Posted by: dhkrause | March 2, 2015

The Meaning of Water Baptism

New Testament baptism is a declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. Water baptism signifies a deep transformation in one’s relationship with God. Jesus (Yeshua) told his followers to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

“In the name of the Father” points to our redeemed relationship with God as sons and daughters. Hebrews 2 describes Christ as the captain of our salvation bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory.   He is not ashamed to call us his brethren [brothers and sisters].

Hebrews 2
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

Galatians 3 likewise refers to believers as sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, “baptized into Christ”, and “heirs according to the promise”.

Galatians 3
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

“In the name of the Son” points to our relationship with Christ, taking on his name, in a deep intimate sense as in a marriage. Revelation chapters 19 and 21 describe the bride of Christ:

Revelation 19
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 21
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

“In the name of the Holy Spirit” speaks of a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth who dwells in us and leads us into all truth.

John 14
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

John 16
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Romans 6 describes how baptism portrays Christ’s death and resurrection. Going under the water is symbolic of His death. Arising “in newness of life” portrays His resurrection. We reckon ourselves “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Romans 6
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul (Shaul) exemplifies being radically Identified with Christ:

Galatians 2
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Being baptized into Christ and identified with Him, old things have passed away and all things have become new. We are now ambassadors for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 3/1/2015


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