Holy Baptism-Born From Above.
Alex Thomas & Dr. Susan Alex,
20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word "Baptisma" and it is similar to the Aramaic word, "Mamodisa", which means, immersion or washing". Christian baptism is a symbolic illustration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Through baptism, "we die with Christ and rise with Him". It also represents our death to sin and new life in Christ as it washes our sins away. In baptism we die to sin (Romans 6:11) and are raised to a brand new life (Colossians 2:12). "Through baptism, you are incorporated into God's new creation and made to share in Christ's royal priesthood".
In John 6:44, we read that, "No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him". Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast". So we have nothing to boast about, but the blood of Jesus. In Acts 2:47, "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved". Hence salvation is the eternal redeeming act of God by His grace and love. John the Baptist called the people to repentance and thereby prepared the way for the coming of the lamb of God, the Messiah, who came to take the sins of the world away. Though Jesus was sinless, by being baptized "to fulfill all righteousness", Jesus identified Himself with and showed His approval for John's baptism. John testified in John 1:32-34 that, "I saw the spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me. The man on whom you see the spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and testify that this is the son of God". Mathew 28:19 is very specific that the baptism must be done in the name of the "Father, Son and the Holy Spirit". So, the baptism is truly from above.
Baptism, one of the seven Holy Sacraments, is a topic that has divided the Christian denominations based on its mode, but all agree that it is an important factor in the redemptive plan of God. Baptism identifies one with God's family. It signifies our inclusion in God's family. In Eph. 4:4 we see that, there is only "one baptism" and we acknowledge that in the Nicene Creed, "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins". In Mathew 18:2, Jesus said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". Acts 2: 39, "the promise is for you and your children". "Infant baptism rests firmly on the understanding that God prepares the way of faith even before we request or even know that we need help". The early church practiced circumcision. In Gen. 17:10-13, we read the covenant that God made, that all 8 days old male be circumcised. As we can see from Deut. 10:16, "circumcise your hearts" and also Romans 2:29, "circumcision is circumcision of the heart"; the importance is in the "heart" than the ritual itself.
In Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary it is stated that, "Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, which carried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of all true believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type of the eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the Holy Spirit".
Lord, "We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord, and we pray that all unity may one day be restored". Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ". Gal. 3:27,