Understanding the Baptisms – Part 2

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BAPTISM: NEWNESS OF LIFE

Romans 6:3 — Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 
Galatians 3:27 — For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

These two passages are of the utmost significance because they illustrate the all-important concept that baptism is both the culmination and the beginning of a person’s spiritual journey. The age of the Adamic man has come to an end, and a new age of the man created in Christ is about to begin. How can we arrive at such a result by deduction?

Romans 6:3 explains that when we are baptised, we are not being immersed into Christ’s life but rather into His death. Therefore, according to Paul, baptism marks the end of the Adamic man because it requires the one who is baptised to take on the death of Christ by symbolically representing Christ in His crucifixion.

In the passage that follows, Romans 6:4, Paul discusses “burial” and the newness of life that comes through faith in the resurrection of Christ.

Romans 6:4 — Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. 

Why does he bring up the fact that Christ was laid to rest in conjunction with baptism?

The reason for this is that only the deceased (dead) is laid to rest, and burial symbolises the period of time that passes between death and resurrection. In this way, it also represents the transition into the new understanding of Christ as the source of life, leaving behind the old, more natural ways of relating to God.

Invoking Christ as both the Beginning and the End, he brings to our attention the fact that we have been given a fresh start in Christ by bringing up the topic of the newness of life that came about as a result of the resurrection of Christ.

We are aware that Paul was sent to the Gentiles and that Peter was sent to the Jews; hence, many people argue that Paul’s remark in 1 Corinthians that he was not sent to baptise but rather to proclaim the gospel is solely relevant to the context of the Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 1:17 — For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless. 

They contend that Peter was the one who baptised the Jews, while Paul was the one who baptised the Gentiles. Paul acknowledges that he was the one who baptised Crispus and Gaius. 

1 Corinthians 1:14 — “I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius…”

Acts 18:8 indicated that Crispus was baptised.

Acts 18:8 — Crispus, the president of the synagogue, believed in the Lord together with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard about it believed and were baptized. 

But similarly, the specific baptism by water is not recorded.

Acts 2:41 — So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. 
Acts 8:12-13 — But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed. 
Acts 16:15 — After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us. 
Acts 16:33 — At that hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized right away. 
Acts 19:5 — When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Despite the fact that Paul makes reference to Gaius in Romans 16:23, there is no proof that Gaius was baptised by water. 

Romans 16:23 — Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you. 

APOSTLE PETER

Here are examples of situations in which Peter baptised Jews. 

Acts 2:38 — Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
Acts 2:41 — So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. 
Acts 10:46-48 — for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days. 

However, the practice of baptism by water is only referenced in Acts 10:47–48, despite the fact that Jews participated in a variety of rituals that included washing with water.

JESUS BAPTISED IN THE JORDAN

In addition to these, proponents of the practice of water baptism cling to the fact that Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River. They argue that because Jesus Christ was baptised, all of His followers are required to do the same since He set the example for them. This line of reasoning seems to be pretty reasonable. Let us take a closer look at this debate over the baptism of Jesus.

They believe that this particular event marks the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, which sets the precedent to be followed by everyone, so the proponents of water baptism give the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan the utmost importance.

At this point, we are brought back to the story of the Samaritan woman who first referred to Jesus:

  • A JEW

John 4:9 — So the Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you – a Jew – ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water to drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) 
  • SIR

John 4:11 — Sir,” the woman said to him, “you have no bucket and the well is deep; where then do you get this living water? 
John 4:15 — The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 
  • PROPHET

John 4:19 — The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet

 

This story is told to illustrate the progression of the Samaritan woman’s relationship with Jesus. Her familiarity with Jesus developed in stages over the course of time. 

PROPHET EZEKIEL

When Ezekiel was carried across the water, it was ankle-deep at first, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, and eventually it became a great river that could only be traversed by swimming. This took place as Ezekiel moved from one side of the river to the other.

Ezekiel 47:3-5 — When the man went out toward the east with a measuring line in his hand, he measured 1,750 feet, and then he led me through water, which was ankle deep. Again he measured 1,750 feet and led me through the water, which was now knee deep. Once more he measured 1,750 feet and led me through the water, which was waist deep. Again he measured 1,750 feet and it was a river I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed. 

Ezekiel shows us that there is a stage beyond which man can go based on his own understanding and knowledge, but beyond that, the spirit has to help us swim in the comprehension, understanding, and knowledge of God where no natural thing can lead us. 

Here, too, Ezekiel presents a gradual growth in the comprehension of God, ultimately arriving at a stage where he could not walk but had to swim.

DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE

The same might be said of the event that transpired at Jesus’ baptism. The event of Jesus’ baptism is documented in Matthew, Mark and Luke. However, we will focus on the account provided by Matthew since it is far more in-depth than those provided by Mark or Luke.

Blessings,

Godwin.

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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
Articles: 123

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