Monday, March 9, 2009

Water Baptism

If you become a Christian through water baptism,

all those who take a shower are Christians...

And I become a Christian everyday (except those days I am just too lazy to take a shower)...

42 comments:

Joe said...

Simple yet profound.

It's what I've been saying. Unless you have the inward change of heart and repent, all you're doing is getting wet.

Thanks Bino.

Ike said...

Salvation has nothing to do with "us" doing anything BUT all christians should obey their Lord and be baptised.

P.S. Hey Bino....since you are a "free lancer" will you do some work for me for "free"?

Bino M. said...

Hey Joe! I get irked when people keep bragging about the things they 'do' to get saved and keep them saved. I tell them only one thing - Grow up!!!

It is by grace through faith we are saved and it is by grace through faith we live the Christian life... It's plain and simple! We tend to add the things we do to the equation...

Bino M. said...

Ike - I am not a 'free lancer' but a 'freelancer' :) If I can be of any help, pls. let me know. I don't mind doing some free work for my brother in Christ...

So, you get baptized (in water) to obey the Lord? That is great!

But I thing I like to say about the obedience - don't pick and choose! If you are really into obedience, obey every single command, including,

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5:48

Ike said...

Bino,
I was just joking about the "free" stuff!

I'm not sure what your point is about baptism. Let me ask you this: Do you believe you can be a Christian and refuse to be baptised?

Bino M. said...

Ike -

Do you believe you can be a Christian and refuse to be baptized?

I believe I can be a Christian without baptizing in the water.

But, without the true baptism (done by God), you cannot become a Christian.

It's a spirit Baptism, not water.

Baptism (by Spirit) is a process you are placed in the body of Christ, the process of regeneration (being born again).

It has nothing to do with water.

Ike said...

I agree with you to a point but I do not understand why a Christian would not follow the Lords command to believe and be baptised. This is not a suggestion but a commandment. Why wouldn't we want to publicly identify and testify our identification in Christ and His death...burial and ressurection?

Bino M. said...

Ike - I am not against water baptism.

If you know what you are doing and why you are doing, do it.

Like you said, by doing so we are simply telling others what happened inside us (through the work of God).

BTW, when Jesus said, believe and be baptized in Mark 16:16, I don't think he was referring to water baptism.

LovedMuch.com said...

Ike, I hope you don't keep 'shoulding' yourself.

My experience - by the time I was 30 years old I must have been baptized in H20 no less than 10 times or so, because of words like 'should' and 'command' and 'obey'. I kept hoping that an external 'act of obedience' would translate into an internal transformation but I can assure you it did not.

Being baptized INTO Christ is something I'm finally able to relate to... being plunged into the reality of Him. I'm not saying I'll never receive water baptism again - who knows what the Spirit of Father might lead me into tomorrow - but I certainly will never do so because I 'should' or to 'obey a command'. I'm sold on the reality that all the commands were summed up in this: LOVE!

theoldadam said...

Bino,

That is ridiculous.

It is not the water alone...it is the Word WITH the water, that makes baptism effective.

theoldadam said...

We hate that God would actually do something in baptism, because that would take this God project, and decision thing out of our hands and out in into God;s hands...where it belongs.

Bino M. said...

Toby (LovedMuch) - I think your thoughts on this subject is similar to mine. I was told the entire passage in Romans 6 is talking about water Baptism.

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Do we get baptized into His death when we dunk in water?

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.

Do we get buried with him, when we go under the water?

Are we raised from the dead, when we come up from the water?

Absolutely not!

Yet, this is exactly what is being taught today in churches.

On the other hand, what a beautiful picture those verses portrays about the death of our old nature, burying the old Adam and coming alive (spiritually) in Christ Jesus (imparting His life).

Bino M. said...

Steve - You said, 'it is the Word WITH the water, that makes baptism effective'. What kind of effect?

LovedMuch.com said...

Yes, Bino,

I now see baptism as a work that Christ already did for me: a finished work that is becoming more and more meaningful to me the more I identify with being IN Him and He in me! I'm being baptized in a bottomless ocean of love and I'm pretty sure I'm drowning!

Ike said...

"but I certainly will never do so because I 'should' or to 'obey a command'. I'm sold on the reality that all the commands were summed up in this: LOVE!"

"If you love Me keep My commandments."

LovedMuch.com said...

Hey Ike, how's that working for you, keeping those commandments? 40 something years of that finally did me in. I think what religion has robbed you and me of is the context of that scripture and others like it and the reality of what Jesus was inviting us to: Living relationally inside His love. If we do that, the keeping of the commandments (requirements) will be the outcome. I now think of it as a promise He is fulfilling in me rather than an obligation I must do to get Him to respond. He has "requirements" that He expects FOR us more than FROM us and He has met those requirements already and called us friends, no longer servants. How cool is that!

Ike said...

"Hey Ike, how's that working for you"


He who began a good work will finish it.

LovedMuch.com said...

We're on the same page there :-)

LovedMuch.com said...

"He who began a good work will finish it."

That is becoming my reality and is liberating me from commandments into companionship with Him. I now appreciate the law more than ever because I know it's place was to establish that my right-standing with God can only come through Christ.

Bino M. said...

Ike,

Knowingly or unknowingly you answered your own question when you said,

He who began a good work will finish it.

Yes, He can do it. Not you and I.
We are branches, we only abide in the Vine. We don't produce fruits. The Vine produces, we simply bear the fruits.

So, we are out of the equation other than the fact that we simply walk by faith and rest in Him. So, Rest! :)

Joel B. said...

Hey all, good conversation, and great post Bino.

I just looked up every instance of "bapti*" on my computer Bible (baptism, baptize, baptized, etc). In so many cases, it has absolutely nothing to do with water. And when it does, it was either John's baptism (which is not the baptism Jesus talked about, or it was a voluntary thing that people did at the moment they believed, if water was nearby.

Jesus' so-called "command" to baptize people "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," was not a water baptism, from what I can tell. John himself has said that his baptism was with water regarding repentance, but that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (definitely not water)! And Jesus Himself said, "John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So I highly doubt that Jesus' words about baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has anything to do with water.

Yes indeed, there are examples in Acts of people being baptized "in the name of Jesus," or "in the name of the Lord," using water. It was never due to a command of God. It's kind of sad that we've made doctrines and commandments out of these various events in Acts! Each event was a little different, so I think we really have to stretch to make them into musts our shoulds for Christians.

I take note of Acts 10:46-48

Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

These people had already received the Holy Spirit. The word that is translated as "commanded" does not mean "commanded" in the sense we use it in. It's more of a leader giving instructions on what to do next, not "commanding" what to do next. It was a good thing to do, not a necessary or commanded thing to do.

I also note that Jesus Himself, just before going to the cross, said that He was going to be baptized with a different baptism, and that His disciples would be baptized with the same baptism. Not a water baptism, but a baptism into death, only to be raised again to life.

This is the baptism that we all need. And it's done, not through any act on our behalf, but only through faith.

Just Noodling said...

Well said, Joel. And great conversation altogether!

Bino M. said...

Joel, Very well said! I have nothing more to add. Thank you!

theoldadam said...

Bino,

Sorry for the late response.

The effect that God brings about in baptism is stated in Acts 2:38

The forgiveness of sins and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Bino M. said...

Steve - You are free to respond at your convenience :) I said, you are FREE. ;)

Are you saying Acts 2:38 is talking about water baptism? On the day of the Pentecost, God poured out His Spirit on people and right after that event Peter is saying "Repent and be baptized", so isn't it obvious that he is referring to the Baptism of the Spirit?

Isn't he simply asking people to change their mind from unbelief to belief and be joined in the body of Christ through the regeneration of their spirit (which is an act of God and is called baptism)?

Where is water on the day of Pentecost? What kind of baptism was promised by John the baptist (John 1:33) and Jesus (Acts 1:5) Himself?

Joel B. said...

Steve,

Unfortunately I've seen way too many people take Acts 2:38 (and surrounding verses) and build an entire doctrine around it, without considering other scriptures.

Acts 10:43 says that "through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." No talk about water baptism doing this. In fact, it goes on to say that "While Peter was speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word."

It was after that, in Acts 10:46-48 (which I brought up yesterday) - after the people had already received the Spirit - that Peter instructed them to be baptized. In other words, it wasn't through water baptism that they had received the Spirit, but through faith alone in the name of Jesus, as the rest of the New Testament scripture is very clear about.

As I'm typing this I see Bino's comment came in. Indeed, does "baptized in the name of Jesus" mean water baptism, or does it mean just that - baptized (submersed) in His Name? It does appear that the people did get baptized, but was it water that gave them the Holy Spirit and the remission of sins, or was it faith in the Word of God?

Joel B. said...

Bino, you said something interesting... "Where is water on the day of Pentecost?"

I think I might have heard someone say that before, but I had never deeply thought about it. I had always assumed that although water baptism played no role in the actual process of receiving the Holy Spirit and the remission of sin, the people went ahead and were baptized in water. But you got me thinking... what water?

Where did these 3,000 people go to all be baptized in water? That's quite an undertaking. As far as I know, there were no "dunk tanks" like we have today... :) ... and they were quite a distance from the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.

Thanks for getting me thinking. Good stuff. :)

Bino M. said...

Joel -

"dunk tanks"? LOL!

Some churches (denominations) go one more step saying that you have to be baptized in their water which is in their 'dunk tank', by their pastor/priest. And unless you do it their way, you are lost!

Give me a break!

If the dunking is that important for salvation, while Jesus was here on earth, He would have been making a lot of 'dunk tanks' all over Israel...

Apostle Paul once said, "I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you". Back in those times also there were those people holding onto the externals (and making whole denominations out of it, based on whether you should dunk some one in water or sprinkle water on them).

I am wondering why they don't talk about splashing or spraying water on people. May be we should make one new denomination who baptize people only by spraying water. :)

theoldadam said...

In almost every instance in the New Testament, baptism refers to water baptism.

Also in Romans 6 Paul describes the dying and rising of baptism.

And when the Lord commands that we baptise people in Matthew 28, He is not referring to going and "giving people the Holy Spirit".

Also in 1st Peter it spaks of the flood (Genesis) and how baptism now saves you also, it is not merely a washing away of dirt.

That too is not refering to the spirit baptism but rather water baptism.

Others, too...but it's bedtime for this Bonzo!

Bino M. said...

Steve - I have to disagree.

You mentioned Romans 6, which I have already addressed in a previous comment. Matthew 28 or where ever Jesus mentioned baptism as a future event He was referring to the baptism in the Spirit. That was his very mission itself.

John the Baptist introduced the Messiah saying, "I baptize in water but the one coming after me will baptize you in Spirit". So there is no reason to believe that Jesus was later referring to water baptism. He made it even clearer when he said,

"For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."" - Acts 1:5

It's hard to argue against this.

Now, going to 1 Peter 3, let's read the entire passage:

God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. - 1 Peter 3:20-22

Here are the few things to consider:

1. It says this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you. So, water is NOT what saves you, it is the true baptism what saves you, water just symbolizes it.

2. Do you think, when you dunk some one in water, they will have a 'the pledge of a good conscience toward God'? How can water give you a 'good conscience'?

3. Now, even if you disagree with everything I said here, the following verse makes it abundantly clear that it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ what saves you. The LIFE of Christ. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, 'I have come so that you may have LIFE'

Those who have the son has LIFE

In him was LIFE

everyone who believes in him may have eternal LIFE

I am the bread of LIFE

How do you receive this LIFE? By faith! And by faith alone!

Joel B. said...

Yep indeed, Bino! All those verses about Life speak so much! And in addition, there are soooo many scriptures that speak of reconciliation, salvation, justification, the free gift of righteousness... and so much more... apart from any talk of baptism. The one thing we find in common with all of them is the one thing that is needed... faith.

theoldadam said...

Bino,

John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. The sincerity of the believer. Taht's why there was no power in it.

he was saying that the baptisms that Jesus will do (God does the baptising in water batisims where His name is invoked, as Jesus told us to do in Matthew 28)

So baptism means washing, with water, and when we understand that God is doing the "washing", His Holy Spirit is given and something actually happens.

That is how we understand it and how we dare to baptise babies, because God's grace comes BEFORE our faith.

Bino M. said...

Steve -

So baptism means washing, with water, and when we understand that God is doing the "washing", His Holy Spirit is given and something actually happens.

Let me ask you a very fundamental question.

How are we saved?

By putting faith in what Jesus already did for us? Or by doing something from our end?

Also, you are bringing up another interesting thing about baptizing babies...

Can babies exercise faith?

You would need to try really hard to make the infant baptism as Scriptural...

LovedMuch.com said...

OK, maybe this is a rabbit trail I'm on, but I want your input on it if possible:

I'm reminded here of the great divide between religion and relationship with Father-Son-Spirit; between the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil and the Tree of Life; between death and life, Law & Grace... etc.

Love, being the New Requirement (commandment) given by Jesus, to me is our invitation beyond the threshold that separates this divide. It is our invitation to relationship. To the religious mind, however, love is an action (I have to DO something). To the repented mind (metanoia) Love is not merely an action, it is our very environment - Love is Christ / Christ is Love - we are IN HIM. This very home and environment that surrounds us, defines us. Anything that we are doing outside of Him is either dead works or sin. If in my relationship with Him, HE is leading ME to DO a symbolic act (water baptism, etc) then it is going to be life giving in my RELATIONSHIP with Him. If I'm doing it to comply with a written code, then it is a dead work!

What kind of love is this that we should be called ROBOTS of God! Wait - that's not right...

Bino M. said...

Toby -

You just captured the essence of water baptism in your one statement:

If in my relationship with Him, HE is leading ME to DO a symbolic act (water baptism, etc) then it is going to be life giving in my RELATIONSHIP with Him. If I'm doing it to comply with a written code, then it is a dead work!

Thanks!

Joel B. said...

I can't recall if Titus has been brought up here, but speaking of washing:

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, WHOM He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

The washing and regeneration through which we were saved was not by water, but was by a WHOM... the Holy Spirit!

Bino M. said...

Ah, Joel! It can't be!

Paul accidentally missed out the word 'water' there... Look, there is the word 'washing', so it has to be in 'water' ;)

LovedMuch.com said...

Is that washing a permanent press cycle?

Joel B. said...

Paul seems to have left out "water" in a lot of places. ;)

There are two sentences in the whole book of Romans that talk about baptism, and no mention of water. In this instance, Paul talks about being baptized into Christ's death.

ONE instance of baptism mentioned in Galatians, and no water mentioned. It's in the context of "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

Interesting how these deep doctrinal letters, speaking with such clarity about salvation, don't bring up water baptism.

Same with all of Paul's other letters, as I quickly scan down the list of verses in my PC Study Bible that contain forms of "bapti*".

Bino M. said...

Joel - Exactly! Thanks! For one reason or the other we like to hold on to the externals. We desperately want us in the equation. Bible says, it is the gospel what saves us. In that case the question is, what is gospel?

Paul puts it this way:

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures - 1 Cor 15:3-4

He says : by this gospel you are saved - 1 Cor 15:2

So it seems to me that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus is what saves us... We are not in the equation! We simply put faith in what Jesus did.

theoldadam said...

We (us Lutherans) love to hold on to the externals (baptism and holy communion) because the internals (that which we do) are corrupted by the sinful self.

When Christ comes to us externally (extra nos) He is given Himself, 'doing Himself', to us...apart from anything we do, say, feel, o think.

His action, for us, is uncorrupted by our tainted motives.

Bino M. said...

Steve - When you become a believer, your 'internals' (your spirit) is being regenerated and made new. You (your spirit, your true identity) is righteous, holy and good in the sight of God. Because you stand on Christ's righteousness, not your own. You do not need any external actions to perfect what God ALREADY made perfect. That would be like mocking God and His divine action.