Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Why we do not water baptize
Many people get baptized. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah Witnesses, Catholics, and various Christian denominations teach a water baptism of some sort. Some believe in a sprinking, others in complete immersion. Some believe it is necessary for salvation, others believe that it is a show of faith.
Why is there so much confusion? Who was this practice for?
One key passage that helps us understand God is found in Ephesians 3. The Apostle Paul tells us that he was given the mystery of the dispensation of grace, the church age. It was not revealed to anyone else in the past, but is now being revealed. One grievous error in many churches is that they believe Matthew 28 was the last message Jesus gave his followers. They do not realize that all of Paul's letters should be "red letter", because Jesus Christ gave Paul the message of the Dispensation of Grace. The mystery is that the Gentiles and Jews are now equal, this is something we do not even see in Acts 2, as it was still God dealing with Israel.
Paul lets us know that it is not the physical rituals of the law that God wants, but the spiritual realities He has replaced with. For example, Pauls says in Ephesians 4:4-6 that there is only one baptism for today. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 Paul tells us that we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Yet, in Ephesians 1:13-14 Paul writes that the Holy Spirit enters us at the moment of faith, of salvation. Paul even says that (1 Cor 1:14-17) that Christ did not send him to water baptize. If he is the apostle to the Gentiles (which he claims to be), then in our following of his example (1 cor 11:1) we should look to his ministry as an example in this dispensation.