Wednesday, April 15, 2015

THE PURPOSE OF ADULT PENITENT BAPTISM

Paul said to the Galatians, "26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who werebaptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3:26,27

How does "baptized into Christ" in Galatians 3:27 make vs 26 clearer? Christians agree that we become God's children by faith.  Why does the Apostle Paul bring up Baptism? There is a relationship between vs 26 and 27. But what is the relationship between baptism and faith? Vs 27 says the one that is baptized "has clothed himself with Christ". Since Paul says, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ", the opposite would be that "you who are not baptized into Christ have not clothed yourselves with Christ."

I think we have to agree that being a son of God by faith (vs 26) and being clothed with Christ (vs 27) point to the justified or saved reality. But why don't you see that Baptism is the point the Galatians were united with Christ, buried with Him, and raised to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-5; Col 2:12,13)? Faith without baptism is no different than faith without repentance or confession. Faith alone doctrine is not what pleases God. God wants obedient faith (Rom 1:5; 16:26 1 Thess 1:3). Since faith, the saving kind of faith, works and is obedient, baptism does no harm to the doctrine of salvation by faith.

Do you know that John the Baptist baptized for remission of sins? And Jesus said you must be born again - born of water and spirit. Immediately after He spoke this truth to Nicodemus, Jesus and the disciples went out baptizing people, John 3.

This "born again" language is picked up by Peter who says, "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pt 1:3 AND "22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." 1 Pt 1:22. Being born again is God's work. And being born again cannot be accomplished apart from the Word of God.

But notice something Peter says in 1:3 that the we are born again to a living hope THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

This new birth work of God is possible only through the resurrection of Christ. That's where the power is.

Now look at 1 Peter 3:21 that says, "baptism now saves you", the way Noah was saved through the waters of the flood, and if we momentarily remove the parenthetical explanation of vs 21, we get this: "baptism saves you....through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The power for being "born again" is God, the blood, and the resurrection of Christ. So Peter makes it clear that "baptism now saves you"! He isn't suggesting you or I put our faith in the water just as Noah's faith was not in the water. Noah's faith was in God who saved Noah through the water. And our faith when being baptized isn't in the water, but it is in God who saves us through the water. Faith isn't in the water, the work, not in anything but in God. But there is no new birth without going down to the water.

And do you know what you are to be doing when you go down into the water? The following verses, Acts 2:21,38; Acts 22:16. Back to 1 Peter 3:21, have Peter saying that baptism is an appeal to God for a clean conscience. Joel said that "everyone that calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." 17 verses later, Peter tells the people with pricked hearts HOW to call on Him according to Joel's prophecy; they call on the name of the Lord by repenting and being baptized. Take note, also, that Ananias said to Saul, "now why do you delay? arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, CALLING ON HIS NAME." Acts 22:16. When you are being baptized, you are convicted that you are lost and you are calling on God's grace to cleanse your conscience.  This is very important to understand.

The Gospel saves and nothing else can save. But the Gospel saves only when it is obeyed. What will be the outcome for those who do not obey, not believe but obey, the Gospel? The answer is clear. See Romans 10:16; 2 Thess 1:8,9; 1 Peter 4:16. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a participation in the Gospel. In it, sinners can be buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. If taught according to the New Testament, men will be convicted for their sins, repent, and seek to be baptized. God will hear the prayer of a soul appealing for a clean conscience. They come out of the water born again by the power that is in the resurrection of Christ. Bless you. Dan

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