Meditations on the Spiritual Principles of Baptism

Meditations on the Spiritual Principles of Baptism

November, 2008

1.   Why do we need to be baptized after we have believed in Lord Jesus Christ ?

a.    Because this is the commandment of our Lord: Mark 16: 16: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

b.   Also in Matthew 28: 19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2.     The Meaning of Baptism:

a.    To identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection: Romans 6: 3-7: Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

b.   To make a declaration against the spiritual forces in darkness and declare that we  belong to Jesus Christ.  We no longer belong to darkness and old Adamic order, we have translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son and have become the sons of light.

c.    To declare that we have separated ourselves from the world and we have turned from idols and start to serve the true and living God. We are those who left the world far behind us and have crossed the Red Sea (in Exodus, there the “Red Sea” signifies “the world”).

d.   We have been cleansed from sin, self, flesh, the world, and the devil in our newly gained position in Christ through baptism.

e.    We have planted our life as a seed of faith through our act in baptism.  We have started to live a life which is holy and pleasing to God.

f.     We have entered the body life of Christ, which is the church, and entered the fellowship with God and Christ, and the children of God in Holy Spirit.

3.   Examples of baptisms in the scriptures:

a.    In Gospels:

                                                   i.     Our Lord Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River as a substitute for sinners: Matthew 3: 13-17, Mark 1: 9-11, Luke 3: 21-22, John 1: 31-33.

                                                ii.     Disciples of Jesus also gave baptism to others: John 4: 1.

                                              iii.     Question: What’s the difference between the baptism of John the Baptist and the baptism in Jesus Christ ?  Answer:  Baptism given by John the Baptist only prepares the way.  It is a baptism of repentance.  But baptism in Jesus Christ is to identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  They are very different.  Our baptism is not the baptism of John the Baptist, but we are baptized onto Jesus Christ and identify ourselves completely with Him and Him only.

b.   In Acts (Recorded the early Church history and her practices): (There are plenty of examples here)

                                                   i.     Acts 2: 36-41: On the day of Pentecost, three thousand people have accepted the Lord and have been baptized.

                                                ii.     Acts 8: 12: The people in Samaritan believed the Lord and were baptized.

                                              iii.     Act 8: 34-39: The Ethiopian eunuch believed the Lord Jesus Christ and was baptized by Philip.  He was filled with joy after the baptism and Philip left him.

                                               iv.     Acts 9-17-18, 22:26: Apostle Paul believed the Lord Jesus and was baptized.

                                                 v.     Acts 10: 47-48: In the house of Cornelius, the gentiles received God’s grace the first time and they were filled by the Holy Spirit and were baptized through Peter’s first visit to gentiles.

                                               vi.     Acts 16: 14-15: In Philippi, sister Lydia and her whole household accepted the Lord Jesus and were baptized through Paul and Silas’ ministry.

                                            vii.     Acts 16: 14-15: Again in Philippi, Paul and Silas were in prison singing hymns at midnight, the ground shook and prison were wide open and the prisoner were set loose.  The jailer were terrified and almost took his own life.  But through Paul and Silas’ ministry,  the very jailer recognized God’s power and his whole family believed the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized.  They were filled with heavenly joy.

                                          viii.     Acts 18: 8: Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him (Paul) believed and were baptized.

c.    In Epistles (When baptism was mentioned):

                                                   i.     I Corinthians 1: 14,16, Ephesians 4: 5, Hebrews 4: 2, I John 5: 6-8

d.   Examples in old testament which signifies the baptism:

                                                   i.     Our spiritual forefather Abraham was called a Hebrew, which means “the one who crossed the great river”.  It signifies the baptism. Refer to Joshua 24: 2-3, 14-15.

                                                ii.     Noah’s flood and the ark also signifies the baptism: I Peter  3: 20-21, Genesis 6-9.

                                              iii.     Crossing the Red Sea by Israelites - signifies the baptism and separation from the world.  Refer to Exodus 14-15: 1-21

                                               iv.     Crossing the Jordan River by Israelites - signifies the baptism and death to self life and our flesh. Refer to Joshua 3.

4.   Am I ready for baptism (the conditions for baptism) ?

a.    If you believe Lord Jesus whole-heartedly and confessed that He is the Lord then you are already Lord’s and saved. (Romans 10:9-10, John 3:16).

b.   You must have a living relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  It should be most nature to pray to our heavenly Father and called Him “Abba, Father” like a new born baby does (Romans 8: 14-17).

c.    You must have no doubts about the authority and the authenticity of the whole Bible and believe that it was inspired by God.  You may still have questions, but those questions are not opposing ones but questions for a seeking heart to know more of God and His kingdom and spiritual riches in Christ.  If anyone has any doubt on God’s word, Holy Spirit will not be able to dwell in such a heart.  The Holy Spirit is in full alignment with the inspired Word of God, which is the whole Bible.

d.   There must be Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart already.  This is the same as so-called “born-again” experience.  In other words,  you must be born again, born from the spirit, born from above in order to be baptized (John 3).

e.    You should have body feeling (spiritual connection, spiritual relatedness), a family feeling, a sense of belonging with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

f.     You must be able to touch God, experience God, have God consciousness in your prayers and daily living.

g.    You must not rely on your own merits or good deeds to “gain” (so-called) salvation, the only way for our salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:21-28).

h.   You must already realized that you yourself is a born sinner and has sinful nature in you and is in need of deliverance through the precious blood of Jesus Christ who shed for you on the Cross.  We should feel natural to repent and regret for our sins and ask God’s forgiveness and accept God’s salvation.

i.      After you have believed the Lord Jesus Christ, your conscience should be much more sensitive to sins and things that do not please God.  You are conscious of God’s presence and His hand in everything, especially when we have done something wrong or shameful and felt Holy Spirit’s grievance for our mistakes.

5.   The Process of Baptism:

a.    Share your faith and spiritual experiences with the responsible brothers so that they could confirm your faith.

b.   You will be immersed completely into the water and be raised up from the water again.  This signifies our identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

c.    You should bring another suit of clothing for changing and your own towel.  You should wear something presentable and usually in darker color and not transparent after baptism (usually lots of baptismal pictures will be taken).  Remember, this is your wedding to Christ.

d.   You should prepare to give a brief testimony (2 – 5 minutes) of your salvation experience.

e.    You should invite your family members, relatives, and friends to your baptism.  There should be only one baptism in your life time.  This is a good opportunity for you to share your faith.

6.   The fruit of Baptism (Spiritual growth in the Lord after baptism):

a.    Participate the foundation class and learn the basic truth of our new heavenly life.

b.   Participate all kinds gatherings of the assembly and pursue for spiritual growth.

c.      Be a living testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ in your daily life and work.

d.     Love to read God’s word.  Cultivate a normal Bible reading pattern.  Keep your daily devotions and pray all the time.

e.      Participate all kinds of services of the assembly.  Learn to offer your all to the Lord Who bought us with His precious blood and serve Him for His glorious testimonies until we see Him face to face.