36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each 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.
Ø Baptism in and of itself cannot save anyone.
Ø It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s Savior that brings an individual to salvation.
Therefore, baptism is only effectual for those who meet certain requirements.
Ø Those receiving baptism must have already laid the first two foundation stones in the Christian experience, namely:
First Stone is: Faith and Repentance
(A.)Faith to believe that Jesus Christ has died for our sins and that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. He is my Savior and Lord. Jesus is the only way to God, there is no other way. What I need to do is ask Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins and invite Him to come and live in my life.
This is a conviction that the Holy Spirit needs to reveal to us. If I choose not to accept this, than I am doomed. Hell is my destiny.
Not only am I born again by accepting this but I also have been born into a Kingdom where He is Lord. I operate under a new government in my life. As Colossians says:
Ø Col.1:13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, NRSV
Ø Repentance is a decision that results in a change of mind, which in turn leads to a change of purpose and action.
Ø The implications of biblical repentance are threefold:
Ø 1)Renunciation and reversal,
Ø 2) Submission and teachability, and
Ø 3) Continual shapeability.
Ø There is no birth into the kingdom without hearing the call to salvation, renouncing one’s sin, and turning from sin toward Christ the Savior (Acts 3:19).
Ø There is no growth in the kingdom without obedience to Jesus’ commandments and a childlike responsiveness as a disciple of Jesus, yielding to the teaching of God’s Word (James 1:21-25).
Ø There is no lifelong increase of fruit as a citizen of the kingdom without a willingness to accept the Holy Spirit’s correction and guidance (Eph. 4:30).
Second Stone is: Water Baptism:
Ø Water baptism is a believer’s baptism and it is a physical act expressing a spiritual truth. In water baptism we are saying, in effect, that we share with Christ in the fact of His death and resurrection. Obviously the person baptized is not dying for sin as did Jesus, but rather he is making a public testimony to the fact that he is availing himself of Christ’s work. As Christ died for sin, so he is now symbolically dying to sin. As he goes into the water and iscompletely immersed, the burial of the old sinful nature is symbolized.
Ø This nature is left under the water and the person is then symbolically raised up to new life in Jesus. He is declaring that he will live for Jesus as His disciple.
Ø “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. ” (Galatians 2:20)
Ø The person being baptized is literally agreeing with God that he isdead in Christ to the principles of sin and death and he is now alive in Christ to God.
Ø Baptism is a volitional agreement with God (on the basis of faith) about the effects of the death of His Son. We willingly, gladly and with joy associate ourselves with the redemptive work of Calvary.
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Therefore 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. 5For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,6knowing 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.
In Romans 6, Paul contrasts two kingdoms – one of light, where King Jesus reigns … the other, the kingdom of darkness where Satan rules. If you have been a Christian very long, you are probably acutely aware of these two distinct kingdoms and the conflict they cause.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Paul speaks of these two opposing kingdoms within us in terms of the “old nature” and the “new nature.”
The problem is being “rooted out” of the old nature, and getting into the “new nature” in our daily walk.
Paul attacks the problem this way:
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
The “we” that is being buried is the old nature — the troublemaker. You cannot mend, change or improve your old nature, so the best thing you can do is bury it!
We bury it in the water of baptism. The fact that we are buried means we are covered up in: grave—- this pictures for us the mode of the baptism mentioned here, immersion.
The idea is leaving all of “this present evil age” in the grave– its ideas, conduct, attitudes, habits, etc.
Once buried we can be resurrected to a new life— to live in a new kingdom! (Slide!)
In his book Burial by Baptism. Derek Prince says,
“One thing is clear. We do not bury a person in order to make him dead. A person must already be dead before we have any right to bury him.
Likewise, the death, of the old nature must already have taken place through faith in Christ, before we can bury the old nature by baptism.
Baptism does not make the old nature dead. It is the outward evidence that the death of the old nature has already taken place.”
Picture yourself dead to sin
God’s Word states that we are dead to sin. Romans 6:11 11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Regardless of our own feelings to the contrary, God wants us to “reckon” ourselves dead indeed unto sin. To “reckon” is to count it to be so. (Positional Truth!!)
In reality, what would this mean? If a dead man were propped up against a wall and (Chocolate Cake) a seductive woman were to walk in front of him, he would not even blink an eye.
This is precisely the response that God wants us to have to the power and appeal of sin.
When did we die to sin?
We died to sin when we became a Christian. At that moment, we became part of Christ. Since we are a part of Christ, we share in all of His past achievements. When He was crucified, we were crucified with Him: Paul said it this way: (Galatians 2:20).
Gal2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.NASB95
Gal2:20 Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Msg
When He was buried, we were buried: “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death …” (Romans 6:4). When Christ rose from the dead, we rose from the dead: “If ye then be risen with Christ….(Colossians 3:1).
Col.3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep focusing on the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.ISV
Compare the law of sin to the law of gravity
It is one thing to say that we are dead to sin. It is quite a different —-matter to experience it. Yet this is precisely what God wants us to do on a continuing basis.
We can do this by picturing the law of sin as “the law of gravity” and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus as the “principle of aerodynamics” or the “law of buoyancy”
Picture an eagle soaring in the air.
If that eagle folded its wings, it would begin falling to the ground because the law of gravity would take over. A law is a law because it always operates the same way under the same conditions.
All that the eagle must do to stop falling is to stretch out its wings. The air rushing over its wings sets up a new force. It is the principle of aerodynamics. This principle is greater than the law of gravity. It does not annihilate the law of gravity; it overcomes it.
If you were shipwrecked and found yourself drowning in the ocean, you would immediately find two laws working against each other. First, you would notice the law of gravity as it threatened to draw you to the bottom of the ocean. The next law you would immediately experience would be the law of your mind or effort, as you would naturally attempt to save yourself from the effects of the law of gravity.
Your mind would undoubtedly want to stay afloat, so it would relentlessly motivate your body to strive with all its might to defeat the first law, the law of gravity. Eventually, in spite of your best efforts, you would find the law of gravity winning over and would be forced to cry out, “Who shall deliver me!”
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
But just when you thought there was no hope and death seemed certain, a new law, the law ofbuoyancy, comes to your rescue in the form of a lifeboat. You labor to enter this boat, and then, as you lay prostrate there on the deck, exhausted from your time of striving, you look up into the captain’s face and say, most meaningfully, “Thank you for saving me!”
This new law, the law of buoyancy, (compare this to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.) manifested its superiority in the form of the life boat and was able to make you free from the drowning effects of the law of gravity. But please note, thelifeboat did not eradicate the law of gravity; if you get out of the boat, the law of gravity is still there and it will once again threaten to draw you to your death. Rather this new law, being superior, superseded the law of gravity, thus giving you life.
A Divine Liberty…
As we lay on that lifeboat we are completely liberated from the power of drowning. We need to stay “inChrist”
If we stay in the boat, the law of gravity is overpowered and so we no longer need to violently kick our hands and feet to fight for life. The same thing applies to staying “in Christ”. There is a rest here!!
As a result, we are delivered from our peril and we are then able to go wherever the captain desires us to go.
11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For 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. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Power of Meditation:
Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You!
Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer
If we stop meditating in the face of a temptation, we will begin to fall. Falling is a very real experience. It does not take very many seconds to be defeated.
How do we overcome the law of sin? (Back to the first illustration)
God designed the eagle to soar in the air and God designed the Christian to speak His truth in his heart day and night. God tells us to pray without ceasing (see I Thessalonians 5:17), to meditate on His truth day and night (see Psalm 1), and to speak the truth in our hearts (see Psalm 15:2).
This weaving of the Word into our thoughts is equivalent to the Hebrew phrase of “waitingupon the Lord.” God promises that as long as we meditate on His truth, we will soar above the power of temptations.
But they that wait upon the Lord… shall mount up with wings as eagles….(Isaiah 40:31).
“ Rewiring the Mind
A few years ago, researchers from the National Institutes of Mental Health did a study that involved a simple motor task. As subjects performed afinger-tapping exercise, researchers did MRI brain scans to identity which part of the brain was involved in the exercise. The subjects were then asked to perform that simple motor task everyday for four weeks. At the end of four weeks, researchers repeated their brain scans and found that in every instance, that area of the brain had expanded. Their brains had literally recruited new nerve cells and rerouted neuronal connections.
Juxtapose that with Romans 12.
“Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.”
How is our mind renewed? The one word answer is Scripture. Scripture literally re-scripts our brain. As we read Scripture, much like the finger-tapping exercise, we are recruiting new nervecells and rewiring neuronal connections. The end goal? Not knowledge! The end goal is the mind of Christ. As you read Scripture you are downloading the mind of Christ. His words become our operating system.
What systems do you have in place for the rewiring of your brain?
Satan wants us to believe that when we start falling, there is nothing that we can do but surrender to the temptation.
However, all we need to do is to stretch out those spiritual wings by quoting Romans 6. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin….”
In a few moments the temptation will lose its power and appeal, and we will once again soar above temptation. In this way, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus lifts us up above the law of sin and death.
(See Romans 8:20.)
Why it is fruitless to pray for victory: (the importance of quoting Scripture)
One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to get us to pray for victory while we are falling into temptation. The prayer is not very effective because it is not based on Scriptural truth. God does not want us to pray for victory. He wants us to enter into the victory that He has already provided in Christ. We were part of Christ’s victory when we died and rose again with Him.
Why we must meditate the moment that we are tempted:
Just as the eagle has only a few seconds to stretch out its wings before falling to the ground, so we have only a few moments to visualize Romans 6 before we fall into temptation.
Why full immersion?
Ø 1. The Greek word for ‘baptism’ is ‘baptizo’ which means ‘to dip’ or ‘immerse’. The word was used to describe the immersion of a cloth in a dye.
Ø 2. The main reason is that only full immersion can properly symbolize burial (i.e. a watery grave). (Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12).
Why should a person be water baptized?
Ø 1. It is a command of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19)
18And 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.”
Ø 2. It is the pledge of a good conscience towards God. (1 Peter 3:21)
21 And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. AMP
Ø 3. Because Jesus Himself was baptized. (Matthew 3:13-17)
13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Ø 4. It is a kind of circumcision. (Colossians 2:11-12)
10 and God has made you complete in Christ. Christ is in charge of every ruler and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised. It was not a circumcision performed by human hands. But it was a removal of the corrupt nature in the circumcision performed by Christ. 12 This happened when you were placed in the tomb with Christ through baptism. In baptism you were also brought back to life with Christ through faith in the power of God, who brought him back to life. ( God’s Word)
Ø 5. It was a foundational doctrine of the early church. (Acts 2:41; Acts 10:47-48)
Acts 2:41 Those who accepted what Peter said were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added to the group.(God’s Word)
Acts 10:47 “These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water?” 48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay with them for a few days. (GNT)
Ø 6. Water baptism symbolizes washing or cleansing. (Acts 22:16) This is only a symbol as, in fact, we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5) and we are cleansed by the Word of God. (John 15:3) However, our washing or cleansing from sin issymbolized and testified to in water baptism.
Ø 7. It is an outward confession of what has happened within. It expresses our identification with Jesus. (Romans 6:1-11)
Baptism in water is a multi-confession to:
- heaven (of our belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus, (1 Corinthians 15:34).
- the church (that we are part of it).
- the world (that we are finished with it).
- the devil (that we are finished with him and have been brought into another Kingdom).
In water baptism we identify by faith with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
What Shall I Do
Some, hearing these thoughts for the first time may find them, a comfort. To others, they may disturbing. Suddenly, you may be aware that you have never had a New Testament water baptism with the understanding of its real meaning. If this is case, I would recommend that you consider:
Step One: Since Peter says so plainly (1 Peter 3-21): that water baptism is the “answer of a good conscience toward God,” please do not avoid, ignore, or rationalize your position or experience. If there any doubt, question, or uneasiness of conscience concerning your own water baptism, search it out until all is settled between you and the Lord. Do not be talked out of it, however, by “enticing words, vain philosophy, vain deceit, and tradition of men (Colossians 2:4-8). See also Matthew 3:13-15
Step Two: If, or when, you are convinced that you do need to be baptized in water, take seriously the time, place and person chosen to administer to this act of obedience.
Step Three: Much of the ethical and doctrinal conflict between adult believers’ baptism and infant baptism can be avoided. Often there is a real tearing between our present need to walk in new understanding and a sense of rejecting our pastor or priest, past experience which has been meaningful, or even our church.
This need not happen, because the addition of a conditional “if” into the baptismal formula can substantiate and confirm our past experience, yet permit us to obey the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
We may satisfy both requirements with, “If you have not already been baptized. . . I now baptize you. .”
This leaves us one baptism, plus an ethical and doctrinal respect, toward others who are persuaded differently.
Step Four: The conflict which arises over “formula” can also be solved to the satisfaction of most. Those of us who see in the Scriptures the power and authority of the name of Jesus Christ, as related to water baptism (see Colossians 3:17) yet hold firmly to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ as given in Matthew. 28:19 can find satisfaction and release of conscience by modification and application of the following:
On the basis of your expressed faith in the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and by the authority invested in me as a servant of Jesus Christ (Matthew .28:19), I now baptize you in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
The above may seem like mere semantics (use of words and speech forms) to some and like compromise to others. But surely it is genuinely scriptural and it is based on a literal use of the Greek prepositions. Most important of all, it will contribute to the unity of the faith.