Attended mass today at a Roman Catholic Church & must say I was impressed to hear some sound Biblical preaching… which is always welcome among those Catholics/Christians, who are not embarrassed of the Gospel for its incapacity to please people’s love for sin.
The Priest sought to explain why Jesus was baptized though He is/was without sin. If we are to understand the nature of Jesus Christ, we must know that He is fully God & also fully man. Sacraments instituted in the Church are only those, which Christ has established. Now concerning baptism, it is circumcision carried forward from the Old Testament. As Isaac was circumcised when he was 8 days old (Gen 21:4), so too Jesus was circumcised when He was an infant (Luke 2:21)! Knowing John was only a few months older than the man Jesus Christ, the baptism of Jesus as an infant is ruled out.
32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
1 John 5
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.
10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.
11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
The Baptism of Christ is therefore seen that is was not about Christ having sin in Himself to required repentance but that the testimony of God be witnessed concerning His Son, that the Lord Jesus Christ is thee Messiah, anointed by the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32-33 & Lk 34-35).
Genesis 17 (Circumcision was given to MEN ONLY, as being dedicated to the Lord)
12 And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.
Romans 2 (Baptism is given to MEN & WOMEN, as being dedicated to the Lord)
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Knowing Baptism replaces Circumcision (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), infant baptism is hence Biblical. However many disagree with this, even among those who were baptized as infants, as I too once did. It must be understood that parents baptizing their children as infants, are taking the responsibility of bringing their children up to know and serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). So it is that these children baptized as infants and unfortunately later as adults again (Eph 4:5), are unable to decipher that the poor Godly stewardship their parents exercised over them, is the reason they found interest in God outside their immediate family. Such is the spiritual ignorance (Hos 4:6) most Christian households are dealing with. As it is with any conversation you have, it is very important to see scripture in the context of scripture, to know what God is speaking out, to you, through the 66 books of the Bible. Adult baptisms as adult circumcisions (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), were only required by new converts to Christianity (Spiritual Israel) and such was not just given them as individuals but to their whole household (Acts 16:27-33) including children.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
What is essential in baptism is a heart ready to receive the Lord. If you have a heart filled with love for yourself, you can recite your baptismal promises till Christmas comes and goes without making any difference in your life.
Understanding that the Church is Israel (Eph 2:11-13) since Adam i.e. counted as Abrahams spiritual descendants (Gal 3:29), we learn that Baptism points to being born of God (Jn 3:3) as in born from above, so that our hearts may proclaim Jesus is Lord and believe in His resurrection as victory over death (Rom 10:8-11). Now to steer of the Charismatic definition of Holy Spirit baptism, I need to state (Jn 3:3, 19-21 & 16:8-13)- that being born from above has to do with being convicted as a sinner in the light of God’s majesty unto repentance to believe the Gospel (Mk 1:15)& so receive the righteousness of God over our own (Jn 12:24-26).
18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
To conclude, I must state: one who repents of Himself to receive Christ as Lord is saved though he/she may not be baptized before they fall asleep but this cannot easily excuse those who refuse or delay their baptism out of: the fear of men OR out of the overwhelming love they may have for themselves.