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Bible verses about Baptism
(From Forerunner Commentary)

"The doctrine of baptisms" is a foundational and fundamental teaching and belief of the church of God (Hebrews 6:1-2). In fact, church historians who have traced the progress of the true church use baptismal references as a significant part of their search criteria. Yet, though it was clearly practiced in the New Testament, churches today are in total confusion about baptism. Some do not practice it at all. Some sprinkle water on the new member, some pour, some immerse. Some baptize children, and some even baptize for the dead!

Besides the method that is used, many do not understand the reasons for and significance of baptism. Although it is a physical ceremony, the lessons and effects of baptism are spiritual. By it, we demonstrate to God our sincere decision and determination to live His way of life and show our belief in and acceptance of His Son's work on our behalf. By it, God purges us of our sin and then gives us the power by His Spirit to live righteously before Him. Baptism is a springboard that enables His children to "go on to perfection."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Exodus 12:26-27

What is the Passover? Right from the start, God knew that young people would ask this very same question: "And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'" (Exodus 12:26). So He prepared an answer for them: "It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households" (verse 27).

Passover is a memorial day—a very important anniversary day. However, it commemorates three events, not just one. As God said, it commemorates the tenth and last plague upon ancient Egypt in which, after giving them ample warning, God passed over the nation of Egypt and killed all the firstborn in the land. Through this decimating plague, God freed the children of Israel from their captivity and servitude in Egypt.

Secondly, and most importantly, it commemorates the death of Jesus Christ, who was and is the firstborn Son of God the Father. Through Jesus' awful death—which, by God's design, took place on Passover day in AD 31—God freed us, regenerated Christians, from our captivity and slavery to the world, to Satan, and to sin.

Finally, it commemorates the baptism of each Christian, when we formally accepted the death of Jesus Christ, when we asked Him to apply His priceless sacrifice to our sins, when we asked that He would cover and blot out our sins with His blood (Psalm 41:1, 9; Acts 3:19; Romans 4:7).

Staff
What Is the Passover Anyway?


 

Matthew 3:13-17

Though He had never sinned, Jesus went through the rite of baptism "to fulfill all righteousness." He did everything a truly righteous man should do, so we could learn from Him. As our perfect example in all things (see I John 2:6; I Peter 2:21), He came to John to be baptized to show us the steps we must take to reach the same destination He did—the Kingdom of God.

Staff
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Matthew 28:18-19

In verse 18, the emphasis is on the word "all." His authority is no longer as it was when He was a man preaching in Galilee and Judea but is once again universal. It is "as it was when He was with the Father" before. He has died and been resurrected, and all authority is once again His. Therefore, His disciples are to understand that wherever they go, everything is subject to His authority. This is a good thing to remember: Everything is subject to Christ's authority.

As they go, they are to make disciples. Teaching and baptizing do not make a person a disciple, though they play a part. Just because a person is baptized does not mean he is converted. Nor does it mean he is a member of the church of God or part of the Family of God. Just because he has been taught the way of God does not mean that he has fully accepted and committed himself to what has been taught.

This is why the emphasis must be on "making disciples." Baptism and obedience to instruction will be a response a person will make who is being made a disciple.

The preaching of the gospel brings a person to faith, repentance, baptism, and seeking further instruction. These are outward responses.

At this point, baptism is very important because it is the outward sign of something exceedingly more important than the fact that one has been "dunked." Baptism is the outward sign of commitment—of coming under the authority of the Father and the Son. Disciples are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is only when a person comes under or is committed to the authority of the Family of God that he is truly a disciple. This marks the difference between one who is truly a disciple and another who has only been dunked.

Once a person has been truly baptized and has truly committed himself to be under the authority of the Family of God, the issue for the disciple is continued learning as a student and loyalty as a member of the Family—as a new creation to the One he has committed himself to.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Matthew 28:19

Baptism serves to induct us into God's church and Family. We are literally baptized into the name of God. It becomes our Family name, and we have a great responsibility to uphold it (see Exodus 20:7; Proverbs 22:1). Afterwards, when a minister lays his hands on us, God gives us of His Spirit, and we truly become Christians, members of the body of Christ. And because we have God's Spirit in us, we become God's children and heirs with Christ of all things (Romans 8:14-17; Hebrews 2:5-13)!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Matthew 28:19

The word translated "in" is the Greek word eis. It means "into," "inside of." We are baptized into water, into the church, by means of the Holy Spirit. His name becomes ours by begettal (or adoption, as Paul says in Romans 8). It is our spiritual Family name! Therefore, our responsibility is to grow and uphold that name—to bring honor upon it by our words, attitudes, and deeds.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 1)


 

Luke 14:26-27

A reason that a minister goes over these verses with a person seeking baptism is to affirm this very point. He must count the cost: to forsake all he has to bear his cross.

Baptism is a public declaration that we accept the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and have decided to be absolutely loyal to Him. Everything else is to be secondary; we have renounced our will, and everything we have is subordinate to His will. Will we be loyal in every situation as Jesus was, or will we be loyal only in the good times? If He chooses to send or allow poverty or sickness or even death, will we say with Abraham, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Doing this will not be without struggle. We are, after all, human, and even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane struggled with this before saying, "Your will be done."

Besides Jesus, a number of men met this crisis and, as far as we can see, passed it with flying colors. Notice Eli's reply to God's sentence against him and his sons in I Samuel 3:18: "It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him." Like most of us, Eli was a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. His latter lay in failing to restrain the excesses of his sons. When God pronounces His sentence, though Eli was likely in anguish, he does not justify himself or murmur of unfairness. He accepts it without reservation.

Eli certainly felt terribly for his sons, even though they were undoubtedly a great disappointment to him. Cut off by God's judgment, they were utterly unprepared for death. There seems no possibility they died in what we would call "in the Lord." It must have been a difficult burden for Eli to accept this shocking news.

Leviticus 10:1-7 reveals another example of a godly man humbly accepting God's shocking sentence. God strikes two of Aaron's sons to death, and at Moses' counsel, Aaron holds his peace. He counsels Aaron and his remaining sons to accept God's judgment before the people lest they bring reproach upon God—as though He were guilty of wrongdoing.

God praises Job highly, saying that no one on earth was like him, "a blameless and upright man" (Job 1:8). Surely, he has every right to expect God to bless him continually throughout his life. God indeed prospers him until he is the richest man in his area. Suddenly, however, devastating disasters obscure his bright future. In one day, Sabeans and Chaldeans raid his ranches and take everything, lightning destroys his crops, and a tornado kills his ten children! What is Job's response? "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (verse 21).

Job looks beyond these devastating events—truly mind-numbing realities—that could never have occurred without God's permission. Beyond them he sees the Creator, whose rule extends over all peoples and things—some of which He had allowed to devastate Job's life. Job clearly recognizes God's sovereignty, even managing to rejoice somewhat in it. No wonder God says no one on earth was like him!

Once we give ourselves over to Him in baptism, recognizing God's sovereignty causes us to subject our plans to His will. It makes us recognize that, as the Potter, He has absolute power over the clay, molding it according to His pleasure (James 4:13-15).

Overall, it is for Him to say where we live and in what condition: whether in poverty or wealth, sickness or health, cut down in the flower of youth or living three score and ten. To learn this lesson is to attain very high marks in God's school. Accepting His will in all things and in the right attitude is among the most difficult of all lessons in life. It is one that, when we think we have a handle on it, something comes up, and we discover we have to learn all over again!

On the other hand, unwillingness to accept God's will in all things produces in us a resistance to obey accompanied by complaining. If this resistance to accepting what God has dealt to us were not there, we would have no reason to complain. Murmuring and disobedience go together, and murmuring is sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten


 

Luke 14:28-33

In this passage, Jesus explains the principle of "counting the cost." The candidate for baptism must be able to discern the terms of God's offer for salvation before making such a monumental decision. He must be mature enough to understand what God desires of him, to repent and to believe the gospel. A new believer should be baptized as soon as possible after he has come to this point in his calling (Acts 8:35-38; 9:17-18). The apostles' example in Acts 8:12 shows that they baptized only adults who had met the qualifications of baptism. Thus, this would rule out children and—obviously—the dead (I Corinthians 15:29; Paul is ridiculing the practice).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

John 3:5

Because this is said as an explanation of Jesus' initial statement, being "born of water and the Spirit" is the same as being "born again" or "born from above." In that sense, as used here by Jesus, both "water" and "spirit" are spiritual entities.

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that Jesus' mention of water refers to baptism. However, as a figure, the part water plays is more complex than is commonly assigned in this context. Consider this: From righteous Abel on, all have been and are being saved by the same process encompassed by the grace of God. All must be called by God, all must repent and receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, and all must be given God's Spirit. Note, however, that there is no mention in Scripture of any of the saints who lived before John the Baptist being baptized. This includes those who were under the Old Covenant. If all are to receive salvation by the same means, why does the Bible fail to show any of them being baptized?

It is more likely that the "water" and "spirit" Jesus refers to are those mentioned in Ezekiel 36:25-27:

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

In this prophecy, Ezekiel indicates a cleansing from spiritual filth and a change of heart, from which spring obedience to God's commands. As the prophecy clearly says, both the water and the Spirit are from God above and precipitate the cleansing and birth that Jesus teaches in John 3. God says He will "sprinkle clean water," but as we know, that does not indicate the waters of baptism, since true Christian baptism is an immersion. Notice what John the Baptist says in John 1:33: "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'" This suggests that a baptism of the Holy Spirit is also needed, which Acts 19:1-6 confirms.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Born Again or Begotten? (Part Two)


 

John 3:23

John 3:23, Matthew 3:16, and Acts 8:38 give conclusive proof that the original method of baptism was by immersion. John needed an abundance of water to cover his followers completely. Jesus' example shows that He "came up . . . from the water" because He had been in it. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch "went down into the water." In addition, "baptize," from the Greek baptizo, means "to immerse," "plunge into" or "put into." Two entirely different words are used in the Greek text to refer to pouring (cheo) or sprinkling (rantizo).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

John 13:10

Christians are "bathed"—made perfectly clean—at baptism (Acts 22:16; I Corinthians 6:11; Revelation 1:5). The footwashing acts as a yearly renewal of our baptism, our commitment to living God's way of life. As Jesus says, we do not need to be fully immersed again to renew our vow—to be recleansed from sin; we need only to have our feet washed to remove the dirt and dust we collect in our walk through life. It was for this reason that Jesus insisted that Peter allow Him to wash his feet (John 13:6-9).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Footwashing


 

Acts 2:3

In addition to the wind-like sound, flames of fire appeared either to fall upon or to rise from those who were given God's Spirit. There is no indication that these flames appeared on anybody else except those who were in the house. God may have done this because fire had previously been associated with a form of baptism by John the Baptist (Luke 3:16). God used the fire to identify those who were receiving His Spirit at that time—a form of visible "sanctification" (being set apart). In any case, nothing like that occurs at "tarry meetings," nor does it occur when any today receive God's Holy Spirit. Neither did it occur when the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48). It was a one-time sign.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost and the Holy Spirit


 

Acts 2:36-38

Clearly, baptism is a commanded ordinance for those who would be saved. Though it is strictly a physical ritual, our participation in it shows the sincerity of our repentance, our belief of His Word, our desire to obey God, and our acceptance of what Jesus Christ did on our behalf. It is such an important beginning to our Christian lives that Jesus says that "unless one is born of water [baptism] and the Spirit [by a laying on of hands (Hebrews 6:2; Acts 8:17)], he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Acts 2:38

From these three verses (Acts 2:38; Mark 1:15; Acts 8:12), we understand the two prerequisites for baptism: repentance and belief of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The people of Acts 2 showed by their reaction that they believed what Peter had preached (verse 37), and thus they needed only to repent of their sins and their human nature before they were baptized (verse 41). One need not be a Bible scholar or be living perfectly to be baptized; these things are part of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ after baptism (II Peter 3:18).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Acts 5:32

Peter is saying that those who heed the gospel message of repentance from sin and faith in the sacrifice of Christ will begin to live lives of obedience to God's commandments, and thus He gives them His Spirit. However, some contend that it is not that simple.

One of the objections that has been raised to this understanding of this verse is that it is impossible to obey God before receiving His Spirit. Therefore, it would be impossible to receive God's Spirit if obedience were a requirement.

Acts 2:38 gives two basic requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit: 1) repentance and 2) faith in the sacrifice of Christ. (Baptism is an outward confession of this faith in Christ's sacrifice.) Repentance is a deep and genuine feeling of remorse over having committed sins, bringing about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. It is accompanied by an urgent desire to make the necessary changes in our life so we avoid committing the same sins again. In other words, true repentance brings about an earnest desire to obey God. In turn, this earnest desire causes us to begin to make changes in our lifestyle to conform to God's commandments.

When John the Baptist preached a message of repentance to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, he demanded that his followers make changes in their lives (Luke 3:8). When John was preaching, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, but John made it clear that God expected the people to begin changing their lives to demonstrate that their repentance was genuine. Paul preached the exact same message regarding repentance before King Agrippa (Acts 26:20).

A truly repentant person will immediately begin striving to obey God. The changes that the individual makes in his life are the "fruits" that demonstrate that his repentance is genuine. This does not mean that the repentant sinner obeys God perfectly. Even those who have received the Holy Spirit do not obey God perfectly. It means that the individual has turned his life around and is oriented toward obeying God. Upon producing the fruits of repentance and demonstrating faith in the sacrifice of Christ through baptism, God gives him His Holy Spirit. As Peter simply stated, God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him!

Some contend that the obedience mentioned in this scripture is that of obeying God's command to preach the gospel, not obeying God's laws. Proponents of this explanation argue that Peter's statement came about because the authorities called the apostles into account for disobeying their command not to preach about Jesus. This derives from Peter's comment in verse 29, "We ought to obey God rather than men."

There are a number of problems with this interpretation. First, it ignores the clear requirements God lays down for receipt of the Holy Spirit—repentance and faith in the sacrifice of Christ. Nowhere in the Scripture does God require the preaching of the gospel as a prerequisite for receiving His Spirit. Rather, the power of the indwelling Spirit of God inspired and motivated the apostles to preach the gospel after they had received the Spirit (Acts 2:4). Furthermore, this interpretation ignores the overall thrust and context of Peter's statement (Acts 5:30-31).

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Is Obedience Required Before Receiving God's Holy Spirit?


 

Acts 9:17

Special spiritual gifts are given through the laying on of hands. Usually, the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of an elder's hands, confirming baptism. However, Acts 8:14-17 says that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit after baptism, while Acts 10:44-48 says that it fell upon Cornelius' household before baptism. Sometimes God makes exceptions to work out His own will and plan.

Timothy received special spiritual gifts from the hands of the elders, including the gifts of wisdom and teaching. Paul reminded him that ordination bestowed such gifts upon him and that he needed to stir up God's Spirit to use them.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Laying On of Hands


 

Romans 6:4

The apostle Paul informs us in Romans 6:6 that, when we were submerged in the waters of baptism, "our old man was crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." Once this has occurred, "just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (verse 4).

Every Christian, then, is a new man, no longer living the old life of sin and slavish obedience to human nature. Paul says later in the chapter that, "having been set free from sin, [we] became slaves of righteousness" (verse 18). Because the new man is a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17), he is to be renewed in mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10) and conduct (Titus 3:5, 8; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:10, 12). Ring out the old, ring in the new, and the new man begins his walk toward perfection (Hebrews 6:1).

Charles Whitaker
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)


 

Romans 6:4

The word "with" will be the focus of our attention as we seek to understand more thoroughly our identification with Christ. The scripture says we were buried "with" Christ. Jesus was literally buried in the heart of the earth in a tomb because He was dead. The apostle Paul states in Romans 7:9, "For I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." Like Paul, we are buried "with" Him by means of baptism.

We tend to take the word "with" for granted because we use it so commonly; it is a little preposition we stick in front of another word and hardly notice. But what does it mean? It means "in the company of." Every time we see the word "with" preceding Christ in a context that includes us, we are "in the company of" Him. It has a few other alternate usages such as, "a member or associate of," "characterized by," "possessed of," and many more. In fact, the American Heritage College Dictionary shows twenty-seven closely related but specifically different usages.

Romans 6:6 adds to being baptized with Christ, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." We are not only baptized with Him, we are also crucified with Him. Christ became sin to pay for our sins, suffered crucifixion, and died. We die when God reveals to us the knowledge of sin and we repent, accept the blood of Christ, and commit ourselves to be His disciples.

Our relationship with Christ is so close that we are perceived as sharing with Him His experiences. His experiences were literal and physical, and ours are every bit as literal and individually meaningful to our fulfilling God's will but are spiritual. Each "with Him" statement shows we are on the same path in His company.

The relationship is of such closeness that Paul describes it in Galatians 2:20 as, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Paul expands further on this in Colossians 2:12-13:

[You were] buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

Thus, resurrection with Him is added to the experiences we share as members of Christ.

However, all of this places us under certain obligations. Paul continues with this theme in Colossians 3:1, "If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." Becoming new men in and through Christ, we are charged with making the Kingdom of God our top priority in life. Even in this, though, we seek the Kingdom in His company.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Eight): Conclusion (Part One)


 

Romans 7:4

The apostle Peter admits that many of the things that his fellow apostle Paul wrote are hard to understand, and because of this, he warns, some people distort Paul's writings to their own destruction (II Peter 3:15-16). This is still happening today. People—some sincerely and some not—are constantly twisting what Paul said in an attempt to show that the law of God is abolished.

A favorite target of the "no-law" advocates is Romans 7:4. In this scripture, Paul writes that a Christian is "dead to the law" and is now "married to another." From these statements, some conclude that God no longer requires a Christian to obey His laws. Unfortunately, those who force such an interpretation on this verse fail to understand the profound truths that the apostle is explaining.

In verse 4, Paul further explains the marriage analogy (Romans 7:2-3) and how this relationship of a woman to her husband bears upon our relationship to the law and Christ. "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ." Just as the woman in his example cannot be condemned by the law as an adulteress if her first husband dies, so we cannot be condemned by the law because our "old man of sin" has died (Romans 7:1).

In other words, we have become dead in the eyes of the law! At the time of our baptism, the old man of sin was put to death and buried in a watery grave (Romans 6:4). Because Jesus Christ died in our stead, and we have been buried with Him in baptism, the law regards us as having died. Therefore, the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23) has been paid, and the law no longer has power to condemn us to death for our sins.

Paul continues in verse 4, "...that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." In the analogy of the woman and her husbands, the first husband is the old man of sin to whom we were "married" prior to conversion. After the old man of sin died at baptism, we are now free to marry Christ. Just as He died and was resurrected, so our old man of sin has died, and we have been raised out of the watery grave of baptism a new man, empowered to bear righteous fruit in service to God.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Dead to the Law?


 

Romans 12:1-2

Paul makes a strong, urgent appeal to Christians to devote their lives to sacrifice. Sacrifice suggests the giving up or forfeiture of something or oneself for something or someone considered to be of greater value. In this context, the "Someone" is Jesus Christ and the "something" is God's way of life. The apostle is urging those of us who have had the revelation of God given to us to devote ourselves entirely to living it.

He urges us to sacrifice our bodies. He does not mean to imply giving up merely our skin and bones but the totality of what we are—our entire beings including our minds with all of their character, energy, knowledge, experiences, skills, perspectives, and attitudes—with nothing held back, since we are likely to hold a portion of our life in reserve just for ourselves. In other words, he is asking us to consecrate our entire lives to God. Note that Paul does not call this "extreme," but "reasonable."

Why would one even consider taking on the potential for such costly pain? No one really grasps the fullness of what God asks of those who make the New Covenant with Him at baptism. This witness in Romans 12:1-2 is nonetheless part of His Word to testify against us. There is a good reason, succinctly given in Romans 5:5: "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." We do it because God's love for His Son has been given to us and is growing. His investment in us, His grace, is beginning to be returned.

The love of God, the biblical love, is not a mere affection but an outgoing concern equal to or greater than self-concern. This love, which we do not have by nature but is given by God as a gift, will sacrifice itself for the well-being of others. It will pay the costs of forfeiture of self-interest for the well-being even of enemies. It will choose to lay down its life following the pattern shown in Jesus' life.

The love of God is an unearned, dynamic gift from God that influences one who has it toward oneness with God and fellow man. It must be deliberately chosen, though, in order to be put to use.

At this juncture, its costs come to the fore because, despite conversion, human nature remains. Though considerably weakened, it still exerts its influences toward the self (Romans 7:14-23; Galatians 5:16-17). We must overcome human nature's influences, but in virtually every case, we must make a sacrifice to fulfill the influences of the love of God. Sacrificing almost always involves the potential for loss, at times a considerable loss.

A number of verses reveal that, in one sense, choosing whether to sacrifice oneself in obedience to Jesus Christ is not a realistic option to anyone who claims to love Him. In John 14:15, Jesus says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." He adds in John 14:21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me." Verse 15 is a direct command and challenge to anyone claiming to love Him, and verse 21 says that one's following through in submissive obedience is the proof that the claimant loves Him. I John 5:3 adds a resounding confirmation to verse 21 by providing the Bible's definition of love: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."

Love comes at a high price, but it is also rewarding because, as we make the sometimes costly choices to please God by following Jesus Christ, we transform more fully into His image due to following the pathway our Savior blazed before us. Becoming a living sacrifice is one of the costs that observing Passover should recall to our memories, giving us substance for sober reflection aimed toward revitalizing our understanding of the significance of this important day.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Love


 

1 Corinthians 10:1-5

Verse 5 is downright alarming. How many people of the 2 to 2½ million people who came out of Egypt under Moses made it into the Promised Land? Of those aged 20 and older, only two, Joshua and Caleb, along with their families, made it.

Paul uses vivid terminology. He literally says that their bodies were scattered all across the desert. They fell aside as they went along the way and did not make it. They were buried where they fell. The Israelites left a trail of graves all the way from Egypt, through the Sinai, and up into the borders of Israel, the Promised Land.

Such a thing will not physically occur to us. God is working out something different with us than He was with them. With them, He was establishing a type and setting examples for us. We can look at what they did and learn from what occurred to them. We have the Holy Spirit, and they did not. That should make a huge difference!

Paul says that they all went under the cloud and were baptized into Moses. They were not literally baptized in the way we were, but they did pass between the waters. When they went through the Red Sea, they walked on dry land, but the water rose up like walls on either side of them. The apostle Paul uses this as a type of the baptism we go through. They were buried into Moses, as it were, becoming partners in the Old Covenant. Moses, the mediator of that covenant, was a type of Jesus Christ.

Yet, these people died in the wilderness. Here is decisive proof (most of it contained in the record of their wandering in Exodus and Numbers) that though a person physically goes through all the ordinances, it does not mean a thing spiritually.

Verses 1-4 show the Israelites were in the presence of Jesus Christ. He was in the cloud and in the pillar of fire. He was there as the Angel, the Messenger of God, who was leading them through their pilgrimage on to the Promised Land. That is why Paul's illustration is so alarming: One can lose his salvation (not make it to the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God) if he is living a life of divided loyalties (Matthew 6:24).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

1 Corinthians 12:13

If we are baptized by the Spirit of God, we are a part of that body, and we are responsible to Christ within it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 5)


 

Galatians 3:27-29

In making the New Covenant—once we have proceeded through the process of repentance and baptism and have received God's Spirit, which baptizes us into Christ—we are then Abraham's children. We become Abraham's descendants regardless of race or national origin. We become, therefore, part of the one Family into which God is drawing all of mankind, and we become heirs of the promises made to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant. All the Old Covenant did was bridge the gap from the time the Israelites were released from their bondage until the promised Seed came.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 27)


 

Ephesians 5:25-26

Why did He give Himself? So that we can be cleaned up! He had to die. We have to recognize this death, so there can be the forgiveness of sin, that we might repent, and that we might be a fit receptacle of His Spirit. God will not put His Holy Spirit into a "dirty" receptacle. The underlying meaning of holy is "clean." It also suggests "different."

God's Holy Spirit is not defiled and dirty - unlike the spirit we have by nature, the spirit of this world, human nature. God's Spirit is different! The spirit of human nature is murderous, hateful, and iniquitous in every way. God's Spirit is holy, righteous, good, pure, kind, gentle, merciful, submissive, and childlike. Every good quality we can think of is resident within that Spirit. Will God defile it by putting it into a vessel that is not fit for it? No. So we have to be led to repentance - there has to be a change.

What does baptism symbolize? Death and purification. After baptism, God considers us clean enough to put His Spirit in us. If there had not been the sacrificial death of the Creator God, and on His death a will or testament left, none of this could ever have occurred. Unless He died, there would be no recipient for the blessings! There could be no New Covenant, because the Spirit could not be given.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 12)


 

Colossians 2:11-13

In verses 11-13, Paul explains what Christ did for us and how those who have believed in Him are now spiritually circumcised. The subject under discussion is the means of our justification. Paul is saying that, when we repented and were baptized, the "old man" of sin was buried in a watery grave, and our sins were completely forgiven through our faith in the sacrifice of Christ. After being raised out of the water, we were "made alive" with Him and imputed to be righteous in God's sight. Paul refers to this process as "circumcision made without hands," that is, spiritual circumcision.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Was God's Law Nailed to the Cross?


 

Colossians 2:11-13

Paul shows that circumcision typifies putting off the old man of sin that is buried in a watery grave at baptism. After being raised from the water in newness of life (Romans 6:4), the repentant sinner stands before God perfect, holy, and sinless. The process of spiritual circumcision is complete, and the symbol of physical circumcision is fulfilled.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Why We Must Put Out Leaven


 

Colossians 2:12-13

Symbolically, our baptism imitates what our Savior did for us, and therefore, by our participation in it, we show our desire to be united—at one—with Him in both His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5). Paul writes in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." This is what our decision to be baptized tells our Father in heaven.

Being put into the water represents the death of the "old man" with his sinful way of life. Being completely covered by water symbolizes burial, and being raised from the water pictures a resurrection to "newness of life." After baptism we consider ourselves dead to sin, that is, we have completely divorced ourselves from living a sinful way of life (Romans 6:11). Once baptized, we are to give our lives to God and use our time to become "instruments of righteousness to God" (verse 13).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

Titus 3:5

Regeneration is symbolized by baptism and the laying on of hands. It involves such things as internal cleansing, rising in newness of life from a watery grave, becoming a new creation, and receiving God's Holy Spirit.

This step is commonly called being "born again," but the Bible calls it regeneration. When we have a confrontation with God at the beginning of His salvation process, we are dead to sin. We need to be regenerated—given life once again.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

Hebrews 6:1-2

Eternal judgment is one of the basic doctrines of the church of God, equal in importance to repentance, faith, baptism, etc. Webster's New World Dictionary defines judgment as "a legal decision, order or sentence given by a judge." In eternal judgment, God decides a person's reward or punishment for all eternity.

Staff
Basic Doctrines: Eternal Judgment


 

1 John 2:6

Christians are to do as Jesus did. The implication in the larger context is that those who claim to be Christian must live morally, as He did. We are to follow His example and to have the same ethic as He did - especially as it echoes what He says in John 8:28-29, which strongly implies that His behavior was drawn directly from God the Father.

The emphasis in I John 2:6 is on the way that one lives. To some, Christianity is little more than an intellectual exercise. Some of these people may study frequently and spend long hours doing it. Somehow, though, it never translates into the practical aspects of living; it is purely intellectual. They do a lot of research, but their lives never really change.

There are others whose relationship with God is largely based on feelings. Because feelings are transient - they come and they go, they change - these people's lives are constantly up and down and highly irregular. They blow hot and cold. John stresses that a Christian must follow the same pattern of life as Jesus lived, and He did not fly from pillar to post based on his emotions!

There is another aspect of this, too: Jesus was baptized, but He never sinned. He says to John the Baptist that the reason that He did it is to fulfill all righteousness, that is, to fulfill all right doing. We are baptized because we have sinned and because God commands it of us. He wants us to make a public statement of our commitment and the giving of our life, the sacrifice of it, to be raised in the likeness of Christ's resurrection.

Christ did not fit any of those parameters. The fact that He did it makes a point: He was baptized to do what was going to be required of us, those who would follow Him. Therefore, He did it as an example. He never offered an animal sacrifice. Why? It would not be required of us. Even so, it would have not have been technically wrong for Him to do so, even as Paul went through one of the Old Covenant rituals in the book of Acts.

Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath and the holy days, and those whom He personally trained also did. That is a powerful lesson. We cannot go wrong following His example, regardless of whether a specific law is stated.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

Find more Bible verses about Baptism:
Baptism {Nave's}
Baptism {Torrey's}
 




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