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PETER’S WATER BAPTISM OF DISCIPLES
A closer look at what Peter commanded at Pentecost, when Jesus fulfilled His promise to send the indwelling Holy Spirit, illustrates the meaning of Jesus’ own water baptism and also Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit for true believers, (Mt. 3:11-12; Acts 1:8.) Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” said in Acts 2:31-39, “[God] spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ… Having received… the promise of the Holy Spirit, [Whom Jesus] poured out, this which you now see and hear, [the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit as of the sound of wind, and of fire, with the manifestation of His gift of tongues, (Acts 2:1-4: 1 Cor. 6:18-20; 14:2, 22.)] ...Let all know that God has made Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ… [And once the crowd believed in Jesus and chose His salvation, Peter said,] Repent [from Judaism and other religion] and let every one of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” Peter was not referring to the gift or sign of tongues, (1 Cor. 14:22.) He was referring to the Holy Spirit Himself as the completely free, indwelling Gift from God for all sincere believers and followers of Him.
Yet, confusingly, it seems as if, in Acts 2:38, Peter connects Jesus’ water baptism of believers directly with God’s forgiveness and Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit, calling for repentance and then for water baptism “as the remission of sins.” Peter probably assumed that all believers would know what he was saying.
· This is what Peter meant by “being baptized for the remission of sins.” God’s Word is always the Scriptural symbol of “water.” Sincere believers are saved and ‘made holy’ or sanctified, not by church sacraments or rituals, or even by the Biblical water baptism in itself, but “by the [spiritual] washing of the water by the Word,” (Eph 5:26; Rom. 12:1-2.) Therefore, Scriptural water baptism testifies that Jesus Christ, (The Word, according to Jn. 1:1-14,) bought the complete forgiveness of His disciples at Calvary. So, through their acceptance of the Truth of His Word, (Jesus Himself and His full atonement in their place,) He Himself had become the forgiveness for all His believing disciples, (Rom. 3:21-26.) This is what Jesus meant when He commanded the personal rebirth through faith in Him. He said in Jn. 3:3-5, “Unless one is [spiritually] born again, [or live spiritually through personal faith in Jesus,] he cannot see [or understand] the [spiritual] Kingdom of God… Unless one is born of water [the truth of Jesus Word,] and the Spirit, [the Holy Spirit’s conviction and power,] he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This “water” is not the water baptism Jesus was referring to here. This “water” which saves, is what true water baptism symbolizes, (Mt. 28:15-20.)
· Peter did not take the time to explain that water baptism is a declaration and symbol of believers’ complete spiritual and mental immersion into Christ Himself: their personal acceptance of Jesus as their God, Lord and Savior, (Jn. 1:12-14; 3:3-5.) Neither did he explain that Biblical water baptism is also a declaration that believers immersed themselves into Jesus’ full atonement in their place, into the truth of His Word, and into His eternal life in heaven. They are, therefore, fully “filled” with the indwelling Holy Spirit from that moment on, (Mt. 28:18-20; Gal. 4:6-7; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27.) Thus, water baptism, which much follow this Scriptural rebirth, is a declaration and symbol of personal forgiveness and salvation through sincere faith in Christ, and the reality of the already indwelling Holy Spirit, (1 Pt. 3:21; 1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
PAUL’S WATER BAPTISM OF DISCIPLES
This is why later, Paul defined the same baptism of John the Baptist, Jesus, and of Peter of Pentecost from Jesus’ New Testament/Covenant truth. Jesus miraculously opened Paul’s blind religious eyes and taught Paul how to explain the same Gospel more clearly, (Acts 9:1-19; Gal. 1:15-24; 2:1-5; Rom. 6.) From Paul’s standpoint, he was looking back to the completed atonement of Jesus: His cross, resurrection, ascension, and the fullness of Pentecost, when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His blood-cleansed believers for the first time in all of history, and Paul defined the Scriptural water baptism accordingly.
· The 1991 Spirit Filled Bible explains, “Baptism ‘in the Name of Jesus’ is a public, [New Testament/Covenant] acknowledgement that we have personally accepted Jesus as Christ and Lord. The ‘Name’ of Jesus, [“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,”] suggests [His] nature or character; to confess Him to be all that His Name denotes. Baptism in and of itself is not a means of forgiveness and salvation… and John’s baptism, just as ‘Peter’ or ‘Paul’s’ baptism, only has power as a type or symbol of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection onto eternal life in heaven for all those who personally choose to accept and follow Him, (Jn. 3:16-17; 1:12-13.)”
Hence, it is an immovable fact that Jesus’ commandment to baptize His believing disciples has never, can never, and will never ‘change’ in God’s Book! There exists not a single Bible verse that suggests that God has, or ever will annul, ‘change,’ or minimize the water baptism of Jesus, as Jesus Himself illustrated, and as all His sincere believers practiced through the ages.
So, why all the terrible contention over the very clear meaning and method of water baptism in the truth of the Bible?
As someone said, “[Only] If one truly sees the Light, one will [and can] see the Water.” (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5.)
RENEWAL OF OUR MINDS MUST FOLLOW THE PERSONAL REBIRTH AND SCRIPTURAL WATER BAPTISM
While our human spirits are instantly born again through personal acceptance of Christ, the “renewal of our minds” or thoughts and beliefs, (Rom. 12:1-2,) can only start once Jesus has removed us spiritually from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into His Kingdom of Light through the cleansing with His blood, (Col. 1:13-14.) Forgiveness is always seated in Jesus’ blood-atonement in our place and our personal acceptance of what He has done for us. Once saved from our state of sin or spiritual position without God, the “salvation,” or “renewal” of our minds (or souls, where our will, intellect, and emotions are seated,) must follow, (1 Ths. 5:23.) Real “transformation,” (not conformation, which means to simply join a church without real Scriptural knowledge of God,) happens only through Holy-Spirit taught knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. So, the renewal of our minds leads Jesus’ sincere believers through a constant process of growing closer to God by understanding His Scriptural will, and accordingly, repenting from personal sin, false doctrine, and selfish behavior, (Rom. 12:1-2; Jam. 2:21-22.)
This is the lifelong process of ‘making our minds new’ through obedience to God’s true Word, and it is called ‘sanctification.’ This type of Scriptural ‘sanctification’ is not the same as church ‘sanctification,’ which is supposedly instantly obtainable through church membership, church doctrines, and “saving” church ‘sacraments’ such as Baptismal Regeneration or “baptismal salvation.” 1 Pt. 1:13-15 commands, “Gird up the loins of your mind, [by renewing your thoughts and beliefs through Scriptural truth,] be sober… as obedient children not conforming to the former lusts… (v. 23,) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.”
CAN IT BE POSSIBLE THAT WATER BAPTISM IS THE ‘SAVING SACRAMENT’ FOR A DENOMINATIONAL ‘ELITE’?
The opinions and teachings of man do not impress God in the least. We will all be saved by the truth of God’s Word, or we will all perish according to the truth of God’s Word, (2 Ths. 2:10.) God gave us the entire contextual truth of both the Old and the New Testaments to guide us into “all truth,” (Ps. 119:160.) That is why God does not allow anyone to make his own gospel from The Word, and still go to heaven, (Jn. 12:48.)
The Word ‘sacrament’ means a gradual, ritual initiation into Christianity. Each successive sacrament has the purpose of leading the church member deeper into the ‘mysteries’ of Christianity, supposedly towards ‘completeness in Christ.’ However, the entire New Testament declares, “...You are [already fully] complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power,” (Col. 9-20.) Sacraments are manmade rituals, which intend to bring about salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, redemption, spiritual growth, and blessing. Sacraments originated from the Roman Catholic Vatican, who took all their ‘sacraments’ and other false doctrines from the occult; Christianizing them as formal Roman Catholic Church forms, norms, teaching, means of salvation, redemption, and blessing.
· In the 16th century, Protestant Reformers, allegedly ‘breaking away’ from Roman Catholicism, brought the most ‘important’ Catholic Church forms, doctrines, and sacraments into Protestantism. Protestant leaders such as John Calvin and Martin Luther altered some Roman Catholic doctrines to suit their own religious views, while most still remain the foundation of their church system to this day.
Hence, a so-called ‘saving, blessing’ sacrament can never be Scriptural truth, or carry the salvation, redemption, and blessing of God. In all these sacraments and their supporting doctrines, there is not a single contextual truth of Scripture, although these doctrines were blended with Bible verses! Jesus left no room for error concerning His Way to eternal salvation and His Will for His sincerely believing disciples here on earth. In New Testament truth, Jesus Himself demonstrated, taught, and commanded all the most important foundations of our salvation, redemption, blessing, and spiritual growth, and clearly equated our obedience to our love for Him. He commanded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength… If you love Me, Keep My commandments,” (Jn. 14:15.) He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me… and I will manifest [or make real] Myself to him,” (Jn. 14:21.)
Jesus never demanded obedience to the Ceremonial law, (the Old Testament Temple Law, or to the so-called ‘saving’ sacraments and doctrines of Christian churches,) but to His New Testament commandments, which are all encapsulated by the Moral Law of Love, (Jn. 8:34; Gal. 2:21.)
THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION
Predestination became John Calvin’s (father of the Dutch and other Reformed churches,) most important doctrine. Calvin’s Predestination doctrine is also the core of Islamic doctrine. Christian predestination forms the basis of the Baptism of Regeneration in all its many forms, which is not a Biblical doctrine at all. This baptism was inherited from their mother church, Roman Catholicism, which took it straight from paganism. In essence, Calvinist and other predestination teaches, “God does not save all humans on equal terms… because Christ died only for the elect [of Calvinism...] Thus, God created most of humanity [except their chosen ‘elite’] to be damned to eternal hell…” Substituting Jesus’ complete Scriptural salvation, redemption and blessing, this sprinkling-sacrament completely ‘saves’ their church members for all eternity. That is why, allegedly, “all ’unbaptized’ [or rather ‘unchurced’ adults and ] babies burn in hell for all eternity...”
Acts 17:24-26 proves the exact opposite of the predestination dogma, “God… has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…” And God so loved the whole world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever [would personally] believe in Him, shall not perish, but [freely inherit] eternal life,” (Jn. 3:16.) “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance [through the Scriptural truth of Jesus Christ…]” (2 Pt. 3:9.) “God wishes all men to be saved and increasingly to perceive, recognise, discern and know precisely and correctly the Divine Truth,” (1 Tim. 2:4.)
Biblical ‘predestination’ is the following: Each person is individually ‘predestined’ or foreordained to be part of Jesus’ bride, that day when the Bridegroom returns to take her to heaven, (Jn. 3:16-17.) However, only those who willingly and consciously decided to choose Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, to undergo a mental transformation, and a radical change in lifestyle by living in Christ’s will and according to His ways, will be ready when He returns, (Jn. 1:12-13; Rom. 12:1-2.) These are the Scripturally ‘predestined’ ones, whom God knew beforehand, would make the right choice, and accept and follow Jesus until He comes to take them home.
THE UNCERTAIN CHURCH ‘ELITE’ THAT ARE “SAVED” BY CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND SACRAMENTS SUCH AS INFANT ‘BAPTISM’
Concerning salvation, Calvinism and most other churches state, “No one knows who will go to heaven and who will go to hell…” Scripture refutes this lie. John explained, “These things I have written to you who [personally and sincerely] believe in the Name of [Jesus,] that you may know that you have eternal life…” (1 Jn. 5:13.) [Some new translations omit the latter part of this verse.] “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing. you may have life in His Name,” (Jn. 20:31.)
· John Calvin, just like other churches that were born from their spiritual mother, the Roman Catholic Church, also teaches that the ‘saving’ sacrament of infant ‘baptism’ is the “ordinary way that a person is brought to faith in Jesus Christ.” All through Scripture God Himself stated, (Eph. 2:8,) “By [Christ’s] grace you have been saved through [personal] faith…” (Rom. 3:28,) “[Therefore,] we conclude that a person is justified by faith apart from [ceremonial, outward, or ritual] deeds…” This so-called ‘baptism of salvation,’ which supposedly brings those people “to faith,” made the preaching of the true Gospel of Christ “unnecessary” because ‘all’ the citizens of a Christian country were made Christian through this baptism. Yet, Jesus Himself commissioned all His believing disciples to “Go into the whole world” to preach His Gospel of salvation through His complete atonement in the place of all humanity to make more disciples to follow Him! (Mt. 28:19-20.)
‘STANDING IN’ FOR THEIR CHILDREN’S SALVATION AT THE BABY ‘BAPTISM?’
Turning Christianity into a national and family affair contrary to the truth of Scripture, Catholicism and traditional Protestantism allege that the infant’s so-called ‘godparents’ or parents “stand in for the child” and vow to bring the child up in the church, (God’s Scriptural commandments of the inward Moral Law [you shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart…] are not mentioned.) Thus, in Calvinism., the infant becomes a ‘child of the covenant of circumcision’ during this ceremonial christening. (‘Christening’ means, making someone into a Christian through the church’s baptism and other sacraments.) So, the infant also becomes part of the ‘Christian Church,’ for ‘all eternity,’ no matter personal choice or lifestyle. However, in the context of Scriptural truth, there is no such thing that ‘parents can stand in for their children,’ ‘vow for their children,’ ‘make a baptism covenant with God concerning their children,’ etcetera.
God Himself implemented the following most important principle in both Old and New Testament Scripture, based on every individual’s personal choice and personal accountability before God, “The soul [that never repents from sin – the sin of false doctrine especially,] shall die. The son shall not bear and be punished for the iniquity of the father, [especially once the child reaches the age of accountability and can choose to accept and follow Christ,] neither shall the father bear and be punished for the iniquity of the [willfully unrepentant] son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself only, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon the wicked only. However, if the wicked turns from all sins [to Christ,] and keeps all My [moral] statutes and does which is lawful and right, he shall surely live…” God asked, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, and not rather that he should turn from his evil way and return to his God and live? However, if the righteous man turns away… and does according to all the abominations that the wicked does, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds shall be remembered. In his trespass that he has trespassed and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die…” (Ezk. 18:19-28, old Amplified Bible.)
ARE BABIES ‘BORN AGAIN’ AND ‘HOLY-SPIRIT FILLED’ IN THIS ‘BAPTISM?’
· Calvinists and other baby-‘baptizers’ say, the baby is “regenerated” or “born again” in the ritual of Baptismal Regeneration…” The entire New Testament Covenant in Christ is seated in personal choice, as God Himself assured us in Jn. 1:11-13, “[Jesus] came to His own [nation, the Old Hebrew people – read the context!] However, His own [people] did not receive Him. [Thus, He sent His Gospel of salvation to the whole world of Gentile nations as well, Mt. 28:19-20] However, as many as received Him [personally through sincere faith,] to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who [personally] believe in His Name; who were born [again spiritually,] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man [or through church doctrine and Christianized pagan sacraments,] but of God!”
· Calvinism, like her mother the Roman Catholic Church, and all other adherents of this ‘baptism’ teach, through this sacrament, infant and new adult church members supposedly receive “the holy spirit…” Scriptural truth teaches, “…God sent His Son… that [those born again from [personal] faith in, and [personal] acceptance of Jesus Christ, (Jn. 1:12-13,) might receive the adoption as children. In addition, because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts [or born again human spirits,] crying out, ‘Abba, Father…’” (Gal. 4:5-7.) So, according to Scripture, these poor Christianized infants might have received a spirit during their sprinkling-baptism, but it is not God’s Holy Spirit of the Bible, that’s for certain.
· Calvinism and other Baptism-Regeneration churches also teach through this sacrament, “infants (and adults) receive eternal life…” Jesus Himself undeniably declared, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me… “This is eternal life, that [My believing disciples] may know You, [Father,] the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent...” (Jn. 14:6; 17:3.)
CHURCH MEMBERS CAN ALLEGEDLY ‘NEVER GO TO HELL’
· Through this sacrament, church members can allegedly never go to hell, no matter the life they lead or the choices they make… But in God’s eternal Word, Jesus Himself warned, “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does [or obeys and follows] the will of My Father in heaven, [not the false will of man.] (Mt. 7:21-24.)
· It is during this baptism of infants that the members of Calvinist churches become ‘children of the covenant of circumcision.’ Yet, according to the contextual truth of God’s Word, this false doctrine can never be or become a “covenant.”
· The Scriptural water baptism of believes is a commandment of Jesus and not a covenant unto ‘salvation’ of any sort! God’s legitimate Covenant of Grace in Christ is the New Testament Covenant, written in the blood of Jesus, and solely obtained through personal faith in Jesus the Savior. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, [or during the New Testament dispensation,]” declares the Lord. “I will put my [Moral] law in their minds and write it on their hearts [or human spirits.] I will be their God, and they will be my people,” (Jer. 31:33/Heb. 10:16.) “This is my covenant with them when I take away their sins, [through the blood of Jesus,]” (Rom. 11:27.) “The days are coming [at Golgotha and Jesus’ resurrection,] when I will make a New Covenant… In that He says, ‘A New Covenant,’ He has made the first [Old Testament covenant] obsolete [and he did completely away with it to establish His New Testament Covenant…]” (Heb. 8:7-13.)
JESUS WAS PHYSICALLY CIRCUMCISED AS A BABY — SO, WHY DID HE INSIST TO BE BAPTIZED BY SUBMERSION?
Water baptism is not a ‘covenant’ or a ‘sign’ with unbelieving babies or their parents as church members! God does not state anywhere that the circumcision of Hebrew babies ‘changed’ into a sprinkling of Christian babies, or that the circumcision of Hebrew boys has ceased.
In Acts 21:20-25, Paul was accused of refuting the Old Covenant circumcision that pertains to the physical land of Israel, (Gen. 17.) They said, “[We] have been informed that you teach all the [believing] Hebrews... to forsake [the outward ceremonial law of] Moses, saying that they ought neither to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the [Hebrew] customs…” [But Paul answered,] “That all may know, [that you, being Hebrews,] keep the [ceremonial] law [of circumcision, which pertains to the geographical land of Israel, go, and conform to physical circumcision.] (Verse 25,) But concerning the Gentiles [all non-Jews] who believe, we have written and decided that they must not observe such a thing, except that they must keep themselves from [spiritual idolatry] and sexual immorality, [adhering to Jesus’ Moral Law in Jn. 13:34.]”
Jesus was circumcised as a Baby because He was a Hebrew - which has nothing to do with believing non-Hebrews from Gentile nations, the church christening of babies, any other type of water baptism, and especially not the so-called ‘covenant of circumcision.’ Jesus bought with His blood everyone who personally believes in Him from “every tongue, tribe, and nation” - the Israeli nation as well, (Rev. 5:9-10.)
To this day, Hebrews must circumcise their boys, which is God’s national and geographical covenant with the Hebrew nation in Gen. 17.
· Jesus was physically circumcised not baptized as a Baby because the Old Testament circumcision of male Hebrew babies is a covenant between God and Abraham that relate to the physical land of Israel, (Gen. 17.)
· In Gen. 15, God made another covenant with Abraham, promising him generations of believers from all nations, (Gal. 3:10-18.) This promise was fulfilled when the Hebrews rejected Jesus and He inaugurated the New Covenant, (Heb. 8:13.) His eternal New Testament Covenant centres wholly on personal faith in Christ through His complete atonement in our place, (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:13-14: Jn. 1:12-14; Gal. 3:14.)