Posts tagged ‘absolute redemption in Jesus Christ’

Baptism… its Godly essence!

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.

John 1
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.’

Luke 1
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.

Hosea 4
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.

Acts 16
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).

John 3
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.”

Luke 23
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.

What we ought to know about Good Friday!

To start; from the time Adam disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of right and wrong, Adam received his own standard of righteousness, which was separate from God. This broke the communion between man and his Creator and there was a separation between man and God leading to death in the Spirit of man. This Spirit was what God breathed into Adam when he was formed out of mud, to be made in the image of God, but when man fell short of the glory of God that image was broken and since man was given stewardship over the earth and all that is in it, the earth bore the repercussion of Adam’s fall. It is from Adam that every man has a self-righteousness different from the other and this has brought the world its many ever increasing religions. God’s moral standard for His people has always been to first love God and second to love neighbor as self. In this man is called to love the Lord beyond himself and love His neighbor just as He loves himself but such is not the case with fallen man. Fallen man loves praise which almost equals worship, in his religion too (outside Christ), what he worships is nothing but metaphors of his own rebellious lust, which feeds his sinful desires against God and his neighbor. Eventually what fallen man worships is nothing but himself.

Gen 3
4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

The remedy for this fall was either an eternal death sentence for the Law breaker or that the one who put the Covenant (Law) in place to die (Heb 9:16). Now before the Son of God came as man, He was referred to as the Angel of the Lord i.e. the Arc Angel who was given the names… Michael and Gabriel. From instances such as Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord and Peniel and The Angel of Lord appearing in the burning bush to Moses on Mt. Sinai, we see these so termed ‘Christophany’ in Gen 22 as well. Because it has always been as John 1:18 puts it: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

Gen 22
15 Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

Now coming to the Jesus you and I know, who was born 2000 years ago, He took upon Himself additionally with losing His deity, He took upon Himself every aspect of the nature of man but without sin i.e. He was not subject to Original Sin that came through the posterity of Adam but was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:34-35).

This Almighty God, the Second Person of Holy Trinity bore the humiliation of infirmities of fallen men yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus thereby substituted the eternal death of every man, whom God the Father willed to save. It is important to understand, concerning Jesus’ death that so far as He is God, His communion with God remained at the bosom of His Father even on the cross but in the state of His sinless humanity, who bore the sins of His people in His body (1Pe 2:24), He was despicable in the sight of God and God poured out His full wrath without any mitigating factor. Theologically speaking, God did not die for us but it was the sinless state of Christ as man who died for us because God cannot die. God is immutable (unchanging) and the Man nature of Christ was a foreordained addition eternity past rather than an amendment in God the Son.

So Christ endured the full humiliation in the state of man, right from being conceived, where the world and apostate Judaism denied Him His absolute and rightful homage; humiliation going right up to the cross. It was Christ in the state of sinless man who endured this, the worst of which was when God turned His face from Him in disgust for the sin Christ as man carried in His body… but so far as Jesus is God …the Son of God… His communion with God was never broken because the nature of Sin can never stand before the presence of a Holy God, so it was in His humanity that He carried the sins of His people and not in His Deity as the Son of God. As theologian Joseph Morecraft puts it: the statement ‘God died for His people’ is a heretical statement and when Jesus said to the thief that ‘this day you will be with me in paradise’ it refers to the omniscience (Knowing All) and omnipresence (Present Everywhere) of God the Son when the thief entered the kingdom of heaven. Further it must be stated that Christ rested from His redemptive works only when He sat down at the right hand of God the Father (John 20:17), so when He said on the cross… ‘it is finished’, He was speaking only in anticipation of His redemptive work.

Act 2
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

We thereby understand that as much as Christ was human, He was required to deal with the complete wages of sin and that included His soul descending to hell and his body lying dead in the tomb, making Him still subject to humiliation because it says so in Isaiah that God was pleased to crush Him. Yet because he carried sin in His flesh though He was without sin, He was subject to undergo every aspect of divine wrath including hell. However as the Old Testament scripture prophesizes, that God will not let His body be left to decay and He has seen the travail of His soul and be satisfied, and so He was raised to life having overcome sin and death for His Church.

Acts 2
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption
.

When Jesus resurrected on the third day, He rose accomplishing redemption: the mightiest work of God known to His people since creation because through the redemptive work of the cross He reconciled all things to Himself. It is this reason that the Redemptive Sabbath, the day God rested from His Redemptive works is celebrated over the Creation Sabbath, the day God rested from His Creation works. When the Lord Jesus Christ met the disciples after His Resurrection (John 20:19-23), He breathed on them said “Receive the Holy Spirit”, which was indicative that the Spiritual life Adam lost for every man was restored for the elect in Christ.

Gen 2 (Creation Account)
7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

John 20 (Redemptive Account)
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

This Living Spirit is made available to all whom God the Father brings into Salvation in His Son. Today God the Holy Spirit teaches concerning Jesus’ redemptive works through God breathed Scripture, to sustain this restored living spirit and image of God.

2Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 4
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

To conclude, I’d like to state that this Good Friday message is therefore as 1John4:10 puts it, that it is not that we loved God first but He loved His people out of no merit of their own and sent his Son to be the propitiation for their sins.

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