Thursday, January 7, 2021

Is Water Baptism for the Body of Christ? - Part 3

Today we pick up in our third and final study on the subject of baptism, and specifically, the question of whether it is for the Body of Christ today. As we have mentioned earlier, there are three baptisms recorded in Matthew 3:1-12 and none of them are for the church. We also mentioned that Jesus' baptism was to fulfill the law in regard to the priesthood as an example for the nation to follow. 

Before, moving any further, I must point out that there is a fourth baptism mentioned in Luke12:49-50 where it says, "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (50)  But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" The text makes it pretty clear that this baptism is one that only Christ will take. This, of course, speaks of when God the Father baptized his Son with the sins of the world on the cross. 

So, we have seen that there are four baptisms mentioned in the Bible: water, holy spirit, fire, and wrath. Water by John, Holy Spirit and Fire by Jesus, and Wrath by God. The problem with all of these baptisms is that none of them are for the church today.

Even Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, said in 1 Corinthians 1:17, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."  How could he say that? After all, Christ did tell the Twelve to baptize in Matthew 28:18-19 when he said, "And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

The issue for those who can not seem to put it together is that Paul was not one of the Twelve, he was never meant to be one of the Twelve even though I have heard many say, including myself, that Peter and the others messed up by choosing Mathias when they should have waited for Paul. Wrong! Paul's calling was different in that he was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) while the others were not (Matthew 10:5). 

The conclusion is that the only baptism that is for the Body of Christ is that of the Holy Spirit and it occurs at the moment of salvation. Paul explains this in Romans 6:4 when he says, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Also, in Ephesians 4:4-6 when he said, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5)  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6)  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Our baptism is not with physical water! To teach that water baptism is required in any way, shape, or form is contrary to the teachings of Paul and the Gospel of Grace. 

Another interesting point that E.W. Bullinger points out is that water baptism is only spoken of in Paul's Acts-Period epistles (Corinthians and Romans), but never again afterward. Also when Paul speaks of baptism in his post-Acts epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the Pastoral letters, he is only speaking of Spirit baptism into the Body of Christ at conversion. 

Again, Paul also shows that what was physical under the old program is now spiritual under the new in 1Corinthians 12:12-13; Colossians2:9-13. Again, a move from the physical under the Law to the spiritual under Grace.  Our identification in Christ is a spiritual one and not a physical one. Everything for the church is spiritual. We are a heavenly people and not an earthly people. Our promises are spiritual and not physical (Ephesians 1:3). 

The only conclusion that I can draw is that to baptize today is trying to make the church Israel, which is exactly what most do whether they want to admit it or not. Paul is our apostle and it is his teachings that we are to follow (1 Corinthians 11:1, 14:37). He was the first in the line of sinners to be a part of the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 1:15-16). And the only way to right divide is to realize the significance of Paul. Also, anyone who feels uncomfortable with us saying that we follow Paul, apparently don't have a problem with Israel following Moses.  

E.W. Bullinger once said, "it is the reliance on tradition instead of the study of the Bible that prevents people from understanding and enjoying it." He also said in his work, "The Foundations of Dispensational Truth", that "Christians have all been so long tied to the tether of tradition that difficulties are met with in connection with rightly dividing the Word of Truth." The problem with most Christians is that they are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up, and set. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Is Water Baptism for the Body of Christ? - Part 2

Today we continue with the question of baptism for the Body of Christ. The second argument for those who defend baptism is that they will point out that Jesus was baptized as proof that we also need to follow his example. This comes from Matthew 3:13-17, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. (14)  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (15)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (16)  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (17)  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The problem with this view is that Jesus was exclusively ministering to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and the only ones that were to follow his example were the house of Israel. Jesus said pretty emphatically in Matthew 15:24 that he was only sent to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Therefore, his baptism was to set an example for them to follow, not us (Matthew 3:15). 

Jesus' baptism was unique in that it was required just as Moses spoke of for Aaron and his sons in Exodus 29:1-4, "And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, (2)  And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. (3)  And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. (4)  And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water." It was required for him as the high priest of the nation. One only need to read the book of Hebrews to see Christ in this role as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 2:17, 3:1, 4:14-15, 5:5, 5:10, 6:20, 8:1, 9:7, 9:11). 

It was the nation of Israel that was to follow in this example "to fulfill all righteousness" as foretold in Exodus 19:6, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." And then God was to use the nation of Israel to reach the Gentiles. We see this in Isaiah 49:6-7, "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (7)  Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee." Also, in Isaiah 60:1-3, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (2)  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (3)  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." And in Zechariah 8:23, "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." 

In conclusion, Jesus was baptized as the new high priest of Israel according to the order of Melchizedek and they were to follow his example by accepting him as their new Priest and King, he would have then brought in the Kingdom and they would reach the nations. Unfortunatley, that did not happen.