|Baptism in Long Beach, California|
Looking at any topic from the recent conclusions of some people, without considering its inceptions and developments, is a disservice.
Early realities can be missed.
The early developments must be considered, or else a building upon the foundation may be missed.
The truth is simple.
The truth is very agreeable to those who can accept the truth's simplicity.
The truth isn't complicated.
The truth seems too simple to be believable sometimes.
The truth is simple, but people complicate simplicity.
Baptism is simple.
Many books have been written about this mystery.
Many opinions, doctrines and dogmas have been and continue to be developed around it.
How is one to learn what it is, how it works, and how far it has developed?
Has it been loosened to reflect the prior symbols, the prior physical examples, in the preceding covenant, in foreshadowing the new covenant's spiritual reality... which is unseen and easily misunderstood?
I would encourage you to read the many letters and testimonies written by those who followed the first disciples, and the period before the faith was adopted as a state religion.
Yeshua replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Yeshua answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
- John 3: 3-8
- born of water and the Spirit
- everyone born of the Spirit is like hearing the wind but cannot tell where it comes and goes
Yeshua replied, “You do not realize now what I Am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Yeshua answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.”
- John 13: 7-8
- It is the Yeshua who does the real washing, not any man
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
- Acts 2: 38-39
- repent (turn away from sin)
- receive the gift
- promised to all people, children included, and all who are far off
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Yeshua, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
- Acts 16: 29-34
- Question: "what must I do to be saved?"
- Answer: "believe in the Lord Yeshua"
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.
- 1 Peter 3: 18-22
- Christ suffered... to bring you to God
- we, like He was, are "made alive in the Spirit"
- Noah's family was "saved through water"
- that preceding water symbolized baptism that now saves you
- by the pledge of a clear conscience toward God (believing in the Lord Yeshua Christ)
- "saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ"
Your part is to believe the Word of God; the message of the Gospel, and be led through the water.
God's part is to gift you His Spirit.
Man's part involves humility before others; being led into the water and having another man baptize you.
God's part is not within our power, for many have been washed yet never received His gift.
His salvation depends on His election, His choice, His appointment, not our human efforts.
This is why no man can boast about himself, nor his station in life, for no man can determine his salvation for himself, though he believes he is saved.
Humility, gratitude, working out one's salvation with fear and trembling, not taking His grace for granted, nor exploiting His grace and freedom to pursue wayward ways.
If someone would ask whether infant or adolescent baptism is valid, they would first have to ask: to what extent did the apostles loosen the Way?
They would also have to ask: do we have evidence in the first and second century of this loosening?
And thirdly they would have to ask: is the evidence already found in all the churches prior to the reformation / rebellion that shows infant baptism being applied for over 1500 years?