Daily Archives: 12/10/2013

Why did Paul water baptize?

Why did Paul water baptize?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul wrote, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” Unlike the 12 apostles in Matthew 28:19, Jesus Christ did not send Paul to water baptize, and yet, Paul did water baptize in Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, and Acts 18:8 (1 Corinthians 1:15-17). If Paul was not sent to water baptize, then why did he water baptize at all? A related question is, Why was Paul water baptized if water baptism has no place in our Dispensation of Grace? These are very good questions, and the Bible certainly has the answers. Will we be Berean Bible students and search the Scriptures for ourselves?

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:15-17 that Paul water baptized Crispus, Gaius, and Stephanus’ household. In Acts 18:1,7,8, which is where Paul first came to Corinth, the Bible says some of the Corinthian believers were Jews (this is what 1 Corinthians 1 is discussing). Crispus was the “chief ruler of the synagogue;” he and his household believed and were water baptized (Acts 18:8). Why Paul water baptized is best answered by considering the follow facts in Scripture:

  • The signs, miracles, and wonders of Israel’s program were carried over into Paul’s ministry. In doing so, God was demonstrating to Israel that her program was falling away, and Paul’s ministry was replacing Peter’s (Romans 11:11-13; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
  • Peter water baptized (Acts 2:41; Acts 10:46-48), so Paul also water baptized.
  • Paul spoke with tongues, performed healing miracles, et cetera, just like Peter did: healing—Acts 3:6-8 cf. Acts 14:8-10, raising the dead—Acts 9:36-42 cf. Acts 20:9-11, laying on hands to give the Holy Ghost—Acts 8:14-20 cf. Acts 19:6.

To validate Paul’s ministry for the Jews’ sake, God temporarily granted Paul the gift of miracle-working. Lest the Jews discredit Paul for not water baptizing, he also water baptized—that is, they could have said, “Paul does not water baptize… we should not follow him.” Paul water baptizing (and performing miracles) provoked the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11:11). Eventually, water baptism became divisive within the Corinthian church, and so Paul quit water baptizing.

Actually, the contents of 1 Corinthians indicate that Paul wrote it before Acts 28. By the time we get to Paul’s latter epistles (his prison epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, et cetera), Paul makes no more references to water baptism. By Acts 28, Israel’s program had ceased and she had fallen. The Acts transition period was over, and so Paul’s prison epistles such as Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, make no references to water baptism.

As a side-note, Paul was water baptized of Ananias because of Ananias’ benefit, not for Paul’s benefit (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16). Paul was saved apart from his water baptism. Ananias knew that, up to that point, believers of Jesus Christ were water baptized. Had Paul not been water baptized, it would have been a stumbling block to those believing Jews who had been water baptized. Paul being water baptized was another instance of his ministry and apostleship replacing Peter’s. Paul being water baptized safeguarded against his critics from claiming that he was not a legitimate apostle for having not been baptized.

 

Also see:
» Why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?
» Do I need to be water baptized—for a testimony, for salvation, or not at all?
» Why was Jesus water baptized?

Why was Jesus water baptized?

Why was Jesus water baptized?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Arguments quickly arise among denominations regarding water baptism because no two groups can agree as to how water baptism should be performed. Who should do it: a priest, a pope, or a pastor? Where should it be done: a river, a lake, a bathtub, a baptismal, or a swimming pool? Who needs it: babies or adults, or both? How should it be done: effusion (pouring), aspersion (sprinkling), or immersion (submerging)? How many times forward? Backward? How long? What type of water? All of this confusion, so little Bible understanding!

Every professing Christian today wants to be water baptized in order to “follow Jesus in ‘believer’s baptism.’” Yet, Jesus was also physically circumcised (Luke 2:21)—what Christian today wants to “follow Jesus in ‘believer’s circumcision?’” Surely, just because Jesus did something does not necessarily mean we must do it too. Jesus was water baptized and He told His disciples to water baptize, but does that we should be water baptized and water baptize others? Do we really need “believer’s baptism” today like most preachers claim? In order to answer this question, we ignore denominational doctrine and church tradition. Let us look to the rightly divided Word of God for the answer, for the Bible alone is the final authority.

Whenever people see the word “baptize” or “baptism” in the Bible, they automatically assume it must be water baptism. Contrariwise, there are several types of “baptism” in the Scriptures—many have nothing to do with water. For instance, read Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Undoubtedly, there are three baptisms in this one verse—(1) water baptism, (2) the baptism with fire (the judgment at the Second Coming of Christ, at the end of the seven-year Tribulation), and (3) the baptism with the Holy Spirit (this was the day of Pentecost, Acts chapter 2). Moreover, there is the baptism by the Holy Spirit into the Church the Body of Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13)—“baptized into one body,” not “baptized into water!” As you can see, some “baptisms” in Scripture have absolutely nothing to do with water.

The word “baptize” first appears in the Bible in Matthew chapter 3 when John the Baptist is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 3:2). If a Jew had placed his or her faith in Jesus of Nazareth as Israel’s Messiah-King, this water baptism was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” and it was an outward profession of their faith in Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:4; John 7:29-30; Acts 13:23-25). However, John the Baptist’s water baptism was nothing new to Israel. In the Old Testament, Israel’s priests would wash with water before entering into the priesthood (Exodus 29:1,4; Leviticus 8:6); they had to wash prior to dressing in the ephod (priestly garments), and had to wash before entering the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies (Exodus 30:17-21).

At this point, we have established two critical points. Firstly, water baptism can be traced back to Old Testament Law. Water baptism is an Old Testament ritual; it is not a “New Testament ordinance” like preachers claim today. Jesus’s earthly ministry and His water baptism are still Old Testament ground, because He had not died yet (Hebrews 9:16,17). Thus, the New Testament cannot begin until after Jesus’s death. In fact, this “New Covenant” with Israel will be brought about at His Second Coming, over 2000 years after His water baptism and death.

Secondly, water baptism was for the Jewish believers of the Gospel of the Kingdom. What is the connection between water baptism and the kingdom that Jesus was going to establish on the earth? In Exodus 19:5-6, God promised to make Israel “a kingdom of priests” (1 Peter 2:9: Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6). If every Jew was to be a priest, who would every Jew need to do? Wash with water, just like in the Old Testament! Turn to Mark 1:4 KJV: “John [the Baptist] did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” These Jewish believers of the Kingdom Gospel were sinners, and as we disucssed earlier earlier, the water baptism was an outward sign of their faith (Luke 7:29-30).

Jesus needed to fulfill the Old Testament priesthood law. Matthew 3:15 KJV: “And Jesus answering said unto him [that is, John the Baptist], Suffer [Allow] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered [allowed] him.” Jesus Christ needed to fulfill all the righteousness of the Law, the Old Testament. Remember, the priests would wash themselves (see Exodus 29:4; Exodus 30:20; Leviticus chapter 1; Leviticus 8:6; Leviticus 16:24; 2 Chronicles 4:6).

The Lord Jesus also needed to identify Himself with His Jewish believers. The small remnant of believers in Israel at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry was called “the little flock” (Luke 12:32). Remember, the analogy here is Jesus Christ being the Shepherd, and these Jewish believers are sheep, like Psalm chapter 23 said. In order to identify Himself with those Jewish believers, Jesus was water baptized; as Isaiah 53:12 said, Christ would be “numbered with the transgressors.” John the Baptist water baptized Jesus Christ in order to manifest Him as Israel’s Messiah (Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-33). Anyone who refused the baptism of John was publicly admitting their unbelief; the fourth reason Jesus was baptized was to separate the Jewish believers from the Jewish unbelievers (Luke 7:29-30).

So, these are the four reasons why Jesus was baptized: (1) to fulfill the Old Testament ceremony of the priesthood washing, (2) to manifest Himself as Israel’s Messiah, (3) to identify Himself with the “little flock,” the remnant of Jewish believers who were also being water baptized, and (4) to thereby sort the believers from the unbelievers.

However, when Israel rejected their Messiah and demanded His crucifixion, and refused to repent and trust Him (Jesus) as Messiah in the early Acts period, the promise of Israel’s kingdom would be postponed. In Acts chapter 7, after the Jews stone the prophet Stephen (who was filled with the Holy Spirit), the Lord set Israel aside nationally for their unbelief. As Romans 11:11-13 says, Israel’s prophetic program has been temporarily stopped while God is dealing with the non-Jews (Gentiles) today through the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

With all that said, we have no reason to be water baptized today for any reason. Israel’s water baptism has nothing to do with us today because we are not the nation Israel. We are the Church the Body of Christ, who have a waterless baptism. We are under the Gospel of the Grace of God, not the Gospel of the Kingdom (as was preached in Israel). We are in the Dispensation of Grace, not the Dispensation of Law.

We have the one baptism of 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:5. The moment we place our faith in Christ Jesus alone as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit “baptizes” us into the one Body of Christ. This is why Paul said Christ did not send him to water baptize in 1 Corinthians 1:17. Contrary to religious tradition, God’s Word tells us that we do not need water baptism for any reason in the Dispensation of Grace. Water baptism is for Israel’s program, so leave it there, where it belongs!

Also see:
» Why did Paul water baptize?
» Why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?
» Do I need to be water baptized—for a testimony, for salvation, or not at all?

Why is water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?

Why is water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Water baptism is not exclusive to the “New Testament” Scriptures. In fact, water baptism first appears in the so-called “Old Testament” Scriptures. Water baptism was nothing new for Israel when John the Baptist began to practice it. But, why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program? As always, we let the Bible speak for itself. We do not appeal to church tradition or preconceived notions.

In Exodus 19:5-6, the LORD commanded Moses to tell the nation Israel: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” This is why believing Israel is called “a royal priesthood, an holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9), and this is why believing Jews are called “priests” (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).

When the sons of Aaron, the Levitical priests of Israel, were ordained into the priesthood, they had to first wash with water. The Mosaic Law said in Exodus 29:1,4: “[1] And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, … [4] And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.” Leviticus 8:6 says, “And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.”

Water baptism is necessary to prepare believing Jews to become a “kingdom of priests.” Each Jew must wash with water like the Old Testament priests washed with water before entering their ministry. The Jews must be water baptized, or they cannot be a kingdom of priests: thus, water baptism is necessary for salvation in Israel’s program.

Read Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And 1 Peter 3:21: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Speaking of Israel’s salvation and restoration, the LORD said to the nation Israel, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Israel needed spiritual cleansing, and water baptism was a sign to them that they needed that cleansing. Evidently, water baptism is the sign of the Davidic Covenant, God’s promise to establish an earthly kingdom using a descendant of King David—the King, Jesus Christ—and the nation Israel (2 Samuel 7:12-17; 1 Chronicles 17:11-15).

Although John the Baptist and Israel’s 12 apostles began to perform this water baptism during Christ’s earthly ministry and the early Acts period, that program was interrupted, and God will return to doing this with Israel in the last days (after our Dispensation of Grace has ended, but just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the institution of His earthly kingdom).

However, do not misunderstand. In Israel’s program, water baptism is not limited to JewsGentiles in Israel’s program also needed water baptism. Jesus Christ commissioned His 12 apostles, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). God told Israel, Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Matthew 28:19 refers to believing Gentiles in Christ’s millennial kingdom (verse 20), and based on Ezekiel 36:25 that water baptism is necessary for believing Gentiles in Israel’s program because they also need to be cleansed from their pagan idolatry (and thus they will embrace the triune Godhead, the only true God).

Also see:
» Why did Paul water baptize?
» Why was Jesus water baptized?
» Do I need to be water baptized—for a testimony, for salvation, or not at all?

Do I need to be water baptized?

Do I need to be water baptized—for a testimony, for salvation, or not at all?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Water baptism, the most divisive issue within Christendom, is rightly called “religious TNT.” There is tremendous confusion about water baptism. Who should administer it (priest, pastor, deacon)? What is the proper mode (sprinkling, pouring, immersion)? What words should be said? Who should be water baptized (adults only, or adults and babies)? How many times forward and backward? Where should it occur? For salvation, for a testimony, or not at all?  Rather than appealing to church tradition, which is contradictory among denominations, why not look at the Bible and let God tell us what He wants us to know and do? By doing so, we can bypass all the confusion!

Our Apostle Paul wrote, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17a). In fact, Paul actually thanked God that he did not baptize some people (verse 14)! Surely, Paul was not operating under the so-called “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Would Israel’s 12 apostles ever thank God for having not water baptized people? I trow not!

Paul wrote, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” for us in this the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5). Rather than speculating as to what that one baptism is, we can simply search Paul’s epistles for the answer. Our one baptism is found in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

The only baptism that we need today is the baptism whereby the Holy Spirit—not a priest or preacher—places us into the Church the Body of Christ. This is a waterless, supernatural baptism. Paul also refers to this baptism in Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12, and Galatians 3:27.

Romans 6:3-5: “[3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] 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. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” No physical ceremony (that is, water baptism) can put us into Jesus Christ; this baptism is a supernatural baptism.

Colossians 2:12: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Again, God performs our one baptism, not a priest or preacher.

Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Again, remember, no physical ceremony (that is, water baptism) can put us into Jesus Christ; this baptism is a supernatural baptism.

Remember, “baptism” in Scripture is not always a reference to water baptism. The one baptism that you need today is already yours in Christ! When you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour (the Gospel of the Grace of God of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), you received your one baptism. In that instant, God the Holy Spirit placed you into a living, unbroken union with Jesus Christ. “Ye are complete in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10). You do not need a ceremony such as water baptism to “enhance” your Christian life. Anyone who says that you do, is taking away from what God has already given you in Jesus Christ. Do not let someone rob you of your identity in Jesus Christ! Anyone who urges you to get water baptized is not encouraging you to demonstrate your “faith,” but rather is actually urging you to demonstrate your unbelief in these verses. That is serious, friend!

The one baptism necessary for salvation today in the Dispensation of Grace is the Holy Spirit baptizing us into the Church the Body of Christ, identifying us with Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins. Understanding that water baptism has nothing to do with us, resolves all of the confusion and division regarding sprinkling, pouring, and immersion, adults and/or babies, how many times forward, how many times backward, what words should be said, and so on. The Bible is so simple when we simply let it say what it says where it says it.

Also see:
» Why did Paul water baptize?
» Why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?
» Why was Jesus water baptized?