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First Things @ First

Pastoral Perspectives,

It is no secret that we have had an extra-ordinary wet spring. The ground is completely saturated, and the streams are overflowing. For some, it may be hard to remember not that long ago when it was so dry and hot. For others, almost impossible to forget. It seems one extreme follows another in so many life applications and the weather is no different. What isn't covered with silt or mud is beautiful and green. Should the Lord provides a break in the rain, (which doesn't look likely at this point) it should be a good harvest for many associated with agriculture. I pray each is rewarded according to His abundant grace and their labor.

Speaking of water, I was reminded the other day from some information in Adrian Roger's book on 'What Every Christian Should Know' that the word baptize is basically a word that was untranslated when the Bible was written in English. Most are not aware of that fact. The word in the Greek language for baptism is 'baptizo'. It simply means to immerse.

However, when the King of England commissioned the Bible be translated, those who were doing the actual work were caught in a sort of 'catch 22'. The word that was originally used, 'baptizo'--(immerse) stood in direct contradiction to the practice of the church that the King of England presided over. The customary practice of the church of England involved the use of water except it was in the form of sprinkling. The term sprinkling is used in the Bible, but it is a different word from 'baptizo'. The word sprinkling is translated from the word 'rhantizo'. And nowhere in scripture can you find where 'rhantizo' is associated with believer's baptism. Those commissioned with the work of translation simply decided to create a new word; baptism. This term was close, but in detail lacked the correct application.

So, what's the point and why even bring it up? Why stir the pot so to speak on an issue that is already divisive enough. Simply because 'baptizo' pictures a death, a burial and a resurrection. Sprinkling doesn't. Paul referred to the symbol of believer's baptism in

Romans 6:4-6 when he said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, "Therefore, we were buried with Him, (that is with Jesus) through 'baptizo' into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin."

The scripture clearly and repeatedly associates 'baptizo'--(immersion) as a spiritual picture of the exact likeness of what happens in the soul of a believing sinner at conversion. We, who were once dead in sin have now been made to be dead to sin. Dying to our sin and being raised to new life in Christ is represented exactly in the picture of His glorious resurrection.

We bury bodies that die. No one in their right mind even questions that. Most would not conceive of doing anything else, nor would they settle for sprinkling a little dirt on the dead bodies of their loved ones, leaving them out on the prairie exposed to the elements and calling that good. When bodies die, they are placed out of sight to us. The body of our loved one is no longer with us.

The saving power of Jesus Christ has the same effect on our sin. The power of God renders the body of sin to be lifeless. The presence of God puts the penalty of sin away once and for all. The power of God through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit causes those who believe to no longer want associate with it.

The old life has passed and behold the new life of Christ is come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Baptism; there is most likely no other term in the English language that has prompted more division and disagreement. However, everything clears up when you understand what the word means. As it is used correctly, it helps remind us of the glorious work of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I do not believe, nor do I agree with those who say that baptism saves. There is no salvation in a grave or even in the likeness of a grave. Graves are designed for covering what is dead.Salvation comes by grace in overcoming the grave.

I do believe strongly that IF you have been born again by the Spirit of God, you will want to bear testimony of your faith in Christ's death, burial and resurrection from an earthly grave. If you've really been rendered dead to sin, you'll want to bury it. And you'll also want to be raised from it's grip as pictured in the resurrection from a watery grave!

Jesus lived! Obviously, you are alive as well if you're reading this.

Jesus died for sin! Have you died to sin?

Jesus was buried in an earthly tomb! Have you been buried, 'immersed' in a watery grave?

Jesus was raised to live again in a glorified body! Do you have that same assurance?

How could anyone truthfully want to follow Jesus and not want to follow what He commands?

Sin brings death but Jesus provides life both here and hereafter!

Are you living in the power of Jesus' name OR are you still dead in your sin?

Choose life! You'll never regret it!

May the Lord continue to draw each of you closer every day to Himself!

God's best,

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36