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Baptism

26th April 2008, mgh

 

2) Meaning of the word 'Baptism'

The word 'baptism' comes from the Greek 'bapto', which authorities say signifies to 'immerse', 'dip' and 'plunge'. It is also more than than just an immersion. The word 'bapto' also signifies the act of 'dyeing', in which process there is a change in the colour or appearance of a garment. No authority translates the word as 'sprinkle' or 'pour'. This means that the practice known as 'christening', is not a Biblical baptism.

Baptism requires more than total immersion in water. An understanding of the will and purpose of God is essential. It is a person's beliefs that transform an immersion into a “baptism”, by which a person is figuratively “dyed” with the blood of Christ. Immersion without knowledge could be paralleled to trying to dye a garment in clear water. Only the knowledge of God's purpose and expectations will transform a person's perspective and way of life. The person will desire to understand God's purpose with the earth and attempt to live a life of obedience in accordance with God's commands, developing faith and trust in God.

Salvation from Death

Baptism is identified with Christ's sacrificial death.It is stated in the Bible that Christ came into the world to save sinners. In Matthew's gospel record before the birth of Jesus, it is plainly stated that Jesus was to save people from their sins.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

The Apostle Paul made the same observation to Timothy, and remembering his past admitted that he was a sinner who needed redemption and forgiveness for his persecution of the followers of Jesus before his conversion.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1Timothy 1:15)

Peter clearly states that salvation from death can only come through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Paul emphasises that there is a need to become wise about salvation through a wisdom that can only come through a knowledge of the Bible and a faith in Jesus Christ.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2Timothy 3:15)

Peter and the Apostles taught the word to the people and those who believed the word of the scriptures were baptised.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Jesus was the first to gain eternal life and his life and sacrifice opened the way for faithful men and women to also obtain life, providing they obey his words and follow his example.

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:9)

The Need for Repentance

The thinking of the mind is in its natural state at variance with the requirements of God, as shown by Paul in his letter to the Romans.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8)

In pursuing one's natural desires, one is destined to die. To please God and receive His mercy, it is essential to change the way in which one thinks and encourage spiritual thinking, which is the wisdom from God obtained by a study of His word found in the Bible. Trust in self has to be replaced by a dependence on God and all our worldly ambitions replaced by the expectations and patient waiting for the coming Kingdom of God and the return of Jesus to the earth to reign as King.

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. (2Thessalonians 3:5)

We must not think as the world in general all around us thinks, but we should be transformed to think as Jesus Christ did in obedience to his Father's will.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:2-3)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)

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