Monday, September 7, 2015

What Is The Significance Of Baptism?

“Baptidzo,” a Greek word used in New Testament writings is translated and commonly pronounced baptize which literally means to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to overwhelm completely.

(Mark 1: 4 - 5) John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.
(Matthew 3:11) John said,“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Peter was preaching to the throngs he said the following: (Acts 2:38) And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

I was “baptized” as an infant many years ago by well meaning parents, however baptizing is a misnomer for what is more rightly called a “christening," a rite of claiming an infant for Christ and his church. This was advocated by Pope Innocent lll in the twelfth century, a practice later strongly disputed by Protestants as a deviation from the will of Christ. Note: from Pope Innocent III AD 1201, “The baptism of young children is not profitless, as circumcision made men members of the people of Israel, so baptism gives them entry to the kingdom of heaven.” This of course is preposterous because an infant cannot possibly hear and understand the gospel and make a conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and then wish to be baptized as an outward sign of that decision. Having made that decision later in life after having heard and understanding the gospel and with a sense of remorse for the sinfulness of life, I asked for God’s forgiveness and for Jesus to enter my heart and make me a new creation. Following that decision I was immersed in believer’s baptism as an outward sign of my decision before God and the congregation. 

New testament baptism corresponds with and relates us to the death and resurrection of Christ as we are immersed to signify a death to our old self and then raised to start a new life in Christ. The apostle Paul puts it most succinctly in the following: (Romans 6: 1 - 11) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

This commentary is based solely on bible scripture as it is written.
(2 Timothy 3: 16) All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
And not on any church dogma! 

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