The Final Part #05 of ‘THE CROSS IS SUFFICIENT”
“Taking off the blinders of deception is probably one of the most hardest things to do.”
These blinders of deception are not something that’s obvious, but rather, extremely and craftily subtle.
The outward appearance of deception is not dark and sinister, but divinely enlightening, or else it would never work.
And one of the most effective blinders of deception is tradition.
Tradition is a powerful entity, and our natural human nature loves it.
It gives us a sense of connection and connective identity to something we feel is special from the past.
And come hell or high water, we’ll do everything in our power to defend our traditions.
Man is lost when he has nothing tangible to connect to, and for better or worse, connection is a genuine need.
It is here that tradition has a momentous and significant role to play.
And our arch enemy, Satan, has wasted no opportunity to jump on the bandwagons of tradition.
It’s where his deception operates at it’s highest peak with extreme efficiency.
Oh doesn’t he know just how much we love tradition. He promoted it!
And he has craftily tailored, custom made traditional blinders for each one of us.
The Bible calls him the ‘god of this age’ and he is a master at his craft.
A Place Of Value
Tradition has its place of value no doubt, for it leaves us with a legacy on which we can build.
And we do, for our forefathers in times gone by have laboured hard to give us one.
BUT, when we are dealing with our eternal destiny, we must give way for truth to take pre-eminence over tradition.
For with the clock ticking close to midnight, while tradition may seem good, truth is the desperate need of the hour.
Just as Law and Grace do not mix, neither does truth and tradition.
And in order to lay hold of and embrace the truth, we must, at all costs, break away from tradition.
For those of us who are in the twilight zone of our lives are fortunate to be breathing the air we breathe.
And the harsh reality is, there are many who will not make it this far.
But the voice of heaven’s message of hope from the wilderness still yet continues to ring out to the uttermost.
And if we would only stop for a moment, still our minds in silence and listen.
God Has Revealed It
We believe what we believe not because it’s traditional, not because man has invented it, but because God has ‘revealed’ it.
And revelation of the truth is the order of the day.
Through the finished work of the cross, the abounding Grace of God that flows from it, is sufficient.
“MY Grace is sufficient for thee”, the LORD said to Paul in [2 Corinthians 12:9].
Yes, this was in relation to Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’.
But the fact remains that this same Grace is ‘sufficient’ to wash away ‘ALL’ sins of ALL men.
The shed Blood of God’s Son, legally decrees, that it’s sufficient to wash away all sins past, present and future.
The cross was a ‘judicial’ act of Heaven.
Man’s tradition, however spiritual and divine it may seem, has no role or place in this judicial ‘Act of God’.
An Age Old Tradition
Water baptism is an age old tradition that got incorporated into Christendom at some point in its early history.
It’s origin and background lies in Jewish ritualism, called ‘Tevilah’, which is the act of immersion in naturally-sourced water, called a ‘Mikva’.
This immersion in water was for ritual purification.
It was an established practice for restoration to a condition of “ritual purity” in specific circumstances.
Then somewhere in the first century infant baptism got introduced, where this baptism was compared with circumcision.
And circumcision was of course the Jewish rite, initiating male infants into their religious community.
Then from about the third century onwards the Catholic Church began to baptize infants as a standard practice.
But some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their past sins.
Obviously, that shows us that they had no understanding of Christ’s finished work.
The blinders were well in place.
And so we briefly see from where we are today, how all this came about.
The water baptisms that we have today have been drawn from the book of Acts.
No Spiritual Value
Apart from tradition, water baptism holds no spiritual value whatsoever.
It does not wash away a single sin, only the Blood of Christ does, which is appropriated by faith + nothing else.
“Jesus commanded it ”, it has often been said.
“Yes, absolutely He did”, to the Jews, ‘under the Law’.
“Peter also commanded it in the Book of Acts after the cross”, they say.
And Acts 2:38 has been made the doctrinal point of reference.
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
And “then”, he says, “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
Peter was right on track, because God at this this time was still dealing with Israel “under the law”.
For what was yet to come ‘under Grace’, had not been revealed, until the apostle Paul came onto the stage.
“Well” they say, now dragging Paul into the argument, “Paul the apostle also baptized people”.
“Yes he did, in fact Paul, with regret, brings it up the topic in [1 Corinthians 1:10-16].”
This whole issue of water baptism, with regard to Paul, Peter and Apollos, was creating unhealthy differences and divisions.
“Is Christ divided?”, he questions the Corinthians believers in verse 13.
See! The problem started right back there in the early Church.
The Same Question Today
This same question faces Christendom today with all the denominational divisions and confusion.
But we, lackadaisically just keep going on and on, oblivious to the fact that there are eternal destinies at stake.
And so with all these ‘goings-on’, Paul fires in [1 Corinthians 1:17]:
Remember that Paul only writes by direct revelation from the Ascended LORD in Glory.
“For Christ sent me NOT to baptize, but to preach the Gospel……..”
It’s ‘RIGHT HERE’ 👆🏼 before our eyes, that water baptism and the Gospel are separated and have no place beside each other.
And what’s the Gospel again? “That Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again”.
And this Gospel of Paul’s, is the very ‘power of God’ to save whosever will only believe +nothing else [Romans 1:16].
Understanding The Transition
The book of Acts is a book of transition which we dearly need to understand.
Or else we won’t understand why Paul baptized the Philippian jailer in [Acts 16:31-33].
Instead, we’ll find ourselves facing ‘hair picking’ arguments from people with blinders, looking to make their point.
“Aha! See, I told you so, Paul also water baptized the Philippian jailer in Acts”.
ACTS is a forty-year long transition from what was ‘under the Law’ to what is today ‘under Grace’.
No transition takes place instantly or overnight, that’s ‘shock treatment’.
And we need to understand this vitally important transitional journey to where we have come today.
The Kingdom program, along with its water baptism was fading away, making way for the Church age to take pre-eminence.
God is NOT offering a Kingdom today, but individual and personal salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
HE is calling out “a people for His Name” [Acts 15:14-15], which is His sole purpose in this age of Grace.
“And to this agree the words of the prophets”, says the Scripture in the same breath.
That tells us that even the Old Testament puts it’s ‘stamp of approval’ on this.
And as people believe the Gospel, they are simultaneously baptized ‘by The Holy Spirit’, into the Body of Christ’.
We have clearly seen this in [1 Corinthians 12:13].
Unfortunately, the Book of Acts has been misused to draw Grace-age Church doctrines which just aren’t there.
In fact, the terms ‘Body of Christ’ nor ‘body’ in relation to the Church, finds any mention in the Book of Acts whatsoever.
You won’t find them in the four Gospels nor in the Old Testament.
They just are not there.
Now that should tell us something!
Instructions From Above
‘Our’ doctrines and instructions come from above, directly from Christ’s place of ascension in heaven, seated at God’s Right Hand.
And they come only through the Apostle Paul.
He is the one we are instructed by the Holy Spirit to follow in order to follow Christ Jesus.
“BE YE followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” [1 Corinthians 11:1].
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me FIRST”, writes Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith.
That, “Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them……”
That is speaking of you and I, “……..which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Not Against Water Baptism
We are not against water baptism by any means.
We just want to point out from Scripture, that it has no role in our personal salvation.
That belongs exclusively to the cross!
This great salvation rests solely in that finished work of Christ.
As long as we understand that, then the blinders are off, and we are on solid ground.
Water baptism may be a tradition or a ritual, but it is not a sin.
There is no command that says, “thou shalt not be water baptized”.
There is no legalism here, the cross is about true liberty and freedom.
It’s about stripping off the blinders of deception, allowing the truth to take its rightful place.
Our personal reasons to be water baptized could be anything else and that’s ok.
It’s between you and the LORD, for we are called to do whatever we do as ‘unto the LORD’.
As long as we understand that it’s the cross alone that saves us.
So go ahead and have your baptism if you want to, it’s a wonderful thing.
If you don’t, your salvation still stands in concrete in the finished works of Calvary.
If you have been water baptized, but have not made a heart decision to embrace the Gospel, then do so now.
For without the Gospel, we have no salvation.
We are still lost.
The Man For The Hour
PAUL, our Christ-given apostle of the Gentiles, is our man for the hour.
He has been so ever since his Damascus Road encounter with the Ascended LORD.
Even though he is with the Lord today, he is still the man for the hour through his epistles.
And he will continue to be so, till the LORD comes for His Church, ending this wonderful ‘Age of Grace’.
It’s called ‘the Rapture’ and it is imminent!
We will address this mystery Rapture in the articles ahead.
There is much that legalistic tradition has forced into this Age of Grace, which does not exist.
They are all the blinders of deception, subtly crafted by Satan within Christendom.
And it’s only through this great apostle Paul, that we can shake off those blinders.
“What saith the Scripture” is as important as, “what saith NOT the Scripture”.
And as deception functions and operates at its highest peak, Paul the apostle is our ‘go to’ man.
And we really, with all humility, need to settle this once and for all.
This may not go down well with many within Christendom, but it’s a great new testament ‘Grace Age’ truth.
“If it’s not there with Paul then it’s not there at all”