic ordinances”.  It was a physical act.  Similarly physical is the ordinance of “baptism” under the New Testament.  Paul, in Galatians 6:15, distinguishes the new creation and says it is without “circumcision” (meaning physical circumcision).  The same can be said regarding water baptism.  Baptism (or circumcision) does not mean regeneration.  See Acts 8:13, where Simon was baptised but in verse 21 Peter said to him, “Your heart is not right before God”.  Baptism had not saved him.  “Circumcision” in the New Testament sense, is only typified by water baptism.  Under the gospel, circumcision in “baptism” is spiritual and does not mean water baptism.

The natural condition of the sinner is uncircumcision of the sinful nature.  In Colossians 2:11, the meaning is “the condition in which the corrupt desires rooted in the flesh were not yet extinct”.  Verse 13 reads “You were dead in the uncircumcision of your flesh (sinful nature)” and is taken from the circumstance that the foreskin in the body was the sign of impurity.  It was the sign for the Jews that as sinners they were far from God.  We were all born in sin.  When we believed, “God made us alive with Christ”.  The Jews had to be circumcised.  Believers must have a circumcision and they have it in the circumcision of Christ.

We see that the  “flesh” in the Greek Dictionary means “mere human nature, the earthly nature man apart from divine influence and therefore it is prone to sin.  Natural circumcision means a cutting off of the foreskin.  The whole organ is not cut.  In the circumcision of our hearts in actual experience, the Holy Spirit, silently, crucifies the flesh with its lusts, affections and deeds.  He removes the enmity, carnal prejudices and depraved inclinations.  He does not do this totally as typified by natural circumcision.  We still retain the carnal nature.  However its power is broken and He replaces within us, in our recreated spirits, a spiritual love, joy and inclination towards God.

We will lose this carnal nature at death or at the coming of the Lord.  Then 2 Peter 1:19 will be fulfilled, in its prophetic word, “until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your heart”.  Jesus Christ is the morning star and He who is within will arise to bring forth the change from mortality to immortality.  This is by the Spirit as in Romans 8:11,23 –

 “If the Spirit .. dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you” and “we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies”.

Christ is in us, the hope of glory.

Because of our being circumcised with Christ’s circumcision, this means that the carnal nature (soul) we still have can be overtaken by the holiness and uprightness of the “spirit”ual nature.  This latter nature is that part of us which is born again.  Within it, is the life of Christ Himself by His Spirit.  There we have been made partakers of the Divine nature.  In our spirit is the eternal life and righteousness that will be our portion throughout eternity.  Within our spirits, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, there is all that is needed for the manifestation of the Divine life of holiness and glory that is ours forever.  When we get to heaven our changed bodies will not be an impediment any longer.  There will be no carnal nature.

In this life, in so far as we “walk in the Spirit and do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh”, we will show forth the glories of our heavenly Lord Jesus Christ who is living in us.  The fruits of the Spirit will be predominant and not the sins and lusts of our flesh or carnal nature.  One reason to pray in tongues often is to allow the Holy Spirit to flow from within us with His fruits and for us to live in holiness.  We are to “put off the carnal nature” and “put on the new man”, the new creation that we are in Christ.

To be a believer means there has been a new birth within our spirits.  This is a new creation by the Spirit and the Word of God within.  It happens at once.  Our spirits were dead.  We are saved  “through the water of rebirth” and “the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (“the giving of new life” or “the moulding anew of Holy Spirit”, Titus 3:5.  It is a miracle.  We are born of God.  James 1:18

“He gave us birth by the word of Truth”  and 1 John 5:1-

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God and every one who loves the Father loves him who is the Father’s child”.

Spiritual circumcision, being baptism of believers, with its necessity, is shown in Colossians 2:11-13Verse 12 reads –

 “In whom also you were circumcised when you threw off your sinful nature in the circumcision of Christ” also reads “by being set free from the sins of the flesh by virtue of Christ’s circumcision” or “in the circumcision of Christ you were set free from your sinful nature.  Verse 12 shows that “in baptism you were buried with Him” or “united with His burial and raised to life with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead”.  The sinful nature was “cut off” from the spirit that received the life of Christ. 

Verse 13 “Yes, although you were dead through your sins and your uncircumcised nature” or “were physically uncircumcised” or “dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh” declares the state of unsaved mankind.  The spiritual circumcision took place “when we were buried with him in baptism”.  “Baptism” is not referring to water baptism.

Jesus’ death was a “baptism”, as He Himself said in Mark 10:38-

“Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

Then He said these remarkable words foretelling of the believers’ experience in union with Him on the cross –

“The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized you will be baptized.”

and in Luke 12:50 – I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!

We have been baptized into His death as in; Romans 6:3 – Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

and have His life within us, Galatians 2:20 ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 We were buried with Him in the baptism of His death and “were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead”.  That takes place for a person when he believes in his heart and confesses Jesus as Lord or Jehovah, with his lips.

Thus Jesus’ baptism and circumcision for us were on the cross.  In Luke we learn about His physical circumcision.  We note Luke 2:21-24 where Joseph and Mary took Him to the Temple.  This was His entrance into the covenant.  It was done at the age of eight months.  Galatians 4:4 shows “He was born under the Law”.  At the Temple they made the sacrifice of turtledoves showing their poverty.  Then came the circumcision, the purification of the mother and the redeeming of the first-born male.  Jesus was Mary’s first born and lawfully, that of Joseph, and His parents followed Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:16.

Paul in Colossians 2:11-13 above was not speaking about Jesus’ circumcision as a baby.  He was not speaking about the water baptism of Christ.  He wrote, “In Whom also you were circumcised with circumcision not made with hand, in the putting off of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ, buried together with Him in the baptism.”  Christ’s circumcision was His death and burial.  Then “God raised Him from the dead”.  This circumcision of Christ was at His death on the cross.

The “body of the flesh” is the corrupt nature of every man.  It was dealt with on the cross as shown previously.  This is when and where the “body of sin” was disposed of.  It was not left behind in the waters of baptism.  What Jesus did on the cross was for us.  As with every part of our redemption, which is done in and by Christ, we were circumcised in Christ on the cross and our sinful nature was dealt with.  It happened because in reality we died with Christ and were buried with Him.  Paul spoke of the baptism of His death and said it was His circumcision.  Christ’s circumcision, His baptism, i.e. His death and burial, are ours.  When we were circumcised in Christ, it happened because we were placed under the power of His death.  This was so real that we were buried with Him, lying in the same grave.  The believer was also raised together with Him.  We took part in His resurrection from the dead.

Therefore, our circumcision and baptism in Christ cannot be our water baptism.  We were circumcised not in water baptism but in the baptism of our death with Christ on the Cross.  This is clear from Romans 2:28,29, “nor is true circumcision something external and physical” or “real circumcision is a matter of the heart – it is spiritual and not literal”.  An act of water baptism can never produce such circumcision of the heart.  It is an act by the Spirit of God, without any material assistance or any physical action on our part except the confession of our lips, Romans 10:9.  This confession is the result of an inward spiritual experience.  The meaning of “spiritual” in the Scriptures is always “Spirit-ual”, “of the (Holy) Spirit”.  The Father through the Holy Spirit has drawn us to Christ.

We are “buried together with Him in the baptism”, showing that we were circumcised in Christ when we were buried in the baptism of His death.  It is “the circumcision of Christ”.  It is ours “in Him”.  It was not done by any efforts of our own.  Water baptism is an effort.  Our baptism or circumcision in His death was not by any effort of ours.  It was done by Christ Himself.

 Baptism for the dead is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29 – Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

Paul has already proved the resurrection.  He now questions the consistency of the readers.  He convicts them of inconsistency when he says “Otherwise, what will those people do (excluding himself and his own beliefs) who receive baptism on behalf of the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?”  There actually was a custom in the Early Church.  It would not have been prevalent at the time of Paul but it could have existed and apparently did.  He does not condone it or accept it.  It is contrary to all of his teaching but he uses it to prove how illogical believers are to say there is “no resurrection” when they baptise for the dead!

Some thought the dead needed someone to be baptized in water for them, if in life, they had not experienced it.  Paul showed this was not necessary and did not teach it.  In this verse he is speaking somewhat sarcastically.

The Greeks believed that the souls of the dead were benefited by the funeral honours paid to the body.  From there this custom must have crept into the early church.  I have seen similar things in Indonesian Pentecostals.  Forty days after death, the Animists perform a “Selamatan” feast for the soul of the dead to ascend to heaven.  So the Christians after forty days, have a similar rite but Christian (so-called)!  The dead man of course receives no benefit.  Anti-Christ religion always rests on external rites.  This custom crept into the church early and indeed is prevalent today in orthodox churches and some Evangelical churches.  It is not prevalent in Pentecostal churches.

 CHAPTER 8

A PUZZLING SCRIPTURE

EXPLANATIONS OF 1 PETER 3:18-21

“In which eight souls were brought safely through by means of the intermediate agency of water, which (water) as a counterpart now saves you (namely) baptism; not a putting off of  flesh but the witness of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

All the very early manuscripts and translations, both into Latin and into old style English, make the above meanings clear and correct.

They were saved “from” the water is the more correct translation.  They were saved from the real danger before the coming of the flood, i.e. destruction and judgment as the result of the corruption, wickedness, enmity and violence of evil men.  The righteousness of Noah saved him from this evil that had as its end, the judgment of the flood to exterminate the wicked race.  The wicked met with destruction and the righteous with salvation.  Faith brought salvation to Noah and faith brings salvation to us, that water cannot bring.

We also are saved from sin and hell before baptism through waters of death of the Cross, Noah’s flood of destruction being the type.  The cross of Christ is the place of judgment typed by the flood.  The actual judgment of God and the destruction of the power of sin happened through Christ’s dying on the cross, not in water baptism.  The death of our carnal nature is accomplished in Christ on the Cross at the time of God’s judgment on Him instead of on us.  The waters of God’s judgment swept over Christ and us in Him.  By faith we receive salvation.  This is then typified in water baptism even though this portion of scripture evidently does not actually refer to water baptism.

When we consider baptism in the sense of being plunged into water, from the point of view of Peter, it reaches no further than washing away the dirt of the body.  In a metaphorical sense the same thing applies if we consider it a cleansing for the soul.  Water itself or being plunged into it can never produce regeneration.  Neither body nor soul can receive any spiritual change and water contacts the body only.

There is a belief concerning “baptismal regeneration” that originated in the Roman Catholic Church and then spread into certain Orthodox and Protestant Churches, such as the Churches of Christ.  Occasionally it is found amongst Pentecostals, e.g. “Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which is the ‘Lord Jesus Christ'”, “saved only at the time of immersion by baptism and thus fit to partake of communion” and “Oneness” or “Jesus Only”.

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe that baptism (in their case sprinkling) takes the baby or adult into salvation.  Through that sacrament they are joined to the Church.  That is sacramentalism and not gospel.  It is adding works to faith.  We are saved by grace through faith and not by adding works.

In its essence, this belief means that baptism is added to the finished work of Christ on the Cross.  What Christ did on the cross secured our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins and regeneration.  That work is sufficient and needs nothing added to it.  On the Cross, Jesus said, “It is finished”, John 19:30.  Our redemption was secured.  It is “By grace you have been saved, through faith”, Ephesians 2:8,9 and

Also as in  Titus 3:5“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness”.

Baptism by immersion, for a believer, can be said to be a “deed of righteousness”.  Jesus said to John in Matthew 3:15, “in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”.  Then John baptized Him.  Note the same word, “righteousness” as in Titus above.

With regard to the conscience, no ceremonies can affect it.  “The answer of a good conscience toward God” is accomplished by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  1 Timothy 3:16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.

In line 2, “vindicated” (justified in spirit).  This vindication is related to His claim to be the promised Messiah and Son of God.  Romans 1:4, here it says “by the resurrection from the dead“.  See also Romans 8:11  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

He was vindicated by the Holy Spirit through His resurrection.  It was for us.

This is the legal basis for our consciences being cleans by the blood of Christ, as in Hebrews 9:14.  “How much more will the blood of Chris, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God”.  The dead works of religion have gone.  We should not try and do any more works of religion.  This  means all efforts that include religious praying, fastings, good works and any thing in our religious activities, for  our Christian walk.

Noah was a preacher of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:5.  By the Spirit of Christ he preached to the spirits in prison.  Peter continues referring to the time of Noah by mentioning typology.  By the ark, God saved the family of Noah from the judgment of the flood.  They were saved “through” water.

In the two epistles of Peter, he often mentions suffering, judgment, Noah and the flood.  We should understand the following portion taking those things into account.

1 Peter 3:18-21 can never mean that Christ in His death descended into hell and preached there.  It cannot mean that He went into the place of the departed saints and took them up to heaven.  These are articles of faith in the Roman Catholic Church.  Why should we follow such errors?

It does not mean that the “spirits in prison” were there when Jesus died.  It does mean that the men of Noah’s day, spoken of  as “spirits” as in Numbers 27:16, had a proclamation made to them through Noah.  Christ, in His divine nature, spoke through Noah by His Spirit for one hundred and twenty years.

During that time, those people, judged guilty by God already, were kept in prison as it were, under sentence of judgment.  However, “God who is longsuffering, rich in mercy and not willing that any should perish”, waited all that time, giving them opportunity to repent.  They did not.  This meant the judgment of the flood had to come.  It came. 

Then Peter explains it in the light of Noah building the ark, preaching to the unbelieving world, the patience of God waiting for their repentance and then the judgment of the flood.  Through it they received judgment.  Then he likens this judgment to the baptism of Christ on the cross as judgment for our sin.  That is what saves us from judgment.  It is the cross of Christ.  The eight who were saved were saved “from or through the” water, by being in the ark of safety.

Jesus Himself spoke of having to undergo the baptism of death on the cross, in Mark 10:38 – But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

and in Luke 12:50 – I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!

Isaiah 54:5 shows “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him” and Isaiah 53:4, “we considered him stricken by God and afflicted”., verse 8, “By oppression and judgment he was taken away” and “for the t5ransgression of my people he was stricken”.

“Not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God” is explained by  Hebrews 9:13,14, “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are outwardly clean, How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death”.  Note the connection in these verses to “the body” (outwardly clean) and to the “cleanse your conscience” “pledge of a good conscience in  1 Peter 3:21 – And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,…

He uses Old Testament ceremonial Law to explain  the gospel.

All of Peter’s illustrations in 1 Peter 3:18-23, come from the Old Testament.  They are the means he uses to explain Christ’s death and resurrection and our part in those wonderful happenings. .

“It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” relates to Romans 4:25 –

 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”.

Because He was resurrected from the death, we are now justified by faith in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:24,30;5:1 – …24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,…;  30since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.,  5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,…

We must remember that the idea of 1 Peter 3:20,21 referring to water baptism, comes from those denominations who believed that baptism, i.e. confirmation, particularly as a baby, brought that one into the church.  That belief is totally unscriptural.  Therefore, we should consider the meaning to be as set out above..

In regard to the people of Noah’s day, there is a theory held by some that they were the offspring of women and fallen angels.  They use the scriptures – Genesis 6:2,4 – 2the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.  4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days — and also afterward — when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

And Jude 6,7 6And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

It is an impossibility for angels who have no ability for sex, according to Jesus, to father human children.  In any case, humans beget only humans.  See Matthew 12:3 – 3He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

Wuest’s translation of Jude 6 reads –

Angels who did not carefully keep inviolate their original position of pre-eminent dignity but abandoned once for all their own private dwelling place” while Cassirers says –

There were angels who were not content to keep to the sphere of influence assigned to them but who abandoned their proper domain. And

Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, and with them their neighbouring cities, how they made themselves guilty of the same debauchery as the angels had, pursuing their unnatural lusts.

Debauchery” means “make intemperate or sensual“.

Sensual” is “depending on the senses only and not on the intellect or spirit, carna.

This does not necessarily have a meaning in regard to sex.

In any case, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah occurred not in Genesis 6 but in Genesis 18, in the days of Abraham and not at the times of Noah.  There is no connection between the two, as some would make.

It is said regarding the people of Noah’s day in Genesis 6:5 – 5The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

We are the true circumcision.

According to Philippians 3:3-9, “we are the true circumcision who worship in the Spirit and have no confidence in the flesh” even as Paul  did.  It is by the abundance of grace and not through works of any description.

These works may be following rules and regulations of any Church, giving alms, doing good deeds, removing gold and ornaments, fastings, observing days and years, eating particular foods etc.  It has nothing to do with the act of being baptized in water.  This is apparent from Colossians 2:16,17 – 16Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Raul also shows that to do these things just mentioned as spiritual acts is to follow the elemental spirits of the universe Colossians 2:20-22 – 20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 21Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch? 22All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings.

Verse 18 “he takes his stand upon the visions he has seen”, is another area of error.  We are to walk by faith in the Word of God.

Paul had to correct the Corinthian Church because many of them thought they had reached the goal because they had been baptized in water.  He said,  “Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel…so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power”.  He clearly states that there is sufficient power in the cross of Christ to save each sinner who believes on Christ and that water baptism has no power to save.  It is not necessary to be added to the cross of Christ for salvation, 1 Corinthians 1:16,17 – 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

The Corinthians also followed Christian sacramentalism but Paul said, “Examine yourselves”, as all Christians are still sinners.  He emphasised that if they thought offering spiritual food and drink was in the Lord’s Supper, this was placing undue regard to it as a sacrament.  It is not a sacrament, from Paul’s point of view.  It is a time of communion, one with the other, as members of the Body of Christ and eating and drinking in remembrance of the death of the Lord when His body hung upon the Cross.  We do wrong to regard both water baptism and communion as sacraments.  These two occasions are not meant to be “participation in sacred symbols“, which is what “sacraments” mean.

In 1 Corinthians 10:2-4 the Children of Israel were baptized in type.  Their real baptism was “unto Moses“.  Our real baptism is “into Christ”, which is a spiritual act and not one of material water.  Their food was Manna and their drink was water out of the Rock, Exodus 16:4; Psalm 78:24; Numbers 20:11.  This typified Christ.

Similarly, the Communion that has bread and wine has no significance in such material elements, except to typify the body and blood of Christ.  The significance is in the spiritual food, Christ, from Whom they partake.  They eat spiritually, of His body and His blood, because at the point of believing on Christ, they ate in such a manner, as shown in John 6:53-56, 63.

Because we believe in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Christ is in us.  That law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus dominates us.  It is the law of love.  Love for Christ is expressed in obedience to His commands.  Therefore the believer will show this love that is spiritual, by obediently being baptized in water (by immersion) if he has not yet done so.

The ideal is for a person to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and be saved, immediately be baptized in water and on coming up out of the water, to be baptized in the Spirit speaking in other tongues.  Generally, such water baptism is out of the question because there is no deep water handy.  However, I have found that on leading a person to Christ that it is then incumbent on me and proves successful, that the person be baptized in the Spirit, speaking in other tongues.

In conclusion, we can say that although water baptism has spiritual significance, it is not to be looked at as a spiritual experience that produces anything of salvation.  It is not part of a person’s salvation experience but follows on from it as obedience.  It is performed by man and in a visible and finite element.  Salvation is from heaven, not of earthly things.  It is a spiritual experience in that it denotes the believer’s confession of Jesus, his obedience to His command, his showing forth of his union with Christ on the cross through believing in Him and confessing Him as Lord.  It also shows forth the believer’s resurrection with Christ when God raised Him from the dead.

The believer’s baptism manifests to the world that he is a believer in Jesus Christ.  It publicly separates him to the Church of Jesus Christ.  It is a declaration to God that he knows he now has a good conscience because of the power of the blood of Jesus that has already washed away his sins.  Finally, it reveals publicly to heaven and hell that he belongs to Jesus Christ.  The angels rejoiced when he was born again.  Perhaps there is another rejoicing in heaven at his baptism.  The Scriptures do not tell us about the latter but about the former.  Whether right or wrong, there is indeed rejoicing in the believer’s heart, in the hearts of the saints and we dare believe in the heart of Jesus.

Taking water baptism does not make anybody a Christian.  It does not change a person from being what he was before.  Baptism does not effect a change in religion or alter any such designation of religion.   It does not make him a believer, a saint, a child of God and neither does it cause a person to be born again. At the moment he or she receives Jesus Christ into the heart salvation is given by God.   This occurs before water baptism takes place.  The Bible clearly teaches that it is by faith in Christ Jesus and not by works (even of water baptism) that a sinner is transformed into a believer, a saint, a Christian, a born again person and a child of God.

Water baptism will show to the rest of the world that the believer is a follower of Jesus Christ and of no other person.  It publicly shows he was separated by faith in Christ from his past life, when he called upon the Name of Jesus as his Saviour and Lord.   Christening is not the Bible way of baptism.  Those already christened would need to obey the Bible way and  be baptized by immersion.  Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments”.  He ordained water baptism (“a dipping”) in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:16.

Every believer in Jesus Christ should obey the need for water baptism, which is only by immersion.