November 28, 2014
Dealing with the formulaic approach to water baptism has been the bane of the church world. It has caused sincere, committed believers in Christ to lose sight of how critical this foundation is to their being able to "go on beyond" into the realms that await. The formulaic approach has blocked many believers from going on into the dimensions of the Spirit that Jesus Christ has simply because they never availed themselves of the law of liberty that comes with water baptism.
Let's pick up where we left off last week (and I'm running a bit long again today in order to finish this picture of water baptism):
In writing to the Romans, Paul says, “Don’t you realize that those of us who have been baptized — immersed — into the Anointed One and His Anointing have been baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3, RAC Translation and Amplification)
Let me pick up again with the amplified translation from Romans 6 that we used in our last time of sharing on Baptism.
And Paul continues: “Therefore, and as a consequence thereof, we are buried and put into the grave through baptism so that our old man sees death. It follows, therefore, that in the same way Christ was raised up from the dead by the visible Glory of the Father, we also should walk and live renewed and refreshed (with His breath) of life.” (Romans 6:4 RAC Translation and Amplification)
Here’s where Paul spells things out in specific detail.
“For if we have been planted together, germinating as seeds in the likeness and form of His death, we shall also spring forth in (and with His) resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man and corrupted DNA is crucified with him, that the body (of law) of sin might be annulled and destroyed in order to free us from having to serve and be under the Law of Sin and Death.
“For he who has died is freed from sin (and the laws which determine that which is sin). Now if we are truly dead with Christ, we believe and know that we shall also live with Him:
“Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death has no more authority, dominion, control or power over Him. For when He died, He died killing off sin and death once and for all: and by virtue of the fact that He lives, He lives in and for the destiny and purposes of God.” (Romans 6:5-10, RAC Translation and Amplification)
I have a question for you.
WHAT in any of these statements Paul makes gives folks the idea that they need to go back and continually repent for events that were not actually a part of their lives? Let’s take something we’ve come to refer to as “generational repentance.”
This teaching and practice stems from a principle established under the Law of Moses in which God made it clear that the sins of the father were passed on to the children of the fourth generation — and in the case of children born outside of wedlock, to the tenth generation.
First, let’s take a look at the Law of Moses, and what God originally said concerning the sins (or iniquities) of the fathers:
Exodus 20:5-6: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
Numbers 14:18: “The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
Deuteronomy 23:2-3: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
Now, here’s the other side of this picture:
Deuteronomy 7:9: “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”
I Chronicles 16:15-17: “Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.”
The phrase which occurs in Exodus 20:6:(showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me) really misses it in our English translations. Even under the Law of Moses, the generation of “them that love me” was free from the generational curse of the sins of their fathers. We can better translate this phrase out of Hebrew like this: “showing mercy unto thousands of generations of them that love me.”
Put in the same context as the first part of what God was saying to Israel, “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of generations of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
It may not be immediately clear at first glance, but what God was saying to Israel was this: “Even though your father, and your father’s father may have lived under the generational curse of your ancestor before them, because they did not turn to me and continued in the ways of their fathers, you are free from that curse and the iniquities which had been visited upon your fathers because you love me and keep my commandments.” (RAC Translation & Amplification)
If that was true under the Law of Moses, how is it that we still find it necessary today to drag up the sins of our fathers when we have a Covenant in Christ Jesus which has freed us from the Law of Sin and Death?
Let’s put this another way.
For all those who are in Christ Jesus, we were with Him when He was hanging on the Cross! All of our sins, along with the sins of our fathers, our grandfathers, our great-grandfathers, and every generation before them came upon Jesus as He hung there. When He died, He took those sins with Him to the grave.
During the three days his body lay in the grave, He took our sins, our iniquities, our sicknesses, our infirmities, our diseases and the curse of death that hung over the human race and laid them all at Satan’s feet!
THAT, folks, is exactly what happens with us in water baptism when we are buried with Him! We are with Him. We are IN Him! EVERYTHING of our past — including the sins of our fathers, and the iniquities visited upon us as a result — gets laid at Satan’s feet. He gets back what He so treacherously dumped on us!
Now comes the Resurrection! Listen to how the apostle Paul puts it as he writes to the Philippians.
Philippians 3:8d-11: “That I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Do you see it? In water baptism we are in Him — NOT in our own (self) righteousness which gets measured by the Law with its penalties and curse. Rather, we are in Him by, through and because of His faith; and that faith comes from Father God by means of the anointing that is in Jesus.
The objective here is that — as Paul puts it — we have know and have the revelation of Him, His onoma, His character and makeup. But there’s much, much more! It isn’t simply that we have a revelation of Jesus in water baptism: we also receive a revelation of the miraculous power and might released in His resurrection.
And still there is more!
We get to be a partaker of the sufferings He endured — the beatings, the stripes, the disfigurement that occurred when His beard was ripped out of his face, the unutterable pain that occurred when the crown of thorns was shoved into His skull.
How are we a partaker of those sufferings, you ask? By receiving what He paid for on our behalf when all that took place. Every single stripe of the cat-o-nine tails that ripped the flesh on His body represents a disease or an infirmity that He took for us.
The disfigurement that took place when His beard was ripped out, leaving loose flesh hanging from His face, His chin and His neck paid for the disfiguring injuries that men and women suffer in today’s so-called “advanced” society as a result of diseases or accidents of one kind or another.
The pain and suffering that occurred with the planting of the crown of thorns into His skull paid for all of the mental anguish, the torment of our minds, the agonies we suffer with the thoughts of the past, the concerns of the present and the future.
Are you now beginning to grasp the significance of getting to “know the fellowship (Greek: koinonia: partnership and participation with) of His sufferings?” We partner with Him; we partake of those sufferings by being IN Him when we are immersed in the waters of baptism.
Let me pause here for a minute to take you to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jesus:
Isaiah 53:3-5: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah was able to see some 700 years or so into the future, and what he sees is exactly what took place with Jesus’ suffering, the betrayal, all that He took upon Himself, and all that He accomplished on our behalf.
But Isaiah also saw far into the future to our present day. Here’s how the Hebrew text describes the picture:
He is disdained and scorned, and considered as having ceased to exist by men: a man of anguish and pain, and has known grief by seeing and experiencing it; and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was disdained and scorned, and we maliciously fabricated, invented and treated His suffering and death as void.
Surely He has suffered and accepted as His own our maladies, our anxieties, our calamities, our disease and sicknesses, and carried our anguish, pain and grief: yet we fabricated and maliciously invented His being stricken violently, beaten, punished, wounded and slaughtered as if by God -- choosing to believe that God browbeat, demeaned and looked down upon Him.
But He was broken and profaned for our rebellion, our revolt, our apostasy and our [religious] quarrel against God; He was crushed, oppressed and smitten, and (emotionally) broken into pieces for our perversity, our evil, our mischief, sins and faults; the breaking and ridiculing of our peace, our welfare, our prosperity, our health and our safety was upon Him; and with His bloodied and blue wounds we are cured, mended, repaired and made thoroughly whole. (Isaiah 53:3-5, RAC Translation & Amplification)
You see the difference in the picture, don’t you? Isaiah is actually seeing how the world today treats Jesus, despite all that He did on our behalf! The world — and a whole fistful of folks who call themselves Christians — still consider that God demeaned and looked down on Him. So many folks today treat His death as null and void when and where it applies to every aspect of their lives. Jesus left NOTHING undone!
Listen to how Paul finishes with his explanation of what takes place. He wraps all of this up with this phrase: “being made conformable to His death.”
There’s a 64-dollar word for you! Conformable. It comes from the Greek word: summorphos. It translates literally to: being jointly formed; fashioned with and like.
Understand? We are jointly formed with Jesus Christ INTO His death. He dies. We die with Him. The old us is dead. What used to exist of us is now nothing more than a corpse. Jesus has died and is buried in a tomb. We have been formed INTO Him so that as He died, so did we.
In the same way that Jesus’ death finished the past, the sin, the sufferings, the diseases and everything that went with the curse that came upon the human race, our having been jointly formed and fashioned like Him, means that our past — and all the consequences of the sins, the iniquities of our fathers, the diseases that have plagued us, the infirmities of our flesh, the poverty that came with the curse — and death itself! — has been finished IN US!
But that’s only the first part of baptism. That’s the dying and burial part. But we don’t remain in the grave! The power of the Resurrection has been made available to us. Here’s what Jesus said about it when He was talking to Martha:
John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Paul deals with this when he writes his letter to the Ekklesia in Ephesus:
Ephesians 2:4-7: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
It couldn’t be any clearer! We were dead with our lives measured by the Law of Sin and Death. But Jesus incorporated us with Him when He died. We were woven into His being so that when He died, carrying our sins, we died at the same time.
We didn’t exit Him, and He didn’t eject us when He was raised from the dead. Paul uses an interesting word in the Greek text when he says that God “hath quickened us together with Christ.” The Greek word in this instance is: suzoopoieo, and it means: to reanimate, or to make one alive together (at the same time). But our resurrection doesn’t stop with our being raised from the dead (what which occurs when we are raised out of the water). Father God continued the “raising up” together IN Christ, and has made us to sit together — WITH Him, and IN Him — in Heavenly places, in the anointing of the Anointed One, the Lord Jesus Christ!
THAT, my friends is what takes place when we are baptized in water!
Again, if you are in need of healing -- especially if you have some terminal disease or prognosis of a very short time to live from the doctors -- please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday or Wednesday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. To get into the queue for prayer, when Randy opens the call up for everyone, hit *6-1 on your keypad. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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