too many people in the world today are ignorant about the reason for
baptism. However, with a little Bible study, everyone can understand its importance in a Christian's life.
In John 3, Jesus mentions three births - the three major milestones in a Christian's life..
context, He was talking to a Pharisee called Nicodemus, who just could
not get his mind around the concept of more than one "birth".
[All emphases in Scripture is mine].
Joh 3:5-6 NLT Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6) Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.
Our three births.
Putting the three births of John 3 into logical sequence:-
Our first birth
(v6) is of the flesh, or sometimes referred to as our birth by blood. This
happens when we come out of our mother's womb and draw our first breath (Job 33:4).
Our second birth is when we come up out of the water of baptism (Titus 3:4-7).
And our third birth
is when we are changed from physical to spirit, and can move around
like the wind (John 3:8). Another way of putting it, our third birth is
our resurrection to eternal life.
We have no say over our first and third birth, but we are very much involved with our second birth - our baptism.
The reason for our first birth.
We have to understand why we were born before we can have any appreciation for our need for our second birth - baptism.
God is about building a family.
Our reason for being born is to eventually become part of God's spiritual family.
our physical birth is just the start of life's journey, and our acceptance into
the God family is far from automatic - unlike what many religious
organizations teach today.
Some Scriptures that talk about being potential "children of God".Hos
1:10 NET. (2:1) However, in the future the number of the people
of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither
measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, "You are not my
people," it will be said to them, "You are children of the living God!"When
Israel rebelled, God divorced them or rejected them. In that condition
they did not qualify to be called "My people", but when God gathers
Israel and gives them a new heart, and they stop rebelling and start
obeying, then they will qualify as "children of the living God".
Joh 1:12-13 NET. But to all who have received him — those who believe in his name — he has given the right to become God's children (13) — children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband's decision, but by God.
understand v13 we need to keep in mind our third birth - when we
are changed from physical to spirit - as only God can do that. Our
human parents are not involved in this birth (unlike our first) - just
God the Father ends up being our real father for eternity. Our physical
fathers have a part to play at the start, but our spiritual father has
a bigger part to play at the end.
1Jn 3:10 NET. By this the children of God and the children of the devil
are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness — the
one who does not love his fellow Christian — is not of God.
we are introduced to another aspect of being a "child of God". It
requires something more than just a human body. We also have to
practice "righteousness" - living by God's laws - to be looked on by
God as a potential child of His. It is what is in our mind that makes
This is brought out in,
Rom 8:14 NET. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
Baptism is our "statement" that we are indeed being "led by the Spirit of God".
6:16-18 NET. And what mutual agreement does the temple of God
have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God
said, "I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will
be their God, and they will be my people." (17) Therefore "come out from their midst, and be separate," says the Lord, "and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the All-Powerful Lord.
Notice the conditions laid down in v 17 by God, before we will be welcomed into His family.
Gal 3:26 NET. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.
Rom 8:14 NET. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
Rev 21:7 NET. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
So what do we have to conquer?
Revelation, where Christ is talking to the seven church eras, seven
times it is stated that the "rewards" are given to those who "overcome"
(Rev 2:7,11,17,26 3:5,12,21).
Greek word translated "overcome" is number G3528 in Strong, and
basically means to "subdue". If we do a search in e-Sword* for G3528 in
the +KJV of the Bible, we soon see that 1 John 2 is very much talking
about what it is that we have to overcome.
2:13-14 NET. I am writing to you, fathers, that you have known
him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people,
that you have conquered [overcome] the evil one.
(14) I have written to you, children, that you have known the
Father. I have written to you, fathers, that you have known him who has
been from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, that you
are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered [overcome] the evil one.
So here is a major force in the world that we are expected to overcome - Satan.
However, Jesus has already done this.
4:8-10 NET. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur.
(9) And he said to him, "I will give you all these things if you
throw yourself to the ground and worship me." (10) Then
Jesus said to him, "Go away, Satan! For it is written: 'You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' "
Jesus, having rejected the temptations of Satan, won the contest.
the spirit of Christ is within us, then that spirit will go on winning.
In other words, as long as we foster the spirit of Christ, we too can
overcome the temptations of Satan. As it says in James 4:7, if we
resist Satan he will flee from us..
However, John mentions more things that we have to overcome.
2:15-16 NET. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,
(16) because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.
John 2:15 shows us that the "love of the world" is the exact opposite
to "love of the Father". If we want to be considered to be a suitable
candidate for becoming a child of God, then we have to show God that we
do indeed reject the pull of the world.
1Jn 5:2-4 NET. By this we know that we love the children of God: whenever we love God and obey his commandments.
(3) For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments do not weigh us down, (4) because
everyone who has been fathered by God conquers [overcomes] the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.
Some of these "pulls" of the world are outlined for us in v16 above.
Desire of the flesh.We
need to understand the "desire of the flesh", because this "pull" has
many aspects to it. Each aspect is not the same for each person, but as
humans we all have some of these "pulls" - it is just that some pulls, for each individual, are stronger than others.
First, there is the desire
to dominate others. In the crudest sense, people use physical violence
to achieve this. In the schools, it is the school yard bully. In the home, usually it is the husband trying to dominate his
wife, but some women resort to it too. It can also come out in
emotional blackmail by both sexes. On a larger scale, many wars are started in order to "dominate" another nation.
in government, "make laws" to give the state control over people. God's
Ten Commandments, along with the summary of them given by Christ (Mat
22:37-39) are all the laws we need to resolve every situation, but man
keeps adding more laws - by the thousands. Men are trying to control others, instead of all men trying to obey God's laws.
Ever come across a
person who has to win every argument? They have not overcome the
human desire to be "top dog". People who build lavish houses, are not
just building a shelter from the wind and cold, but they are trying to
make a statement. Look at my house, look at my car, look at my clothes,
and so on - I am a "successful" person, and therefore more important
than "lesser" people.
Another pull of the flesh, is the way
people allow their vanity to dictate their actions. A burn victim for
example, needs plastic surgery - but a person who uses plastic surgery
to "improve their looks" are doing it out of vanity and not necessity.
This of course, leads in to using cosmetics to "change" one's
appearance. Again, their vanity has control of them - they have not
"overcome" the pull of the world.
Desire of the eyes.
motor industry of today does not just build cars that will get from
point A to point B, with a certain speed/economy. Each car is designed
to "look good". They are using a part of human nature - the desire of
the eyes - to try and sell their particular vehicle. Usually the better
the "looks" the more you are expected to pay for it.
glossy magazines that we read with our eyes, have pictures that are
there solely to draw the eyes to them. If everyone in the world had
overcome the "desire of the eyes" then most magazines would soon go out
of business (and as I see it, the sooner the better). All those drawn
to pornography have not learnt to resist the "desire of the eyes".
Arrogance produced by material possessions.
The Greek word in Strong is G212, which can also be be translated as "self confidence, boasting, pride".
As you would expect, the three "pulls of the world" mentioned in 1 John 2:16 are all linked.
man buys what he thinks is a good looking car, then "shows it off" to
his friends, which is another way of saying "look at me, my possessions
show that I am successful". What pride? What arrogance?
physical possessions for the sole purpose of boosting our pride, or
"showing off" to others, is destroying our chances of being looked on
with favour by God as a suitable candidate for the family of God.
Just to recap.
We are born to become part of the spiritual family of God. That process takes three "births".
Baptism is about our second birth. It is the only "birth" we have control over.
Before our baptism we have to come to understand why this "birth by water" is necessary, and what it symbolizes about our life.
It involves understanding that we have to overcome Satan, the pull of the world, and our own human nature.
Understanding human nature.
Yes, baptism does involve repentance.Act 2:38 NET. Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
says that repentance is "turning away from sin", so this means we have
to repent of what we have done that has broken God's laws. However, the
Greek word used for "repent" (G3340) comes from G3539 which means to
"comprehend - consider, think, understand". This means we have to take
a long hard look at what we are, and what we are capable of doing.
have to come to see human nature for what it is - a mixture of good and
evil - and understand that no amount of "good" will compensate for the
What are humans capable of?
While the good
teachings/training of our mother and father, and the rules of school
and the land, may have help us avoid many sins, we are still capable of
being "caught up" in situations and sinning. On top of this, if we
start excusing ourselves from some "little" sins (Luke 16:10), they have a habit of
becoming larger sins with time.
are some verses with how things might end up if we don't take action to
avoid the temptations of Satan, the world and our own vanity.
3:2-5 NET. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of
money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
ungrateful, unholy, (3) unloving, irreconcilable,
slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is
good, (4) treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure
rather than loving God. (5) They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.Rom
1:28-32 NET. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be
done. (29) They are filled with every kind of
unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with
envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips,
(30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful,
contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents,
(31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless.
(32) Although they fully know
God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to
die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.
I could have emphasized it all.
need some instruction in how to strive for righteousness, and then we
need to put some effort into overcoming, or we too could slide into
such rebellious behavior.
So - we have to repent of our potential to sin
, just as much as repenting of any sins we have committed.
back to where Christ is talking to the seven churches in Rev 2 and 3,
repentance is mentioned eight times. Repentance and overcoming go
together. While ever we claim we are "innocent", or try to "cover up"
our sins, no overcoming will take place. No positive action will take
place until we admit that a change of heart is needed.
on the news, after someone has been killed in an accident, people
will say that he or she was a "good "person. While we can understand
that relatives or friends may want to say positive things about someone
who has just died, we also need to understand that no human is "good".Mat 19:17 NET. He said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good [God]. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
Obviously Jesus is saying that only God the Father can be called "good".
Isa 64:6 NET. We are all like one who is unclean,
all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight.
We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.
think Isaiah 64:6 is a good verse to remember for all our life, and a
very good reason not to call ourselves or anyone else "good".
should not be considered until after we understand the potential to sin
that we all carry in our minds. Yes, humans also carry the potential to
do good - and they often do - but no amount of "good" will pay off the
debt we incur when we sin. And no amount of "doing good" will stop us
from - at some point in the future - giving in to a temptation from Satan, the world
or our vanity. By all means "do good" - just understand that that is
what is expected, not something that somehow wins us favour with God.
The physical aspects of baptism.
As far as the physical side of things go, baptism is fairly simple.
fit person pushes you under the water for a few seconds, and then you
come up out of the water.Act 8:36-38
NET. Now as they were going along the road, they came to some
water, and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water! What is to stop me
from being baptized?" (38) So he ordered the chariot to
stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Obviously the water was deep enough to hold a person underneath it.
If you stayed under the water you would die. This is a type/symbol of the death that Jesus was willing to suffer.Rom 6:3-5 NET. Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
(4) Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into
death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through
the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. (5)
For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection.
Laying on of hands.
after coming up out of the water, usually the one who pushed you under,
lays his hands on you and asks God to give you your down payment of the
Holy Spirit. If several elders are present, they can all take part in
the laying on of hands - their way of approving of what you are doing
(1 Tim 4:14).
Act 2:38 NET. Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
can see the sequence here - repentance (of what we have done and what
we are capable of) then immersion, then the receiving of the Holy
8:14-17 NET. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that
Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to
them. (15) These two went down and prayed for them so that
they would receive the Holy Spirit. (16) (For the Spirit
had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) (17) Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit.
We might well wonder why the laying on of hands was not done straight away.
don't claim to have the exact answer to that, but some thoughts: The
gentiles needed to learn to look to the Apostles, hence God allowed a
delay until the Apostles got involved. Or, they were only familiar with the baptism of John, who did
not lay hands on people (the Spirit was not available in his day). Or,
they just had not been instructed with the full procedure. It is also possible that there was no "fit person" who could do it.
notice, they were baptised into the name of Christ. Unfortunately extra
words have been inserted into Mat 28:19 to support the Trinity.
Act 19:5-6 NET. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, (6) and when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.
2Ti 1:6 NET. Because of this I remind you to rekindle God's gift that you possess through the laying on of my hands.
Baptism is about making a statement.
The act of adult baptism makes a statement.
effect, the one who is being baptized is saying that he or she has
researched and studied the subject in the Bible, and has come to the
conclusion that they are not "good enough" as a physical human to
qualify for a position in the God family - but they do indeed want and need what
God is offering. They are willing to repent - not only of what they
have done wrong (sin) but their capacity to again sin if the temptation
is strong enough.
The act of baptism says that the person is
giving up their own desires (the old life dies under the water) and
instead want the help of the Holy Spirit to guide them in a new life,
wherein they try to please God, not their own selves.
Baptism is just a start not an end.
I have met people who got baptized thinking that somehow the Holy Spirit would do all the work for them.
This is not true.
have to do the overcoming. The Holy Spirit is just the down payment on
what is to come. It "walks along side", and helps, especially with your
communication with God, but it will not "force" you to do the "right
thing".2Co 1:22 NET. who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.2Co 5:5 NET. Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.Eph
1:13-14 NET. And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of
your salvation) — when you believed in Christ — you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, (14) who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of his glory.
down payment is enough to put an invisible (but visible to God and the
angels) mark on our forehead, and seal us for our resurrection. If the
lowest job in the Kingdom is a "door keeper" then we have at least that.
However, remember that is better than not being there at all.Psa 84:10 NKJV For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
So we might need to start at the bottom and then work our way up.
long as we stick with our promise at baptism (to put God first, not
self) our place in the Kingdom is assured. But - it is how we live our
life after baptism that determines the type of job we will end up doing
in the kingdom.
the Holy Spirit is a helper, we still have to do the doing. Or walk the
walk as some people put it. In the following verse, we see how the Holy
Spirit is an Advocate (for our support) or Comforter, and "teaches" -
not "does".Joh 14:26 NET. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.
This next group of verses is a bit long, but I feel it helps to summarize what has been said so far.Rom
8:1-18 NET. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the life-giving
Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and
we have been correctly baptised into Jesus, as long as we "walk the
walk", we are free from the second death (the lake of fire).
For God achieved what [the keeping of the letter of] the law could not do because it was weakened
through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
(4) so that the righteous requirement of the [spirit of the] law may be fulfilled
in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the
The "walk" of a Christian is different from that of a person who is still in the world (influenced by the world).
For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by
the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit
have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.
who live according to the flesh are selfish (I want to do things my
way). Those who live according to the spirit are selfless (do things to
please God, not the self).
(6) For the outlook of
the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and
peace, (7) because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to
God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do
so. (8) Those who are in the flesh [living according to fleshly desires] cannot please God.
(9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if
indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the
Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.
the opposite is true - if you do have the Spirit of God living in you,
you do belong to God. Note: the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of
Christ, are one and the same thing.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the
Spirit is your life because of righteousness. (11) Moreover
if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal
bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. (12) So
then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh (13) (for if you live
according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to
death the deeds of the body you will live.
how to "put to death the deeds of the body" takes time and practice.
Don't expect instant success. It is a life long journey.
(14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
(15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again
to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry,
"Abba, Father." (16) The Spirit himself bears witness to
our spirit that we are God's children. (17) And if
children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with
Christ) — if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be
glorified with him. (18) For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us.
Yes, in the short term we will suffer - so we have to strive to keep the long term results in mind.
A life long battle.
is important that we realize that we are never going to completely
overcome our human nature while we remain physical. All our life we
must struggle with "over-coming".
A whole chapter of the Bible is devoted to this aspect of living the Christian life.Rom
7:1-25 NLT Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are
familiar with the law—don't you know that the law applies only
while a person is living? (2) For example, when a woman
marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But
if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.
(3) So while her husband is alive, she would be committing
adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is
free from that law and does not commit adultery when she
remarries. (4) So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is
the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ.
And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a
result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
ever we are alive, we have to strive to obey the law - the Ten
Commandments and all that hangs off them. The harvest of "good deeds"
that God expects can only come because we put God and His law first.
(5) When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us,
and the law aroused [ more accurately, highlighted or exposed] these evil
desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in
read in the following verses needs to be viewed in this light.
Apostle Paul is talking about "when we were controlled by our
old [human] nature" - in other words in Biblical language, we were
"unconverted". An unconverted person will almost always be sucked in by
Satan, the world, or his human nature. A converted (baptised) person
will be able to resist these temptations a lot more.
(6) But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
under the "law" (the principles of the first five books of the Bible)
and before Christ died, a person could think "bad thoughts" (thoughts
that if put into action would break God's law) all the time and not
have to make a sacrifice (repent). It was only when they allowed the
wrong thoughts to produce wrong actions (sin) that they were judged by
the letter of the law.
However, after Christ came, and the new
covenant started, we are required to live by the spirit of the law.
This means stopping the wrong thoughts BEFORE they are put into action.
As Christ shows us in (Mat 5:28) the wrong thought is now sin - we don't
have to wait till it is converted to the physical act as they did under
the Old Covenant. Thus - it is a "new way of living".
(7) Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet."
Sin is the transgression (or breaking) of the law (1 John 3:4). Going against the objectives of the law is what defines sin.
But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires
within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
Here is a different translation.
7:8 ISV But sin seized the opportunity provided by this
commandment and produced in me all kinds of sinful desires. For apart
from the law, sin is dead.
A bit hard to get our mind around?
See if this helps.
is no law to say that we can't - say - go swimming. So we can go
swimming anytime there is the opportunity. No law - no sin.
Therefore we don't lust after swimming in the same way we might lust
for sex before or outside of marriage - for which there is a law against.
To put it another way - there is a "rebellious" aspect to human nature.
made us. He knows what human behaviour produces bad results. So "sin"
is another way of saying that we have let wrong human desires to get
the better of us.
(9) At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life,
(10) and I died. So I discovered that the law's commands, which
were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead.
we need to be careful of how we read this. If there were no commands,
there would be no spiritual death - so in one sense, the commands are
responsible for spiritual death. But in another sense, it is the
breaking of those commands that brings about spiritual death
(11) Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me.
- the end result - is being used here as the beginning. The fact is -
wrong desires, unchecked, is what caused the end result - sin.
But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right
and good. (13) But how can that be? Did the law, which is
good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring
about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really
is. It uses God's good commands for its own evil purposes.
Paul corrects the possibility for ambiguity. The law/commands do not
cause the death. It is the breaking of those laws that causes death.
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The
trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.
is proof that the Apostle Paul was converted. He understood not only
his sins, but his potential to sin. And we should understand both too.
I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I
don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. (16) But if I know
that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is
good. (17) So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin [or the desire to rebel]
living in me that does it. (18) And I know that nothing
good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is
right, but I can't. (19) I want to do what is good, but I
don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
(20) But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one
doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (21) I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
is a good summary of life. We are here on earth in physical bodies to
learn how to overcome certain "pulls" that if not checked will result
God wants all the members of His spiritual family to be
self contained anti-sinners - and have lived a life of overcoming to
prove to God that is what they want too.
love God's law with all my heart. (23) But there is another
power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a
slave to the sin that is still within me. (24) Oh, what a
miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is
dominated by sin and death? (25) Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law [and so should we], but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
- a baptized Christian - can escape from his human nature, because he
or she invites Christ to live His life in them. We use the Holy Spirit
This "battle" goes on the whole of our physical existence.
Gal 5:16-18 NET. But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
(17) For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit,
and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are
in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.
(18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Or put another way - we don't have to pay the penalty of the Old Covenant law.
By accepting Christ's sacrifice, and by doing our best to live by the
spirit of the law, God applies Christ's sacrifice to our sins and they
are wiped out (atoned or covered). Once our past sins are removed (by
applying the blood of Christ) then God "forgets" them. They are gone
This is part of the message we hear on the Day of Atonement.
A start.What I have been able to outline above is just the start of coming to know what Baptism is all about.
You may also want to read "The Christian's Life". In that article I try to outline what a Christian's life is all about, and what I believe is expected of a Christian.
Also Hebrews 6:1-2 talks about seven fundamental things we need to investigate and understand.
would also be good to have read the Bible from cover to cover a few
times, be keeping the Holy Days of Lev 23, understand that Jesus did
not exist till an egg was fertilized in Mary's womb, that there
is only one God - the father of all - and so on, and so on.
It can take years to prepare for baptism - it should never be a knee-jerk emotional reaction.
Jesus was discussing spiritual/Biblical principles at the age of 12 (Luke 2:42 - 47),
yet was not baptized until he was about 30 years old (Luke 3:23).
Life's major decision.
Baptism is a life changing decision.
And there is no turning back.
you accept Christ's sacrifice, and then reject it - turn your back on
God and Christ - then that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and there
is no remedy to reverse it.Heb 10:26-31 NET. For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us,
(27) but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a
fury of fire that will consume God's enemies. (28) Someone
who rejected the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the
testimony of two or three witnesses. (29) How
much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has
contempt for the Son of God, and profanes the blood of the covenant
that made him holy, and insults the Spirit of grace?
(30) For we know the one who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will
repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." (31) It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
So, be deeply convinced in your own mind before you make the step.
is better to hold back and continue to study the matter, than to jump
in too soon and regret it. If you are "looking" then you will have the
help of the Holy Spirit.
Someone is sure to ask - at what age can I be baptised?
is no age given in the Bible, but because all the examples given
indicate "adult" status, we can reasonable assume that being over 20
years of age is fine (Ex 30:14, Num 1:3). Of course, some people
are "mature" for their age, and they will understand about waiting - but some are not "mature" even long after
they are an adult.
If you are 15 or 16 years old and feel that
you are ready for baptism, live life as though you already are. As you
produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit over a number of years, then the
physical act of Baptism will be obvious to the person who is counseling
you about baptism at a later time.
Baptism is for us and the people around us.
It is not something God requires before He will look at us. God is
working with us - before, during and after baptism.
However, He does expect us to do it, as a way of us making a statement to ourselves and the world around us.
Orchard June 2013
this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is
done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use
material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.
I have mostly quoted from the NET Bible. The First Edition (with all the notes) is -
in my view - the most honest Bible translation made so far.
They admit that certain verses are hard to translate, and give their
reasons for what they have come up with.
You can get the First Edition (for your studies) from bible.org. The Reader's Edition is good for services.
* I also mentioned e-Sword. A free Bible software program available from www.e-sword.net.