Tag Archives: baptism

Repent therefore, and turn again…

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…

Acts 3:19-20a – Scripture of the Day (February 27, 2014)

What does it mean to repent?  The word is translated from the Greek word metanoeo, which literally means “to change one’s mind.”  To illustrate, if you and I get in a car to head to McDonald’s, and on the way we see Taco Bell and decide we’d rather have a taco than a Big Mac, and so we pull into Taco Bell instead of going to McDonald’s.  Guess what we’ve just done?  We’ve repented of McDonald’s…that is, we changed our minds about McDonald’s.  Not only that, but our actions also changed as a direct, unavoidable result of changing our minds.  We decided to go to Taco Bell instead of McDonald’s, and our actions followed suit.

God wants us to repent of sins.  He wants us to change our minds about our sin.  He wants us to stop glorying in our sin and letting it reign in our lives (Rom. 6:17-18).  He wants us to start having the same sorrow over our sins that he has, which in turn will lead to our repentance, and thus to our salvation (2 Cor. 7:9-10).  That’s why we are told to repent before being baptized in order that our sins will be forgiven (Acts 2:38).  In baptism we die to our old selves, are buried with Christ, and rise to a new life (Rom. 6:3-5).  How can any of that happen without repentance first?

Repentance is so much more than simply acknowledging that we’ve sinned, although that certainly is part of it (1 John 1:7-9).  The Bible speaks of “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8; Acts 26:20).  We show that we’ve truly changed our minds about our sin through our actions, and the Bible talks about what actions show a mind changed from the carnal to the spiritual.  Actions which manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) rather than the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) show whether repentance has truly taken place, and it is our actions which show the true condition of our heart (Mark 7:20-22).

Repentance…without it none of us will be forgiven.

“…A Circumcision Made Without Hands…”

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:11-12 – Scripture of the Weekend (February 22-23, 2014)

In order to understand this weekend’s passage of scripture, let’s back up to the Old Testament and go all the way back to the beginning…Genesis.  In Genesis chapter 17, we read of God making a covenant (agreement) with Abraham that the Holy Land, the land of Canaan, would always belong to Abraham’s descendants as long as they obeyed him.  The “sign of the covenant” would be the circumcision in the flesh of every male at least eight days old (vs. 10-14).  Abraham immediately made sure that he and his entire family were circumcised that same day (vs. 22-27).  This was the basis for the law in the Torah which required that all Jews be circumcised (Lev. 12:3).

Thousands of years later during the early days of the church, Jewish Christians who had converted out of Judaism were trying to bring tenets of Judaism into Christianity.  Circumcision was one of these tenets (Acts 15; Gal. 1-6).  Paul made it clear that physical circumcision was not required to be a Christian like it was in order to be a Jew.  However, the Holy Spirit inspired him to use the Jews’ mindset of circumcision being a sign that they had a covenant with God to teach a very important lesson about baptism in the book of Colossians.  This brings us to our Scripture of the Weekend.

Much of Colossians dealt with Paul reassuring Gentile Christians that they did not have to obey all the laws of Judaism in order to be Christians.  While doing so, he told them that they, like all Christians, had been filled in Christ, who is the head of all rule and authority (Col. 2:10).  Notice what he said next in our Scripture of the Weekend, Colossians 2:11-12:  “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Think about this for a second.  We are not under the covenant God made with Israel.  That was taken out of the way at the cross (Col. 2:14), and we are under a new covenant (Heb. 8:6-13), Christ’s covenant.  But just like physical circumcision was required as a sign of the old covenant, God still requires “circumcision” of a sort as a sign in the new covenant.  But this is not a literal, fleshly, physical circumcision.  No, Paul says that it is a spiritual circumcision, “made without hands.”  He then clarifies it has having occurred when one was baptized – literally “immersed” in the Greek – in water.

From Abraham to the beginning of the church, God and everyone else would know whether or not one was a Jew if they were physically circumcised.  Today, does God and everyone else recognize you to be a Christian?  Baptism after repentance (Acts 2:38) which was brought on by faith (Mark 16:16) is the key, the key to salvation and forgiveness of sins.  It is only through baptism that one is spiritually buried with Christ to rise again to a new life (Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3-4).  It is only through baptism that one puts on Christ and becomes a child of God (Gal. 3:26-27).  It is only through baptism that the Holy Spirit adds you to Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:13), that body being His church (Eph. 1:22-23), of which there is only one in the sight of God (Eph. 4:4-6), not the many found in the numerous sects and denominations of Christendom today.

Have you been spiritually circumcised?  Are you truly a Christian in the sight of God?

“…All Of Us Who Have Been Baptized Into Christ Jesus…”

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:3-4 – Scripture of the Day (February 21, 2014)

Here’s an interesting question.  It is commonly stated that the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ is the good news of his death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  We also know that eternal condemnation awaits those who “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7-9).  With these two facts in mind, how in the world does one “obey” a death, burial, and resurrection (since that is what the gospel is commonly referred to)?

What must first be pointed out is that the Bible never says that the gospel message consists of solely the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.  In actuality, the inspired apostle called Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection “of first importance” when it came to the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:1-4), thus implying that there were other parts of the gospel message which, while not as important, nevertheless were included as parts of the whole.

Putting that aside, however, notice that today’s scripture basically tells us how we “obey” Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  God does not expect us to physically die, be buried, and be resurrected in order to be saved…but he does expect us to do so spiritually.  This is one of many reasons why baptism, literally immersion, must not be overlooked as part of God’s plan of salvation.

The apostle tells us that we are baptized into the death of Christ, that it is through baptism that we are buried with Christ into his death, and that it is through baptism that we are resurrected just as he was to walk in a new life as a Christian.  It’s important we understand this, especially in light of how so many downgrade the importance of baptism when it comes to our salvation and our obedience to the gospel.  Jesus himself required baptism along with faith for salvation (Mark 16:16), Peter preached that baptism after repentance would produce forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), and later he would write that baptism “…now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21).  Today’s scripture passage gives us many reasons why Jesus and Peter said these things.

Do not believe people who tell you that baptism is not necessary for salvation or forgiveness of sins.  God’s Word says otherwise.  I see on my desktop calendar from where I get the various Scriptures of the Day that the upcoming Scripture of the Weekend is another passage about baptism, so come back this weekend to see what else the Bible says about it.