Wednesday, 30 January 2013

BAPTISM


   



Foreword

            I praise the Lord for having given me this wonderful opportunity to bring to you this word of greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour JesusChrist. I thank Him for the grace bestowed upon me to write this booklet about Baptism.
            The concept of Baptism is different in the minds of people. I had a chance to hear and clear many people’s “Ideas and concepts” regarding Baptism when I took Baptism classes in the Church. These concepts were unsupported and in a few cases against the teachings of the Bible.
            So in order to clear the misconceptions of people regarding Baptism, I have taken this initiative.
            Read on further to find out what Baptism is and why, how and when it should be taken.
            A person has to receive salvation before he is baptized. Hence before understanding the concept of Baptism according to the Holy Scriptures, we shall first of all find out what salvation is?
            The world that we see today is filled with injustice, folly and treachery. People today are unable to find the way of truth to attain the true heavenly peace. Many false ways have popped up that seem to lead the people to the desired heavenly peace. They are attracted towards those ways but ultimately they end up no where and find out that they have lost their every thing to that false way.
            We desire to lead our life in a specific way but we are unable to control the outcome of events in our life. An un-understandable force of darkness is found gripping our life and we seems to toil and turn in that darkness, in vain. We do not seem to understand or predict the result of our endeavours. Many times in our lives, there comes a situation where victory is evident but due to some unknown, unexpected, unprecedented reason, we face failure. As a result we become mentally defeated, disappointed and weakened. We realise that there is a strong force out there working against us and there by weakening us.
            This realisation has been there from period unknown. The need to get away from the subsequent failures and disappointments has given rise to the religions of today. All these religions and the traditions and customs were born in the brain of the man, who in his own selfish thoughts devised them.
            In due course, the people who followed these religions were further pushed into the evil force of darkness rather than coming away from it. They are yet to receive any good thing from these traditions and customs. On the contrary they are pulled back from the true light. These customs and traditions may, at times, give a self satisfaction but are not the means to receive liberation or salvation from the evil force.
            A few people teach and preach that all religions are the same and that they all direct us to the one and the same God. If we assume that they are right, then why is there a conflict in the ways they teach? For the sake of debate, let us consider the doctrines of Hinduism and Islam. The teachings found in Hinduism are not there in Islam.
            For instance let us ponder the law of marriage.             According to Hinduism, a person can be married to only one living wife. If he marries another woman whilst the first is alive then he is considered to have committed a sin and he is liable for punishment whereas the Islamic law, allows 7 living wives for a man. He cannot be condemned for punishment. In this case if a Hindu who married a second woman is judged unrighteous according to Hinduism and a Muslim who has 7 wives is judged righteous, according to Islam then -
*   What would be God’s Judgement?
*   How would He Judge?
*   Will He do injustice?
*   Is He a God who proposes a different set of laws and rules for each country?
*   If so what is reason behind the emptiness, loneliness and strife of the people following these religions?
*   Why is there no deliverance for these people?
*   Why are they pushed into darkness all the more?





            Religion is a man made way to try and possibly attain God. The traditions and customs involved in following a particular religion differ from place to place, country to country. The destiny of all religions is not God but hell. As Jesus says,
            Let them alone: they be
blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Matthew 15: 14

            Thus religions were invented by certain people in the past to satisfy their own desires and needs. Christianity on the other hand is not a religion (though many proclaim it to be one and yet others try to prove it so). It is a way as the bible says. It is the one and only true way to attain God.
            When we consider the state of a man today it is very pathetic because he has lost the fellowship and the knowledge of the true God. Due to this he has lost the true internal peace and all of them have been led away from God and have sinned.

           And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
           But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
           Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Romans 8: 10-12

            At this point God the Father sends down His own son to die for the sins committed by mankind so as to reconcile and restore the lost fellowship between man and God.

           For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3: 16

            Thus when we trust in him and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour we are redeemed by His blood. We are saved from our sins and hence the joy of salvation flows out in us and we are freed from condemnation.





            And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16: 31
           Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
           And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Acts 3: 20
           Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2: 38
           For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6: 23


ü  Firstly, we should believe that Jesus is Christ and that He is the son of God.
ü  Secondly, we should decide to confess our sins and forsake them.
ü  Thirdly, we must be baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Baptism:

 Baptism will save us.
           And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16: 15, 16

            The reasons for a man’s troubles are his sins and the curses accompanying them. Each and every person is bound by sin and curse right from his birth. There is none who can set us free from all our sins. There is no other way through which the burdens of our sin could be relieved. Jesus Christ is the only way. He is the only one who bore our sins and became a curse for us. He is the only one who made a way for Salvation by dying on the cross at Calvary. This salvation that he earned on the cross at the cost of His own life is made available to all those who come unto him trusting him and confessing their sins. When a man takes this one step towards repentance our Lord Jesus Christ forgives him of all his sins and blesses him with life eternal. Through Baptism this salvation comes unto him.
            The first step towards eternal life is repentance and the next one is baptism. Without baptism salvation does not mean anything the Bible says so. The bible also says that he who does not believe will be condemned so we should see to it that we do not under estimate the salvation we have received. We should be baptised so as to keep away from taking part in the eternal fire. In order to transform us into His image and to be glorified in us God is disciplining us to be His disciple.

 Baptism is the key to God’s Kingdom.
           Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3: 5

            God’s plan is not just our salvation but life through out eternity in His kingdom. What an amazing thing! Before we knew Christ, we lived a life that was subject to the thoughts of our mind but after He comes in, the light of His righteousness shines upon our lives and it takes control over our life.


F Baptism indicates our rebirth.

            When a man accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, he is like a new born baby. Baptism is just a beginning to the glorious life ahead. Baptism depicts the death of the old man inside the water and the birth of a completely new man, washed out of his sins, from the water. He is now the child of God.

F Baptism unites us with His death on the Cross.

            Christ was crucified at a place called Golgotha which means skull. We are descendants of the first man Adam, who sinned against God and due to our own sins we have been condemned to be enslaved to death which is the wage of sin. Paul says in Romans,
           But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
           O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Romans 7: 23,24

            In view of the fact that there is no man-made way to deliver any man from second death which is the hell, God, the Father, owing to His love for mankind, sent down His only begotten Son to die on the Cross.
            The punishments that we ought to get due to our sins were borne by Jesus on the Cross hence the salvation for mankind. Since baptism unites us with His death, we through His death are delivered from all our sins and are made righteous.
            Unless we are united in His death, there is no redemption from sins for us. We cannot receive spiritual blessings and live a victorious life. Some may argue that as we are regular Church goers there is no need for us to be baptised. But Bible says.

           And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
             For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
I Sam 15: 22-23

            God expects obedience. The final judgement will be based on the word.

 Baptism unites us with His resurrection.
           For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
           Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
           For he that is dead is freed from sin.
           Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Romans 6: 5-8

            God resurrected Jesus Christ when He was given to death on the Cross of Calvary. Correspondingly, when we take part in baptism we die to sins and live for righteousness. When we die to sins we are no longer slaves to the sin but liberated.
            The Greek word ‘Anastis’ is used for resurrection. The meaning of this word is to ‘stand against fall’. Glory to God! By uniting us with the image of His resurrection, He has lifted us from the Great fall and has given us the strength to stand against the spirits of flesh and the evil forces of darkness. He has given us the power to be victorious and the grace to enter His kingdom.

 Baptism is equated to the crossing of Red Sea.
            And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1 Cor 10: 2

            God leads Israelites into crossing the red sea. During the time when the Israelites were tortured by the Egyptians, God through Moses redeems the people from their persecutors and leads them to the shores of the Red sea. While crossing the Red sea none of the Israelites were harmed but when the army of the Pharaoh tried to follow the Israelites they were completely destroyed under the water.
            The Pharaoh and his army can be said to depict the sins and curses that follow a person. No person can stand alone and fight against it. But when he commits himself to Jesus Christ and takes part in the Baptism, God destroys our sins and curses in the waters of baptism. Isn’t it a wonderful thing!
            Baptism poses to be an erected wall between us and our sins. To enter Canaan it was necessary that each and every Israelite cross the Red Sea similarly to enter the spiritual Canaan which is God’s eternal kingdom it is necessary that each believer be baptized. This is a wonderful way devised by God to enable us to walk in to His heavenly abode. So let us be obedient unto His word.

 Baptism assures forgiveness from sins.
           Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2: 38

            Peter stresses the importance of getting baptized, to the Jews whose hearts were reformed. It is not just enough if you receive pardon for your sins by confessing them, baptism is needed to make the forgiveness whole. Unless we are baptized the curses and punishment that follow our sins will not be destroyed. The ministry we do or the life we live as a Christian will not stand if we are not baptized.

F Baptism pledges a good conscience towards God.
           The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 3: 21

            During the days of Noah, God proclaimed through Noah that he would destroy the world with water unless all of them repent. Though Noah preached for 120 years none but his family were saved. When the rain came down for forty days only the eight members in the Noah’s family were saved. Similar will be case during the judgement of God. People who are baptized will enter into the safety of the Church which represents Noah’s ark whereas the others will have to face the wrath of God.
            Secondly baptism pledges good conscience, the word says. Each person has two consciences. One is the good conscience and the other a bad conscience. When we lived in sin our acts were justified by bad conscience but when we accept Jesus Christ and take baptism our deeds are controlled and justified by the good conscience hence we can walk according to the rules and regulations of the Word.
            Thirdly it saves us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a continuous process. No man is completely saved from all his misdeeds and actions. As salvation works its way through a person, baptism helps the salvation to be complete during the time of resurrection. When completed during resurrection we can see Christ face to face.

F Baptism is God’s purpose in one’s life.
           But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
Luke 7: 30

            If a man rejects Baptism it means that he has rejected God’s purpose in his life. Baptism is not a traditional or a customary act but a plan of God. If a person misses to accomplish God’s purpose in his life He will be in a pity state. He will be condemned to the eternal fire of destruction in the hell.
            If the Pharisees and the priests who preach the word are warned about this then how much should we be careful about taking baptism. May God give you the realization and the knowledge so as to fulfil His purpose in your life.

Some frequently asked questions regarding Baptism:

ª  Can small children be baptised?
            Child baptism has not been pointed out in the Bible nor has there been any instance recorded. Baptism has to be taken by a person only when he realises that he is a sinner and that he needs the blood of Jesus to cleanse him off it. All these things can not be understood by an infant or a small child. Hence it is irrational to baptize a child.

ª  Can we be just sprinkled by water during baptism or should we be immersed in water completely?
            Again here there is no instance recorded of water being sprinkled upon for the purpose of baptism. Unless we adhere to the said regulations about the immersion baptism we cannot become the bride of Christ. The Church is the bride of Christ hence we have to be obedient to His word. All recorded baptisms are that of immersion baptisms.

           And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
John 3: 23

            If it was correct to be sprinkled then there would be no need to go in search of a place where there was abundance of water. Here John, the Baptist, is seen immersing people into the water in order to give baptism. Moreover if sprinkling water was enough then John would have gone door to door and given them the baptism. But the case is not so.

           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:

Math 3: 16

            Jesus went up from the water, the word says. Unless He went into the water He couldn’t have come up hence it is evident that Jesus was immersed into water. When Jesus Himself in all humility accepted to be immersed for being baptism then why should we question about it?
            The word baptism originates from the word ‘Bapto’ which means immerse in water, sub merge. Thus as the meaning suggests one has to be immersed or submerged in the water.

ª  At what age should a person be baptized?
                        There is no age restriction for taking baptism. Generally when a person enters his teen age he beings to realize and understand the dos and don’ts according to the word. Hence from that age onwards until the age of his death he can be baptized. But it would not be wise to postpone the baptism to a later age when the person is convinced of his need for redemption.

ª  How much time should pass after one has accepted Christ Jesus as their personal Saviour to be baptized? Is there any thing that stands in the way of one’s baptism?
            According to the recorded events in the bible, people were baptized as soon as they turned their hearts to God.


            Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
           And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
           And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Acts 8: 35,37

            When Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, He immediately believed Christ and when they came to a place where there was water, he asked Philip to baptize him. All that was needed of him was a believing heart.
            Thus when a person is convicted of his sins and believes in Christ for his redemption there need not be any further delay in him getting baptized. The time apt for getting baptized should be determined by the measure of faith a person has and not by the number of days passed after being into the experience of Salvation.
            In another instance when Paul was in imprisoned, the jail official and his family were baptized with in the same night of accepting Christ.

           And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
           And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
           And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
           And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Acts 16: 30-33

ª  I am born into a Christian family and have no bad habits nor have I committed any sin to my knowledge. I have accepted Christ and am a regular Church goer. Should I be baptized?
            Yes, definitely. No man can enter heaven because of his deeds. Only those who believe in Jesus and obediently does what the word says will be accepted in His eternal Kingdom.
           For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
           For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Romans 10: 3,4

            Thus it is essential that we submit ourselves to God’s plan which is to be baptized.
          
           And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 10: 48

            Baptism is not given as one’s choice but given as a commandment which has to be obeyed. Hence there is no reason why one should either postpone or refrain from being baptized.


by: Eva.K.Thomas 

4 comments:

  1. Very Informative and essential study on Baptism. Was really an eye opener.

    Pari

    ReplyDelete