Part #04, “THE CROSS IS SUFFICIENT”
“John the Baptist, who was the voice in the wilderness, was the forerunner to Christ Jesus.”
He was the beloved ‘Baptist of Scripture’ we all are familiar with.
His mission was clear, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” [Matthew 3:3].
And baptizing the Jews, the nation of Israel, with water was the way of that preparation.
It was the ‘baptism of repentance’, which was all part of their customary and ceremonial washing.
Israel’s long-awaited moment of Divine visitation had arrived.
The promise made 1500 years ago, was now knocking at their door.
They were to be the ‘top dog’ of all the nations.
The final preparation was taking place for them to become that promised “kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” [Exodus 19:5-6].
Not just the Levites, but every Jew was to be a priest.
Israel could then go out and fulfill what was meant to be ‘the great commission’.
And that was to bring the rest of the nations, to a personal knowledge of the one and only True Living God.
That is exactly what the role of a priest is, to be a “go between”.
And they would do this in fulfillment of prophecy spoken in [Zechariah 8:23]
A Change Coming Soon
“I’m doing it with water”, said John the Baptist, “BUT, there is a change coming soon” [Matthew 3:11].
“The One you are being prepared for is going to do it differently, which is going be the real thing”.
HE is going to be the Baptizer Who is going to baptize you with fire and the Holy Spirit”.
And this what exactly what Jesus Christ, after his death burial and resurrection was telling His disciples in [Acts 1:5].
That HE was going to be ‘the Baptist’ now and they were going to receive power [Acts 1:8].
This would enable them to take over and continue where Christ was leaving off.
For the time had come for Jesus Christ to ascend back to heaven, till His enemies were made His ‘footstool’ [Acts 2:34-35].
The twelve were now to be His ‘extended arm’, and go on to do greater things, which He spoke of in [John 14:12].
Something To Think About
Just think about this!
Why did Jesus Christ not heal the lame man who sat outside the temple gate in [Acts 3]?
The man who was born lame, was over forty years old, as the Scriptures say in [Acts 3:2] and [Acts 4:22].
He had been at that gate for years and Jesus Christ must have passed by him virtually every single day.
But yet, why He did not heal him?
In His providence and purpose, He left it for Peter and John to do.
They could now say to Israel, “the One Whom you killed, God raised from the dead”.
“And faith in His Name has made this man whole. Now repent all of you and be converted”.
“And God will send Jesus Christ, and we can yet have that promised Kingdom” [Acts 3:14-21].
This was all part of God still pressing through with the nation of Israel to bring them to national repentance.
A National Rejection
What was supposed to be a ‘national repentance’, eventually turned out to be a ‘national rejection’.
And as we saw in the last [Crumb 0108], this ‘stiff-necked’ rejection was displayed through the stoning of Stephen.
God had given Israel a valid offer and opportunity, which Israel turned down.
“We will not have this man to reign over us” [Luke 19:14]
So, God now sets aside the Kingdom program, to be fulfilled at a later time.
And till that time comes, God now begins to launch into His ‘Gentile agenda’, which He kept secret all along.
Jesus Christ saves this Jewish renegade, Saul of Tarsus, in a blinding Damascus Road encounter [Acts 9:1-15].
HE converts and commissions him to become Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles [Romans 11:13].
The Ascended LORD then takes him out to Mount Sinai in the Arabian desert for three years.
And in that period of a ‘One to one’ seminary training, He knocks every bit of Judaism out of Saul.
The Ascended LORD reveals to Paul, the Gospel of our salvation [Galatians 1:11-12].
Then, equipping him with the ‘higher doctrines of Grace’, which He wrought through the cross, sends him out to the Gentile world.
A Change In Baptism
It is here that we now see a change in that ‘one Baptism’, which was ‘under the Law’, to now ‘under Grace’.
We saw in [Crumb 0107] how that Jesus Christ would be ‘The Baptizer”, and Israel would be the one being baptized.
Let us now see the other side of that.
Paul is writing to the Gentile Church in Corinth.
And here he comes up with a term that is strictly Pauline, that which was penned by Paul the Apostle.
The Body Of Christ
Jesus Christ or the Twelve never spoke of the Body of Christ.
Paul the apostle here is using our human body as an illustration in [1 Corinthians 12:12].
“For as the body (our human body) is one, and hath many members (our hands, feet and so forth).
“And all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
Paul is making the allusion to the ‘Body of Christ’, the Church.
We’ve got all these different people, who are making up the Body of Christ.
We have rich and poor, black, brown and white and whatever background, from all around the world.
They have come into the Body of Christ, by way of believing the Gospel.
That, “Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4].
They all have their different cultures.
But, if they have all been saved by the same power and Gospel [Romans 1:16], then what are we?
One In Christ
We are “one” in Christ.
You and I could go to anywhere in the world into a midst of believers there. And in five minutes we’d feel ‘right at home’.
We could have people from any country come into our part of the world.
And if they are believers they would feel right at home.
Because we are ‘one in Christ’.
This is an amazing supernatural effect of the Gospel of our salvation.
How did we get there?
And this is the crucial question.
How did we get into this unique living organism that we call the Body of Christ?
The Moment We Believed
Paul, by revelation in [1 Corinthians 12:13], tells us exactly how it happened, the moment we believed in the Gospel.
Speaking now of the Holy Spirit, Paul says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized…..”.
So here there is another change!
The Holy Spirit is now doing the baptizing.
It all started with John being the baptizer, preparing Israel for the One Who was coming.
Then We had Jesus Christ doing the baptizing. He was baptizing Israel with or into the Holy Spirit, to empower them for their mission.
And now we have the Holy Spirit doing the baptizing of believers who have placed their faith in the Gospel.
So here we have it, from ‘John the Baptist’ to ‘Christ the Baptist’ to “Holy Spirit the Baptist’.
The Baptist Of This Age
The Holy Spirit is now the Baptist of Scripture, in this ‘Age of Grace’.
And now what is the Holy Spirit baptizing us all into?
Paul tells us as he ends this revelatory statement in [1 Corinthians 12:13]
NOT “into (the local Church, but into) ‘ONE BODY’ (the Body of Christ, the Church)”.
The Holy Spirit takes us out of our position in fallen Adam, and places us into the ‘Body of Christ’
No unbeliever, those who choose not to put their faith in the Gospel, can go into the Body of Christ.
Now here’s the thing:
You can baptize many people and make them members of the local church, but they can still be lost as lost can be.
They’re baptized in water, but they’re not necessarily into the Body of Christ.
But the true child of God, the moment he or she believes, is saved by the work of the Spirit.
He or she is baptized by the Holy Spirit into that Body.
And this ‘One Baptism’ is the one that is relevant for us today.
This the only one that counts for eternity!
Water Baptism Has No Role
Water Baptism now has no role now in our salvation.
The cross is sufficient with NOTHING to be added to it; God will not stand for it!
Everything thing rests in His Son’s finished work, after which HE ‘SAT DOWN’ [Hebrews 1:3].
And it doesn’t matter what way we may have been water baptized.
Be it by the Jordan River water, or a country pond, or a Church baptistery, it makes no difference.
It’s only when we have been baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, that we are His.
This is an irreversible and irrevocable judicial ‘Act of God’.
We are now safe for eternity.
Remember, Paul is the only one that uses that terminology.
He will say the Church, which is His Body, or the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
Out Of The Gospels Into Acts
Coming out of the Four Gospels into the Book of Acts with God dealing with the Nation of Israel, Christ is the Baptizer.
He is placing the Jews, as they believe, into the power of the Holy Spirit to perform the signs and miracles that would continue Christ’s earthly ministry.
They were to be HIS extended arm of His earthly ministry.
But when that fell apart, when Israel rejected it completely, God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul.
And now we find the Holy Spirit has become the Baptizer as He places us into Christ.
There’s been a 180 degree turn around!
This is not the only verse where you find this. There are many verses the Apostle Paul uses.
For example, in the Book of [Colossians 3:3] Paul says, “You are hid ‘with CHRIST’ in God.”
“Know ye not”, says Paul in [Romans 6:3], “that so many so many of us were baptized ”INTO JESUS CHRIST’………”
How did we get baptized “INTO JESUS CHRIST”?
“Therefore if any man be ‘IN CHRIST’……. [2 Corinthians 5:17].
Well, how did you get there ‘IN CHRIST’ ?
Not with water baptism, for no human hands can do this, but when the Holy Spirit baptized you into Him.
It’s an “ACT OF GOD”, it’s strictly ‘His Office’.
The Holy Spirit now is, “THE BAPTIST OF SCRIPTURE”
Click [HERE] for Part #05.