Baptism – Part 2Tom Ballinger
BAPTIZED UNTO MOSES
In 1 Corinthians 10:1 Paul writes about a Baptism not associated with water at all.
“Moreover brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all of our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”
The Israelites were sent through the sea on dry land as the Lord led them in the cloud. The Baptism through the sea identified Israel with all that Moses stood for; redemption from the bondage of Egypt, the ceremonial law, and set apart from the rest of the world as the chosen people of God. This is the first great teaching concerning Baptism in the Scriptures. The first occurrence of the word is in Job. But the first Baptism mentioned in Scripture is Israel passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. After that, they went through another Baptism by crossing the river Jordan on dry ground. These Baptisms separated them from the world. Passing through the Red Sea represents the passing from the bondage of darkness into the light of the redemption associated with their salvation. The Lord was with them in the cloud. The Lord led them throughout their journey. Much can be learned from these Baptisms and their symbolism.
PAUL’S MINISTRY – DID IT INCLUDE WATER BAPTISM?
When we “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), we learn that Paul was appointed by God to be an Apostle to us Gentiles. If we follow this Truth then everything will fall into place concerning our understanding of the subject at hand, Baptism.
Gal. 2:7. But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me (Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8. (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:
9. And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision.
1 Tim. 2:7. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Error gives way to understanding when we don’t rightly divide the Word of Truth. Before we can apply Scripture to ourselves, we must understand to whom the passage was written.
Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write to us Gentiles just as the other New Testament writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Second Timothy 3:16 teaches us that “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God…” What Paul wrote was just as inspired as any other N.T.writer.
In Corinthians 1:17, Paul writes: ‘Christ sent me NOT to baptize but to preach the gospel’.
This statement alone should cause the seeker of Truth to sit up and take notice. If Paul were alive today, would he be called a gainsaying and disobedient servant of God?
There are those who say that the commission of Matt. 28 belongs to the Gentiles and that we, as Gentiles should baptize the nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. If you agree with this, then I ask you; where is it in Matthew that the Gentile is so commissioned? Could it be possible that this commission belonged to believing Israel who as a Holy Nation was to witness the salvation of God to the nations?
BAPTIZED UNTO HIS DEATH – THE PREACHING OF PAUL
After Israel was set aside (Acts 28:24-28) and the Mystery revealed, we are told to keep the Unity of the Spirit which includes the ‘One baptism’. This Baptism is revealed to us in Colossians 2:21 where it is written that the believer of the Church of the One Body is ‘buried with Him in baptism’. This cannot imply water Baptism of any kind. This Baptism is so closely identified with Christ in His death that we are to consider ourselves as having been buried with Him also. An examination of the context of Col. 2:10-21 speaks volumes:
10. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
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.
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Notice one important point concerning our Baptism. It is NOT MADE WITH HANDS. In other words, man has nothing to do with this Baptism. It has been done. It is complete. To be complete in Christ means that there is no need for anything else as far as our close identification with Him. To be complete in Him means that there is no need of anything else as far as our standing before God.
We are closely identified with Christ’s death. Nothing in the preceding verses teaches that this is the operation of man. Christ has done it all on the cross. To understand this is strong meat. If the old man is involved with rites, washings, and decrees, then it cannot discern the things of the Spirit concerning our Baptism unto His death. Because we are buried with Him in this baptism therefore we are raised with Him. This is our identification with Christ. When He died, then we died with Him. When He was buried, then we were buried with Him. This close identification with Christ’s death is the Baptism of the Church of the One Body. This Baptism unto death also represents the death of the old man, the old nature in the believer. (See Two Natures in the Child of God).
Eph. 2:1. And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
We were once dead to sin, but now, through the operation of Christ’s death on the cross and our identification with Him, we are alive unto God in newness of life.
Eph. 2:4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
1. I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
We are not called upon to make a unity; it is already made. We are called upon to “keep the unity”. To do so is to “walk worthy” of our calling. Failure to keep the Unity of the Spirit results in a walk that is unworthy. The question of baptism would clear up if believers would recognize PRESENT TRUTH and insist upon keeping the Unity of the Spirit. Ephesian 4 states emphatically that in this Dispensation, there is but ONE BAPTISM. One Baptism is certainly not two. To allow for two or more Baptisms betrays a Divinely given trust.
Christ has done it all for us. We are truly COMPLETE in Him. Would a demand for a water baptism as a part of our salvation, doctrine, or conversion, demonstrate our belief that we are complete in Him?
Let us be faithful and believe that there is but ONE Baptism and that Baptism is our close identification with Christ’s death on the cross. Through Christ our Lord we have passed from death unto life. Praise His Name!
The previous study was made possible by the exemplary writing of Stuart Allen’s “Baptism” study as well as Tom Ballinger’s Plainer Words study on the “Unity of the Spirit.” I borrowed a few of their words simply because I could not improve the manner in which they were presented. D. Earnest