In the beginning chapters of Genesis the Bible tells the story of the Creation. God has created a creation that mimics His existence. Everywhere He looks He declares it "good." He creates man in His own image, sinless and perfect, and places him in a Garden where every need of the man is met with unimaginable abundance.
In order to be in God's image man must be God-like. He has all the powers of God to a much lesser degree. Man has the ability to create, to love, to dominate, just like God but to a much lesser degree. Since God has the power of choice He must give man the same power or man is not "in His image," he is simply a robot. To give man the power of choice He puts one tree in the Garden and tells man, "Do not touch the tree, for in the day you do you will die." You can not touch it and live, or you can touch it and die, your choice.
Now Satan shows up and steers the conversation around to the tree and is told by Eve that touching the tree brings death. He knows God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Since we are told in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit He has no set form, He has no need of lungs so therefore a never ending part of Himself went into the man.
The Bible says Eve considers what Satan has said; "the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate." Then she took it to the man and he exercised his power of choice. The Bible seems to indicate Eve took some convincing, the man, Adam, not so much.
Sin enters the world because of their choice to go against God's goodness and wishes. Prior to eating of the fruit of the tree, God actually moved in the Garden with them. They saw the actual presence of God. God then drives them from the Garden and from His actual presence. They are now on their own separated from God Himself. (Genesis 1-3, Isaiah 59:2)
Left to their own devices and desires and away from the presence of God mankind becomes ever more Godless until finally they are completely corrupt and God regrets creating them.
God decides to start over and He tells Noah and Noah's family, the only God fearing people in all the world, to build an ark because He is going to bring floodwaters on the Earth to remove the wickedness. He gives Noah a pattern for the ark and Noah follows the pattern.
When the ark is complete the rain starts falling and all the wicked people who have separated themselves from God who live on the earth are destroyed. (Genesis 6-7)
Here is something to wonder about...
Since God created Creation simply with His voice, couldn't He have simply destroyed it with His voice? Couldn't He have simply said, "Evil, be gone," and it would have been so? Or if He was determined to use the flood couldn't He have simply said, "The waters will not touch Noah, His family or their land?" He certainly had the power to do anything other than what He did.
But He used actual literal water for spiritual purification.
Fast forwarding we read about God's people ending up in bondage in Egypt. Egypt is a symbol of sin in Scripture. He sends Moses and Moses' brother Aaron to bring them out of Egypt. They leave Egypt by God's deliverance to be pursued by the Egyptians until they come to the Red Sea and can go no further. Evil, in the form of Egypt is about to overcome them.
The waters of the Red Sea part and the Israelites cross over on dry land. The Egyptians continue to pursue only to have the waters come back together and destroy them all. (Exodus 14)
Again, couldn't God have simply said, "Evil, be gone," and the Egyptians would have been gone? He certainly had the power to do so.
But He used actual literal water for spiritual purification.
Moving on to the establishment of the Levitical priesthood based on the Law of Moses given through Moses by God Himself. In giving instructions of how priests were to be prepared for service under the Law, God tells Moses to wash Aaron and his sons for purification. Moses, the giver of the was to do it, not Aaron, not his sons. They were not to purify themselves. (Exodus 29:4, Exodus 40:12, Numbers 19:17, 19:20)
Again, God used actual literal water for spiritual purification.
The Law of Moses was unable to remove sin. The best it could do was put the penalty of sin off for a year. The sacrifices for the sins of the people only put the sins of the people out of God's sight for a year, so to speak, and then sacrifices for another year were required. The Law of Moses, the Mosaical Dispensation, lasted up to the close of the Old Testament. (Hebrews 5:1-4, Hebrews 10:4)
The Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are often considered to be their own section of the Bible and they very well can be. But they can also be considered part of the Old Testament because they cover the life, death and resurrection of Jesus who lived under the Old Testament. Jesus was an Israelite Jew of the tribe of Judah, he lived under the Law of Moses. The gospels can also be considered part of the New Testament because the books of Acts through Revelation deal with the Law of Christ which is based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
As the Law of Moses was about to give way to the Law of Christ we read about John the Baptist. John's purpose was two fold. One was to prepare the way for Christ, the other was to begin the transition from the Law of Moses, also referred to in Scripture as the "law of bondage," to the Law of Christ, referred to in Scripture as the "law of liberty." Most of John's work was doing what earned him his title, "The Baptist," because he was baptizing multitudes of people with a baptism "unto repentance for the remission of sins." (Matthew 3, Mark 1:4)
Now then, at that point there were two ways of dealing with sins. One way was the Law of Moses requiring actual sacrifices for sins every year to simply put the penalty for sins into the future. The other was John's baptism removing the sins completely. "Remission" means the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty.
Since John was God's messenger, doing what God directed him to do, John's baptism was God using actual literal water for spiritual purification. The Bible also says that Jesus baptized even more people than John.
In the Gospels we read how Jesus went to the cross, died, was buried and then rose from the dead just as he said he would do. Then just before he went to heaven he gave the 11 what we call "The Great Commission." They were to go and teach all nations, he that believed, and was baptized, would be saved. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16)
Jesus tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem where they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised them a Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who would guide them into all truth. In Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes upon them in a way that has Jews from every nation gathered there aware that something extremely unusual is occurring. The Holy Spirit comes upon the 12 and a multitude has gathered and Peter delivers the first gospel sermon. (Acts 1:4-8, Acts 2:1-36)
The subject of the sermon is the Messiah, they, their fathers and their fathers and their fathers - fathers were waiting for. The coming of the Messiah, the Christ, was what every Jewish person desperately yearned for for many generations. The Messiah would one day come and restore the Kingdom of Israel to its former glory and dominance.
Then Peter tells them, Jesus was that Messiah, the Christ. He tells them that the Messiah they longed for for so long had arrived. Jesus was that Messiah and they had murdered him. What Peter tells them devastates them. It was gut wrenching news. Some translations say they were "cut to the heart." They believed him and asked the now Apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:36-37)
Peter tells them to repent and be baptized. Why? "For the remission of sins." A few verses further down we read that the Lord added the saved to the church. Once again, actual, literal water for spiritual purification. (Acts 2:38, Acts 2:47)
In the Great Commission we see teaching, preaching, connected with baptism for the remission of sins for salvation. In fact, we see Peter restating the fact years later when he wrote "Baptism saves." It is an essential part of the salvation process, just as essential as repentance, confession and faithfulness. He even compares its likeness to the flood in the days of Noah. (I Peter 3:21)
God has ordained and used actual physical water for spiritual purification from the days of Noah to this present day. Those who deny its use in the salvation process deny the salvation process.
and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 1:7-8 NKJV Underlining mine - MW)
I Corinthians 15:1-4 says the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ "according to the scriptures." How does one literally obey the death, burial and resurrection of Christ?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7 NKJV)
Do you see the gospel ingredients of death, burial and resurrection of Christ in the passage? Do you see "born again" in the passage? Do you see spiritual purification with physical, actual water? Do you see the Great Commission in the passage?
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)
Friends, if you have believe but have not been baptized for the remission of sins, you are still lost. Baptism to join a church, baptism to show your faith or baptism because it seemed like a good idea is not enough.
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