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Renewal of our minds must follow the personal rebirth and Scriptural water baptism
While our human spirits are born again instantly through personal acceptance of Christ, the “renewal of our minds,” (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 had 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; 1 Pt. 1:13-15; Jam. 2:21-22.) This is a lifelong process of ‘making our minds holy’ through real obedience to God’s true Word, and it is called ‘sanctification.’ This type of Scriptural ‘sanctification’ is not the same as church ‘sanctification,’ supposedly obtainable through church membership, church doctrines, and “saving” church sacraments.
CAN WATER BAPTISM BE 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.) Therefore, God does not allow anyone to make his or her own commandments and gospels from His 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.’ 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 church 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 religious views, while most still remain the foundation of their churches to this day.
Hence, a so-called ‘saving, blessing’ sacrament can never be Scriptural truth, or carry the salvation and blessing of God.
In all these sacraments, supported by manmade 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 the 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 became John Calvin’s (father of the Dutch and other Reformed churches,) most important doctrine.
Horrifyingly, 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, it teaches, “God did not create and therefore does save all humans on equal terms… because Christ died only for the elect [of Calvinism...] Thus, God created most of humanity [except their church ‘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.
· Calvinism states, “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 the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” (1Jn. 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 [personally,] 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 these 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 sincerely believing disciples to “Go into the whole world” to preach His Gospel of salvation through His complete atonement in the place of all humanity! (Mt. 28:19-20.
· 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, (which means, ‘making someone into a Christian through the church’s baptism sacrament,’) and 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, Amplified Bible.)
· 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 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 declared undeniably, “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.)
· 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.’ Acording to the contextual truth of God’s Word, 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, (obtained only through personal faith in Jesus the Savior,) is found in both the Old and the New Testament and it is as follows. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, [or during the New Testament dispensation/Covenant],” 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,” (Rom. 11:27.) “The days are coming [at Golgotha and after the resurrection of Christ,] 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.)
Why did Jesus insist on being baptized as an Adult, as he was already physically circumcised as a Baby?
In Acts 21:20-25, James and the elders accused Paul of refuting the Hebrew circumcision that pertains to the 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 Jews,] 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, (Jn. 3:16-17; 1:12-13,) the church christening of babies, any other type of water baptism, and especially not the so-called ‘covenant of circumcision.’
To this day, Hebrews must circumcise their boys, which is God’s national covenant with the Hebrew nation in Gen. 17.
Jesus was physically circumcised not baptized as a Baby. 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 a multitude of believing generations from all nations, (Gal. 3:10-18.) This promise was fulfilled when the Hebrews rejected Jesus, and Jesus Himself inaugurated an entirely New Covenant, (Jn. 1:10-13.) This is the New Testament Covenant, which centres on personal faith in Christ through His complete atonement in our place, (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:13-14: Gal. 3:14; Rev. 5:9-10.)
Scriptural water baptism is not a ‘covenant’ with unbelieving babies, their parents, or other church members! Scripture does not state anywhere that the circumcision of Hebrew babies changed into a sprinkling of Christian babies, or that the physical circumcision of Hebrew boys has ceased.
THE VERSES, WHICH COMPLETELY REFUTE A SPRINKLING AS WATER BAPTISM ‘AS’ THE SPRINKLING OF CHRISTIAN BABIES
When the New Testament speaks of a sprinkling, it is always the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood, not the sprinkling of water.
1 Pet. 1:2 actually teaches, “[Disciples,] elected according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, [which is not the doctrine of Predestination but means, God knew beforehand who would reject Jesus’ Gospel and who would receive it…] In sanctification for obedience, [or the disciples’ minds being made holy through the truth of the Scriptures to understand God’s will, Rom. 12:1-2,] and the sprinkling of the blood [not water] of Jesus Christ.”
Eph. 5:26, “That Christ might sanctify and cleanse her [His bride of true believers] with the washing of water by the Word! [Not by ritual sprinkling or even by Scriptural water baptism!]”
Heb. 10:22, “Let [Jesus’ disciples not unbelieving babies] draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies, [minds our souls] washed with pure water, [or the truth of God’s Word.]”
Scripturally, water is always the symbol of the truth of God’s Word, which ‘cleanses and renews the mind of Jesus’ disciples,’ (Rom. 12:1-2.)
Heb.12:24, “To Jesus, the Mediator of the New Testament Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel, [Meaning, “Abel” as a type of the Old Testament Covenant.]”
Lydia, the prison guard, “and all the baptized ‘babies’ in their households?”
The only Scriptures, which clergy from all the different churches could relate to their sprinkling of ‘spiritual regeneration,’ are those they use entirely out of context and deliberately misinterpret. Acts 16:15, (Lydia and her household were baptized,) and Acts 16:33, (the prison guard and his household,) are about all they could find to support their sprinkling of babies, although these were submersions.
The truth about anything is always in the context. So, let us read the account of the prison guard in the light of verses 30-34. The prison guard asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. [This was not a commandment to baptize babies and entire unbelieving families. It was a supernatural prophesy or foreknowledge, because,] then [before they were baptized,] they spoke the Word of the Lord to Him and to all who were in His house… [Wouldn’t it have been silly to preach the Gospel of Christ to babies?] And immediately he and all his family [accepted Jesus and] were baptized… and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his [believing] household!”
Similarly, when we read the whole chapter 16, it becomes clear that Lydia, after she had personally accepted Christ, was baptised “along with her household,” which consisted of adult children or teenagers. Like the household of the prison guard, the household of Lydia were all of accountable age. They were all capable of understanding the Gospel and could decide for themselves to either reject or accept Jesus.
The story of Lydia and her household began in Acts 16:13, where the writer declared, “…We went out of the city to the riverside… [where they certainly baptized believing disciples by submersion!] and we sat down and spoke to the women we met there…”
While attempting to ‘prove’ the sprinkling baptism of babies and entire households on the ‘faith’ or church attendance of one person, these clergymen actually nullifies their own false gospel! Clearly, these accounts in Acts 16 are not a mandate for the christening of babies, or the christening (or making into Christians) of entire households, families, and nations through this so-called church [“saving”] sacrament.