Water-Baptism – BT6

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Water-baptism is a required part of the ‘Great Commission’ to go and make disciples of all nations

 

 

 

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We touched on this already in Water-Baptism – BT2In the ‘Great Commission’ of Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said to His apostles to:  “Definitively/wholly poreuomai already having therefore ‘transported/gone to another place,’ [I strongly urge you to] definitively/wholly matheteuo make-disciples-of ALL the nations, routinely baptizo water-baptizing them eis ‘toward and reaching the goal of’ the [singular] name/authority of-the Father and/coupled of-the Son and/coupled of-the Holy Spirit, routinely teaching them to tereo ‘watch-carefully/guard to maintain/preserve/keep-intact’ hosos how-ever-many that I have entollomai ‘officially decreed/commanded as universally-binding’ you.”

 

The parallel passage in Mark 16:15-16 has Jesus saying a similar thing: “Definitively/wholly poreuomai already having ‘transported/gone to another place,’ eis ‘toward and reaching the goal of’ the pas whole world [of people], [I strongly urge you to] definitively/wholly kerusso proclaim-herald-preach [the logos message of] the gospel to pas all that creation.  The [one] who has definitively/wholly had trusting-relying-faith kai and/coupled definitively/wholly has been baptizo water-baptized shall actually be saved; however, the [one who] had definitively/wholly not-had-trusting-relying-faith will be condemned.”   This passage is usually considered the earlier, shorter version of the ‘Great Commission.’  Notice the same structure of assuming they have already ‘gone into the whole world”, the imperative’s strong-urging of Jesus, but here Matthew’s “disciple-making by routinely water-baptizing” of Matthew’s “all the nations” or Mark’s “the whole world [of people] . . . all that creation [of people]” must therefore equate to “proclaiming/preaching the gospel that brings the whole world’s people to take 2 coupled required actions in order to “actually be saved”:  1) “definitively/wholly have trusting-relying-faith kai and/coupled 2) “definitively/wholly be baptizo water-baptized.”  And the opposite of this that meets with condemnation is simplified to “NOT definitively/wholly having trusting-relying-faith.”  Adjoined phrases in Greek are NOT separate ideas but the same parallel idea described 2 ways for clarification and emphasis, much like poetic stanzas are.  As we have seen in previous BLOGs and Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15, the NT writers understood that genuine trusting-relying-faith that actually saves you is a process of 5 steps – see Salvation – BT1.  And here we see here that this last opposite “condemnation” phrase in parallel means that that not being condemned salvation thus requires a trusting-relying-faith that includes water-baptism, made even clearer by the kai coupling of trusting-relying-faith to water-baptism!

 

Let’s now ‘unpack’ Matthew’s version:  “Go” and “make disciples” are both Greek aorist tense verbs that tell of the timing – the chronology relative to the other actions in the verses.  The aorist passive participle of poreuomai “go” is better translated, “You-all [11 apostles], already having been [passively] definitively/wholly transported to other destinations [by My orders and thru the Holy Spirit as we see in the book of Acts].  The aorist participle puts this in the past relative to the other verbs in the sentence of “making disciples, water-baptizing, and teaching.”  It is assumed they will be ‘marching’ to other ports!

 

The Greek verb matheteuo formake-disciples-of” is used only 3 other times.  In Matthew 27:57 it literally means, “who also himself was disciple-by Jesus.”  In Matthew 13:52 it’s translated “has become-a-disciple-of … the kingdom of heaven.”  In Acts 14:21, it is translated “had made-many-disciples” as something done additionally to preaching the gospel logos message. This could explain why Mark 16:15-16’s shorter version of the ‘Great Commission’ doesn’t mention “disciple-making” – Jesus assumed it in the preaching of the gospel, but by Matthew’s version and Acts 14:21, clarification needed to be made? It should have been common knowledge that a disciple is one who “voluntarily takes on the disciplines given to him by his leader in the process of learning from and following him.”

 

Jesus said His disciples would have to make hard choices to follow Him, even leaving family members (a), bearing your own cross of self-denial and of persecution from others (b), and renouncing everything for Jesus (c).  You can’t just agree with His gospel logos message for a little while, you have to meno ‘abide, remain, continue, live with’ His gospel logos message in order to actually be set free (d).  An endurance of trusting-relying-faith is required to be truly saved – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT16Unconditionally-loving one another proves we are His disciples, and is our only true witness to the world (e), for certainly this is the “proving” fruit that glorifies the Father (f).  The only 2 NT commandments of “Trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-love” are intergrally tied together throughout the NT – see Only 2 Commandment – BT6. <Notes> a) Luke 14:26, b) Matthew 16:24; Luke 14:27, c) Luke 14:33, d) John 8:31, e) John 13:35, f) John 15:8.

 

Jesus didn’t use the imperative to strongly urge the apostles to “make believers” or people who simply ‘mentally-agree with’ the gospel logos message they preached about Jesus as their Messiah or Savior – that’s not the definition of having pistis trusting-relying-faith – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT2.  Nor to get people to simply confess the Creeds of the Christian faith, because that is not the definition of repentance – see  Surrender Control or the meaning of confession – see also Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15.

 

A “disciple” is much more – those who have made Jesus the Lord/Master of their life – and Jesus is about to further define the “disciple-making” process in Matthew’s account.  The earliest confessions of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith were “Jesus is Messiah-Savior and Lord!”  Here the imperative verb “make-disciples-of” is indicating Christ’s central strong-urging for which all the other verbs relate.  It’s assumed that once the 11 apostles have poreuomai already ‘transported/gone to another place’ that it was for the purpose of “making disciples,” not just enjoying the view, doing business, or just preaching the gospel.  Again, the aorist tense means that Christ is viewing the action as a whole, for certainly discipleship is a lifetime process.  Because of the imperative Jesus could also be emphasizing it definitively – “get it done as good as done!” Now, the next 2 present participles actually describe adjectively what goes on in “making disciples.”

 

The present active participle of baptizo Water-baptizing is better translated, “you-all [11 apostles], ‘routinely as a lifestyle habit’ be water-baptizing.”  Yes, water-baptizing people was supposed to be their habit of “making disciples” or followers of Jesus.  It’s erroneous to think that you can be saved without being a follower of Jesus – “whoever does absolutely-in-fact-NOT presently/ongoingly takes up his cross and/coupled presently/ongoingly follows Me is absolutely-in-fact-NOT worthy of Me” (a), and “My sheep akouo hear/listen-to-understand/know My Voice and/coupled I experientially, relationally ginosko know THEM and/coupled THEY follow Me” (b), and “If anyone serves Me, he MUST follow Me – and/so where I AM, there will also be My servant” (c).  Thee will be a lot of so-called ‘Believers’ of Jesus at Judgment Day who never became followers/disciples of Jesus because they were never water-baptized, but then in actuality they are “absolutely-in-fact-NOT worthy of Jesus” and are “NOT His sheep or relationally known by Him” and certainly are “NOT His servants to be where Jesus is now.”  What a rude awakening it will be for them to face hell instead! <Notes> a) Matthew 10:38, 16:24, cf. 8:22, 19:21; Mark 8:34, 10:21; Luke 9:23, 59, 18:22, b) John 10:27, c) John 12:26.

 

But that’s not all is required for “making-disciples!”  The next present active participle is didasko “teaching,” but in context this doesn’t mean teaching them to obey everything that Jesus taught about on every subject – and remember, most never got written down (a).  Too many preachers have made this their mission but it wasn’t Christ commission.  If it were, you would never finish working with even 1 believer in order to make Him a disciple!  Nope!  Jesus said instead: “routinely as a lifestyle habit’ teaching them to tereo ‘watch-carefully/guard to maintain/preserve/keep-intact’ hosos how-ever-many/ that I have entollomai ‘officially decreed/commanded as universally-binding’ you.”  A careful study will reveal only 2 such commandments in the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant, so perfectly combined in 1 John 3:23:  “And this is God’s [singular] entole commandment:  that we should definitively/wholly have trusting-relying-faith in the name/authority of His Son Jesus Christ and/coupled presently/ongoingly should unconditionally-love one-another-reciprocally, just as He (Jesus Christ) already has given [singular] entole commandment to us.  This was the catechism taught as part of the gospel logos message to become disciples.  The 1st entole commandment from the Father is directed to unbelievers to enter into His unconditional-love – see Logos Word of God – BT15.  The 2nd entole commandment from the Son is directed to believers to live His life of unconditional-love thru them for witness/testimony to bring the kingdom of God to earth – see Logos Word of God – BT16. Again, there are a lot of components taught about each of these commandments in order to be obeyed – even 1 John goes into great length about each, but particularly the unconditional-love these believers are struggling with.  Both are required to be disciples/followers of Jesus and thus to be saved. <Notes> a) John 21:25.

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism

Water-Baptism – BT5

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Jewish water-baptism was NOT something new to NT Jewish-Christians but required for confession and repentance from sin

 

 

 

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In the OT, ritual purification of a thing or person was always by complete immersion so that all parts of the thing or person were cleansed by the ritual, especially considering that the main Hebrew word mikvah was used of the “collection or gathering of the waters” (a). King Solomon’s temple had a 15 foot diameter x 7.5 foot high basin along with 10, 240 gallon basins for this ritual (b). The mikvah is also the basin or “vessel” in which the ceremonial washing occurs. Ancient mikvahs dating from before the late 1st century can be found throughout the land of Israel as well as in historic communities of the Jewish Diaspora (c). The Jews believed that immersion in water was absolutely necessary and that the water must touch every part of the body to become ritually katharos ‘clean, purged, pure, unmixed.’ <Notes> a) Genesis 1:9, b) 1 Kings 7:23, 7:38 and 2 Chronicles 4:2, c) after the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

 

The mikvah is so important to the Jews that an Orthodox community is required to construct a mikvah before building a synagogue. The “living waters” collected from a spring or a cistern collection of water are the only waters considered katharos ‘clean, purged, pure, unmixed’ for use in the mikvah (a), which is thus considered a hagionholy place” (b). Leviticus 15:5-10 details the process of total immersion of the whole person (c), or total immersion of clothes or other things that have been kabac defiled. In modern Judaism, the OT mikvah is used interchangeably with rabbinic tevilah (c). <Notes> a) Leviticus 11:36, Numbers 19:17, b) Leviticus 16:24, c) rachatz or rabbinic tevilah; louo means “bathe or wash the whole person, but not a part of them as would be the word nipto,” as distinguished in John 13:10.

 

However, all Jews, Aaron and his high-priest sons still had to be rachatz/louo completely bathed with water per Leviticus 8:6 (a). The Levites as priests had to be taher purged by sprinkling them from the main bath of the mikvah, shaving their whole body, and washing their clothes after first being completely rachatz/louo washed and made katharos “clean” per Leviticus 8:6 above. All these rituals ceremonially purified them (b). The priest or household member that touches anything akathartos “unclean” (c) cannot eat the sacrifices of God until they are bathed completely “clean” (rachatz/louo) per Leviticus 22:7 and 17:15-16 (d). <Notes> a) cf. Exodus 29:4, 40:12; Leviticus 16:24, b) Numbers 8:5-7, 15, 21, c) a corpse, a man who has a seminal emission, a woman during her menstruation or childbirth, anything with a swarm of flies on it, a person with a skin disease or other bodily emission, eating an animal that died of natural causes or torn by beasts, or an “unclean” person like a Gentile, d) see also Leviticus 13:34-37, 58-59, 14:8-9, 15:7-11, 13, 16-18, 21-22, 27- 28, 16:28, 19:10, Deuteronomy 23:10-11; Exodus19:10, 14; Numbers 31:21-34.

 

What about regular Jews who somehow became “unclean” and what about the [by default] “unclean” Gentiles that camped with the Jews? Under Leviticus 16:19-34, the Day of Atonement would cleanse them from ALL their sins, but God also had a “permanent ordinance” for frequent cleansings (a), lest “that person must be cut off from among the community, because he has polluted the sanctuary of the Lord; the water of purifications were not sprinkled on him, so he is unclean.” <Notes> a) Numbers 19:20.

 

Synonymous to rachatz/louo bathing/washing above is tabal/baptizo/baptismos, which means “to plunge or immerse.” Elisha, the prophet, told Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria who had leprosy, to go rachatz/louo bath/wash in the Jordan 7 times to made “clean” and be healed. . . Naaman’s servants said “It seems you should be happy that he simply said, ‘rachatz/louo bath/wash and be clean’. . . So Naaman went down and tabal/baptizo plunged/immersed himself 7 times in the Jordan according to the saying . . . (a). We can see this synonymous link between terms in the NT “doctrine of baptismos baptisms” of Hebrews 6:2 and 9:10 that link OT practices of shataf or netilah yadayim/baptizo washing of hands and the kabac/baptismos washings of cups, pots, and kettles (b). <Notes> a) 2 Kings 5:10, 13-15, b) Mark 7:4.

 

According to Strong’s Lexicon, the word baptizo for “plunge, submerge, immerse, make fully wet, wash” is slightly distinguished from bapto for “dip into as to cover wholly with a fluid, to moisten a part of a person, to stain or dye to color something.” To show this difference, in 200 B.C., Nicander, a Greek poet and doctor wrote a recipe for making pickles: “The vegetable is first bapto dipped-temporarily into boiling water, but then baptizo immersed-permanently into vinegar.”  Dipping doesn’t affect permanent change!

 

Tevilah rabbinic baptism by immersion was (and still is) a strict ceremony! The person has to remove anything that would be an obstacle between the body and the water. Any intervention that prevented the water from reaching a part of the body rendered the immersion invalid. For example, all clothes and jewelry have to be removed, and women have to remove braids, hair accessories, make-up, nail polish, or anything else but the body and the water. Jewish Law requires at least 3 witnesses (usually magistrates) to be present for certain immersions, as ordained by the Sanhedrin in the time of Christ. Then the priest examined the situation to confirm the presence of any impurities and provided instruction for cleansing. Later, after the physical cleansing was completed and after the impurity was eradicated, additional rituals were performed for further ceremonial cleansing. When all of this was completed, the priest could finally declare that ‘cleanliness’ had been re-established. The Torah required full immersion for the cleansing ceremony to valid.

 

The same exacting care went into gerim Gentile proselyte baptism, but with even more requirements!  The proselyte must begin to learn the Jewish religion, Law, and customs, and begin to observe them, which generally takes at least one year to experience each of the Jewish holidays. After the teaching is complete, the proselyte is brought before a rabbinic court, which examines the proselyte and determines whether he or she is ready to become a Jew. If the proselyte passes their oral examination, the rituals of conversion are performed. If the convert is male, he is circumcised. If he was already circumcised, a pinprick of blood is drawn for a symbolic circumcision. Both male and female converts are made ceremonially “clean” through tevilah/mikveh whole-body self-immersion via total rachatz/louo bathing/washing of the body – the witnesses weren’t allowed to touch them. The proselyte would make a “confession of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith” before the witnesses and then would totally immerse themselves by placing themselves in a sitting or fetal position under the water with a witness or “baptizer” doing the officiating. They would then stretch themselves back into a standing position (a), reciting another blessing as they rose from the water. Water-baptizing “in the name of” was a reference to the witnesses being present – it declared the authority from whom they were water-baptized. The convert is then given a Jewish name and can now be introduced into the Jewish community. The children of proselytes need not go through these rituals. Only then can the proselyte enter into the Temple to worship God and offer sacrifices for their sin. Non-public or “secret” (private) immersions were not acknowledged as valid. Can you see why early Christian water-baptism was always a very public testimony of their “confession of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith”? <Notes> a) “straightaway out of the water,” just as Jesus did at His water-baptism.

 

Did the Jews of Jesus’ day believe this actually purified the Gentiles? You bet! According the debates by Shammai and Hillel, both contemporaries of Jesus, a “Gentile is made … like a child new born.” The Talmud teaches that a person enters the waters as the “womb of the world,” dies to himself, is buried, and emerges on the other side a “little child just born” or “child of one day” and thus hagios sanctified/separate or “clean” from the pagan “unclean” world. Water-baptism symbolized moving from a state of impurity to purity. This sure sounds like a “born again” experience to me – see Salvation – BT8. Jesus was likely using terms that Nicodimus should have been very familiar with!  In fact, rabbinic literature use the term “born again” in 6 places, each of them for a lifechanging experience, water-baptism: 1) of Gentile converts, 2) At the crowning of a king, 3) At a boy’s embracing of God’s covenant at 13, 4) at marriage, 5) at becoming a rabbi, and 6) at becoming the head of a rabbinic school.

 

Tevilah rabbinic baptism by immersion required a day of repentance. According to 12th century Moses Maimonides, regarded by many as the greatest Jewish philosopher, declared that ritual cleansings “are to be treated as divine statutes which baffle human understanding . . . that the regulations concerning uncleanness and cleanness are decrees of the Holy Writ, and do not belong to the subjects which a man can rationally explain. They thus belong to the category of statutes. Similarly the act of immersion to rid oneself of impurity belongs to that class of ‘statutes’ because defilement is not material filth that can be removed by water. It is but a decree of the Holy Writ, and the removal is dependent upon the intention of the heart. (a). On that account the Sages said, ‘If a man immersed himself without specific intention, it is as though he had not immersed himself at all.’ In the same way that a person who directs his heart to self-purification attains cleanness as soon as he immerses although there has been no physical change in him, so the person who directs his heart to purify his soul from spiritual impurities, such as iniquitous thoughts and evil notions, becomes clean as soon as he determines in his heart to keep apart from these courses, and bathes his soul in the waters of the pure knowledge.” <Notes> a) This is the exact language of 1 Peter 3:21 “Water-baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an “a request/appeal to God for a clear conscience free of sin” though I’d rather take the Greek ‘as is’ for the Holy Spirit working together with the person because of their surrender to help them mentally experience their reaching of God, but ALL of this saves them only because it is REALIZED thru the resurrection of Christ” – see Water-Baptism – BT4.

 

The Encyclopedia Judaica describes repentance as: “Repentance is a prerequisite for divine forgiveness:  God will not pardon man unconditionally but waits for him to repent. In repentance, man must experience genuine remorse for the wrong he has committed and then convert his penitential energy into concrete acts. Two sub-stages are discernable in the latter process: first the negative one of ceasing to do evil and then the second, the positive step of doing good. It is a call to return to God, or t’shuvah ‘to return.’ The motion of turning/returning implies that sin is not an ineradicable stain but a straying from the path, and that by the effort of turning – a power God has given to all men – the sinner can redirect his (or her) destiny.”

 

Is it any wonder that people confessed their sins at their water-baptisms per Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5?  It was standard practice for repentance in all forms of cleansing – see also Surrender Control.  There is so much more written on the details of water-baptism, but you can see from the facts here, that total-body immersion water-baptism was actually a requirement for salvation – it simply was expected!

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism

Water-Baptism – BT4

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The NT and early Church didn’t separate the required ergon ‘doings/works’ of salvation

 

 

 

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See also Salvation and Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15. The Obedient Steps of Faith for salvation require these five components:  1) akouo hearing/listening-to-understand/know the gospel logos message of Jesus Christ who is The Truth2) the routine having of trusting-relying-faith in Jesus as your Messiah-Savior, the “Anointed-One” Christ, and Supreme-Lord-Master of your life, 3) repenting or turning from sin to the Lord, 4) publicly confessing your sin and confessing “Jesus is the Christ as Savior and Lord/Master,” 5) and then being water-baptized to “welcome and grab-hold-of” the Spirit-baptism.  Leave any out and don’t bet on being saved when you stand before the Father at the Great White Throne Day of Judgment.

 

All Jewish-Christians simply did all 5 steps above because that is what they were accurately taught, believing they were integrated and inseparable for salvation. The internal reality and the outward display of trusting-relying-faith can’t be separated, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” even evil (a), and “the good person, out of the agathos good-natured (b) treasure of his heart, prophero ‘bears/produces forward or forth’ agathos good-nature (b, c), and “you will genuinely, experientially, relationally epignosko know them by their fruit” (d). The soteria process of salvation (e) isn’t something that can be separated from our mouth and actions!  Paul’s mission was to “bring the Gentiles to obedience – by logos message [from their mouths] and deed” (f) and said, “Whatever you DO, by logos message [from their mouths] or deed, DO everything in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus” (g). This separation of the body’s actions from the mind/spirit’s beliefs doesn’t come from the Jewish thinking behind most of the NT, but from the Greek philosophy of “dualism” (h) that crept into the later Catholic Church, and more so by religious rationalism by the Catholic St. Thomas Aquinas (i) that combined with empiricism to create the scientific method (j). This all greatly added more “traditions of men.” Do your own homework on water-baptism (k). <Notes> a) Matthew 12:34, 15:18-19; Mark 7:21, b) agathos: “good natured, pleasantly joyful, excellent or distinguished and thus useful, upright, or honorable.”, c) Luke 6:45, d) Matthew 7:16, 20, e) soteria/soterias is a process of deliverance, reconciliation, and restoration to healthy wholeness, f) Romans 15:18, g) Colossians 3:17, h) the universe consists of separate good/mind versus evil/matter, i) 1224-1274 AD, j) 1473-1642 AD, k) Matthew 3:11, 28:19; Mark 1:4, 16:16; Luke 3:3, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12-13, 16, 36-38, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:15, 33, 18:8, 25, 19:3-5, 22:16; 1 Corinthians 1:13- 17, 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12; and 1 Peter 3:21.

 

The apostle Peter didn’t try to separate the components of salvation, even in the first sermon of the Church where he uses the imperative to strongly urge the Jews in Acts 2:38-39, “Repent (a) and/coupled be water-baptized every one of you in the name/authority of Jesus Christ eis ‘toward and reaching the goal of’ the forgiveness of your sins, kai and-then you will lambano ‘grab hold of to receive’ the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit gar ‘for the reason of’ to you This [singular] Promise [of the Holy Spirit] and/coupled to your children kai and-also to all who are far off, as many as whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” Can you see how “being born of [singular] water and/coupled [singular] Spirit” (b) thru water-baptism is dependent on repenting by turning to Jesus and that forgiveness of sins doesn’t come just from repenting, even if you speak it by confession, but must be accompanied by water-baptism? <Notes> a) metanoia:  an after-effect of mind/heart/inner man, implying an internal change after an activity, where the ‘activity’ is defined by the context – see Surrender Control.  In the context, the Jews needed to do a U-turn about their conviction about Christ, having just crucified Him, b) see John 3:5 – see Salvation – BT8.

 

That’s also why the apostle Peter explained all this in his first letter in 1 Peter 3:21 that says: “Kai and-also water-baptism, which antitupos ‘as an antitype prefigures’ this (a), now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but-instead as an eperotema ‘response to any inquiry’ (b) of/belonging-to an agathos good-natured (c) suneidesis ‘together-with [the Spirit’s] eido mental seeing-to-perceive/knowing’ (d) eis toward-and-reaching-the-goal-of God, dia thru-the-realizing-channel-of the action of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It’s not the water, but the enabling-power of Christ’s resurrection that delivers you “through the flood waters” that condemned the flesh to death, just like the waters that covered the earth washed away the sin of the world but also delivered Noah’s family to safety! <Notes> a) v. 3:20: Noah and his family saved through the flood waters, b) eperotema:  This could have been an answer to the baptizer’s catechism question of what their confession of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith was, c) agathos:  “good-natured, pleasantly joyful, excellent or distinguished and thus useful, upright, or honorable,” d) the phrase could mean “a request/appeal to God for a clear conscience free of sin” or maybe a “profession of faith in Christ as Savior and Lord for a clear conscience from God” as others have translated it, but I’d rather take the Greek ‘as is’ for the Holy Spirit working together with the person because of their surrender to help them mentally experience their reaching of God, but ALL of this saves them only because it is REALIZED thru the resurrection of Christ.

 

The Apostle Paul also assumes every Christian will have been water-baptized in Romans 6:3-8 (a), “Do you not know that all of us who have already been water-baptized into Christ Jesus were water-baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the means of water-baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of zoe genuine-life. For if we have already been united with Him in a death like His, then we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His (b). We know that our old self was already crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be rendered powerless/inactive, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (c). For one who has already died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we have trusting-relying-faith that we will then/also live with Him.”  Did you catch that “if . . . , then . . .” statement again (b)?  The “then” results can only be true for a person, if they have done the “if” conditions. Have you been water-baptized to be confident of the “resurrection” and to have a fighting chance against sin? <Notes> a) cf. Colossians 2:12, b) Did you catch the If…then statement?, c) So if you don’t get water-baptized, the enabling-power source of sin is still alive.

 

Regarding the “old self” above, the natural, unredeemed “old man/self/being” or “inner man/self/being” dwelling in our initial “spirit/breath of man” that God gave us to make us a “living being” – see Identity, well according to Romans 6:6 this old self MUST be crucified with Christ in water-baptism for this old self’s enabling-power to stop influencing and energizing – like an evil ‘Energizer Bunny’ would – the rest of man, this being his soul and/coupled body together as “flesh” – see Identity.  The power-plug must be pulled!  It’s the only way to be free from the old self’s dominion that enslaves you to sin.  And the only way to have our “spirit” redeemed or ‘purchased for freedom’ and given the completely-different-in-kind New zoe Genuine-Life and enabling-power of the Spirit of holiness is for us to resurrect from the dead with Christ and be given His completely-different-in-kind New Spirit, and this only happens in water-baptism (a).  <Notes> a) Romans 6:4-5, 8; Colossians 2:12-13.

 

Sanctification/holiness in the Christian life is then a matter of keeping the old self’s dirty clothes off us and the completely different-in-kind New Self’s (a) fresh, clean clothes on us (b).  It’s a shame so many churches speak so little of water-baptism, when the NT speaks so much about it. No wonder there is so much sin in churches – they call for holiness but then don’t unplug the old self.  Futile, especially because it’s doubtful they even are a “New Self” or “New Creation” (b) without water-baptism!  They are trying to make “the natural man” or “old self” sanctified/holy – and that’s the definition of every religion in the world! <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:15, 4:24; Colossians 3:10, b) Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22-24.

 

Paul wrote this before he got to Romans 10:9, “If you confess (a) that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (b) and/coupled have trusting-relying-faith in your heart (c) that God resurrected Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Paul already spoke of what occurs by “confession” of Christ’s Lordship – it involves dying in water-baptism so that afterwards you can “consider/recognize yourselves dead to sin (d) but alive to God in Christ Jesus . . . presenting yourselves to God as those who have actually been brought from death to zoe genuine-life (d)” (e).  The whole book of Romans is sequential – you can’t just jump to chapter 10 as if that’s all that is involved in salvation! Confession wasn’t just verbal agreement to a creed, but proved through water-baptism you really did have trusting-relying-faith that Jesus was now Supreme Master-Lord of your life! Gentiles simply don’t understand “confession” because water-baptism was standard practice for all disciples of the Jewish religion, as we’ll see in the next BLOG – it’s a necessity to Surrender Control. And the earliest Church was ALL Jewish for quite awhile! <Notes> a) homologeo: literally means “to declare the same [homo] message [logos]”, b) which requires the Holy Spirit’s enablement: 1 Corinthians 12:3, c) not your nous head, d) context: because of water-baptism, e) Romans 6:11-13.

 

Water-Immersion was standard practice for salvation for all Jews and Christians!  To understand water-baptism in the day of John the Baptist, Jesus, and all Jewish-Christian disciples who were water-baptizing, you obviously need to know what water-baptism already meant to a Jew. Jews were already considered katharos “clean” (a) by their Jewish birth and male circumcision, so no water-baptism was needed (b). When a Gentile, who was by default akathartos ‘unclean, impure, defiled’ was converted to Judaism, they not only had to be circumcised according to the Law (if a man), but they had to be water-baptized to be made “ceremonially or ritually clean.”  The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia further states, “Water baptism, as an initiatory rite [as with other pagan religions], was no less familiar to Gentile converts who had no acquaintance with the Jewish religion. These water-baptisms, like the water-baptism of proselytes were immersions for purification.”  <Notes> a) katharos:  “purged, clean, pure, unmixed,” cf. hagios: sanctified, separated, dedicated, made holy and pure for God, b) the water-baptism of Jews didn’t start for centuries later – see Wikipedia’s Mikveh.

 

That’s why the experts in the Law asked why John was water-baptizing Jews as if he had greater authority (a) than Moses who said Jews were already “clean” where this greater authority would be that of Elijah who was to precede the Messiah (b), the Messiah prophesied as “The Servant of Yahweh” by Isaiah, or The Prophet that Moses said would come. In the next BLOG, we will see that Gentiles were water-baptized for conversion, but Jews only by priests for ritualistic cleansing under very particular situations.  Moses prophesied: “It is to The Prophet you shall listen-to-understand . . . the Voice of Yahweh saying: ‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers, and I will put My directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words in His Mouth, and He shall speak to them ALL that I command Him, and whoever will in-possibility-NOT akouo hear/listen-to-understand/know The Prophet (c) who shall speak in My name/authority, I Myself will carry out [by] exact-punishing-justice a penalty from him” (d).  This is a strick warning to not ignore The Prophet! <Notes> a) John 1:25, b) Jesus said John was him: Matthew 11:14, 17:12; Mark 9:13, c) Greek text fits the flow better, but the Hebrew says instead: ‘hears/listen-to-understand/know This Rhema’ [of Him], d) Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

 

What changed was NOW John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples were water-baptizing ALL Jews (a), presumably still a “water-baptism for repentance” because there is no mention of “water-baptizing in the name/authority of Jesus” (b) until after Christ’s resurrection when He was “given all authority in heaven and earth” and when He gave the ‘Great Commission’ to the 11 apostles to preach (not write) His gospel logos message to make disciples by water-baptizing them as we saw in Matthew 28:18-20 as discussed in Water-Baptism – BT2. <Notes> a) John 3:22, 26, 4:1-2, b) Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5.

 

In the writings of early church tradition (a), some of which date back as far as 50 AD before many of the NT writings, the early Church Fathers clearly explain, as Matthew Ropp so accurately summarized for his degree to Dr. Nathan Feldmeth for Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Theology 1998 Early Church History 500-level course: “the primary and innate purpose and results of water-baptism was purification from sin and regeneration of the sinner into new life; for the purpose of and affecting a new spiritual birth; necessary for salvation; and certainly required for membership in the Church.”

 

All 5 components of salvation are required:  1) akouo hearing/listening-to-understand/know the gospel logos message of Jesus Christ who is The Truth2) the routine having of trusting-relying-faith in Jesus as your Messiah-Savior, the “Anointed-One” Christ, and Supreme-Lord-Master of your life, 3) repenting or turning from sin to the Lord, 4) publicly confessing your sin and confessing “Jesus is the Christ as Savior and Lord/Master,” 5) and then being water-baptized to “welcome and grab-hold-of” the Spirit-baptism.  Public repentance, confession of sins, calling out to Jesus as the Christ or Savior to save you, and water-baptism by immersion for the washing away of sins, forgiveness, and salvation were intricately connected from the very beginning – all these were obedient steps of faith and surrender of control! <Notes> a) e.g., the Didache or “The Teaching of the 12 Apostles,” the writings of Barnabas, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and many more.

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism

Water-Baptism – BT3

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Sola Fide “Faith Alone” is a later, non-biblical “tradition of men”

 

 

 

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The Sola Fide (a) churches that don’t believe water-baptism is required for salvation but think it is simply symbolic of the trusting-relying-faith that alone saves you are too many (b). Boy, are they in for a rude awaking!  James would ask: “Can such trusting-relying-faith save them?” (c). That’s what we will explore now. <Notes> a) by trusting-relying-faith alone, b) Anabaptist, Evangelical Free, Grace Communion International, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Baptist, Quakers, Salvation Army, Unitarians, Christian Scientist, Bahai, c) James 2:14.

 

James continues in v. 2:17, 20, 22, 24, 26 to make it crystal clear:trusting-relying-faith, if it does in-possibility-NOT have ergon ‘doings/works’ is nekros ‘useless, as good as dead,’ [if] kata down-from/according-to itself (i.e., alone).” So much for Sola Fide!  In referring to Abraham, James continues: “you see that [his] trusting-relying-faith was continually (a) working-together (b) with his ergon ‘doings/works’, and trusting-relying-faith was made telos ‘fulfilled to be finished/ended’ by his ergon ‘doings/works’” and so “you see that a person is justified/made-declared-righteous ek out-from ergon ‘doings/works’ and absolutely-in-fact-NOT ek out-from trusting-relying-faith alone.”  However, we also have to keep in mind that James’ immediate context for ergon ‘doings/works’ is the showing of “mercy that triumphs over judgment” (c) by impartially, unconditionally-loving the brethren who were suffering, which makes it “the perfect Law of liberty” (d). <Notes> a) rare imperfect tense: continually, repetitively, b) sunergeo: co-working, partnering, c) v. 2:13, d) v. 1:25.

 

Can you see why Martin Luther, who started the Sola Fide Protestant Reformation as a reaction to Catholic abuses of “works of salvation,” wanted James thrown out of the bible? But Luther wasn’t the only one that doubted it. Many in the western churches doubted it because it was written for Jewish-Christians and not widely circulated among Gentile-Christians. The Muratorian Fragment (a) and Tertullian (b) didn’t mention it, and Origen (c), Eusebius of Caesarea in his Church History (d), Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia (e), Jerome (f), and Gaius Marius Victorinus (g) all questioned it. However, Irenaeus (h) uses it, and Eusebius refers to a lost work of Clement of Alexandria (i) using it. Nevertheless, the Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria included it in the 27-book NT (j). Can you see how the canon of the NT sure isn’t God’s idea? – see Bible Info.  Nevertheless, James understood that saving-faith is not alone – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15. <Notes> a) 170 AD, b) 155-240 AD, c) 225 AD, d) 313 AD, e) 350-428 AD, f) 347-420 AD, g) 355 AD, h) 130-202 AD, i) 150-215 AD, j) 367 AD.

 

It wasn’t until the 5th century when Saint Augustine described a “Sacrament as an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace” giving way for the Catholic Church to create another non-biblical “tradition of men” called the “Sacrament of Baptism.”  He borrowed the idea from the early Catholic theologian Tertullian in the early 3rd century, who used the Latin word sacramentum (a) to translate the NT Greek word musterion (b) for “mystery,” to avoid association with the pagans that used “mystery” to describe their secret, hidden rites of their initiations.  So many false doctrines are created by ‘knee-jerk’ reactions. <Notes> a) sacred oath of allegiance to the emperor by a Roman soldier, b) hidden, secret, mystery: Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:25, 16:25; 1 Timothy 3:9, 16; 1 Corinthians 2:1, 7, 4:1, 13:2, 14:2, 15:51; Ephesians 1:9, 3:3-4, 8, 6:19, 5:32; Colossians 1:26-27, 2:2, 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation 1:20, 10:7, 17:5, 7.

 

The Anabaptists latched onto Augustine’s ideas in the early 1500’s, creating the idea of “water-baptism as a symbolic outward sign of an inward reality following an individual believer’s experience of forgiving unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace.” Baptists then created the idea of “Believer’s Baptism”baptizing professing believers only, and that water-baptism is thus not a requirement for salvation, but rather symbolic and a public expression of one’s inner repentance and trusting-relying-faith.” Can you see how these “traditions of men” get started, one error leading to another and another and another, until you are miles away from the original text. Jesus accused the Jews of the same thing: “Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? . . . for the sake of your tradition you have made void the logos word/message of God” (a) or “You leave the commandment of God and hold onto the tradition of men . . . you have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition . . . making void the logos word/message of God by your tradition that you have handed down” (b). Nothing has changed with the religion of Christianity! <Notes> a) Matthew 15:3, 6, b) Mark 7:8, 9, 13.

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism

Water-Baptism – BT2

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Water-baptism is necessary to wash away your sins for forgiveness, justification, and salvation

 

 

 

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Many Christians haven’t done their homework on water-baptism, but simply follow some denomination’s view on it.  All you have to do is read the bible’s use of the words for water-baptism and the first 100 years of Christian writings to see it’s very clear that disciples/followers were ALL expected to be water-baptized (a), and this was directly linked to salvation (b), when your sins were bathed/washed (c) away:  “Why do you wait? Rise and be water-baptized and louo bath-wash away your sins, [while] calling on His name/authority” (d), “He saved us . . . by the louo bathing/washing of regeneration” (e), “our hearts sprinkled clean…our bodies louo bathed/washed with pure water” (f), “you were louo bathed/washed ….made/declared justified-righteous in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus Christ” (g), the “Church . . . that Jesus sanctified/made holy, having cleansed her by the louo bathing/washing of water in/by his directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema word” (h). <Notes> a) even Paul was: Acts 9:17-18, 22:12-16, b) Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21, c) louo: washed ‘clean’, d) Acts 22:16 , e) Titus 3:5 , f) Hebrews 10:22 , g) 1 Corinthians 6:11, h) Ephesians 5:26.

 

Water-baptism is surely for the forgiveness of sins (a) which is based on repentance (b), just as John’s water-baptism was for the forgiveness of sins based on repentance (c). <Notes> a) Acts 2:38, cf. Matthew 26:28; Luke 1:77, 24:47; Acts 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, 26:18; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:22, b) Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 5:31, 8:22; 2 Corinthians 7:10, c) Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3.

 

Water-baptism was the required place for public confession (a) of sins (b) and “confession of Jesus to be Christ” (c), “confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (d), was “the apostle and high priest of our confession” (e), or “confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord . . .will be saved” (f), “the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (g), for whoever “confesses the Son has the Father also” (h), which we also know is part of repentance involved within the “Obedience Steps of Faith – BT15” (i). Water-baptism “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (j) or at least “in the name of the Jesus Christ” or “the Lord Jesus” (k), clearly indicated you were really a follower/disciple of Jesus (k) – see Surrender Control for more about confession. <Notes> a) ex out from + homou local assembly + gospel logos message = profess/declare out agreement in a local assembly before 2-3 witness as in a court of law, b) Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5; Acts 19:18, cf. James 5:16; 1 John 1:9, c) John 9:22, 12:42, d) 1 John 4:2, e) Hebrews 3:1, f) Romans 10:9, cf. Philippians 2:11, g) 1 Timothy 6:12, h) 1 John 2:23, i) Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 1:5, 9, j) Matthew 28:19, k) Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, l) 1 Corinthians 1:12-16.

 

Other early creeds of public confession of Christ were simply “Jesus is the Christ/Messiah” (a), or “Jesus is the Son of God” (b) or “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (c), or “Jesus is Lord” (d), where “Lord” means “Supreme Master!” By the 2nd century The Roman Creed had grown to 86 words. By the 4th century it had grown to 175 words, and it just kept growing – see Salvation – BT9. Why? Because the Catholic Church had become obsessed about gnosis info-knowledge and universally-binding doctrines/decrees/ordinances (e) instead of genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge – see Knowledge of God.  But confession isn’t the only thing that was supposed to happen for salvation to occur – see Obedience Steps of Faith – BT15 and Salvation – BT1.   <Notes> a) 1 John 2:22, 5:1, b) 1 John 4:15, 5:5, c) John 20:31, d) 1 Corinthians 12:3, e) dogma: used negatively in Luke 2:1; Acts 17:7; Colossians 2:14; Ephesians 2:15, and positively only in Acts 16:4.

 

In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus speaks to His apostles: “Therefore having definitively/wholly routinely gone [I strongly urge you to] definitively/wholly matheteuo make disciples (a) of all the nations, routinely water-baptizing them in the [single] name/authority of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, routinely teaching them to tereo ‘carefully observe to maintain/keep’ all that I have entole [officially, universally] commanded you . . .” The whole process (b) of making disciples (a) is described by the present participles of:  routinely water-baptizing and also teaching them Christ’s only 2 commandments (c), not everything Jesus ever did or taught (d)!  A disciple is defined as “a follower who voluntarily takes on the disciplines given to him by his Leader (Jesus) in the process of learning from and following Him.” Jesus didn’t strong urge his apostles to “make believers” who simply confess the creeds of Christianity’s Trusting-Relying-Faith, nor to simply say a “Sinner’s Prayer” for forgiveness. <Notes> a) matheteuo: Matthew 13:52, 27:57, Acts 14:21, b) aorist tense, c) 1 John 3:23 combines 1 from the Father + 1 from the Son into 1 from God – see Only 2 Commandments and Obedient Steps of Faith – BT20, d) most of which hasn’t even been recorded; John 20:30, 21:25.

 

Just look at the Great Commission of Mark 16:16, where Jesus says: “Whoever has [singular] trusting-relying-faith and/coupled is water-baptized will be saved, but whoever does not have trusting-relying-faith will be condemned.” It’s obvious that if you really had trusting-relying-faith, it would include the response of water-baptism – both coupled together is what saves you! This is an integral part of “the gospel preached to the whole of creation” from v. 16:15!  Saving faith involves ernon ‘doings/works’ – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15.  For more details about these ‘Great Commissions’ see Water-Baptism – BT6.

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism

Water-Baptism – BT1

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The “One Baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 involves water-immersion

 

 

 

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Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only “one baptism.” First century Church writings show that they believed the initial anointing, filling to completion, or Spirit-baptism was expected to happen at the same time as a person’s water-baptism, making them one and the same. However, we see the “filling of the Holy Spirit” can occur to the same Christians over and over after their initial water-baptism (a), and that this “good grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” is simply received and thus limited only by our “routine asking” (b), so Paul strongly urges Christians to “be routinely filled by the means of the Spirit” (c) in order to be “filled with the fullness of God” (d).  But all of God’s blessings have to start sometime, and that was at water-baptism! <Notes> a) Acts 4:31, 13:9, 13:52, b) Luke 11:13, cf. “good things” of Matthew 7:11, c) Ephesians 5:18, d) Ephesians 3:19.

 

However, poor teaching on the Spirit, even in their day and certainly since, had left and still does leave, many only hearing about water-baptism (a), though some find out about the Spirit, Spirit baptism, and grace-gifts much later. For example, in Acts 8:15, Christians “who had already received the gospel logos message” that is “the preached great news about the Kingdom of God and the name/authority of Jesus Christ” (b), who were already “water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus,” were much later “proseuchomai conversationally-prayed for by Peter and John “that they might receive the Holy Spirit for HE had not yet fallen on any of them, having only been water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” This wasn’t an invisible “deposit you just have to take by trusting-relying-faith at your conversion” that so many churches teach, especially since Simon, a previous sorcerer now converted, “saw that the Spirit was given . . . he offered them money . . . for this enabling-power also” (c). However, God is gracious because He will give Spirit-baptism to anybody who seeks it – and He will give it to you again and again, just as in the early Church! <Notes> a) if they even get this teaching, b) Acts 8:12, c) vv. 8:15-19.

 

In another case, Paul came across 7 disciples (followers of Jesus) in Ephesus in Acts 19:1-7, and what was the first thing out of his mouth? “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith?” Come on, when is the last time you heard someone ask you that when they found out you were a Christian?  Only if you met a Pentecostal or a Charismatic Christian!  Nowadays most Christians will ask: “What church do you go to?” As if that really mattered!  But when the Ephesians said to Paul: “No, we haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit,” Paul immediately asked, “Then into what were you water-baptized?” Can’t you see that the early Christians directly connected “receiving the Holy Spirit” with water-baptism? Pretty obvious! But when Paul found out it was John’s water-baptism of repentance instead, he explained further “the ways of God” and “on hearing this, they were water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus.”  The Holy Spirit is where it’s at!

 

This sounds just like what happened right before this in Acts 18:24-28, where Apollos had just come to Ephesus, who “only knew the water-baptism of John” (a), but when two Christians “Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” It didn’t matter if he was “an eloquent man, competent in the [OT] scriptures” (b), nor that “he had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, or being fervent in spirit, speaking/preaching and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus” (v. 18:25).  Obviously water-baptism was part of the “Way of God, the Way of the Lord.” <Notes> a) v. 18:25, b) v. 18:24.

 

You can see the two situations are directly related because the disciples Paul met in Ephesus were just like Apollos, “having only heard of John’s water-baptism.” Therefore, clearly “the Way of God more accurately” is the “water-baptism in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus” in order “to receive the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith.” And evidently, knowing that you have received the Holy Spirit was no guess work – it was obvious to even others!

 

 

 

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Categories: Water-Baptism