Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baptism of Jesus

What’s so special about the Baptism of Jesus?

By Abraham Israel

To understand fully about the baptism of Jesus, first we need to understand from the scripture, ‘what is mean by baptism during Jesus’ time of life in this earth?’ In those days before two thousand years ago, the Jews baptized people who wanted to convert in to Judaism. These converts were called proselyte’s. In other words gentile converts. And they had a separate place for them in the Jewish synagogues (Acts 6:5). These were the type of people Jesus referred when He spoke to the scribes and Pharisees saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matt 23:15). From the above verse we know that the Pharisees [i.e. the most powerful party both in religion and politics during Jesus’ time] and scribes [i.e. copyist of the law who prided themselves on their knowledge of law and tradition of the elders (Matt 2:4; Mark 1:22)] were the sole leaders who had the religious authority to proclaim and convert new converts in to Judaistic religion.

[Note: Proselyte was a name given by the Jews to such as were converted from heathenism to the Jewish faith (Matt 23:15). There were two classes: “Proselytes of the gate,” who adopted the Jewish monotheism and Messianic hopes, but were not circumcised, and “Proselytes of righteousness,” who were full Jews. To the former belonged Cornelius and Lydia and many of the earliest and best members of the apostolic churches.]

When John the Baptist began to proclaim that all including the Jews need to get baptized in water in order to have a part in the kingdom of God which will have the Messiah as their king, immediately the Pharisees began to question John the Baptist and his disciples about his theology of purification by baptism of repentance for the remission [i.e. forgiveness for all the bad things done in our life] of sins and rejected it (John 3:25; Luke 7:30; 3:3). Baptism was the process through which these Jewish religious leaders purified their gentile converts to be added as a proselyte Jew. Thus the proclamation of John the Baptist was directly opposite to their religious tradition and theology. This was the reason they rejected his message. These religious Jews considered themselves the true children of Abraham which they claimed even while speaking to Jesus and this was also the reason John the Baptist rebuked those same religious leaders when they hypocritically tried to get baptized for publicity sake (John 8:37-41; Matt 3:7-9) because the people over which they exercised religious authority considered John the Baptist as a prophet (Luke 20:4-6; Mark 11:30-32; Matt 21:25-26), and before Jesus started His ministry, for a while the people even reasoned in their hearts whether John was their Messiah which he denied and pointed to Jesus to be their real Messiah (Luke 3:15-16). These religious Jews who considered themselves as the true children of Abraham which they themselves claimed in the natural, rejected the baptism of John in their heart because of their religious pride. When these same people tried to get baptized hypocritically to maintain their status quo as the religious leaders of Israel as John was considered a prophet by the Jewish people (Luke 7:28-30), John the Baptist rebuked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees saying, “…..,Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I [i.e. John the Baptist]indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He [i.e. Jesus the Messiah] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanout His threshing floor, and , gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaffwith unquenchable fire.” (Matt 3:7-12). To truly get baptized from John, one has to humble oneself to confess their sin to Him and thus accept their own inability to save themselves from the wrath of God and to enter in to the kingdom of the Messiah, no matter whether a person is a Jewish leader or a gentile. These Pharisees and Sadducees were not willing to humble themselves because of the religious pride in their heart.

This stern rebuke from John the Baptist infuriated the Pharisees and Sadducees. So they discussed among themselves about this matter and came to the conclusion that if John the Baptist was not the Messiah why is he baptizing people and adding people to be part of the kingdom of God. So they sent a group of priests and Levites who asked him, ‘Who are you?’ John confessed to them that he was not the Messiah. Immediately they questioned him the reason for his baptism (John 1:19-25). Exactly during this time Jesus was in the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (John 1:28; Mark 1:9,12; Matt 3:13; 4:1). So John told to them that he has already declared who the Messiah was, who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit, but they still do not know him and he confessed to them that he baptized people, ‘to reveal the Messiah to Israel and eventually has seen and testified that Jesus was the Son of God [i.e. the Messiah](John 1:29-34). This was the ultimate purpose of John’s baptism (John 1:31). He said this to these group of people because these people who were sent from the Pharisees were not present forty days before when John testified about Jesus in the Jordan river (John 1:24-29). John himself said that his baptism was just a symbolism of what the Messiah will come and do in the realm of the Spirit [i.e. baptize people with the Spirit] (John 1:26; Luke 3:16).

The English word ‘baptized’ come from the Greek root word ‘baptizō’ pronounced [bäp-tē'-zō (Key)] which means ‘1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk) 2) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe 3) to overwhelm’.

Already understanding the context of the baptism that John gave, we are coming to the main question, ‘What’s so special about the baptism of Jesus?’ The Apostle Matthew wrote clearly about the event of the baptism of John to Jesus saying, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. AndJohn tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”” (Matt 3:13-17).

Here we see Jesus humbling Himself as a man and taking the Baptism of John. This Baptism of Jesus is unlike other baptisms. This was a divine exchange. As Apostle Paul described inPhilippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death [i.e. baptism was that point of humbling Himself to death, and thus became God’s voluntary perfect identificational substitute for every sinful human], even [up to] the death of the cross.” This baptism was the point Jesus Christ took the sin of the world and carried it to completion at the cross where all our sins were wiped off and cleansed (John 1:29, 36; Col 2:14-15). As a relative of Jesus, John the Baptist must have known the perfect life of Jesus and also both their parent must have told them about the special signs that had taken place at their birth (Luke 1:26-56). John the Baptist was shocked to see Jesus coming to take baptism from him because as we have seen this baptism was for all sinners who accepted their unworthiness to enter in to the kingdom who were willing to change their lifestyle with an attitude of repentance. John the Baptist as an earthly man with the fallen nature confessed his unworthiness to give baptism to Jesus who had no sin, as Apostle Paul also later confirmed this fact by saying “For He [i.e. God the Father] made Him [i.e. Jesus the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us [i.e. humanity], that we [i.e. humans] might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21). For this reason the Bible compares John the Baptist with Elijah who had nature like ours (Malachi 4:5-6; Matt 17:10-13; James 5:17). Jesus answered to John and confirmed the divine exchange that would take place during the time of baptism by saying“….Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness….” (Matt 3:15). In other words Jesus was saying to John the Baptist, ‘Allow me to take baptism this one time from you [i.e. as the ordained prophet of the Highest (Luke 1:76)] that I might become as a sin for every human, so that everyone can become the righteousness of God in Me.’ From this we come to understand that our identity with Christ in His baptism gives us the rights to identify ourselves with His perfect righteousness because this was the point of time the divine exchange was done.

So only the Bible says [we were] … buried with Him in [His] baptism…” (Col 2:12). In other words the moment Jesus took that baptism He has already exchanged and have already taken your past, present and future sins upon Himself and has already given you His perfect sinless life to live victoriously in the sight of the Father God, so that from that point of time when ever Father God sees you, He only sees the perfect life of Jesus in you because of that divine exchange. This was confirmed by Jesus himself when He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he [i.e. John the Baptist]. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt 11:11-12). From the days of John the Baptist those who humbled themselves by confessing their sins and believing in the divine exchange of the Messiah, whom they believed will come and take upon Himself all their sins and thus with Messiah’s righteousness they qualified and have violently believed against the lying pride of self righteousness from Satan [which God hates] and took the kingdom of God by the force even up to the time of the Cross. So even today all “…the doctrine of baptisms” (Heb 6:2) points to this ultimate divine exchange that had happened at the baptism of Jesus and the resultant gift [i.e. the Holy Spirit] that we receive as the seal of the righteousness of our faith in it (Rom 4:11; Gal 3:14). This is the reason Apostle Paul made this wonderful statement when writing to Ephesians’ Believers saying, “There is one body [the universal Church] and one Spirit [the Holy Spirit], just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord [Jesus Christ], one faith [faith in His name (Acts 3:16) {the name Jesus (Matt 1:21)}], one baptism [the baptism of Jesus (Matt 20:22-23)]; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:4-6), which describes the essence of a believer’s individual faith. A believer is thus baptized as a sign of recognition of His faith in the divine exchange that had happened two thousand years ago in the river of Jordan which culminated at the cross where Jesus said “…It is finished.” (John 19:30). Jesus spoke about this baptism that he took at the river Jordan saying, “….Are you able to drink the cup [Cross ref: Mark 14:36- the cup was the suffering of the cross by the shedding of His blood which was symbolized by wine in a cup (Mark 14:23-24; 8:34; 10:39; Luke 22:19)] that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with [Cross ref : Mark 1:9-11 – His baptism was a divine exchange of suffering unto death, not for His own sins or faults but for others]?” (Mark 10:38). Also in Luke 12:49-50 Jesus said about this baptism by saying, “I came to send fire [i.e. Holy Spirit and His character to burn all things that is not of God (Matt 3:11; Acts 2:2-4)] on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled [i.e. increased activity and intensity of fire that purges]! But I have a baptism [i.e. here he was speaking about the baptism of John that he has already taken] to be baptized with [i.e. here the words ‘to be baptized with’ means ‘to be immersed or sunk with like a vessel’ {when one is fully sunk or submerged under water, he will die without air to breathe. Thus Jesus was indicating the death at the cross}], and how distressed I am till it [i.e. baptism of John that gets culminated at the cross] is accomplished!” Thus as Jesus Himself confessed, the baptism of divine exchange that Jesus received from John the Baptist in the Jordan river ended only when He carried away the sin of the world to the cross, where He finally died and got fully sunk in to death voluntarily as a substitute sin offering for all our sin (Matt 3:13-17; John 1:29, 36; Matt 27:50). Because He bore and carried all our sin and sickness, He was able to fulfill what the Prophet Isaiah said prophetically, “Surely He has borne our griefs [sicknesses]and carried our sorrows [pains]; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted...and He bore the sin of many” (Is 53:4, 12). This was confirmed by Apostle Matthew in the Gospel of Matthew 8:16-17, “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “ He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”” Because Jesus carried our weaknesses[infirmities], sicknesses, pains, sorrows, griefs by bearing the sin of us all, now we can be free and victorious from all these evil things, by exercising faith in what has happened as a divine exchange and a gift of God for us. Our faith will get strengthened more and more as we reaffirm and get renewed in our mind by keeping our focus on the divine exchange that has taken place at the baptism of Jesus, where God the Father took all of our sin [i.e. past, present and future] and laid on Jesus the iniquity [i.e. the evil oppression that is legally allowed by God because of our very nature of sin from our birth (Psalm 51:5)]of us all and has given to us the pure righteousness of Jesus [i.e. because Jesus never sinned even once, Satan and his demons have no legal rights to touch Him] “ a breastplate..” to wage war against the enemy successfully (Isaiah 53:6,12; Matt 3:15; John 1:29; Isaiah 59:17; Eph 6:14).

Here we can notice a parallel to what has been done in Old Testament. We must understand that Old Testament is New Testament concealed and New Testament is Old Testament revealed. In the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement as the Bible says, “He [i.e. the High Priest] shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:7-10). These two goats after it is separated [i.e. one as a sin offering and the other as a scape goat], will fulfill the requirement that God has set forth to fulfill according to His ceremonial law once a year. As the Bible says,“Then he [i.e. the High Priest] shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people,bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of theirtransgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.” (Leviticus 16:15-17). The Bible points out prophetically in Isaiah 53:14 that Jesus’ soul will be made as a sin offering by God the Father. As the Bible says in Leviticus 17:11,‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ Hence the blood of Jesus was finally offered as a sin offering to God on the cross where this atonement for the soul of everyone of us has been fulfilled (John 19:30, 34; Col 1:20). Thus it is clear from the Scripture that without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22).

Then for the other scape goat, Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions,concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:21-22). All the gifts and offerings in the Old Testament was substituted by one “…sacrifice for sins forever…” in the New Testament which is Christ Himself (Heb 10:12). Christ’s baptism also indicates that Christ came as a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, because God Himself testified Him as His Only Son (Matt 3:17; Heb 9:11-12; 7:3,15-16). Thus “….In the likeness of Melchizedek [i.e. God the Father]…another priest [i.e. Jesus Christ]… has come…according to the power of an endless life.” (Heb 7:15-16) and Jesus as the High Priest “…offered up Himself” as an offering for sin (Heb 7:27). So as the Priest Himself was considered as the scape goat, the Father God as the Heavenly High Priest “…has laid on Him [i.e. Jesus]the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6), during the time of the baptism of Jesus. [Note: To know more about the mysterious kingly-priest Melchizedek, read the following article - Who is Melchizedek?] While John the Baptist immersed Jesus in to the water [i.e. which symbolically refers to death for soulish righteous-self (Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 15:29)], God placed the sin of many at this point of time upon Jesus to bear and instead exchanged the perfectness of Christ’s righteousness and began to impart it in to all those who believed Jesus (Heb 7:28; 2 Cor 5:21; Matt 11:11-12; Rom 4:5-6,11; Gal 3:8). So only as the scape goat was sent away bearing all the iniquities of the nation of Israel in to the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man in the Old Testament (Lev 16:21-22), Jesus was sent and driven by the Holy Spirit in to wilderness bearing all our iniquities and sins to be tempted by Satan in the Wilderness (Matt 4:1; Mark 1:12-13;Luke 4:1). If it is not for this divine exchange, Satan would have had no rights to tempt Jesus as He had done no sin at all (John 14:30). Hence it was a demonstration of the love of God that He has shown us to deliver us from all our evil conscience (Heb 9:13-14). So with confidence always say, “I am the righteousness of God [in Christ Jesus].” (2 Cor 5:21).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews describes about this event of the day of atonement (Lev 16:34; 23:26-32) by saying, “But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.” (Heb 9:7-10). The time of reformation was when Jesus took the baptism of John to be as a scape goat and was sacrificed as a sin offering for our sins on the cross by which the way in to the Holiest of All [i.e. the original heavenly tabernacle where God the Father resides (Heb 9:23-24; 12:22)] was made manifest forever because Christ as our High priest has already entered in to it with His own blood once for all having obtained eternal redemption [i.e. freedom to live free from the evil oppression of Satan and his demons](Heb 9:11-12; 10:12). With the boldness that comes as a result of being covered with the blood of Jesus through faith, we can boldly enter in to the Real Heavenly Tabernacle to converse with God the Father any time in the spiritual realm(Heb 10:19). This is why Jesus taught the disciples to address their prayers directly to the Father who resides in the Holy Of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle (Matt 6:9; John 16:23,26-28). God the Father loves you and sees you as He sees Jesus in His perfection, if only you will believe Jesus came from God as the sinless only begotten Son of God(John 16:27; 3:16;1 John 4:15). Up to that point of time no man had the audacity to call God as his Father which is considered as blasphemy in the Jewish religion because they considered it as equating one’s self to God (John 5:18). The natural physical body of Jesus is equated to the veil that covered the Holy of Holies (Heb 10:20). This is the reason the moment Jesus’ Body died the veil was rent, symbolizing that Jesus has entered in to the Heavenly Tabernacle of God representing all of us humans (Matt 27:50-51; Luke 23:44-46; John 19:28-30). Now that the veil which prevented a human person from conversing with God directly has been removed, hence the writer of the Book of Hebrews is exhorting us by saying let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [by faith in the blood of Jesus (Heb 9:14) that frees you] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water [water is represented by the word [rhema] of God (Eph 5:26; 6:17; John 15:3,7; 6:63; 13:10)]. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhortingone another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:22-25). What a wonderful position we are placed and positioned, where we can connect to God any moment of time we like because of Jesus representing us as our High Priest in the Heavenly Temple where God the Father resides (Heb 10:21; 8;1). Praise the Lord!
The Hebrew word for the English word Atonement is Kaphar [pronounced kä·far' (Key)]which means '1) to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch a) (Qal) to coat or cover with pitch b) (Piel) 1) to cover over, pacify, propitiate 2) to cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for 3) to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites c) (Pual) 1) to be covered over 2) to make atonement for d) (Hithpael) to be covered.' The other English words which are mostly used in various translations areatonement 71, purge 7, reconciliation 4, reconcile 3, forgive 3, purge away 2, pacify 2, atonement...made 2, merciful 2, cleansed 1, disannulled 1, appease 1, put off 1, pardon 1,pitch 1. The main theme that runs through the Day of Atonement is the sin offering and scape goat. The sin offering was actually fulfilled on the Cross, this sin offering was mainly done for bringing together both the sinful man and the Holy God together. Through the sacrificial sinless blood of Jesus, God and man were brought forth together again to have peace and harmony. The blood of Jesus which was shed for the forgiveness of sin has totally cleansed the sinful nature of those who have believed in it, this iniquity which is the sin nature present in man had always separated God and man in the past, this had been removed through the sin offering of Jesus Christ according to God (Isaiah 59:1-2). The Apostle Paul describes this event as “….having made peace [i.e. atonement -> to make peace, reconcile, and establish harmony between God and Man] through the blood of His cross, by him [i.e. Jesus] to reconcile all things unto himself…” (Col 1:20). Here in the preceding verse we see God initiated this sacrifice to bring people who were lost in sin to Himself through Jesus by the blood of the cross. In other words Jesus made atonement through the blood of the cross by sacrificing himself as the one eternal sin offering (Heb 7:27). This blood of Christ will cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God, knowing this fact will give you the faith that God has once for all forgiven all your sins. Hence you will automatically draw near to God and will fellowship with Him without any condemnation (Heb 9:14; Eph 4:32; Rom 8:1).

The goats, bulls, heifers and all the gifts and sacrifices in the Old Testament symbolizes the one perfect offering of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Heb 9:12-13; 10:1-4, 8-10, 12). The symbolic act of placing the sin of every one of us upon the scape goat's head by the High Priest, through laying his hands on the head of the goat and confessing the sins of the people over it is represented by the baptism of Jesus where the hand of the Lord represented by the Spirit of God was placed upon Him (Ezekiel 1:3; 3:14; 37:1; Luke 1:66). Then God placed the sin of the world upon Him by confessing over Jesus from Heaven by saying ‘this is My Son who is the one perfect Specimen of sacrifice for eternity, with which I am well pleased’ (Matt 3:16-17; 4:1-2; Lev 16:21-22). The Hebrew word for the English word ‘scapegoat’ is‘`aza'zel’ [pronounced az·ä·zāl' (Key) {masculine noun}] which means ‘1) entire removal, scapegoat a) refers to the goat used for sacrifice for the sins of the people b) meaning dubious’. Knowing this act of transferring of sins over the scape goat through the laying on of the priest hand over it and confessing our sins will free us from the condemnation of the enemies accusation, when we sin by the weakness of the flesh. This is the reason Apostle Peter spoke about this baptism in 1 Peter 3:21 saying, “There is also an antitype [i.e. original fulfillment of Old Testament scape goat] which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,….” In other words Apostle Peter was saying, ‘You can have a good conscience [i.e. a conscience which cannot be condemned by the enemy of our souls {i.e. Satan and his evil demons} because of the divine exchange that happened at the baptism of Jesus] toward God because of knowing and applying by renewing your mind through the doctrine of baptism in your daily life, hence thwarting the continuous accusation of the enemy. Baptism does not mean that you are removed from the evil soulish nature which inclines towards sin.’ (Eph 4:23; Heb 6:2). Nearly the same way Apostle Paul too described about this baptism by saying in Rom 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Here Apostle Paul is not talking about the water baptism that every believer takes but is talking about the doctrine of the baptism of Jesus that happened at the river Jordan as a lifestyle to be lived. You may ask me, how do you know that? Because in the context of this baptism Paul was telling later in the same chapter 6 in verses 17-19, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” In other words Paul was saying, ‘Because you have believed the doctrine of the baptism of Jesus [i.e. “…buried with Him through {His} baptism in to death…” (Rom 6:4)] and the cross of Jesus [i.e. ‘knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him…’ (Rom 6:6)] you have been set free from the legal penalties for walking in the soulish nature and its impulsive activities though the divine exchange that happened at the baptism of Jesus which got culminated at the cross. I am speaking to you like this because you still have the soulish sinful nature which inclines you to sin always, which will bring the accusation of Satan once you sin. So don’t give in to the soulish desire to sin but rather fight against it through the perfect righteousness that you received through believing the divine exchange that happened at the baptism of Jesus which will set you apart and position you from soulish wickedness for God’s purpose to be fulfilled through your life.’ As we know more about this divine exchange and its implication toward freedom from sin through our perfect righteousness we received from Jesus, the more we will be able to walk in the liberty of the Spirit (Luke 4:18; 2 Cor 3:17; Gal 5:1). As the Bible says, [this] …righteousness [is] in the [presence & person of the] Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17) who resides in us as a gift from Jesus, who is building us together with Himself to be a dwelling place of God in the Spirit for eternity (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 2:22; 1 John 3:24). All believers will have the person of the Holy Spirit within them at least in ‘salvation-measure which is a fountain-measure (John 4:14)[if not in river measure which is the baptismal measure of the Spirit (John 7:37-39). If a person is not a born again believer, he will not have the Holy Spirit with in Him and he does not belong to Christ (John 3:3-8; Rom 8:9). It is the promise of God that the Spirit of God will never ever leave a believer nor forsake him for eternity because of what Jesus has achieved for the believer (Heb 13:5-6)]. This is what Paul described as the “….walk in the newness of life.” (Rom 6:4).

The bottom line is, Jesus has put away your sin[i.e. past, present and future] by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb 2:26) and has entered the Holy places in heaven to appear in the presence of God for you (Heb 9:24). He is representing you before God the Father. Because you are in Jesus[i.e. through His baptism and that you have died when He died at the cross], your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3) because of this divine-exchange, as a result God the Father sees you as he sees Jesus in His perfection. This is the reason the writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “….by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Heb 10:14). In other words the more you understand and believe the divine exchange of righteousness that you have received through the baptism of Jesus and are cleansed by the blood of the cross, the more you will experientially see the perfection of Christ manifest in your daily life. You are positioned in Christ perfectly, you only need to release that perfect position of Christ in your spirit to influence your soul by your obedience to God’s voice experientially. This is what is described in the scripture as “….being sanctified…”, in other words you are growing from one level of glory to another level of glory (2 Cor 3:18; Heb 10:14). The good news is because Christ was offered once two thousand years ago to bear the sins of many [including all your past, present and future sins], you do not have to bear the sinful lifestyle and its cursed consequences of separation from God’s presence in your daily lives. You do not have to make powerless choices because of sinful bondages which are the lie of the devil. Because of what Christ has achieved for you through His Baptism and the Cross, you are free to live the victorious life through the power of the Holy Ghost that lives in you (John 8:36; 1 John 4:4). So you do not have to live a sin-infested life style of sin by making wrong choices daily. Instead you can choose to live sin-free by making Holy Ghost empowered godly choices, which will make you live the kingdom life in abundance. When you sin, all you need to do is to confess [i.e. agree with] to God that you have sinned [Note: To know more about confession read this article, 'Is confession a fad or a fact?'] and then renew you mind with faith in the doctrine of Jesus’ Baptism and the Cross. Then you speak against the devils and demons that oppress you and they will flee from you because of your position in Christ. Be a warrior!!! You are a success story in Christ Jesus in the kingdom of God!!!


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