Salvation by FaithJose wrote:Can you please email me or refer me to a book or website that can inform me in detail in regards to baptism. I have a employee at work that states that baptism is a requirement to inherit the Kingdom of God. I have discussed this issue with him in detail but I would like to have more of a backbone understanding. I believe that the bible states that we are saved by faith through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Not by water. Please Advise. Will appreciate.
Jesus said that without being born AGAIN of Water and Spirit or Water and the Word you CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into His kingdom or rule which is the Ekklesia or Christian synagogue or school of the Bible. The seven "spirits" of Isaiah 11:1-4 which would rest on the BRANCH are all related to forms of spiritual knowledge. Jesus said "My Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, you might join a venue for Rock and Roll peddled as "worship" but Jesus Christ WILL NOT be your free-of-charge Teacher until He washes your spirit or mind. Only then do you have access to the seven spirits represented by the Menorah or Candlestick which gave LIGHT to the Holy Place along with the table of bread and the incense altar. Each Christian "priest" must look into the Most Holy Place with their own prayers. Then, you can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet God. Jesus said that the ONLY new PLACE is the human spirit as it gives heed to the Spirit of Truth through the Word. Don't believe the lie that "musical teams" lead you into the presence of God: that makes them claim to be God standing in the Holy Place. Not in the vilest pagan temple could singers and musicians enter into the holy precincts on the penalty of death. Don't follow people making "Christianity" viler than paganism. If you are part of the 5 out of 13,000 congregations then you have become a laughing stock just like the musical idolatrs at Mount Sinai which forfeited and continues to forfeit the Covenant of Grace.
People who refute this have a "spirit" which intends to hurt you real bad.
I don't know any good books. However, I have just finished an article here.
In a sense we are saved when Christ died on the cross. That is, He has paid the price and we cannot do anything to earn the right to be His disciple unless we die as the penalty for our own guilt.
Lucky for us, Christ died so that we don't have to. However, because He has the right to decide how we are to be saved there must be some conditions or else everyone would be saved the instant Christ paid the price.
"Faith only" is often a code word for "predestinated to be saved." If we have faith and some experience then this is the high-five that God has chosen us to go to heaven. Faith only almost never means a "one step process leading to salvation."
That is, it does not mean that we hear the gospel, believe it and are automatically saved.
Rather, it means that we believe because we are predestinated and couldn't become "unsaved" even if we wanted to.
This is why being a Calvinist and believing in faith only go together in the religious world. Therefore, it is not rational to grasp the "faith only" passages out of context or time sequence.
How, then, do we look back and participate in Christ's remedy? He told the Apostles that "all the world" would be saved the same way but not without hearing about and believing in God and that Christ is His image or model for us to follow. He has the power to put His infinite form in a finite man: why would He not have the power to put His agreement to forgive in our accepting that agreement in our "accepting the counsel of God for our lives" baptism? But only if we believe in Him and what He asked us to do does belief become faith: putting our trust in Him by doing whatever He asks.
Martin Luther who was the father of "faith only" meant that faith is the only "purchasing" power and then not even faith: it is the death that is the purchasing power so even our belief is a condition which we must have in order to have the power or right to claim Christ as our Substitute Lamb.
Therefore, he wrote:
"But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer:
It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further.
But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely,
that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests.
Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life;
not through the water (as we have sufficiently stated), but through the fact that it is embodied in the Word and institution of God, and the name of God inheres in it.
"Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as in Him who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance, and proposes to us this external thing wherein we may apprehend such a treasure?
Alexander Campbell said: "No relation can be changed by believing, apart from the acts to which that belief, or faith, induces us."
Again, if God can put His infinite, Spirit power into the body of a human being then why cannot He put His power in faith which acts upon whatever one believes?
Faith is not just believing in Jesus; it is also believing everything Jesus said and commanded for our imitation. If we don't obey His commands then surely we do not have faith in Him. My dad said that he had faith in the Boeing 747 but he didn't have faith upon the Boeing 747!
To believe otherwise would be to say that we believe in a person but don't believe anything he says.
The would-be wise blind guides get to "faith only" by cutting the entire Bible down to the "core gospel." This is normally a few facts about Jesus and includes nothing which Jesus taught as good news, such as the power of freedom from sin through baptism. For instance, Paul's statement about just preaching Christ and Him crucified is the core creed. But notice why Paul restricted his teachings to "milk."
1 Cor 2:1 AND I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
1 Cor 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
This was because they were still carnal and needed to die to self.
1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
In chapter three we understand why:
1 Cor 3:1 AND I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
Paul would have to continue to "preach Christ and Him crucified" until people caught on and were ready to eat strong "meat."
But to the spiritual Paul did teach the full gospel and people were baptized.
Those who were baptized were people who grasped the meaning of Christ and Him crucified. See the whole story.
Now, analogy once more: God had the power to lay aside His glory in a pure Spirit world and take on the form of a human who has no more power to die for the sins of the world than you. The power was based upon what God invested in Jesus to become Full Deity rather than the value of flesh which Jesus said: "counts for nothing." John 6:63
We cannot hope to understand how One from a Spirit dimension can inhabit a material dimension. We don't have to understand it but we have to understand the infinite meaning of The Only God coming in the flesh to die for corrupt mankind. To us, this is an infinite leap.
He asks us to be baptized to inherit the kingdom: that is just a tiny leap. So, it won't do to not believe that something we are asked to to can have any effect on the Mind of God.
Not being baptized is just as much a conscious effort as being baptized.
First, then, we have to grasp the meaning of Christ and Him crucified:
Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, Phil 2:5LIV
who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, Phil 2: 6
but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. Phil 2: 7
And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal's death on a cross. Phil 2: 8
So far, the pattern is that the man whom God indwelled to make Him to be for us God in visible form
Abandoned His Majesty and Glory as pur or Holy Spirit God.
He did not hang on, kicking and screaming, demanding that His faith would be good enough.
He took on the form of a slave level of human nature.
He submitted Himself to did like a criminal.
This is the "pattern" which God Himself set for us. But only if we have the same mind as God will God raise us up from mortals to spiritual beings:
Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, Phil 2: 9
Agree with it or not:
that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, Phil 2: 10
and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2: 11
Bowing and confessing is the result of understanding and believing.
Therefore, God put Himself in a human Being, and He having power to decide what He wants to reveal, has the person die and then shows His power through the resurrection. And then He says that He will also be satisfied that all sins have been paid for by that death.
Now, does the same Holy God have the power to decide that mankind must also humble himself as God humbled Himself, in order to affirm that he accepts baptism as the token act to "accept the counsel of God for himself?"
Yes, baptism is a totally humiliating confession before the watching world that we have nothing to offer God. In fact, if the baptistry is warm then we get net energy from it and therefore perform no work. But bowing you will do: now or later.
By the active "work" of not being baptized we, like the prideful Jews at John's baptism, "refuse to accept the counsel of God for our lives."
That is our work and that is our confession. Jesus says that the result is damnation. Damned because we refused to get wet? No. Damned because we spit in the fact of God Incarnate and tell HIM that what He said means something else.
This is the opposite of a God-like or Christ-like attitude.
Romans 3 is complicated unless we grasp the key point that Paul is contrasting a system of law versus a system of faith:
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law Romans 3:28
Baptism is not a deed of the Law of Moses. It is not a law of human merit because we cannot earn our spiritual resurrection. It is part of the "foolishness of preaching." The only thing that it demands is faith expressing exself in love.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Romans 3: 3
But then Paul also said:
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts. 1 Cor 7:19
God told Isaac:
I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, Gen 26:4
because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." Gen 26:5
This is the meaning of "faith." It is acting upon God's command out of trust rather than believing that one is performing an act of merit which earns a wage for which God is under obligation to pay.
"Not" being baptized is also a conscious act of the will and body. If in that "NOT" baptism one "rejects the counsel of God for our lives" doesn't Being Baptized mean "accepting the counsel of God for our lives."
There is no neutrality: you have to use your human will to NOT be baptized.
Here is how to do it by the same writer who just preached "Christ and Him crucified," but only to the carnal, and who showed how one might participate by having the same Mind as was in God.
Having the Mind of God to lay aside His Glory and Majesty and resulting in being elevated back to His Glory must be recapitulated in some way. Just "believing" was not what God did Himself: He laid aside glory and submitted Himself to die like a Criminal. Paul's question shows how we do the same thing:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Rom 6:3 (in connection with)
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Rom 6: 5
[There is nothing but water baptism which is a likeness which we undergo]
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Rom 6: 6
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Rom 6: 7
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Rom 6: 8
"Faith only" may be said to save but "faith only" does not get one planted or buried in the form of or likeness of Christ's entombment. Faith only does not repent or confess. "Faith only" is never said to make one "crucified with him." Faith is the rule of walk before and after baptism but faith only means "without the Law of Moses." And, if you can believe it, "believer's baptism" demands that you live and die under the Law before you can be approved by the group and be baptized.
Peter says that in water baptism (washing the body) we identify with and ask God to sprinkle or purge our conscience from evil so that we have a clear conscience. That means more than freedom from a guilty feeling. It means that we have a co-perception with the Mind of Christ Which is the Spirit of God. This is the gift of a holy spirit. We are, in a sense, resurrected with Christ even now because we see dimly as He sees.
If someone warns me that a piano is falling from the 99th story and is aimed at my head I have no power to move unless I believe the man who says "move." Would we argue that I have faith in the man if I do not move? Of course not.
Now, suppose that I say, "Yeh, fella, I believe you" and sincerely believe that a piano is falling on my head. However, as with men like John MacArthur of Acts 2:38 "it may not mean what it says." "Whatever will be will be so since I believe in predestination, if God wants me smashed I will be smashed." Or, perhaps the man giving the warning didn't take the high wind into account.
Those are the arguments of "faith only" whom Luther, the father of "faith only," would call blind guides and would-be wise.
Suppose that I hear the man, believe in the man, repent by changing my direction and obey by jumping out of the way. Did my jumping save me? Not really, I didn't know what to do so what really saved me was my faith in the man. But did that faith really save me? Not really. What if the man had not injured himself in order to warn me? Would I be saved? No. So, the man really saved me. Which step would I want to leave out?
So what catches the fish? The will to get out of bed, suffering ticks to get to the creek, using a pole to reach out into the deep pool, dropping a line down into the water, having something for the fish to enjoy, getting it hooked, yanking the line, pulling it out to the bank? Isn't the fish truly the gift of God and can I do anything to create a fish? No, but God seemed to have created rules for the fish to get from the creek into my plate. I truly wish that I could do it by faith only. But, then, I never upset God by obeying His will for my life.
How the gift of God produces carrots:
- And also that every man should eat and drink, and
- enjoy the good of all his labour,
- it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13
And as for us:
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him:for it is his portion. Ecclesiastes 5:18
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and
to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19
Reaching out our hand to get the free gift of God is couched in the language which we would understand: it is like a rich man who is suddenly homeless. He has to walk in with all of the rest of the homeless and stretch out his hand in the sight of God and his old business partners and the old social caste.
God humbled Himself as the vilest criminal. "Christ and Him crucified" is not a few facts about Christ: it is teaching the mindset of one who can hold up his head even as God Incarnate and have a vile murderer chosen to live and hear Himself condemned to the worst form of execution without a fair trial.
Therefore, "faith only" is an understandable attitude of the upper caste while the "homeless" heard Him gladly."
Symbolically, God "took off His garments of Glory and Majesty." He put on the robe of the homeless Who didn't have a fixed place to rest His head. In baptism we take off our clothes and are hidden in Christ or enfolded in His bosom.
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God [for] themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7: 30
They denied that baptism was required of them and therefore repudiated the God of the universe and essentially called Him a liar.
And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? Luke 7: 31
They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. Luke 7: 32
God came in the form of a human to be abused, suffer and die to pay for the sins of the whole world. Who would claim that in baptism they are earning for themselves what God had to personally pay?
And yet, who would say that after God did all of this and He simply asks that we imitate the form of His death, burial and resurrection and the end of that which we believe, is trying to earn our salvation?
Like the Pharisees and Lawyers, this false charge may just be "whistling through the cemetary."
In order to have the Mind of Christ we must do an infinitely small imitation of giving up our own glory, identifying with His death, burial and resurrection in order to rise to walk in newness of life.
The Infinite Spirit God set the example which, to us, was an infinite stretch: The God of the universe putting off His "clothes" of majesty and glory and "putting on" the flesh of a carpenter to be despised and rejected by men, submit His Infinite power to being crucified but demonstrating also the infinite power of raising a dead person to life and lifting Himself back to sit back down beside the same majesty and glory He gave up for us.
Truly, water baptism is an act of humility especially for an adult. But who would "reject the counsel of God for their lives" by refusing to obey and having the prostitutes and publicans "jump the line" to spiritual life.
Surely, faith saves but it isn't faith unless it moves us to obey the God who commanded us to do what we believe. Not even faith earns the gift: only the blood of Christ. And Luther would ask "why is faith any less an effort than baptism?"
Hope this helps,
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