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Explaining that Baptism is more than the act of immersion in water
by Robert Randle  
11/17/2011 / Devotionals


In perhaps the theological equivalent of 'Less Filling' vs.'Tastes Great,' which leaves a bitter taste in the religious palate of those believers who embrace a Fundamental or Evangelical perspective, when it comes to understanding the doctrine of salvation. This is important because a sinner who asks, "What must I do to be saved," needs a clear and consistent message from the community of 'Faith' because the eternal destiny of all of us just might be hanging in the balance; so what does the Bible have to say bout this?

Ephesians 2: 8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God [Cp. Hebrews 6: 4], not of works, lest anyone should boast.

NOTE: What does it mean, or rather, how are we saved through 'faith;' is it merely our faith that saves us or is there more to it than that? It must be remembered that the Church of the Ephesians grew out of the synagogue [Cp. Acts 18: 24-26; 19: 17-18 Revelation 2: 1-6] and the recipients of this letter to them were most probably the majority Jewish believers and doubtless some God-fearing Gentiles, and the part about "works" had to do offerings and sacrifices, which they would have understood. In fact, the writer of Hebrews calls such things "dead works" [Cp. Hebrews 9: 11-14; 10: 4, 8-10].

*Philippians 3: 9-11*
And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law [Torah], but that which is through the faith of [not just in] Christ [Moshiach], the righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. KJV

NOTE: The KJV translation hit the nail right on the head because we are saved by the faith "of" Jesus [Yeshua] when He submitted to the Father's will in paying the ransom price for our sins on Calvary's cross [Cp. Luke 22: 41-44 {Hebrews 5: 7-8}; Hebrews 2: 9-10; 10: 5-7]. This passage in Philippians is critical because it mentions having fellowship [joined, tied or united together] in the sufferings and death of Jesus [Yeshua], but just how is that accomplished; through believing, only? Those terms are mentioned almost verbatim by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6: 3-5, 17-18, pertaining to baptism; the bane of the "FAITH-ONLY" body of believers, but is this fair? For those who see baptism as just someone going down into water and coming up out of the same substance are really missing the point because all you observe is the 'verb' [the action] and miss the "noun" [what it really is and accomplishes]; so let's go to the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 9: 8-9, 14
The Holy Spirit indicating this: that the way into the Holy of Holiest [All] was not yet made manifest [revealed] 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 [High Priest in this case] who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience. How much more shall the blood of Christ [Moshiach], who through the Eternal Spirit, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?

Hebrews 10: 1, 2b, 22
For the Law [Torah], having a shadow of the good things to come, can never with these same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For the worshippers, once purified [cleansed], would not have had any more consciousness of sins. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

*Romans 6: 17-18*
But God be thanked that though you were the slaves of sin, yet you have obeyed from the heart that form [like figure??] of doctrine to which you were delivered . And having been set free from sin you became the servants [slaves] of righteousness.

Peter 3: 20-21
Who formerly were disobedient, when one the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water. "The like figure [form??] 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" [Yeshua Moshiach].

Galatians 3: 26-27
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus [Moshiach Yeshua]. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ [Moshiach] have put on Christ.

CONCLUSION: This is really what the response of our mind or heart is during "baptism" our conscience [will] is purified when we identify and are united spiritually with the actual body of Jesus [Yeshua] and His suffering, and that we profess our faith [belief] in the presence of witnesses, the acceptance of His substitutionary and atoning work on the Cross of Calvary through His blood [for our transgressions and rebellion against God], where He suffered in cruel agony and died, was buried, and rose again on the third day whereby our sins are washed away [forgiven], and by our repentance and confession of the same, we acknowledge that He is the LORD of our life. It is through "baptism" that we are united together [symbolically] with the body of Christ [Moshiach], and as a result come in contact with the 'blood' of Jesus [Yeshua] through the operation of the Holy Spirit which imputes [accounts or reckons] us as justified and righteous and cleanses us from sin, spiritually.

James 2: 21-22
Was not Abraham our father 'justified' by works ["obedience"] when he offered Isaac his son on the altar (Cp. Genesis 22: 1-2, 9-13)? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

Finally, If we are saved solely by grace through faith only, in the absence of "any" works at all, then the mere act of praying to God and asking Him to come into our heart, or to confess Him with our mouth as LORD and Savior constitutes 'works,' and is no less so than the very act of "baptism" itself.


Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
November 14, 2011
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

pbks@hotmail.com
http://choirboy51.blogspot.com


Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS
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