Saturday, July 26, 2008

Teaching about Baptisms

The Doctrine of Baptisms

By Abraham Israel

The word 'doctine' means teaching. The writer of the Book of Hebrews talks about "the teaching of baptisms" (Heb 6:2) as one of the principles to go on to perfection in the spiritual life of a believer. Note the word 'baptisms' which is pluralistic in nature, thus indicating more than one baptism to be present in the scripture as a doctrine to be learned . In this article we will find out the various types of baptism, all of which points to " baptism;" (Eph 4:5), which is 'the baptism of Jesus' that centrally connects all other baptisms. Baptism mainly points to the purification from sins that one will experience through knowing it and living by faith in it. The result will be a good conscience that we will be able to experience in our daily lives.

(a) John’s Baptism

In those days the Jews baptized the Gentile convert for purification to become a proselyte Jew(John 3:25), but John insisted that whether a Jew or a Gentile, everybody need to be baptized(Luke 3:3, 7, 8). This was the reason they were questioning him about his authority to baptize people (John 1:19, 24-25). In the early chapters of the four Gospels and in Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16; Acts 19:4, it [the word ‘baptizo’-“to baptize”] is used of the rite performed by John the Baptist who called upon the people to repent that they might receive remission of sins. Those who obeyed came "confessing their sins," thus acknowledging their unfitness to be in the Messiah's coming kingdom. Many lived by faith in the doctrine of John’s baptism (Acts 19:1-7; Matt 3:5-12). John also had disciples and taught them about praying and things about God and his ways (Matt 11:2; Luke 11:1).

And some of the disciples who followed Jesus were formerly John’s disciples, when John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Son of God [Messiah the Christ] and the Lamb of God, they started following Jesus (John 1:34-42). John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, which is the first step to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 3:3; Matt 3:6; 11:12). It was God’s will for every one to get baptized by John and those who rejected John’s Baptism also rejected Jesus Christ (Luke 7:29-30).

(b) John Baptizes Jesus

John always pointed people to messiah who will come and baptize them with the Spirit (Matt 3:11). John also baptized Jesus to make Him be known to Israel as the perfect Lamb of God(Matt 3:15). It was at this point of time when Jesus became a sin for us when the God the Father placed on him the sin of the world and as he voluntarily gave himself for our cause, a divine exchange took place there (2 Cor 5:21; Isaiah 53:6; Matt 3:15, 17; John3:17). From there he carried our sins to the cross of Calvary (John 1: 29, 36; Isaiah 53:4 “Sorrows - effects or results of sin”; Matt 8:16-17; 16:21; Mark 10:38, 45; John 18:11). And even Jesus acknowledged that He was distressed until the baptism is fully accomplished on the cross for us and through His resurrection (Luke 12:50; Rom 6:3-6).

After Jesus was tempted in every way by Satan, coming out from the wilderness, Jesus was declared as the “lamb of God” (John 1:35-36), by John the Baptist. A perfect lamb will always be tested before it is announced as with out blemish. When Jesus was tested by God, He stood perfect in all the temptations till Satan had no more way to tempt Jesus and he left, showing that he cannot find even an iota of any imperfection (Matt 4:1, 11). John himself said, the reason he baptized people with water is to reveal Jesus the Messiah [Christ] as the Son of God and the Lamb of God to Israel. This he said when he was giving baptism beyond the Jordan at Bethany and not at the Jordan where Jesus was Baptized (John 1:29-34; Matt 3:13). Immediately after Jesus was Baptized He was led by the Spirit in to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mark 1:12), and this clearly shows that John the Baptist declared Jesus as the Lamb of God not immediately after He baptized Jesus in the river Jordan, but only after He returned from the wilderness forty days later victoriously as the Lamb of God(Matt 4:1).

He declared Jesus as the Son of God because John heard the voice of God from heaven and saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus like a dove when He was baptized by him and when He came out of the wilderness after 40 days, still the Spirit of God remained upon Him testifying that He was the perfect lamb of God and John declared the Truth that he saw before his very eyes (John 1:33; Luke 4:14).

(c) The Spirit of God baptizes the believer in to that one body [universal body of Christ] when they are born again (1 Cor 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Col 2:12; Rom 6:4-5; 1 Tim 1:19 (c.f. Heb 10:14-18)).

(d) The believers will baptize a new believer in to the body of Christ.

This type of 'baptism of identification with Christ' started right after the baptism of Jesus which He received from John the Baptist. John the Apostle wrote about this in his Gospel where he says, "And they [i.e. the Jews] came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”..... Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee." (John 3:26; 4:1-3; Matt 11:12).
It is done as a confessional testimony before every one that they [the new believer] have received Christ as his/her personal savior (Mark 16:6; Acts 2:38). This is the "baptism"enjoined by Christ, Matt 28:19, a "baptism" to be undergone by believers, thus witnessing to their identification with Him in death, burial and resurrection, e.g., Acts 19:5; Rom 6:3,4; 1 Cor 1:13-17; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12. The phrase in Matt 28:19, "baptizing them into the Name" (RV; cp. Acts 8:16, RV), would indicate that the "baptized" person was closely bound to, or became the property of, the one into whose name he was "baptized."

(e) Jesus baptizes the believer’s with the Holy Spirit
The Greek word for baptism is ‘baptizo’ which means ‘to get immersed or overwhelmed’. Jesus baptizes the believers with the Holy Spirit just as John the Baptist announced. This happened on the day of Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus and it has been happening ever since that day, and the outward sign or manifestation [of the inward work] is speaking in new tongues (Matt 3:11; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4; 19:2-6).


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