|Acts 16: 31-34|
We can help, but some still question and sometimes doubt: 'how' God works and 'how' our own salvation is realized.
There is much confusion in the religious world, and within the Christianity expressed today, regarding salvation and what man's mind can understand about God's salvation.
We learned in Part One of the Way to Salvation, the idea of salvation varies according to what people understand within their context of the world, religious upbringing and philosophical rendering.
Considering that the ideology of Christianity has permeated all corners of the world (and continues to), and with this effort the concept of salvation, grace, inclusion, love and peace being perpetuated ad infinitum in His Name, let us continue with how salvation has been understood since Christ testified to being salvation Himself.
In Part Two, we find that the Name revealed from Above literally means “salvation” and “to rescue”.
In a separate article, infant baptism's reality is explained.
In this third article on the subject of salvation, we include the established practice of infant / child baptism as originally ordained and established by God in mirroring His prior covenant.
The practice of ushering a new covenant member into the church, even as a child, is through baptism.
This practice mirrors the practice of circumcision under the previous covenant; the manner God commanded entrance into that covenant.
We should remember that infant baptism was never challenged until 1400 years after the fact.
John the Baptist was the final prophet of the prior age; the Old Covenant under the law of Moses.
What was the role of John the Baptist as described via a prophetic message through his father Zechariah?
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him,
to give His people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
- Luke 1: 76-79
- to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins
The knowledge of salvation began with John the Baptist.
John the Baptist seems to have recognized that Jesus didn't need to repent of any sin, thus why John doubted needing to baptize the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit:
Then Yeshua came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Yeshua replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Yeshua was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
- Matthew 3: 13-17Christ taught a great lesson in humility when expressing the “fulfilling of all righteousness”.
We can also see what God had purposed by having the Christ baptized, the sign and the testimony.
After Christ was baptized, He taught Nicodemus (a religious teacher and ranking member of the priesthood):
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.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Yeshua, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
- John 3: 3-12We can see that salvation, and entrance into the new covenant, the kingdom of God, is a heavenly matter and a matter of heavenly understanding.
Thus why obedience to the Way, and following and imitating Christ in all things, is key.
One cannot fathom the manner one is “born again” unto God, yet we can read there is a water part as there is a spirit part.
One part is done by men, the other part by God Himself...as we can read John the Baptist explain prior to baptizing Christ:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
- Matthew 3: 11Man does have, and can only do, his part.
It is up to God, and God's choice, for the other and greater part.
The manner 'how' or 'when' God's part comes isn't always perceivable by man's eyes.
Sadly, some think by babbling incoherent words means the Spirit is speaking (and a baptism by the Spirit has occurred), but such is not always the case.
What is noticed is a mimicking and attempt to reenact prior occurrences.
The Gospel testimony, letters and further writings show this was not the case with every conversion, whether after a baptism or after people heard the Gospel message and believed.
Salvation comes down to following Christ in all His steps as He traversed the earth; following in humility and obedience His Perfect Example, as He exemplified in humility and obedience to God.
We can see John's water baptism for repentance was carried over into the new age of Christ, the age of grace and truth.
We see there is a water part, which is man's duty to perform and thus "pass through the waters" (1 Peter 3: 21), and then there is God's election and choice of baptizing His children (what man cannot decide for himself or enact on His own) – the grace of God which no man can merit unto themselves.
And what occurs with the water aside from repenting from sin?
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His Name.’
- Acts 22: 16Are sins actually “washed away” as one would wash away dirt off and away from the skin?
What is actually happening? (if we can attempt to understand the mystery of heavenly things)
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 18: 22- He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit
- in it [the ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water
- and this water [the flood waters] 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
Notice that baptism isn't simply an “outward sign of an inward grace” or a similar humanistic explanation based on man's logic, but something truly heavenly and according to God's order.
Notice how baptism “now saves you” by the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.
We can clearly read how salvation is tied to baptism in water.
Who can argue against what God has commanded, or what Christ exemplified and later revealed through His Holy Spirit?
In short, salvation is as simple as following and living as Yeshua did (your small part of obedience).
In short, salvation is accepting what God has done, provided and promised (His part making you alive).
The first 'thing' Christ did was get baptized...and accepted what God had ordained.
It can be argued that Peter was the first prophet of the new age after John the Baptist (after of course Christ being the Prophet mentioned by Moses).
What did Peter command after the people asked “brothers, what shall we do?” when they realized their sins contributed to Christ being crucified?
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
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: 36-39- repent and be baptized...in the Name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins
Turning away (repenting) from the pride of one's heart in thinking you know better than what God has provided, or established, is essential.
Repenting from the sin of disbelief in the simplicity of what God has provided is also essential.
Here is the Mystery of the heavenly things come to fruition:
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
- Colossians 2: 9-15Here we read how the circumcision which is from Above, by the Spirit and by the hand of God, not men, is performed.
This is why it is written:
For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.
- 1 John 5: 7-9We see God has loosened the Way in reflecting the prior model of the physical things into a spiritual reality that is made simple, through humility before Him and men.
The faith is when men realize who they are (lost, sinful and lacking God) and God showing men what He has done...and are baptized in His Holy Name.
The grace is what God has allowed for your children and for all who are far off...and are baptized in His Holy Name.
May God grant you insight into His Mystery, causing His Holy Spirit to also live within you by faith, by grace; by the order He has established...in His Holy Name.