Among believers today there seems to be a lack of awareness of the importance of water baptism. Therefore, I have chosen to write about it. I am hoping to bring a full revelation to our hearts and minds as to the necessity of following through on one of the first principle of the oracles of God in the authoritative writings given to us. There are other baptisms in this first principle. Water baptism is the gateway to the others. It is not a carnal ordinance but spiritual, so let’s discover why. In fact, let’s discover who, what, where, why, when, and how! But not necessarily in that order.
There are certain believers who have a revelation of the truth on water baptism. It saddens us to say there has been a wall built around it. Let’s take the wall down! OK? Can you do that? If we do not cut ourselves off from each other, we can learn from each one as we yield to the Spirit, then, in love, consider another’s viewpoint.
Among the pages of the Old Covenant are pictures of many things that find their fulfillment in the New Covenant. Water baptism is one of them.
We all know the story of the Israelites making their Exodus out of Egypt. But do we all know the story within the story that foreshadows the commission Jesus gave us to be water baptized?
God’s people were in captivity for 430 years at the time He raised up Moses as their deliverer. Moses had confronted king Pharaoh 9 times to let his people go, but each time he refused and then God would send a plague. The tenth time, Pharaoh relented because of the final plague that came, and then and only then, he said the people could go free.
So, with Moses leading, the Israelites left Egypt to go to the land of their ancestors, the promised land. However, after their departure, Pharaoh changed his mind.
Exodus 14:5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and the mind of his servants changed towards the people, and they said, “what is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us”? So, he made ready his chariot and took his army with him.
Pharaoh and his army overtook the Israelites at the Red Sea. Were the Israelites trapped? Not in God’s eyes. He was about to judge Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites from Egypt.
So, God says to Moses, “Wherefore why criest unto me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift up thy rod and stretch forth thy hand over the sea and divide it: and the children of Israel will go on dry ground through the midst of the sea”.
The waters parted! The Israelites went across the Red Sea on dry land. Pharaoh and his army pursued them, and the waters returned upon their heads and drowned the Egyptians. (Egypt is a type or a sign that points to the flesh). This is what symbolically happens when we are water baptized. Our flesh goes under the water just like Pharaoh did and is to be forever considered mortified – dead but living. This is why Revelation 11:1-2 says not to measure it.
Hmmmm, since Pharaoh was an enemy of the believers, maybe we could also say water baptism has a way of dealing with him also. Well, perhaps we will get some inspirational thoughts on this before we finish this article.
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your earthly members… then there are following verses that continue to tell us what those deeds are. Whenever you find yourself committing any of these acts, remind yourself that you buried that old man in the waters of baptism and do not measure it… Instead measure your inner man and see how he is growing day by day.
Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that those of us who have been baptized into Jesus Christ have been baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, so that as Jesus Christ rose from the dead by the glory of his Father, even so we also shall walk in a new life.
So, do you want to follow through with God’s instructions? (Not man’s ideas, but God’s instructions from His word)
Let’s consider then, WHO should be baptized?
1st Corinthians 10:1-4 Moreover brethren, I want you to know that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; And all were baptized by Moses, both in the cloud and in the sea; And all ate the same spiritual food: And all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.
Which one of the Israelites who had escaped Egypt chose to stay behind when the waters were parted?
We will let that sink in! No pun intended.
Get the picture? Who, in their right mind, when Moses led them to the shore, would disobey and not continue to follow him? Consider for a moment, that you were one of those Israelites standing on the shore, and you saw the Egyptian army coming towards you with their weapons of war. You knew if you did not take the chance that those waters would stay parted and run for your life, you would most surely be killed anyway. It is not likely that you would ponder this situation for very long, but you would do just as they did and high tail it across the dry ground.
We were crucified with Him in Galatians 2:20, so we should also be buried with Him in the waters of baptism. Understandably then, the answer to WHO should be water baptized is: ALL – All believers should be water baptized.
So, why do so many believers hesitate concerning water baptism? Many treat it like it is not all that important. Many think it is just an “OUTWARD” witness to others that they have accepted Christ. But, we hope to prove that it is a whole lot more than that!
1st Peter 3:18-21 For Christ also once suffered for our sins, a just man for sinners, that he might bring you to God, wherefore while he died in the flesh, he lives in the Spirit. And he preached to the souls imprisoned in Sheol. Those who in the past were disobedient; and in the days of Noah, when the Spirit of God had patience, he commanded an ark to be made in the hope of their repentance, but only eight souls entered into it, and were saved by its floating upon the water. You also are saved (made whole) in that very manner by baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh), but by confessing God with a clean conscience and by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The above verses are not suggesting that water baptism saves you as “in your new birth in Christ experience”, but rather answers the WHY: So that you may have a clean conscience before God! Save often means “to be made whole” – It is the Greek word: sozo We follow God’s continuing revelation to be made whole. We do not park on our initial salvation. This is why Peter said in 1st Peter 1:23 “BEING” (active) born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever. A revelation of this first principle of the oracles of God is necessary to come into wholeness. So. the answer as to WHY I should be baptized is: to continue in God’s purpose in becoming whole.
Proverbs 29:18 Without a vision, people perish. Vision means “continued revelation”.
Acts 2:36-38 Therefore let “ALL” the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this very Jesus whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. When they heard these things, their hearts were touched and they said to Simon and the rest of the apostles, Our brethren, WHAT shall we do? Then Simon said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, so that you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We have several things to say about this. Peter is speaking to the Jews. They had been baptized UNTO repentance under John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:11 I am only baptizing you with water unto repentance; but he who is coming after me is greater than I, one whose shoes I am not worthy to remove; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Now Peter is telling them they must change their mind about that water baptism and be re-baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for God had made him both Lord and Christ. They had only been water baptized UNTO the time of REPENTANCE… (not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). It is not like Peter was giving them any option. It wasn’t “this is what you can do if you want to”! He flat out told them “WHAT” they were to do. Then they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Many people today receive the gift of the Holy Spirit before they are water baptized, but I believe it was not so with the Jews. They were commissioned by Peter to repent and be baptized to receive this precious gift. It was because they were actually repenting by changing their minds from the law with its flesh works unto faith in Jesus Christ.
Another believer gave me a thought on the “for” remission of sins that Peter referred to in Acts 2. He said that it is very difficult in some scriptures when it comes to prepositions as it requires an in-depth knowledge of the language. He told me that this particular “for” means “because of”. Now, I have no way of verifying that, but it makes sense to me as we know we “DO” nothing except receive Jesus Christ to be saved by faith. It fits with the scripture that says: “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”. We need only to change our lord (which is our SELF) by receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord, even as the Jews changed from the law to faith. A true faith produces work, which in this case is being water baptized. So, the answer to “What” do we do is: be water baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 19:5
WHERE AND WHEN
Acts 8: 36-37 And as they went 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 you believe with all thine heart, you may”. So, the answer to “WHEN” is whenever a person believes, and wherever there is water is the answer to: “WHERE” should a person be baptized!
Interesting note: There was no audience, no one to witness his water baptism! Except of course the baptizer and Jesus, but so often it is taught that water baptism is for others to witness your decision. Can you show me that in the scriptures? I’m not really faulting anyone; I am just pointing out our need to understand this particular first principle of the gospel.
Acts 8:38 And Philip said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. And he commanded the chariot to stand still and they both went DOWN into the water: both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. This scripture tells us that immersion is the mode of baptism used in the New Testament. The Greek word for baptism is baptizo and it means to “make whelmed” (fully wet). So immersion is one answer to “HOW”, but we have another answer on this also.
Another HOW! – What name did the apostles use when they baptized people, and why is that important? The apostles followed the commission in Matthew 28 given by Jesus himself: “Go therefore, and convert all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit“.
Surely the apostles knew the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even as my husband is a father and grandfather, all 3 titles having a different role, so also is God. We could look at water, steam, and ice in the same manner. Do you think they knew His name? Pause and think about this.
If you said “yes”, then I would think that it would be very important to you to find out what name they used. Why is that important? Now this is a very very needful question. I’m glad I asked God to please give me the answer to it.
The importance lies in understanding the realm of Spirit that is affected by everything we say when we follow God and His instructions. Remember God spoke and “light was”! Words create. Many tend to think that because we can’t see anything happening, the name we use doesn’t really matter. But, I tend to think that the spiritual realm is more real than what I can see with my eyes. Do you see the wind? Do you think it is important to follow the word of God?
Identification! Water baptism is about identification. We can all identify with the Jews when they crucified Jesus. We are all guilty of His death. We have “ALL” sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. What a dilemma we are in! As was the question of the Jews, so our question needs to be “what must we do”? Remember, Peter said, repent and be baptized!
Our need is to change our identification in the world of the Spirit. Or we can say we need to be identified differently by the powers of that world. So, God made a way for us to take on a different identification. It is a matter of identifying with Him, in His death and resurrection. If I say in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- and a Muslim is hearing it- he could think it is his father, son and holy spirit… well, so could the spirit world. So, is it important!? I believe so! I’m in good company. The apostles believed it too! The demons recognized Jesus and Paul, but not the 7 sons of Sceva. Those sons did not have their identification in Jesus Christ, so the demons just scoffed at them, just like Pharaoh, until the Israelites went through the Red Sea.
The apostles obviously knew the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Otherwise, they were in disobedience to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Why did they use the name of Jesus Christ? They knew he was their 3 in 1 God. The demons know he is the 3 in 1 God. There is only one God! The scriptures are replete with this understanding.
Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is no other God; and there is none like me.
Exodus 15:26a And said to him, if you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God… Jesus is Lord, He is God come in the flesh!
Again, remember Peter said to the Jews: Repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus!
To “NOT” be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, would be the same thing as in Noah’s day when people refused to hear and identify with what Noah was saying and so they did not get in the ark. People tend to steer clear of the matter by saying, “it is a heart thing”. Well, since it is a heart thing, wouldn’t your heart want to follow the instructions in God’s word rather than someone else? Or do you use a different name than “Jesus” to cast out demons. Same difference. Words mean things and are full of power.
There are so many more scriptures that testify of the Lord Jesus Christ being the only God of humanity and therefore the name we not only want to identify with, but to notify the realm of Spirit that we not only belong to Jesus Christ, but we have His power and authority, even as I received power and authority when I changed my name from Howard to that of Morris. That gave me the power and authority of my natural husband. Try to cash a check without out it and the bank will say…the same thing as the sons of Sceva, “Who are you”? Now that is exciting! WHAT name? Jesus Christ! There is power in that name! So the words we use when baptizing someone answers another HOW? Remember, words effect the realm of Spirit; they create! What would have happened when God was creating the earth if He said, “Let there be death”. Pause and think about that!
My personal testimony of what happens when water baptism is taught right:
For those of you who do not know, my husband and I rented 5 homes to evangelize the homeless. We housed, fed, jobbed, and taught the word of God for 7 years in the Centralia and Chehalis, Washington area. One year we were apprised as to how many water baptism’s there were in all the churches in the area. We discovered that we had baptized more than all the churches combined. One man told us that he had been in church for 14 years and never saw one person baptized. The above article is what was taught in our homes. It brought conviction. I was one of those who believed that water baptism was not that big of a deal but was baptized again in the name of Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit opened this up to me. I am so blessed that He did.
I SURE HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE: BONNIE