Baptism is a misunderstood and in the majority of cases misinterpreted concept in the Christian Churches (Christendom) worldwide. Its practitioners (priests, pastors etc.) are almost universally carrying out what they have been taught and directed to do by their Church theologians, (seminaries). Hardly any of them have done an original study themselves of the Word of God to check that their training and teaching conforms with what Scripture teaches. The standard teaching on Baptism would forbid what follows below.
Baptism in Scripture is a word in the English Bible which is exclusive to the New Testament. One word has been used by the translators when in fact others would have been more precise. A study of the New Testament will show that there is comment on various Baptisms i.e. Baptised into Moses, 1Cor. 10:2, and the Apostle Paul talks about not wanting to Baptise in case people considered his Baptism to be different from the ultimate Baptism into the death and resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Paul’s wisdom showed in that he knew he had been commissioned by Christ to bring understanding to the Jews (if they would take it) and latterly to the Gentiles, that the Baptism into Christ’s death vicariously was the one and only way of achieving the Salvation that was being offered by Almighty God.
The figurative Baptism of John, who was the Forerunner, although valid at the moment of John’s ministry, was subsequent to the teaching of the Jewish priesthood and went against their teaching; which is why they opposed it vehemently; (the Jewish priesthood had developed their own interpretations of Law, since Ezra, and were misleading and mis-teaching the Jewish people regarding the Salvation of God, Jewish Scriptures:
The reason the Almighty was giving this relatively simple example for the Jewish nation via. John, was to oppose the corrupt teaching which had been developed by the Jewish priesthood. It was also one of the instances in Scripture showing a change in the rules governing God’s dealing with His people; and was a figurative water washing to show that the One who followed John (Jesus the Christ), as John had stated “will Baptise with fire and the Holy Spirit” Matt. 3:11.
Some of the different uses of the word Baptism are as follows. Our Lord used the term to relate to His torture, crucifixion, reviling, and bearing the Sin of the world vicariously for all people who would look to Him for their Salvation, in the following verses. Matt. 20:22, Mark 10:38, Luke 12:50 and others.
John the Baptist and his water Baptism is referred to in Matt. 3:6, Mark 1:4, Mark 1:9, Luke 3:3-4 and Luke 7:29.
A reference to Baptism by the Holy Spirit is shown in Mark 1:8.
During the Acts period, when Christ was still on offer to the Jews as their long promised Messiah, their transitional period from Acts 2 which ended at Acts 28:28, has reference to Baptism as follows Acts 10:30-48, Acts 13:24, Acts 18:25 and Acts 19:3-4. (See: Bible Dispensations).
Post Acts 28:28, is the current Age and has been in force since Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah. Our Lord stated “it is finished” and the veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom, allowing access to the Almighty direct. The current Age has the following references to the act of Baptism. Rom. 6:3-11, Eph. 4:4-5, Col. 2:12-13 and 1Pet. 3:21. This current Age which will end when Israel is again adopted as “My people” (Ammi), allows people to accept the Grace of the Almighty in Christ, in simple trust (which must be true), at which point the person is sealed in Heavenly places, and the Spirit of Christ enters them in an act of occupation, washing (Baptism).
Many so called Christian groups demand an act of Baptism in water as a condition of membership to their group. Others link water Baptism to that of the sincere individual act of Christ conversion as essential to the converted state. There are many variations to this formulation, arrived at by the various Churches over the last two millennia.
The truth is that according to Scripture the individual who sincerely takes Christ into their lives and themselves is already Baptised by the Holy Spirit (of Christ).
The practicality remains, that if a group of true Christians can be found, it is often a good demonstration publicly of the new state of the individual to undergo a water Baptism, but only as a witness to the outside world that the individual has identified themselves with the death and resurrection of their Lord and Saviour. However, the Enemy as always through men, corrupts the intention in the water Baptism, to reduce and limit the true Baptism which was invisible.
The decision must always be individual as to whether to undergo water Baptism. It is the opinion of the writers that where it is undertaken, the individual should be allowed to state verbally what the true Baptism is, and that this water Baptism is only symbolic of that.
When a true Christian is seeking to join a true Bible based grouping, the leadership of that grouping should willingly produce a statement of their teaching on water Baptism, which will give the individual the necessary information for the decision.
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