Weekly Sabbath Survey
Baptism — 5-21-2016
Paul taught there are six foundational Principles of the Doctrine of Messiah (Christ). He listed them as 1) Doctrine of repentance from dead works, 2) Doctrine of faith toward God, 3) Doctrine of Baptisms, 4) Doctrine of laying on of hands, 5) Doctrine of resurrection of the dead, 6) Doctrine of Eternal Judgment. Most of us agree on five of these. But like some of us who don’t want to obey Ten Commandment #4, some of us want to do a make-over of Principal Doctrine #3. Some teachers play fast and loose with God’s requirements of us in general, and in particular in these two areas, the Sabbath and Baptism. We may think it doesn’t matter, but sadly, we are deceiving ourselves. Every detail (jot and tittle) matters to God.
Baptism can be a hornet’s nest, but it is too important to just gloss over. I have tiptoed around it myself over the years so as not to offend people who don’t want to believe what I’m about to say here. As the sounding of the final bell approaches, I feel obligated and constrained to remind all in my circle of friends, when we are doing God’s thing, it is essential that we do it HIS WAY. It is vital that we understand baptism is a Jewish thing. It goes this way: Hebrew God, with Hebrew Laws, for Hebrew people. Jesus didn’t change that, no matter what we may have heard to the contrary!
First, is baptism essential? Yes, it is as important as the other five things listed above. Peter said, Repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. It sounds like a package deal to me. But it is still the blood of Jesus was truly cleanses us from sin. Being baptized is a reflection of our obedience to our Lord. Following Him in death by symbolically laying down our old life and rising up out of the baptismal waters a DIFFERENT PERSON. This happened to me. Nobody explained this to me. I just knew something had happened to me in that moment when my pastor raised me up. I was different.
Second, which is it, immersion or sprinkling? When God ordained it, every body understood that the word for baptism meant “immersion”. The Jewish people had the mikveh (baptistery) for over a thousand years before Jesus. Then, Cousin John appeared in the wilderness down by the river hollering “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!” and every Jew who heard him knew what “John the Immerser” was talking about. He was the original hell-fire-let’s-dunk- ’em preacher! The word we know as “baptize” is a term used in the process of dying cloth. The cloth item is immersed deeply into the dye vat so that it takes on the properties of the dye. Water is a symbol of Holy Spirit. Believers who are immersed in the waters of baptism take on the attributes of God’s spirit. Jews still immerse themselves at various times for reasons of cleanliness of body or of spiritual matters, often when repenting. Christians are usually immersed once. If someone’s baptism experience was not valid, they were not Born Again when they were baptized—they went in a dry sinner and came up a wet sinner. In these cases, once the person is saved, another baptizing would be very appropriate in the Lord.
Lastly, should babies be baptized? No, sprinkling is not true baptism for anyone. Biblical baptism is done when the person is old enough to have an expectation in and understanding of, this process. Some five year olds are able to grasp enough to make baptizing valid once they have accepted salvation through Jesus. The baby is incapable of making a decision to accept Jesus as Savior. Many churches are opting for a ‘dedication of parents’ service for infants and toddlers.The parents pledge themselves to bring the baby up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord so the child grows up aware of the Lord and can make his/her own salvation decision (and be baptized) in due time. Many people who were sprinkled as babies have come to the place in their spiritual life (after being Born Again), that they want to be baptized the Jewish way, like Jesus. This is also very appropriate in the Lord.
Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who were baptized in Messiah Yeshua, were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through immersion into death, so that just as He was raised from the dead through the glory (Spirit) of the Father, so also we could walk in newness of life, raised up with Him. Romans 6:3-4
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Yeshua Messiah
Copyright November 2015
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