Posts tagged ‘repentance leading unto salvation’

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.

The Fallen Perception of Man!

If you were to ask the Antinomian or Arminian if there was a change in the nature of God progressing from the Old Testament to the New Testament, they would not have an answer that is grounded in sound thinking. People such as these question God’s Sovereignty in the election of His people in the New Testament and the election which is right in their face in the Old Testament is excused with view leaning towards the Dispensationalist.

Reading through the Old Testament, one can see that the prophets warned His people about the punitive justice of God that would come upon them for their apostasy. God used the heathen nations to strike strong reproof on this Nation He chose. The thing is today people who claim to believe in Jesus resort to the dialoguing tool of free will that ‘man chooses Christ’. The question that arises from this is that if man can truly choose Christ then it will seem that free will came into existence only with the New Testament revelation and human volition was nonexistent with the Old Testament saints. Yes, man does have free will but like everything else free will exist and has its meaning only under the Sovereign will of God. For all things that exist work to glorify His attributes of justice, mercy, love, wrath etc. equally. So as the Bible says that God does all things to meet His own purpose, free will was given to man to make man morally accountable to God and it so happens that what God decrees, man freely chooses, where it is the intentions that rival God that are judged for such is shown in Isaiah 10.

The Bible says that God reproves the people whom He loves and we see even in the New Testament that a rebellious believer is given over to Satan that he may be saved from eternal fire (1 Cor 5:5). Taking a run through history, it is seen that when the Church carelessly dealt with rampant corruption of sound Biblical doctrine that was the very time She was smitten. I will agree that ‘the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church’ but how would you define a Martyr? If you care to notice: the Martyrs were the seeming minority against the seeming majority of the people of God. As the Bible says, it is the people who take the life of believers, who are under the notion that it is a good thing they are doing for God (John 16:2). We see that so much even today that the Church is attacked not only by pseudo religious extremist but also by those who claim to be the Church.

When God smote his people in the Old Testament, the prophets would cry out calling the people to repentance and those foreordained repented wearing ashes and sack cloth. Today when God smites nations, who earlier had a good foundational relationship with Him through His Son Jesus, there is never a call of repentance unto Christ but there is a call to action supposedly. The reprobate think, they never offended the aggressor to the extent of deserving such an onslaught and so unbelief rules where God becomes non-existent and the people never acknowledge their sin against God but play the blame game instead. Unbelief fails to see the aggressors as God’s punitive justice; this is the same unbelief of the people who failed to respond in repentance to the cries of the prophets in the Old Testament. However the aggressors are as much in God’s control (Gen 15:16) as are natural catastrophes, which will exist only until His full purpose with them is accomplished.

When we think of Jesus’ words on the cross: Father forgive them for they know not what they do! One feels the need to discern on whose behalf is He making this intercessory prayer? Considering that Christ died for the sins of His people, one can conclude that He as the only mediator between God and man is making this prayer for the Church that the elect among the Jews and Gentiles may receive the Spirit of Repentance and no longer continue in their apostate rebellion.

Psalms 116
6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.

What makes a person believe in Jesus and come to repentance is receiving the Holy Spirit, Whom God sends to His foreordained elect. The believer is known when he is transformed each day into Christ likeness, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. However many apostate denomination relate the work of the Spirit largely with un-interpretable gibberish. Had the gift of tongues existed today as it did with the early Church, it would testify of that Spiritual body as being from God, which today observing the Charismatics seems to speak otherwise.

As Isaiah 53 credits even the salvation of the Old Testament Saints to Christ’ work on the cross, we can say that the Church has existed since Adam and even before that in the mind of God. As everything works for the good of those whom He has called according to His purpose, even the harshest of admonishing and considered but birth pains (Romans 8:22), for the world is heading for its renewal and restoration in Christ.

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