Part #03 of “SALVATION – A JUDICIAL ACT OF GOD”
“DID Jesus Christ command water baptism?” has become a growing controversial and debatable topic in relatively recent times.
It’s a topic that has angered the hierarchal traditionalists of Christendom, filtering down to the common church going Christian.
But yet there are many who are questioning, “did Jesus Christ command water baptism for us today?”
“Is it a command for us today in this ‘Age of Grace’.
‘Command’, as we all know, is a strong militarized kind of word.
Those who have especially served in the armed forces know what it means to receive a command.
And they are trained to bow to that ‘command’, or else there are severe unforgivable consequences.
Careers have been dismantled and military court martials have taken place because a command has been disobeyed.
Rarely are there second chances, when a command is disobeyed, you’re out!
Command, ‘Under The Law’
The word ‘command’ is Biblically a very strong word too, especially when it is used ‘under the Law’.
We know, throughout Biblical history in God’s dealing with his people, Israel, how they suffered severe consequences.
And that was the result of disobeying God’s command to them in so many areas.
The Law was severely draconian in its essence, a man picking up sticks on a Sabbath day was stoned to death.
That’s what the Apostle wrote concerning the Law of Moses as the “administration of condemnation and death” [2 Corinthians 3:7-9].
However, today in this Age of Grace, the word ‘command’ now comes under the “administration of the Holy Spirit”.
They are exhortative instructions for the ‘Body of Christ’ under Grace for that ‘New Life’ in Christ.
It does not bring death like the Old Testament days ‘under the Law’.
The Apostle Paul tells us, “For the letter (the Law) killeth, but the (Holy) Spirit giveth life” [2 Corinthians 3:6].
And this is because of the ‘all sufficient’ finished works of the cross, which Christ Jesus accomplished for ‘ALL’ without exception.
“DID Jesus Christ Command Water Baptism?”
So, “did Jesus Christ command water baptism?” is the question we are dealing with from [Matthew 28:19-20].
Yes, He indeed did, but to whom was Jesus Christ speaking to?
And this is what we need get hold of.
Jesus Christ was speaking to His eleven disciples (since Judas was out of the way) ‘under the Law’.
What was their mandate?
To preach the ‘Kingdom Gospel’, that ‘Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, their Messiah’ [Matthew 16:16], [John 11:27].
And this ‘Kingdom Gospel’ was for the Jew, nation of Israel which was also ‘under the Law’.
But these eleven disciples first had to take it to their own nation of Israel.
And the entire nation, that is, every single Jew had to first believe and get saved.
Then Israel, as a nation could take it out to the rest of the world, and carry that commission out.
That was according to God’s prophetic plan and program, throughout the Old Testament.
‘The Great Commission, as its come to be known, was Israel’s mandate under Christ’s physical Kingship on earth.
So how in Heaven’s Name did Christendom lay claim to that? [CRUMB 0077]
That was the nation of Israel’s prospect.
But they blew it!
For a start, they rejected Christ and got the Romans to crucify Him.
And even though they did, God did not give up on them.
After Christ’s resurrection and ascension back to heaven, God still persisted with this ‘valid offer’ to Israel for seven years.
Preaching Their Heart Out
We see Peter and the others preaching their heart out to the nation of Israel in [Acts 2:22-24]
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words;
Peter is speaking only to the Jews.
There are no Gentiles here, and the ‘Body of Christ’ is nowhere in the picture at this stage.
“Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs……..”
Jesus Christ did innumerable signs and wonders, to prove to the nation of Israel, ‘Who He really was’.
…….“Which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God……… “
God knew beforehand, according to His plan, what they would do, and they did exactly that, of their own free will.
And God allowed it!
……..“Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
But then, after that what did God do?
“Whom God hath raised up (from the dead), having loosed the pains of death:”
Because Jesus Christ was the sinless Son of God, even death had no power over Him.
And so Peter tells them:
………“It was not possible that He (Jesus Christ) should (or could) be holden of (or held by) it.”
Towards the end of his speech in [Acts 2:36], Peter summarises it all with emphasis.
“Therefore let (how many?)all the house (of who?) of Israel (the Jew) know assuredly,…..”
See how Peter is emphatically emphasising?
…….“That God hath made the same Jesus, ‘whom ye have crucified’, both Lord and Christ.”
All Shook Up
Now all these Jews who were hearing Peter, got all shook up and convicted in their hearts in [Acts 2:37].
So they asked Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we (the Jews) do?
NOW, watch the answer carefully in [Acts 2:38], keeping in mind, ‘who Peter is speaking to’?
This was for the Jew, the nation of Israel, and “NOT FOR THE CHURCH TODAY”.
Let’s just stop here for a moment and get this.
The word ‘repent’ simply means a change of mind, a change of heart.
SO what is Peter telling these Jews, the nation of Israel to repent of?
That they were to repent of rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, Jesus Christ, ‘whom ye (the Jews)have crucified’.
Do you see that?
And now, after telling them to repent, he tells them:
“Be ‘baptized’ (how many?) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…..
So the Jew had to repent and show their repentance through water baptism.
……….and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Who Jesus Was
So we see, that this was for the Jew, the nation of Israel, ‘under the Law’.
For their salvation, they first had to recognize ‘who Jesus was’.
That He was indeed the Son of God, the Christ, their foretold Messiah.
And without repentance and water baptism, they could not receive salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It was them, the Jews who had to “outwardly declare their inward faith”, through water baptism, which began with John the Baptist [Matthew 3:1-6].
Temple worship and animal sacrifices according to the Law were still going on at that time according to the Law.
No one told them to stop it, and rightly so, not even Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry.
In fact, HE did command them to ‘keep the law’ in [Matthew 23:2-3], as given to Moses for them.
So, believing Who Jesus was, and getting water baptized was a command for the Jew, the nation of Israel at that time.
It was ‘NOT’ for the Church today! It was not for you and me.
There is no such mandate for the Church in Scripture, regarding personal Salvation.
For us today, it’s to just ‘believe’ the Gospel that the Ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul.
The Gospel of Grace which we find in [1 Corinthians 15:1-4].
“How that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, according to the Scriptures.”
We simply believe with our heart + nothing else.
Nowhere in Paul’s Grace epistles does it say, believe + repent + get water baptized + whatever else people add on.
The Moment We Believe
The moment we believe that wonderful Gospel of Grace, the Holy Spirit takes up residence and indwells us.
And HE becomes the ‘guaranteed seal’ of our salvation [Ephesians 1:13-14].
And there is something more that happens the moment we believe Paul’s Gospel of Grace.
It is the Holy Spirit, Who is now the ‘Baptist of Scripture’ [CRUMB 0109], Who baptizes us into Christ.
And HE does this by placing ‘EVERY’ believer, be it Jew or Gentile, into the ‘Body of Christ’.
Scripture so clearly lays this out in the simplest and plainest of language, in [1 Corinthians 12:13].
This is the ‘only valid baptism’, that counts for eternity, which is solely by a ‘Judicial Act of God’, and not men.
There is ‘no other’!
That’s exactly what the great Apostle means when he says that there is only, “One Lord, one faith (and) one baptism [Ephesians 4:5].
(Please do read [CRUMB 0108] for a more comprehensive understanding.)
Water baptism today, is nothing more than a ‘man-made’ traditional religious practice’ in the Church.
There is no such command from Ascended Lord in Glory in this ‘Age of Grace’ to get water baptized.
It has ‘no spiritual value’ whatsoever.
Only ‘believing’ in that ‘Judicial Act of God’, via what Christ did on the cross, has guaranteed salvation value.
We today, are not not led by the ‘letter’, which is of the Law, but by the Spirit of God Who indwells us [2 Corinthians 3:6] and [Romans 8:14].
Water Baptism Is Not A Sin
If one has been water baptized, or wants to be water baptized, go ahead, it is not a sin.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with it if one so desires to do so, for whatever personal reason.
But if one does it to ‘complete’ their salvation, then it’s telling God that what He did on the cross is incomplete and insufficient.
And that is serious!
In so many words, God says, “do whatever you want, but don’t dare touch My Cross in any way, I will not have it!”
So it really just all boils down to understanding that cross is ‘sufficient’ and we can add ‘NOTHING’ to it.
Today, in this ‘Age of Grace’, we are ‘NOT’ under the Law, but ‘under Grace’, says Scripture in [Romans 6:14].
Like mentioned earlier, God was pursuing with Israel, even after Christ’s crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.
Some did believe and got saved, but Israel as a nation continued to reject God’s ‘valid offer’.
And they displayed the epitome of their rejection by stoning Stephen to a brutal death, graphically described in [Acts 7:54-60].
It was at ‘this point’, that God did something totally different according to His unrevealed, mystery programme.
He sets Israel aside, for a season, He did not cast them away [Romans 11:1].
And then HE raises another little Jew, the Apostle Paul, to be the apostle of the Gentiles.
Paul’s Divine Mandate
Paul was the one, given the Divine mandate to take the newly revealed ‘Gospel of Grace’ to the non-Jewish world.
This Gospel, was ‘kept secret’ in the mind of God since the world began up to this point [Romans 16:25], revealed only to the Apostle Paul for us today in this ‘Age of Grace’.
Not Peter, James or John or anyone else, it was Paul, the Apostle of the gentiles [Romans 11:13].
There was to be no legalism, religious practices, or ritualistic sacrifices attached to this Gospel of Grace.
For Jesus Christ was the Living Sacrifice and HE accomplished it all on the cross for us.
All of us, ‘without exception’, irrespective of whatever our ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds may be, are called to Only Believe!
Our eternal destiny, is either to be a glorious Heaven or a doomed hell.
And it hinges solely on what we do with Paul’s Gospel of Grace.
It all hinges on our own free will to ‘believe’ or ‘reject’ this good news, this Gospel.
And God NEVER infringes upon our free will.
It’s our ‘personal decision’ to choose to accept God’s free unconditional offer by believing it, or reject it by unbelief.
This is timeless truth!
And the ball is totally on our side of the court.
A Humble Request
If this article has been a convictional answer to some your questions, we humbly request you to share it with others.
If you are a Christian, please check on your fellow-Christians, and share it with your non-Christian friends and loved ones.
The curtains of time are fast drawing to a close.
And if the Lord decides not to tarry any longer, which is ‘imminent’, none of us want to miss the ‘all-important-flight’.
It’s called ‘The Rapture’, which we will address in our following articles.
This is timeless truth!
If you are reading this and are convicted, and have not yet placed your faith in Christ Jesus, now is the moment.
And the venue is right where you are right now!
We leave you with this thought to chew on.
All of us, every human being, are the offenders, who have of our own free will, offended God”
We have ‘ALL’ fallen short of His Glory! [Romans 3:23].
“Only the offended can forgive and create the path back and open his door to the offender.”
Our human mind cannot comprehend it!
BUT that is exactly what God has done for every single one of us via the Cross.
(Please note, all that is written in the orange colour, are connecting links, so do read them. You will find them to be very useful.)