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We are buried with Him through
baptism into His death; so as
Christ was raised from the dead
by the Father we too shall
walk in newness of life.
--Romans: 6:3-4

IN OUR PREVIOUS STUDY we have discussed what true repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus means. We come now to our next truth, water baptism, in which we experience the burial of our old nature and a rising to walk with Christ in newness of life.

On the day of Pentecost, we find Peter in possession of the keys to the kingdom of heaven that Jesus had promised to give him. When many of the Jews realized that Jesus was the Messiah, they cried out, "Brothers, what must we do?" Peter said, "Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:36).

We know that to the repentant thief on the cross Jesus told him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." He obviously did not have a chance to be baptized in water or to receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given.  A dying, repentant sinner as well as any person who repents from sin and turns to his life over to Jesus will be saved by the shed blood of Christ alone.

However, having said that, if you know and obey the truth, the truth will make you free. If you want to enter into the fulness of all that Jesus provided for you through His life, death, and resurrection, you must obey the teaching of the scripture. Peter gave the three foundations of New Testament Christian experience that will open the door to all God's fullness and abundant life here and now.

 The "Kingdom of heaven" or "the Kingdom of God" is a term that Jesus used interchangeably. Although heaven is the destination of the righteous, Jesus announced when He began to preach that the Kingdom of God had arrived. After His resurrection, He spent 40 days on earth explaining to His disciples everything about the kingdom of God and later spent three years with Paul after his conversion explaining these things.Paul tells that he received the gospel that he preached directly from the Lord.

The New Testament reveals the message. You can enter into the experience now of heaven on earth. You can know intimate fellowship with Jesus and realize His purpose for you. Jesus told his disciples "the kingdom of God " is within you.

Here are the three keys given to Peter. As we study the early church in the book of Acts we find that they followed this pattern.

 Key 1-Repent of your sins and turn to God.

Key 2-Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Key 3-Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Key 2 - "Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins."

Water baptism was important to Jesus. After He rose from the dead, Jesus told his disciples to take the news of His kingdom and His great salvation to the ends of the earth, telling them, "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have taught you and I will be with you always to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-21)

Paul taught about the power of the cross, explaining that our old sin loving nature was "crucified with Christ" so that it would be "destroyed," and become "inactive for evil," "so we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:6 NAS, AMP). When we forsake sin and self and make a full surrender of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus our old nature is "crucified with Christ."

Water Baptism--a Watery Grave

What do you do with something that is dead? You bury it. But how? Paul explains, "We are buried with Him through baptism into His death; so as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father we too shall walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:3-4).

According to ancient Roman practice one type of torture used with their prisoners was to take a live man and then tie a dead body to him. As the dead man decayed, the body of the live man became infected and he died too. When we turn to Jesus in true repentance our sin loving nature is delivered a deathblow. It must be buried or it will infect the new nature that we have received. God has provided a grave for that burial-water baptism.

New Covenant Circumcision

Paul explains, "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11-12).

Paul calls water baptism circumcision. To get a better understanding of this, lets look a circumcision in the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, circumcision in the natural sense was the cutting away of the foreskin of the male organ. Circumcision was a sign in the flesh of a man 's covenant with God. In fact, God viewed circumcision as important to the terms of His covenant: "But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant"(Gen.17: 14). Under the Old Covenant, God viewed those who refused to be circumcised as covenant breakers.

The New Covenant also has a covenantal sign of circumcision. Water baptism is that supernatural sign in our flesh of our Covenant with God. Jesus Himself commanded water Baptism. If we neglect water baptism, what are we saying about our covenant with God and our submission to the Lordship of Jesus? If we refuse baptism can we call ourselves true followers of Jesus Christ?

This circumcision is made without hands through faith in the operation of God. The circumcision is to be a supernatural work of God. In the unseen realm, in the waters of baptism, through faith, God supernaturally takes His scalpel and cuts away from our life the old sin loving nature and the body of the sins of the flesh that was crucified with Christ and buries it, thus breaking the bondage to sin.

Baptism in water is the grave where the rebellious self-the reign of "self" in my life as king and lord of all-is buried. It is the idol of myself that always wants to be exalted and praised and that seeks the approval of others that must be entombed here. It is my independence from God, my right to myself that must be laid in the grave. When we do this by faith, a tremendous deliverance and victory place in the waters of baptism to those who believe.

Even more, baptism is a resurrection and a real and present rising out of the water into the power of Christ's resurrection. As a newborn son or daughter in union with Christ we rise to a new life and new nature, partaking in His resurrection.

Water baptism is the seal and the New Covenant sign of circumcision. Everyone should examine themselves, and see if they really possess the inward spiritual grace of death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness. If you don't have this, and you have been baptized, then you just got wet.

Burying that which Enslaves us to Sin

Another beautiful picture of water baptism is found in the Old Testament. It is a type and shadow of the meaning of baptism under the New Covenant. The Israelites had been held in bondage in Egypt for many years, enslaved to Pharaoh, a cruel king. When the Lord brought them forth from bondage in the Exodus, He parted the Red Sea before them. The water was like a wall on either side of them as the Israelites passed through to the other shore.

Pharaoh and his armies, who were pursuing the Israelites trying to bring them back into bondage, followed them into the water. The Lord, however, caused the waters to roll back, cutting the Egyptians off and buried them in the waters of the Red Sea.

Israel was left alone on the other side of the water, free from slavery, free to be servants of their God. If the sea had not buried the Egyptians, the threat of slavery would have followed Israel into the Promised Land. Not only would Israel have had to fight her enemies in the Promised Land, she would have had to fight being brought back into slavery. Using this analogy Paul tells us that the Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt were baptized in the cloud and in the sea"(1 Cor. 10:1-20).

Likewise those who have come to faith in Christ in true repentance and self-surrender and have been baptized have been made free from the power of sin which would try to keep them slaves. We have been set free from the taskmaster of "self. " The old self-centered drives are broken, the heart "made new." Those who have accepted the truth and the power of the gospel have been made free from the slavery to sin by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We enter into the Promised Land as son and daughters of God, able to meet and conquer the enemies that inhabit the land of spiritual promises.

Consider another Old Testament example. After forty years of wandering, the generation of Israelites God had originally brought out of Egypt, who had disobeyed God, died in the wilderness.

As the new generation prepared to enter the Land of Promise, the Lord rolled back the waters of the Jordan River just as He had done at the Red Sea and this new generation walked through the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

Do you know what the Lord had them do next? Before the Israelites could go up and possess the Promised Land, they had to be circumcised. By doing this, the Lord said that the reproach and shame of their slavery in Egypt was "rolled away from them"(Joshua 5:9). That circumcision was a sign in their flesh of their covenant with God.

So also, under the New Covenant before we can go up and possess our promised inheritance, we must receive the circumcision of Jesus, made without hands, in putting off the "body of the sins of the flesh". Through this circumcision we are uprooted from the world, of which Egypt is a picture, and the reproach of the world is rolled away from us.

Paul reminds us that as many of us as were "baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. Therefore 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...in the likeness of His resurrection." And because of this "the body of sin has been done away with...that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin."(Rom 6:3-7)

Immediate Baptism

Throughout the book of Acts, we are told that when the people received the word of God they were baptized immediately. They went down into the water, which represented the grave, and they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 8:14-16, 10:45-48, 19:5).

We may wonder why the Apostles did not baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not names. They were asked to baptize "in the name of" the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So they went everywhere baptizing "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

We read in Colossians 2:9 about Jesus: "For in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form." Jesus' disciples understood this; for having His command, they went everywhere baptizing new believers. They were baptizing in the Name, which is above all names, in the Name, which all authority of heaven and earth is invested, and that name is the Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, demons are cast out, the sick are healed, and the lame walk. We are saved in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by His blood. In explaining to the Romans about baptism, Paul said that those who have been baptized have been "baptized into Christ Jesus" (Rom.6: 3).

The Open Heavens

Matthew records that when Jesus was baptized "the heavens opened" (Matt. 3:16). There is no record of them closing again. Those who have believed and have been baptized share in His baptism, have been raised up to new life-we have risen into resurrection life-and have the privilege of living and walking under an "open heavens." (Rom. 6:3-4)

carlwifef.jpg"Bob and Rose Weiner are, in the truest sense of the term,

movers and shakers around the world. They move whole nations through their powerful faith ministry. They also ignite faith in others. Their ministry in Russia and China is the stuff of which legends are made. It is a special privilege to know them."

--Dr. Carl Richardson, International Evangelist

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