Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself

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Have you ever thought that God has withdrawn his favor from you?

Have you ever questioned… Is God really still dealing with me on a personal level, like His daughter/son?

We think to ourselves, could I really be in such a bad spiritually state?

We question ourselves:

Why could God be hiding from me?

In Isaiah 45:15 (NASV) we read, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”

Here we note that hiding from man, is one of God’s attributes. Is it because we have done something to displease the Lord, and where God disapproves of our actions? Perhaps in such a situation, we find we don’t have the prayer life anymore or one that we would wish to have where there is ease of communication without guilt or feeling unworthy. Or, we may be saying to ourselves “my life is no different than that of the world around me.”

So when we can’t distinguish any difference in our life then in the life of a person who has not given himself to the Lord then we say “there is no specific purpose to my individual experiences compared to another person in the world.”

Or, perhaps our experiences feel like they no longer have any spiritual meaning when we can’t identify what the experiences are for, and we get into a rut; when our experiences mean I am merely just existing or surviving this experience and I know I am just existing because I experience, but I cannot identify with me this experience spiritually.

Maybe we recognize that for most of us, when we grasped the Truth, we had a great outburst of emotion for it — we loved it; we were enthused about it; we talked about it; we were excited about it and when we heard a discourse we would get goose bumps from joy! And all of a sudden we come to a place where that is no longer true. We just go to meeting because it’s a habit and we expose ourselves to creation experiences which we are sort of glad about having, but beyond that, there is no quickening of the heart beat.

Here are some possible reasons WHY we may experience that God has hidden himself from us:-

(A) God wishes to AWAKE US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is good to remember that when it comes to God’s dealing with anyone, they are never intended to be a harsh, burdensome experience but God’s aim of  allowing certain trying experiences in our lives, is for the purpose of CORRECTING a situation…. correction of action … and ultimately to correct our character so that we may learn to be perfect  (Matthew 5:48) – that is, “reckoned as righteous” through our Faith (see Romans Chapter 4) and LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (Hebrews 1:9) so that we can be used in His future kingdom as administrators of the blessings to all the world of mankind – teaching mankind how to walk up the Highway of Holiness, having attained to the highest levels while going through the experiences of the Gospel Age now, while the permission of evil abounds.

In Hebrews 12:6, Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The chastenings of the Lord are not necessarily designed for punishment, but rather for discipline. They are necessary as a part of our training, and to test our humility before the Lord, and our loyalty to him. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This is what it means to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom.12:12); and if we are thus patient we will rejoice in a hope which “maketh not ashamed.”

In Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) we read, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our Heavenly Father does not deal with all in this manner but only with some, His sons.

He thus dealt with our Lord Jesus — “the captain of our salvation” — as he lived in this world of sin and suffered the “contradiction of sinners against Himself.” For, “what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 2:7).

 So the apostle admonishes that we “look unto Him” lest we become weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 2:2,3). The rigors and the discipline to which a well-trained child is subjected by a loving father may at times seem irksome, unpleasant and painful, but it is for the ultimate good and development of the child in every sense. So it is in the life of the child of GOD but in a perfect manner.

The tests of faith, of fidelity, of love for God and righteousness, of obedience, of patient endurance and suffering wrongfully, the discipline of the Word under adversity, the submission in love to the Father’s will, and an awareness of the guidance of the Spirit, are some aspects of the Father’s discipline as He trains us for the purpose He has in view.

These are all tangible evidences of the heavenly Father’s love and concern. Like those to whom the apostle wrote, we also tend to forget this when the way is hard and difficult. Frustrations, pressures, and perplexities surround us. “Ye have forgotten” says the apostle, “the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto sons” (Hebrews 2:5).

If we remember this always, we will rejoice even when all things seem to be against us as we earnestly seek to do His will, inasmuch as we know we are under His loving hand.

The life of the child of God, wholly surrendered to Him and to Christ, is an entirely new life, in and of Godly character, under the Father’s influence, control and leading, the Heavenly Father’s constant special and infinite care for our training in the principles of His laws, so that, we can be ministers of these laws and processes of training for all humanity.

We are “hid with Christ in God” (Romans 8:1-4; 8:14, 28; John 1:13; 16:27; Luke 12:4-7, 22-32; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Colossians 3:1-4). Sometimes the Father withholds or hides Himself in order that the depth of our longing and love for Him and for Christ may be put to the test, that we may be conscious of a sense of loss, that me may yearn for Him and learn to fully depend on Him to reveal Himself more fully in all His love and tenderness.

God may withdraw His favor to awaken us to the situation that we have begun to slip or that we are near the point of slipping and that we need to reassert ourselves spiritually. The best example of this in the Bible, is when we look at the account of Queen Esther.

In the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, we are told that Esther, (who had become the Queen of the Persian empire), had now an enemy against her uncle Mordecai and all the Jewish people (so this would include her, as she was Jewish). A man named Haman had become a chief counselor of the empire and had put into motion a plan that would mean the destruction of every Jew throughout the Medo-Persian empire. Mordecai realizes this; he tears his clothes; he puts on sack cloths and ashes, and he sits in mourning. Esther’s initial response is documented in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.”

So we can see that Esther’s first response is “let us stop mourning; let us not face the reality of the problems that we have.” Esther’s initial reaction is not a good reaction. Her reaction is one of not comprehending the true danger of the situation. It is Mordecai who wakens her to the danger by mentioning one thing specifically and that is, that this is not a danger, remote to someone else; it is, that YOUR VERY LIFE IS AT STAKE! YOU TOO, won’t escape this! You too, are Jewish and so your in just as much danger of death as I am in and all the rest of our people, the Jews, are in. But then Esther experiences the alienation that she has already experiences from the King himself and this is noticed in Esther 4:11, where she is speaking to Hathach, one of the King’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and instructs him to say to Mordecai.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Esther realizes that she has become estranged from the King and notice, that she says, as if “I am free to go to him but if I go to him without being invited to, by him, then I am afraid my life may be at stake even earlier because I have been so presumptuous to come to him.”

We may experience this too, in our spiritual lives as consecrated. We may at some point in our spiritual walk feel like we do not feel free to go to our Heavenly Father. We feel “I am not bidden to come to God anymore or feel God is not communicating with me anymore; that God has hidden Himself from me (just like King Xerxes has from Esther), Jehovah God has hidden himself for the past perhaps 30 days too, and we don’t feel we can go and plead our cause.

And this is what Mordecai is bringing out to Esther — the reason for Him hiding. He is saying, “remember Esther … You’re life is at stake! You think you will die if you go to the King … I know you will die if you do not go!”

So in our lives God may bring us to this point in our lives to show us that if we don’t continuously communicate with Him, then we WILL DIE!

You know dear friends, there is a far greater then Haman out there looking to kill us … that is… a “Haman” who is called Satan. Satan wishes to kill our New Creature developing in us — the embryonic New Creation which is developing into maturity until the Jesus agape love in us, overflows towards our beloved brethren and our will becomes dead to self but alive in Christ — being crucified in ALL we think and do, having our minds super-glued on Christ Jesus no matter how ridiculous we sound to the world or how humiliated we are for striving to conform to the LIKENESS OF OUR LORD JESUS.

Dear brethren in Christ, as we are now on an arena and we are a spectacle unto angels and men, let us endure it with great Joy in our Hope that promised for the faithful unto death isn’t just eternal life in perfect conditions, but IMMORTAL life and those who suffer with CHRIST for doing good now, shall reign with CHRIST. They are those who grow into the maturity in Christ, learning and CUTTING OFF and TURN AWAY from sin -from mistakes made in blind ignorance according to any uniquely individual situation allowed by God, and turning completely away from past errors, learning to well appreciate the failings of all their brethren and the world through their own experiences of enduring the sacrificial experiences as prospective Bride of Christ members, and learning to only FULLY depend on and seek out their Heavenly Father’ will in ALL.

So this experience is to help bring us back to the place where we will come and pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father, but in doing it, we face that one big emotional problem: that problem of … “well I can’t do this because I’ve gotten out of the habit … I don’t have that feeling anymore.” And that’s when we have to awaken to the righteousness that says, “even if I don’t feel comfortable in praying to God, if I don’t do it, the result is certainly DISASTROUS! If I do do this, then there is the ONE and the ONLY potential of overcoming in doing this and as we come to the remedies we’ll find that the first remedy, is the remedy suggested by the first cause, and that is PRAYER.

PRAYER is the beginning of the remedy even though it may be the very hardest to apply when we feel estranged from the Lord individually.

This situation of Queen Esther’s, may remind us of a certain class in the Bible; a class mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8; a class that ends up saying “the harvest has ended the summer is passed and we are not saved.” That class that speaks those words in Jeremiah 8:20, in Jeremiah 8:11 said that the reason for their punishment is because they said “they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

Is this not the very thing that Esther was doing! Esther was telling Mordecai “your problem is you need to get out of your sack clothes … You need new clothes.” And Mordecai was telling her that’s like saying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” That is not the problem but rather is the symptom. The problem was that she needed to approach the King on behalf of Israel.

And so the alienation we sometimes feel is to awaken us to the deeper problems that lie there to bring us to the Lord not to solve the alienation but to solve a deeper problem; to find out what it is to not keep us away.

(B) God may hide himself from us, to teach us FAITH, TRUST and RELIANCE upon Him through Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father teaches us that our life isn’t different from anybody else’s or to bring us to a place where we can’t see any purpose from an experience, He then says,

“That’s when YOU NEED TO TRUST IN ME when you can’t trace Me.” This is brought out beautifully in Job 23: 3-5,8,9,15 (NIV) and this pin-points the problem.

(3-5) If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say to me.”

(8-9) “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.”

(11) “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”

This is a sad set of scriptures. Job looks everywhere for God, yet cannot find God to feel that He is with him in his experiences at a time of experiencing so much pain and misery. These experiences seem over his head and as a result, Job was beginning to sink in the experiences he had. It isn’t until later in the Book of Job, that Job starts swimming upward again and begins getting over these experiences.

In Job chapter 23: 3-5, Job wanted to find God to plead his case before God.

Let’s look at verse 6 & 7 to fill in some answers.

(6) “Would He vigorously oppose me? No, He would not press charges against me. (7) There the upright can establish their innocence before Him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.”

In verse 6, Job realizes if he could find God, he would find Him a Merciful God, who would give him strength.
In verse 7 is the realization that if we feel we have lost God, we firstly need to find our Advocate — the one who pleads on our behalf! We know it is our Beloved, Precious Jesus who is the Best Lawyer in the whole universe!

When we feel we have lost our ability to approach God then more than ever we feel “if only someone spoke God’s language and could get through to Him for me”, and that is exactly what Jesus does! And Job was as if saying, “if only Jesus would argue for me … if I could just enlist the upright one on my side, then he would deliver me from this judgement forever … Then I would be over this particular experience”.

So friends, IT IS FINDING THE UPRIGHT ONE, JESUS, IN OUR LIVES.

And Job says he can’t. He goes upward, downward, backward, front, and simply can’t find him. So now let’s look at verses 10 & 12:

(10) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(12) I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

So just like Job highlights through these words of his, let us look for the realization that even though we feel God is hiding himself from us for a brief moment, He knows exactly where we are and has not departed from us, and it is HE who FIRST FOUND US, called out us of darkness into His marvelous light, and adopted us as we are told in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT). God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

God wishes for us to develop faith in Him, that He is taking charge in our life and to TRUST COMPLETELY in Him.

In verse 11 & 12, Job says what he felt he had done, and they are a stimulus to us about things WE MUST DO to feel this pull to our Heavenly Father. We must trust and be convinced that God will pull us through and make us more than gold IF:

1.      Our feet will hold to His steps;
2.      His way we keep and do not decline;
3.      We do not go back from the commandment of His lips;
4.      We esteem the words of His mouth more than necessary food.

It is at this point God is telling us we will be in a good place IF WE DO OUR PART. God is saying, “I’m putting you in a place where you can’t see Me, but if you just do your responsibilities then trust that then I will do what I promise to do and bring you closer to Me.”

And Job tells why he’s so confident in Job 23: 13-14. “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. He carries out His decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store.”

The Leeser’s Jewish Bible translation of Job 23:14 reads, He will bring to completion what is destined for me.”

Each one of the Church of the Body of Christ members (that’s you and me dear brethren) are being trained and fitted for a peculiar specific and each different part of the body that requires a different treatment. I can’t be treated in exactly the same way as Sister X, Y or Z or Brother A, B or C as we each need specific experiences and as we come into these experiences as their all different, we don’t see what the end result is, and God’s saying to us, “the reason I give you these experiences is because I want you to have confidence that I KNOW BEST what the end result should be and so I’m not going to let you see what this end result is, so that you will learn that my hand will lead you through this to safely overcome and develop a Christlike character that I require from you, so that I can present you to my Son when I’m through with you.”

It will take every inch of TRUST, of DISCIPLINE over the mind, and FAITH. It will require us to LAY DOWN OUR COMPLETE UTTER ALL for God to direct us now so we can prove to Him our LOYALTY to God’s PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we can receive the Highest possible reward because of proving to God that we please Him through overcoming the most unfavorable circumstances of the permission of evil.

And the end of this verse is saying that just like God has this kind of experience in store, so HE has other experiences for us also.

Now, the hiding of God’s face is only one tool in His tool box. 

The heavenly Father has tools of throwing His arms around us too!

At other times in our walk up towards spiritual Holy “Mount Zion”, God is showing us, that He really likes what we are doing.

God gives us His tools of directing us, just when we need that direction.
Our Divine Father testing us to the words we sing in that hymn,

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God,

than go alone in the light”. 

So would you really? That is what God is TESTING.

God is as if saying, “Are you willing to really walk in the dark with me when you can’t see the next step? Will you trust to take the steps in the dark and know that it will lead to gold? Would you really rather walk by Faith then walk by sight? Show me how”.

Let us look at one more thing here. Job’s attitude in Job 10:2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.”

This same word “bitter” is used in Deuteronomy 31:27. “For I know thy rebellion…?” The word “rebellion” here, is the same word as the one written as “bitter” in Job 23:2.

Job in verse 2 is saying, ” I just want to argue with God and show and explain to Him that this hiding from me just isn’t fair!”

This attitude is the one God is trying to correct, to bring us into a complacent one that Job shows and had in Job 23:10.

(C) God may hide himself to TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR CONSECRATION.

How much easier it is to say “whatever your will God, I’ll do it!” but then when hammered down as life unfold, through the Christian pilgrimage to our heavenly home, how easy is it to accept our Heavenly Father’s will when we experience agonizing experiences of pain, sickness & disease, and death?

When we first made our consecration, it may have been far more easily said “God may it be your will”, yet we learn to understand what this means ONLY through the BIGGEST BLESSING OF ALL that follow: LIFE; EXPERIENCE; PHYSICAL and MENTAL PAIN, and /or SICKNESS, and SUFFERING.

We now see that being a soldier in the Lord’s army takes every inch of mental and physical energy that we have into the fight for the victory of being a member of the 144,000!

Never give up!

Never, never, never give up!

A martyr means “a witness” and to be a witness of CHRIST will cost us our ENTIRE ALL not just half of us… No way! God doesn’t want a lukewarm CHRISTIAN as a King to reign with His Son Jesus in future… God does not want a COLD Christian either who has a non- repentant or non-forgiving heart… God WANTS A ZEALOUS follower of Christ who shall defend JESUS and those who are His; who have professed consecrating into Christ, to the best of their human abilities -seeing them all as better than self (Phil. 2:3).

So our tools to overcoming is prayer and the studying of Holy Scriptures every day and immersing the mind into Scripture at every point you have even if it’s a few minutes here or there then do that! ALL our time is consecrated unto the Lord so we no longer even own it, as we lay down our ALL on the altar of sacrifice daily, and daily seek to fulfill our covenant sacrifice until death.

Never stop to rest from activity in the Lord’s service, even for one minute!

Don’t ever think the battle is won till faithful until death!

By hiding himself, God is in fact asking us “are you willing to take a path where you now can no longer identify with me, where you find your confused and say God how does this experience identify with me?”

This was the test our Lord Jesus experienced too. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross, for the first time he did not call God “Father but said:

 “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

that is,

“My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus felt our Divine Father’s face hidden from him!

Look at the depth that Jesus felt this experience …

I mean here is a PERFECT human, the Son of the Almighty Jehovah God, who had had a prior relationship with the Father when he was the Logos in his pre-human existence. Jesus knew God intimately!

God was testing our Lord Jesus to the very depth of his consecration. Could he take that alienation? In Jesus case, the experience was very temporary. It had to be, as his life was very temporary; it was only a more few hours on the cross and so at last his life WAS RESTORED and Jesus’s last words (which were called out by him in a loud voice) were,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

God had tested Jesus to the point of seeing if Jesus would really take and accept any experience, even the experience of turning his back on Jesus, turning away from him so that he could not even see the Father’s face.

(D) God may hid himself from us to TEACH US leadership and principles.

Under the Old Law, the Israelites were told exactly how to order their life. They were given a set of Laws and were instructed by God how to follow these laws to inherit eternal life. Every experience of life related to what God did want or didn’t want.

But when it comes to the Church of the Firstborn, God says, “I’m not going to give you a whole set of Laws and tell you what to do and what not to do, but rather I want YOU TO THINK OF IT FOR YOURSELVES … I’ll give you the material to based your thoughts upon, (and that’s in the Bible) but YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE what I want you to do and what I don’t want you to do.” And that’s HARDER, as it’s no longer the case of reading what the law is, but trying to learn HOW GOD OPERATES. And as a result God gives us the Gospel, a broad sketch outlines of HIS will. He gives us a book full of biographies – of both Old and New Testament characters and God doesn’t tell us which experiences they did right and which they did wrong but gives us these experiences and tells us “now you decide which ones I approve of and which ones are right and which ones are wrong based on an EDUCATED CONSCIENCE that you’ll gain from works in developing your Faith in Me”. And in most cases, God doesn’t give us the answers in our own individual experiences but wants us to think on His principles to deal with our challenges of life.

God does not want us as His children to memorize rules, but HE wishes us to be like philosophers and reasoned upon and apply His Righteous Principles… to figure out what He would wish of us and this takes continual leaning on HIM and HIS word through prayer and study.

That is WHY our Father hides himself, so it is better for us to see the principles.

Let’s share a practical example.

You have a new employee and there is only so long you can stand over your new friend’s shoulder and say “do it this way, this way, this way and this way.” After a while, you need to tell the new employee, “this is the end result I want so do it the best way you can.” You LET THEM figure out the best way in realizing how to accomplish the job and the LORD is telling us the same thing. “I want your character like mine. I’m not going to show you every step. I want you to figure it out on your own based on the principles to develop leadership potential.
Why does God work like this? Because God’s training us!

For what? To be Kings who will reign with Christ.

And a King must learn to think.

A King must know what the principles are to actively apply them.

God is training us to be teachers. There are good teachers and bad teachers. One feature distinguishes the two:

A bad teacher — teaches merely facts. He tells you what is the answer. What it is.

A good teacher — teaches how to think and how to arrive at the facts. These students can surpass their teacher and then they become even better teachers.

God is a good teacher. God is saying “if you just look at Me you’ll never learn to teach others so I’m going to hide from you so you can figure out what I’m trying to accomplish in your life.

God teaches us that we must be governed in our life by PRINCIPLES, not by emotions.

The emotional response to Truth can sometimes be an asset but it can be out of balance in our lives because that’s the only response we look for, so God may withdraw the emotional response and withdrawn that which produces that emotional response to see if we’re really serving him out of the principles of righteousness.

(E ) God hides himself in order to STIMULATE STUDY. 

We learn to go back to our Father’s word to see why He is hiding His face.

It’s like God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again … ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'”

Just as one doesn’t study a verse of the Bible out of its context, so too we study the book of our lives IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR LIVES and we don’t take an experience all by itself and say why did GOD let this develop but we relate it to the context of our whole life.

When we go to school to be trained we relate what we study to the job we will do afterwards. So to, in the school of Christ, we are being trained for a particular job which includes many functions and let’s incorporate them into one job — Mediator.

What makes a good mediator?

The Vines Expository Dictionary definitions the word “mediator” in the following way:

“A mediator should himself possess the nature and attributes of him toward whom he acts (man) and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom he acts (God). Only by being possessed of both deity and humanity can the mediator comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.

And in the final analysis that is exactly the point. We will have the Divine nature (deity) if we are faithful unto death. Jesus got the Divine nature at death, when he was faithful. Only by having that, could he really understand what God required because then he shared the same requirements. Only by being with men and possessing their nature could he understand what they needed and he could then diagnose them. And so with us. Our experiences are to give us a common identity with the world. In fact that is why our life is no different from the world around us, and we’re told it wouldn’t be.

(F) God hides his face to BROADEN OUR BASE OF SYMPATHY

1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about what kind of experiences God gives us.

1 COR. 10, 13 -with cross

There is no experience we have that is different to man’s. So we look around and see that our experiences are no different to those we see around us and so therefore we say…”God is not with me”… It is just the opposite. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AROUND YOU, GOD IS WITH YOU!

If we look for our lesson and apply ourselves in learning to trust God’s providential care and leading we will know how to endure the experience and use the strength God gives us to overcome any and every test of character development God allows to come our way.

Our Divine Father tells us, “I’m giving you these experiences because that’s what you are here for… to learn to be part of the Mediator.”

In the tabernacle picture, you had two animals making ONE SIN OFFERING. But there was a distinction between those two animals. One signified Christ; one signified the Church. They both died; both had the blood applied on the mercy seat. But the blood of the bullock was for Aaron the High priest and his house, the Levites. The blood of the goat was for the whole family of Israel.

Christ’s part in the sin offering is peculiarly and particularly for the Church and the Church’s part of the sin offering is peculiarity and particularly for mankind.

And we can substantiate this in Hebrews 2: 17-18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

So mankind will have the same experiences that the Church has because that is required in the body of experiences in the sin offering to most effectually help back the world of mankind in the kingdom that someone has gone through a life no different; that they have gone through the most common experience that mankind has had and that is universal and that is, that God is hiding his face from me.

So one of the most common experiences he must give us is that He hides His face from us so that we can learn to find it and so that, in turn, we can help mankind find God’s face again so that their lives are more meaningful even as we look to find God’s face in our experiences so that likewise the experiences can be more meaningful to us.
May the Lord add His bless.

Acknowledgment

Br. Carl Hagensick – words from his discourse titled “When God Hides Himself” have been used to create this post.

 

I KNOW NOT WHAT AWAITS ME

I know not what awaits me,
  God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of my onward way
  He makes new scenes to rise;
And every joy He sends me comes
  A sweet and glad surprise.

Where He may lead I’ll follow,
  My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows“;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

One step I see before me,
  ’Tis all I need to see,
The light of heaven more brightly shines
  When earth’s illusions flee;
And sweetly through the silence comes,
  His loving, “Trust in Me!”

Oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
  ’Tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
  And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest
  In Him who loves me so.

So on I go not knowing;
  I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than go alone by sight.

 

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What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?

matt-16-25

What types of baptism are practiced in the Churches?

There is more than one type of baptism practiced in the Christian world. There is:

  • Sprinkling or Pouring on the Head
  • Infant Baptism
  • Submersion under water.

Sprinkling or pouring water on the head

There are no Scriptures in the Bible that describe baptism as the sprinkling or pouring of water on the head.

The first instances in the Bible where individuals were baptized was accomplished by John the Baptist.

Did John the Baptist sprinkle water or submerse the person under water?

“Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized” (John 3:23, NKJ).

And He [Jesus] went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first” (John 10:40, NKJ).

If all John was doing was sprinkling water to baptize, he did not need to worry about being near the “much water” of the Jordan River. Clearly, John was doing more than just sprinkling those he baptized.

Infant Baptism

Is infant baptism scriptural?

Nowhere in the Bible do we find infant baptism mentioned. Although at times the Scriptures do mention the baptism of households, they never specifically mention children or infants.

For example, in Acts 8, Philip preached to the people of Samaria.

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12, NKJ).

Notice, there is no mention of Philip baptizing infants in Samaria; just men and women.

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

It would not be possible for a newborn infant to understand who Christ is, let alone believe in him.

Remember the question Jesus asked James and John in Mark 10:38,

Are you able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

A newborn infant would not be capable of answering Jesus’ question, let alone responsibly making such a commitment.

Submersion (Dunking) into Water

Now we do find examples in the New Testament of adult baptism and in every case we believe the baptism was a submersion into water. For example:

“When He [John] had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16).

” (38) So he [Philip] commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (39) Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:38-39).

The only way Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch could have “come up” out of the water is if they have been submersed under it.

Greek Definition Of Baptism:

In support of this conclusion that baptism is submersion, let us looks at some definitions.

STRONGS: 907 baptizo (bap-tid’-zo); to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).

VINES: baptism, baptist, baptize.

A. Nouns.

1. baptisma (908), “baptism,” consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, “to dip”).

B. Verb.

baptizo (907), “to baptize,” primarily a frequentative form of bapto, “to dip,” was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another.

So this word has the meaning of complete submersion under water. Certainly when dying, the garment must be totally submerged in the dye.

There is a variation of this word.

2. baptismos (909), as distinct from baptisma (the ordinance), is used of the “ceremonial washing of articles,” in some texts; once in a general sense.

This word is only found four times in the New Testament and refers to ceremonial washings.

John’s Baptism & Its Purpose

Let us talk about John’s (the Baptist’s) baptism. John’s work was not for the Gentiles. His work of baptism was intended to reveal Jesus to the Israelites only, but John did not baptize believers into Christ. That would come later, after Pentecost. His work was not for the Gentiles.

In John 1:29-31 we read, “(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. (31) I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.‘”

So John the Baptist was baptizing in order to reveal Jesus to Israel only, not yet to the Gentiles.

Bearing fruit was an evidence of those who had sincerely baptized. As John the Baptist said, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8, NKJ).

John’s baptism required a personal confession of sins. “And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5, NKJ).

Repentance and typical cleansing restored repentant Jews back to the condition of harmony with God as enjoyed under the Law Covenant and through the tabernacle arrangement.

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, NKJ).

The Jews had not previously practiced individual baptism. The whole nation was recognized as “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).

In what sense were the Israelites “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud”? 
We answer: When the Israelites passed through the Red Sea they were surrounded by water, and Paul mentions that this is a picture of them being baptized. The cloud is mentioned in Exodus 13:22, “He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” We think that that was the cloud Paul referred to as over the Israelites — so that in that sense they were surrounded from above by water as well.

The Jews were already children of God and heirs of the covenants and promises, and their washing away of their sins meant their coming near again to God, and into closer touch with all the promises and the blessings thereof (Harvest Gleanings I, 1HG255).

John the Baptist’s baptism, was “for the remission of avoidable sins, gross sins. The godly Jews were not intended, nor expected, to come to John to be baptized. He said, ‘Now come, if you want to get ready for Messiah’s kingdom, and try to keep the law the best you are able and take this water immersion, accepting this as a sign of your putting away sin and starting a new course of life.’ This is all that baptism meant to the Jews. That was not a regular institution. It was a peculiar thing that belonged just to the end of the [Jewish] age, and John tried there to especially prepare a people by this preaching of holiness and putting away of sin for the Messiah; for the testimony is that if they had believed John they would have believed Jesus. If they disbelieved John and disregarded what he said, and were not careful to come back into harmony with God, and become as holy as they were able to do, then they were not in a condition to receive the message God had to give” (What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3).

This typical cleansing available to the Jews is discussed in Leviticus & Hebrews.

“For on that day [of Atonement] the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30).

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11).

So John baptized the Jews for repentance and remission of sins similar to the typical cleansing as was accomplished in the tabernacle by the sacrifice of bulls and goats on the Day of Atonement. Every Jew under the Law Covenant was a member of the house of Moses (Hebrews 3:5). As mentioned above, the Jews were baptized unto Moses in the sea and in the cloud (1 Corinthians 10:12). As natural branches of the olive tree the Jews did not need en-grafting into Christ (Romans 11:16-21). John could not baptize Gentiles since they could not by repentance be restored back to a position they had never occupied.

After Pentecost, John’s baptism was replaced by Christian baptism into Christ.

In the book of Acts we have an incident where some of John’s disciples, after hearing the gospel, were baptized again, this time into Christ; after which they received the holy Spirit.

Acts 19:1-6 – “(1)… Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples (2) he said to them, ‘Did you receive the holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a holy Spirit.’ (3) And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ (4) Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ (5) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (7) Now the men were about twelve in all.”

These disciples were baptized twice (John’s & Christ’s). Bro. Charles T. Russell teaches, “The Apostle instructed them more fully, assuring them that John’s baptism was all right in its time and place, but that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus, baptized into Christ” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG732:6).

In Acts 2:41 three thousand people were baptized and among these, there may have also been some that had been baptized by John earlier.

‘Never is it said of any Gentile that he was baptized unto repentance and remission of sins, that he got back into Moses and in accord with the law. On the contrary, the apostle shows that we and all spiritual Israelites coming from among the Gentiles, come into Christ in a different way from that in which the Jews became related to him. I call your attention to the apostle’s argument in Rom. 11:17-24, where he uses an olive-tree as a symbol or picture. He tells us that that olive-tree was primarily the Jewish nation; that its root was the Abrahamic promise; its branches were the individual Jews. It was to those branches that John preached the baptism of repentance. Many of them were defiled, living in sin, and he urged them to repent and be washed, cleansed; that otherwise they would be broken off. And so it was when Messiah was manifest; the prepared ones, Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile, were ready for him, received him and he received them, and they continued to be branches of that olive, tree. But the great mass of the branches, as the apostle goes on to explain, were broken off because they did not receive our Lord, because they were not in the right condition of heart, not “Israelites indeed, without guile” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG).

Christian Baptism and Its Meaning

Christian baptism has many elements that are similar to John’s baptism and some elements that are different. As with the Jews baptized by John’s baptism, Christians are to confess and repent from their sins.

“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds” (Acts 19:18).

“(46) Then he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'” (Luke 24:46-47).

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, 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'” (Acts 2:38).

Br. Charles Russell teaches, “This baptism was for Jews only, who had already been baptized into Moses in the sea and the cloud. Sins thus figuratively washed away did not include original sin, but merely minor transgressions against the Mosaic law.” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower 4308:5, 6th Volume of Studies in the Scriptures p.428, Harvest Gleanings I, 600:1,2)

John the Baptist could only provide typical remission. The Christian receives a real remission of sins through actual justification by Jesus’ blood.

John’s baptism pointed the Jews to Christ, but the Christian is to actually believe in Christ and accept Him as their Savior. Let’s see how this is shown in the Scriptures.

“(36) Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ (37) Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” (Acts 8:36-37).

Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

So faith in Jesus Christ is a requirement for the Christian baptism.

Baptism Into Christ – Not Into An Organization

Although those baptized into John’s baptism were to bear fruit, the Christian’s death to sin, walking in newness of life and drinking of the cup is a far deeper action. Christian baptism is more than the pursuit of righteousness. It is the total death of self will and a total commitment to sacrifice ALL — one’s time, talent and possessions to the Lord, often at the cost of suffering and persecution.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“(3) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) 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. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:3-13).

So we see from the 6th chapter of Romans and lowering the candidate into the water represents the death of the Old Man with his sinful ways and the raising up of the candidate shows our walk in newness of life as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. Notice how Romans 6:3 teaches that we are baptized into Christ’s death.

No scripture talks about being baptized into Jehovah’s organization. Also see how the following text show we are actually baptized into Christ.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NASV).

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38, NASV).

Ultimate Purpose of Baptism

What is the ultimate purpose of Christian baptism? Certainly to lay down our lives in the Lord’s service is purpose enough, but the Bible shows a purpose even beyond that.

Just as going to medical school is of no benefit to humanity unless the student becomes a practicing doctor, so it is with the Christian.

Context:

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed'” (Galatians 3:8, NKJ).

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).

“(27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have PUT ON Christ… (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27,29).

Those who are baptized are Abraham’s seed through whom God’s purpose is to bless all the families of the earth. This is the ultimate purpose of baptism.

The same point is expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:29.

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

This passage says that we are baptized for the dead,” not “into death.” The ultimate purpose of baptism is to bless all the families of the earth.

Many translations agree with this wording, “baptized for the dead.” The translators do not believe this. They would rather not translate this text. Peter puts it this way:

“receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9, NKJ).

The word “your” is in italics. The thought is that the outcome of our faith, THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE, will be the salvation of mankind.

Does water baptism cancel sins? 

The traditional view among Catholic and many Protestant denominations is that baptism is necessary for salvation, forgiveness and the cancellation of sins. Not only do they believe it necessary, but some feel it must be performed in a prescribed fashion in order to secure salvation.  Some of their supposed proof texts are:

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, 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’ ” (Acts 2:38).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

“There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism” (1 Peter 3:21).

These texts are telling us that those who are baptized will be saved and receive a remission or washing away, of sins. So are the Catholics and many Protestants correct in believing that the act of baptism is necessary for salvation?

No. Where these Christians are wrong is that it is NOT “water baptism” that saves us.  Rather, the true baptism saves us, that is, consecration and the resultant justification by Christ’s blood. Water baptism cannot save.  It is merely a symbol of the true baptism and the resultant justification that can save us.

Baptism is the outward sign of an invisible grace from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9, ESV). 

We are saved by Jesus’ act of justification, not by our symbolic act of water baptism.

Water Baptism Is Symbolic

Many Scriptures establish that water baptism itself is merely a symbol and that it does not have intrinsic atoning qualities.

Luke 12:50 – “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”

Jesus had already received water baptism by John, so in this case the word “baptism” must be symbolic of more than the literal water baptism. This is also borne out in Mark 10:38-39 (see also Matthew 20:22-23):

“(38) Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ (39) They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.'” 

More evidence of the symbolic nature of water baptism is found in Colossians 2:11-12 (ESV):

“(11) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (12) having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Notice here that both circumcision & water baptism are symbolic of putting away sin.  Obviously “circumcision” here is not literal. The Christian is not literally required to be circumcised as were the Jews under the Law. This is the symbolic circumcision of the heart. So, just like circumcision is symbolic, likewise, water baptism here is also symbolic.

Next is another symbolic usage of baptism, although a much different one.

“(11) I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12, ESV). 

The baptism by “fire” is symbolic of the judgment and destruction upon the nation of Israel as stated in verse 12, “He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Just as the baptism by fire is symbolic, so is water baptism.

We are not saved by the symbol “water baptism,” but by the reality of it, the meaning of which we will get to shortly.

Born of Water – Spirit Begettal

Many believe John 3:5 teaches that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It says, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'”

The word “baptism” is no where to be found in this context. “Water here is symbolic of the Word of Truth. Without the Bible we would not have the necessary knowledge to grow in Christ and enter God’s Kingdom.

Our growth in Christ through his Word (the Holy Scriptures) is illustrated by the Greek word genno, that is Strongs #1080. Vines defines it as:

BEGET, BEAR (OF BEGETTING), BORN

gennao —“to beget,” in the passive voice, “to be born,” is chiefly used of men “begetting” children; more rarely of women “begetting” children (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985).

So in John 3:5 we are “begotten of water.” This means that we are spiritually begotten by Truth.

Br. Charles Russell writes “We see that symbolical water represents truth, and that our begetting of the holy Spirit is said to be also a begetting ‘through the Word of truth’” (James 1:18). (Reprints of the Original Watchtower: R.4124:6, R.3600:6, R.2422:1.)

In support of this we will quote four scriptures which relate begettal to the Word of God.

“Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18, KJV).

“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJ).

“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of GOD which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

“…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

So we see that John 3:5 does not teach that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It actually teaches that we are begotten as New Creatures in Christ by the Truth of God’s word. It is the guidance from God’s Word that develops the embryo New Creature in Christian growth, preparing us for our ultimate Spiritual birth, after the first resurrection.

Saved By Belief, Grace & Justification, Not Saved By Baptism

There are many more Scriptures that talk about us as being saved, but it’s not by water baptism, it is by belief in Jesus Christ and the resultant grace of God and justification to life.

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

“(30) And he [the jailer] brought them [Paul & Silas] out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (31) So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household'” (Acts 16:30-31).

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

“Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).

“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

“(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you– unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)” (Ephesians 2:5).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

The Jerusalem Counsel never addressed the issue of baptism when presenting minimum requirements expected of the Gentile brothers.

“(28) For it seemed good to the holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: (29) that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts 15:28-29).

Where is water baptism on this list? If it were necessary for salvation, certainly the Apostles would have required it of the Gentile brethren.

“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 15:1).

Some Christians today take the same approach with baptism as these Jews took of circumcision, that it is a requirement for salvation.

Saved By Baptism?

In 1 Peter we find scriptures used by many Christians to again attempt to prove that water baptism is necessary for salvation.

“(19) by whom also He [Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison, (20) who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long suffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (21) There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:19-22).

Does this passage prove we are saved by literal water baptism? The simple answer here is that Peter is not talking about literal water baptism. In verse 21, He describes “baptism” as “a good conscience toward God.”  That word “conscience” is also used in the prior chapter.

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19, KJV).

So the word “conscience” connected with the word “baptism” refers to suffering for righteousness sake. Hence, the word “baptism” is talking about living our consecration.  Our consecration results in justification by the ransom to life. That is what saves us.

It is interesting to note from verse 21 that we are not saved by the “removal of the filth of the flesh,” that is, we are not saved simply by John’s baptism, the repentance from sin. But we must go beyond that to consecration INTO Christ’s death and this involves cheerful in the spirit, willing patient endurance and sacrifice of self-will and self-interest.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Baptized In Who’s Name?

In whose name is the Christian baptized? Many quote the great commission of Matthew 28:19 to prove we are baptized into the Trinity, not into Jesus Christ alone.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

If we accept the translation as is, it does not prove that we are baptized into the Trinity, but merely the desperation of those who strive in vain to find support for this false doctrine, in Scripture. This passage does not state that these three are one person, nor anything of the kind.

In conflict with this, six other Scriptures refer baptism in the name of Jesus, not baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Matthew 28:19.

Let us look at these Scriptures that contradict Matthew 28:29. Notice that in none of these texts was anyone baptized in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit.

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, 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'” (Acts 2:38).

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of GOD and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12).

“For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus(Acts 8:16).

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days” (Acts 10:48).

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into HIS DEATH ?” (Romans 6:3).

*******

How else are we “baptized into Christ’s death?

We need to surrender our wills to God, as Jesus did. He said, “Lo I come…to do thy will, O God. I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart” (Psalm 40:7, 8; Hebrews 10:7).

We dedicate or consecrate our all to follow and obey the Lord with our minds, hearts, and our whole beings. This is a total dedication of service to do God’s will. When consecrated, we walk “in newness of life,” having a new, different direction or purpose. We pattern our lives after our dear Redeemer.

A few days before his crucifixion, Jesus stated, “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) This shows that in Jesus’ baptism, water was a symbol of his real baptism in death. It was about to be accomplished at Calvary. Like Christ, we who dedicate our lives to the Lord make ourselves “dead” to the world’s pursuits. Instead, we pursue heavenly things, studying the scriptures to find out what God’s will is for us. Our desire is to prove faithful unto death and be resurrected with Christ in a divine and immortal body (Philippians 3:10, 11; Romans 2:7, Revelation 2:10).

Water baptism is a witness to others of what has taken place in our hearts with the Lord and our commitment to Him, as well as symbolizing that life of baptism. The individual places himself in the arms of another, and being fully immersed in the water, is dependent on that person to help him up. He comes out of the water into “newness of life.” This is the new life to which he has committed himself until he dies. Hence, we believe water baptism is necessary, not for salvation, but for a witness of that life of commitment.

SO WHAT NOW?

Are you interested to GIVE UP your life rights on earth to inherit what eye has not seen nor ear heard … to inherit a life with Jesus and those who have now given up the pride of life and disclaim all rights to themselves, to their soul, to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents or to anything that they own?

 If you confess to be the property of Jesus Christ your Redeemer, then:

  DEDICATE YOURSELF

to belong entirely to Jesus now,

to serve, love and trust him as your life and salvation until your life’s end and show this through baptism.

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

God is now selecting men and women of faith for special honors during the Millennium. Namely, to reign with Christ in heaven as spiritual rulers of the world, to lead the world to righteousness, godliness, and truth and raise all the dead of past Ages. Satan’s demons now lead the world into sin and ignorance. Then, Christ and his saints will lead the world into obedience and understanding (Revelation 20:1-6).

High Standards

When we understand the high honor to which the saints are called, we better appreciate the high standards that are expected of them.

(1) Godly conduct
(2) Character Development
(3) Study of the Truth
(4) Service and Sacrifice.

Consecration

We enter the race for the “prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) by consecrating our life to GOD.

This we do in personal prayer to God, committing our life and service and interests to God hereafter.

If this step is taken, then it is proper to symbolize that decision with water baptism, as a testimony to others.

(11) The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; (12) if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:11-12, ESV).

If you have not considered the matter of consecration, take time to do so.

Read our Lord’s words about this decision, thoughtfully, in Luke 14:27‑35.
Remember the blessings promised, and the conditions for them:

“by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7).

Remember the privilege of being with Christ, in heaven, to bless “all the families of the earth” during the Millennium. God wishes us to respond favorably. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

So dear brethren, let us pursue our consecration with determination and great zeal, so that we may please our Father and be prepared for our future mission.

Click here to watch a baptism service video

References and Acknowledgement:

Br. Peter Karavas & our brethren in Christ at http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/

Br. Charles Taze Russell: What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3; Harvest Gleanings I; Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, Studies in the Scriptures – Volume 6.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985.

STRONG’S Concordance.

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

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