YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
I have often read in this first chapter of the Book of Acts, and just as many times, read right past this precious verse, unable to see it’s treasure. May our Lord ever continue to have patience and grant us spiritual revelation of his glorious word!
Just as the Lord locked down the understanding of regeneration to be forever associated with the natural birth in John chapter three, so here he now reveals spiritual baptism (regeneration) to be linked to water baptism! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something to be added to salvation! It IS salvation! Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And with that thought we begin to see the content of this little verse open up!
The two individuals mentioned in this verse, John the Baptizer, and the Holy Ghost, both have their work described by the two words, baptized with! John is said to have baptized with WATER! And we read in Matthew 3:11 that it was unto repentance! But of the second phrase, baptized with, we find to be an immersion into the Holy Ghost! The first was set forth to prepare the people for the coming of the kingdom. The latter was to actually place one into that spiritual kingdom! Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Therefore when the scriptures refer to baptism in a way of saving the soul, they cannot simply be speaking of just immersion into water! For water baptism apart from the Spirit’s regeneration only changes one from a dry sinner into a wet sinner! Hence the following verses cannot possibly be speaking only of a water baptism for regeneration! Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. We must understand that our Lord has set forth both together, therefore neither opposes the other! The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the new birth. And the baptism of water is the physical witness of that invisible work. It is also a washing of the newly born soul into a life of fiery trials as a living sacrifice!
There seems to be a vast amount of darkness as to the Old Testament origin of New Testament baptism. But if we keep in mind that John’s was only a baptism unto repentance, (Matt. 3:11), we come to understand that it was a matter of a God-required preparation. For the effectual call of the Holy Spirit into the life of Christ is always, without a single exception, into a sacrificial life! The believer is called into the fellowship of his (Christ’s) sufferings. (Phil. 3:10). 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
And he is led into the life of a living sacrifice! Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
And not only is he called to live in his body and spirit as now belonging only to God by Christ’s purchase on the cross, (Acts 20:28), and also live a sacrificial life, dying daily, (2 Corin. 4:10-11), but those trials are to be of a fiery nature! 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
And just where do we first find all these things (i.e. death, washings, fire), required in the revelation of God? – When they are all considered together they sound like an Old Testament sacrifice! They sound like a burnt offering! In fact, Smith’s Bible Dictionary states: “The meaning of the whole burnt offering was that which is the original idea of all sacrifice, the offering by the sacrificer of himself, soul and body, to God—the submission of his will to the will of the Lord.”
That being the case, let us ask but one question. What God-required preparation was made before the sacrifice was placed into the fire? Let me let you read it for yourself in the Holy Scriptures!
Exodus 29:17 And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head. 18 And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Leviticus 8:21 And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
The answer to our question as to what preparation was made to the sacrifice before it was put into the fire is clear! It had to be washed in water! And therefore since the New Testament believer is called into the life of a living sacrifice, to bear fiery trials, the Lord has ordained baptism in water to reveal the type of life which shall be lived in the Holy Ghost! He is to be buried with Christ, signified by going out of sight into the water, and is to be raised again in Christ as he comes up out of the water, never to live for himself again! And as becoming completely soaked in the water changes his appearance, so now old things are passed away and all things now become new!
Therefore now let us read that Matthew 3:11 verse to which we have previously alluded to twice in this article. Matt. 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: There is both the baptism into water of John and the baptism of fire into the Holy Ghost!
We must not lose sight of the fact that there are not only Two Baptisms referred to in our verse, but also there are Two Persons who are baptizing! One is a man (John), and is a highly visible character on the stage of religion, and the other is very God (the Holy Ghost), and is invisible! And it is these two persons who come to set forth both the baptism of water and the spiritual baptism of regeneration!
Years before these two come to the public launching of the display of their unique part of baptism, the Holy Ghost had overshadowed the virgin Mary (Lk. 1:35), and had brought forth the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ into his human body. And as He is the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Tim. 2:5), He mediates between our Two Persons listed in this verse to effect that first launching!
John 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And if you but read the next few verses in the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, you will see the beginning of the fiery trials to which this Lamb of God was called! But he was first made known to mankind, (even to John himself), and prepared for his life of sacrifice by being washed in the waters of John’s baptism. John had the privilege of being God’s priest to wash the Lamb of God in preparation for the burnt offering! Here heaven’s three witnesses are manifest! 1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
And here the three witnesses on earth are begun to be brought forth! 1 John 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. For the blood of the Lamb shall forever seal the two other of earth’s witnesses – the water for the washing of the sacrifice, and the Spirit of regeneration for the fashioning of the life of Christ within the heart of every believer! Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
In John thirteen we find our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, washing his apostles’ feet in preparation for their walking in their sacrificial lives for the launching of his kingdom! And we are deeply grateful to the reluctant Peter for resisting this washing! For he rebelliously states in his ignorance of that which is taking place, Thou shalt never wash my feet. (John 13:8). And this required the response from our Lord which is the reason we are indebted to Peter’s reluctance. For our Lord, the Lord and King of the Eternal Kingdom, the High Priest of all regenerate souls, makes an emphatic statement. He, in that very same verse states, If I wash thee not, thou hast no art with me. Hence we come to realize the absolute importance the Lord God places on these baptisms!
For he was not here establishing human humility in an ordinance of foot washing, but was teaching on a much higher elevation of spiritual consciousness. He even tells Peter, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. For the disciples understood not a great many things until after Jesus was glorified! (John 12:16). But that same apostle would come to fully understand these matters after the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost. And then he and the other apostles did come to know the meaning of that foot washing was to prepare souls for their life of fiery trials also!
Just listen to Peter after he has come to see, not just by faith, but now by experience that as he was washed for sacrifice, so he has come to know that he is doing the same to those who believe his gospel! 1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
He now come to see the glory in those sufferings. And he now comes to fully appreciate Christ’s washing of his feet after the Holy Ghost had washed his heart!
Pastor Gene Breed. May 8, 2012