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Brother Love
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« on: July 28, 2004, 05:19:39 AM »

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?



The word church is not, at first, easily defined or identified today because of the influence of centuries of religious tradition. If we would clear our mind of these traditions we would find that this word conveys quite a very simple truth.

Consulting dictionaries do not always prove helpful. This is because we naturally approach the definition of the word with our tradition firmly settled in our minds. And the producers of the dictionaries have usually done the same as well. This is not intended to be critical of them. After all, the word is being defined in the ways in which it is currently being used. That's usually what most dictionaries are intended to do.

The Common Definitions

Among the common definitions of the word church, we find the idea of:

a physical building, as in, "It's our turn to clean the church."

an organization, as in, "We are members of First Church."

a meeting, as in, "Church starts in a half-hour."

a doctrinal system, as in, "I've spent all my life in the Baptist church."

These are all NON-BIBLE churches.

Therefore, dictionaries and other manmade reference tools can be of only so much assistance as we study the Bible. But we should always keep in mind that they are just that – manmade. Ultimately, the premiere reference tool for any Bible study, is the Bible itself!. The Bible has a way of defining its own words.

In all languages, it is usage that determines the meaning of words. And since usage determines meaning, Biblical usage, certainly, always should determine Biblical meaning. Therefore, we must acquaint ourselves with the Scriptures. The more we read, study and learn the Bible itself, the more we will be equipped to know the meaning of Bible words.

Let's let God define the church!

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2004, 05:23:19 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH



PART I

THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY

Let's look at some BIBLE definitions of THE CHURCH! When writing to the Ephesians, Paul tells us precisely what the church is:

". . . the church, which is His body . . ." (Ephesians 1:22,23).

Isn't that clear? The church, which is . . . and here comes the definition: "His body."

We can now say, with all authority and confidence, just what the church is! The church is the body of Christ!

Isn't that so very simple? Just taking God's definition. Taking God at His word!

Now, Paul shows us that the reverse of this is also true:

"And He is the head of the body, the church . . ." (Colossians 1:18).

". . . for His body's sake, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24).

There is that "which is" again! We have here the body of Christ defined. The body, which is . . . and here comes the definition: "the church." The church is the body, and the body is the church. That locks things up with clarity, doesn't it? God has provided a clear definition and then back defined it, to make it an iron clad truth.

This double ended definition leads us to even more truth concerning the church.

How many bodies does God have in this dispensation?

"There is one body . . . " (Ephesians 4:4).

One means one. God has one single body in the dispensation of grace. This body is "the church, which is His body." And since God has clearly taught us that the body is the definition of the church, and the church is the definition of the body, then we can say with all divine confidence:

God has but one church in this dispensation!

Only one! And His church is the body of Christ!

The church is THE ONE BODY OF CHRIST. God has no other church, or body today!

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2004, 05:28:27 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART II

MEMBERSHIP IN THE ONE CHURCH

We have learned from God that the church is the body of Christ. In this definition we were also able to learn that this church is, therefore, the one true church of our dispensation.

But, how can one become a member of this one true church? How do we become members of the body of Christ? Let's again consult the only source of ultimate authority – God's word!

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . ." (I Corinthians 12:12,13).

This passage tells us that the one body has a membership. One does not "join" this church. One is "joined" to it by baptism. This is not water baptism. This is spiritual baptism, where the Holy Spirit places us into Christ's body. Thus, the one Spirit, through the one baptism, places us into the one body.

Look at the passage again, with emphasis upon these truths:

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . ." (I Corinthians 12:13).

We also see these truths in Ephesians:

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Here we have the seven-fold oneness that we have in Christ. This unity we have with Christ, and with every member of His body. The one Spirit, by the one baptism, placed us into the one body. There is no other Spirit, or baptism, or body of God today!

This is at the heart of Paul's message about who we are in Christ:

". . . many members in one body . . ." (Romans 12:4).

". . . members of Christ . . ." (I Corinthians 6:15).

". . . members of that one body . . ." (I Corinthians 12:12).

". . . members of the body . . ." (I Corinthians 12:22,22).

". . . members of His body . . ." (Ephesians 5:30).

One cannot "join" this church. One becomes made a member of it by trusting the finished cross-work of Christ. This church is made up of all the saved of this dispensation. What a wonderful privilege to be "members one of another" in Christ, His body, which is the church!

"For as we have many members in one body . . . So, we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Romans 12:4,5).

". . . for we are members one of another" (Ephesians 4:25).

We are gloriously blessed with membership! God has made us church members!

If you have membership in any other "church," you stand in competition and contradiction to God's present purpose: His one church, His one body!

Quite a conflicting position to be in, isn't it?

Think on these things.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2004, 05:32:19 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART III

THE ONE CHURCH AND IT'S ONE HEAD

We have seen that membership in today's one true church is: the one Spirit, by the one baptism, placing us into the one body.

And that one body has a name.

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . ." (I Corinthians 12:12,13).

Look at that little phrase in verse 12:

". . . so also is Christ . . ."

The one body called Christ. He is the head and we are the members. Thus, we are in living union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

". . . the church, which is His body . . ." (Ephesians 1:22,23).

Why is the church called "His body"?

Because the Lord Jesus Christ is it's living head!

". . . Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body." (Ephesians 5:23).

"And He is the head of the body, the church . . ." (Colossians 1:18).

This then, brings us to another aspect of the definition of the church. The one true church has but one head, and that is Christ. There is no other head of God's church. This is how we can identify the true church – by its headship.

Now, the question is, who is the head of "your church"? Are you satisfied with the headship of Christ over His church? Or, do you desire to belong to another "church" that has another head?

Think on these things.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2004, 05:37:33 AM »


THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART IV

GOD'S CHURCH

As we study through Paul's epistles, we are able to glean even further fullness to the definition to the church.

Paul identifies the church, as God's church:

". . . the church of God . . ." (I Corinthians 1:2)

". . . the church of God" (I Corinthians 10:32)

". . . the church of God . . ." (I Corinthians 11:22)

". . . the church of God . . ." (II Corinthians 1:1)

". . . the church of God" (I Timothy 3:5)

". . . the church of the living God . . ." (I Timothy 3:5)

We now find out who the church belongs to. The one true church of this dispensation is the sole possession of God Himself. It became His possession through legitimate means – He purchased it!

". . . the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Who purchased "your church"? If it wasn't God, then it's not God's church!

Over, and over in the verses above, the one true church is clearly identified as "the church of God." So what about the common phrases that believers are always using, such as:

"my church"
"our church"
"his church"
"her church"
"their church"
"Jeff's church"
"Mary's church"
"Brother White's church"
"Reverend Smith's church"

Whose churches are these? They obviously are not God's. Then they must be in competition and contradiction with God's true church. Does this not bother anyone? How long will we pursue such a obstinate course?
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2004, 06:09:53 AM »

(In Poetic Verse)

NONE OTHER!

To some, "The Church" means papal rule;
To others, merely "Sunday School."
Many see a stately steeple,
Rows of benches filled with people.

A "church" can go by any name,
With seldom any two the same:
"My Church," "Your Church," right or wrong;
This "church" is weak, and the other one's strong.

"Just attend the 'Church of Your Choice,'
Or where you like the preacher's voice;
Drop your dollar into the plate –
Sit primly posed and be sedate."

"We all shall get there bye-and-bye,
On different courses though we fly.
You think your way, and I'll think mine,
And everything will turn out fine!"

"Perform a kindness every day;
Don't get in anybody's way.
Be sure that no one you offend,
And on your own good deeds depend."

If you have followed this advice,
You'd better think about it twice:
There's only ONE TRUE CHURCH today –
The Cross of Calvary points the way!


Robert E. Hanna
The Hope of Glory
(In Poetic Verse)

Think on these things.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2004, 06:13:28 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART V

THE HOUSE OF GOD

Another way that Paul refers to the one true church of this dispensation, is as:

". . . the house of God, which is the church of the living God . . ." (I Timothy 3:15).

All who are saved are God's house. The living God lives in His living church.

We, the one true church, are God's house. He lives within us –we are His house! Is this not a glorious truth!

We are:

"an habitation of God" (Ephesians 2:22).

"God's building" (I Corinthians 3:9).

"God's building" -- just think of it! God has a church building in this dispensation. It is made up of those of us who have been saved by His wonderful grace. Praise the Lord for the church building of God!

Are you satisfied with this truth? Or, are do you embrace another "church building" instead?

Are you the house of God? Or, do you attend a man-made building that has been fraudulently pawned off as the "house of God'?

Think on these things.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2004, 06:17:41 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART VI

THE TEMPLE OF GOD

Another way that Paul describes, or defines the one true church, is that it is God's temple:

". . . ye are the temple of God . . ." (I Corinthians 3:16).

". . . your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost . . ." (I Corinthians 6:19).

". . . ye are temple of the living God . . . " (II Corinthians 6:16).

". . . a holy temple in the Lord. . ." (Ephesians 2:22).

In fact, this is the concept the etymology of our English word church. Sometimes you can learn a lot about a word from its etymology. Webster's 1828 gives the etymology of the word church as "a temple of God . . .pertaining to . . . our Lord Jesus Christ." Now, there is a wonderful definition! – hid away in the much overlooked etymology.

And that the church is the temple of the living God, is clearly borne out by Paul in the portions of Scripture referred to above.

We are the temple, we are God's sanctuary! Not a man-made building, but a God-made building, made up of people!

Notice how clearly Paul preached, contrasting the human and the divine in this regard.

"God . . . dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:24).

Simple truth isn't it! God does not dwell in man-made places!

Now consider the common language of the average Christian:

"It is good to be in the Lord's House today."
"Please do not bring food or drinks into the sanctuary."
"It is nice to have God's House full today"


Do you ever talk this sort of religious jargon? Such talk denies the truth of the Scriptures that we have just considered!

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2004, 06:24:33 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART VII

TEMPLE WORSHIP

Let's consider an important implication from our last definition. We have seen that the church, the body of Christ, is the temple of God today. One of the key features of a temple is worship.

". . . measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." (Revelation 11:1).

This identity of the temple with worship is why Paul says:

"God . . . dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything . . ." (Acts 17:24,25).

Now, a question comes to mind. Are you time and place oriented when it comes to worship? Do you need to go somewhere to worship God? Do you need to go somewhere, at a certain time?

Do you attend a Sunday morning "Worship Service"? And if you do, does this mean that you stand upon the ground of church truth delivered to us by Paul, or are you by your actions denying it?

Again, the question is a simple one: Are you time and place oriented in your worship?

Paul worshipped the Lord in the temple! But he believed what he taught about the temple. He believed that he was the Lord's temple! So, guess where Paul worshipped God?

"For we . . . worship God in the ________ . . ." (Philippians 3:3).

In this verse Paul tells us where we worship! Do you know what goes in the blank?

"For we . . . worship God in the spirit . . ." (Philippians 3:3).

In the spirit.

That's where we worship the Lord. This means that everyday, in every place, and in every action we have been called upon to enter into worship. After all, we are the temple of God, God lives in us, and we therefore are to worship God with and in every detail of our lives.

No wonder that Paul would make statements like:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31)

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:19,20).

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17).

And when Paul wrote "For we . . . worship God in the spirit . . ." he quickly followed that truth with a negative:

"For we . . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3).

Did you notice that there were two realms in that verse? – "in the spirit" and "in the flesh." Two different ways of worship! And in the same verse, what stands between these two realms? – "in Christ Jesus"!

If you go somewhere to worship the Lord, are you not – in reality – denying the truth of who you are in Christ Jesus? Are you not worshiping the Lord in the flesh, rather than in the spirit? Hasn't someone corrupted your mind "from the simplicity in Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3)?

Are you enjoying true temple worship? Or, just and man-made imitation?

Think on these things.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2004, 06:28:46 AM »

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITION OF CHURCH

PART VIII

GOD'S CALLED OUT PEOPLE

Looking at the Greek word used to translate our English word church, Strong gives the etymology as "a calling out."

So, as we study Paul's writings, looking for the church of this dispensation, we have some additional idea of what we are looking for – "a calling out." Can we locate this concept in Paul's epistle?

Let's take a look at Paul's first letter to the Corinthian saints:

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints . . ." (I Corinthians 1:2).

Paul identifies the church as "them that are sanctified." Sanctified means "to set apart." Believers are a called out people, set apart unto God.

Paul goes on to say that they have been "called to be saints." He did no just call them "saints" here, but said that they were "called to be saints." The church is a called group of people! The word saint means "one who has been set apart unto God." Once again, the church is a called out people, set apart as holy unto God.

But if we are God's called out people, what is it that we have been called out of?

Let's take a look at Paul's first letter to the saints at Thessalonica:

"For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had among you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (I Thessalonians 1:9).

Paul spoke these words to a people that he had just, only a few verses earlier – in the greetings, identified as "the church" (I Thessalonians 1:1).

Now, the Thessalonian believers were called out of something. What were they call out from? From "idols!" They were Gentiles called out of their heathen religious system! And that's not all, they were also called unto something – "the living and true God." That's why Paul called them ". . .the church . . . which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ . . . "

The true church is God's called out people. We have been called out of the Gentile religious system. And we have been called unto God. What a wonderful privilege to have such a calling, to be delivered from the bondage of such religious oppression.

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2004, 09:59:25 PM »

". . . the church, which is His body . . ." (Ephesians 1:22,23).


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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2004, 09:59:28 AM »

Powerful stuff! Very challenging and gives much to ponder and pray about.

I am recently born-again and the one the thing I am struggling with is the need to be re-baptized (I was baptized as an infant). I always thought that it would be a fitting touch to my being re-born but now I am wondering if it may be an empty form and not a necessary aspect of the dispensation of grace.

Regards,
Henry
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2004, 10:18:41 AM »

Powerful stuff! Very challenging and gives much to ponder and pray about.

I am recently born-again and the one the thing I am struggling with is the need to be re-baptized (I was baptized as an infant). I always thought that it would be a fitting touch to my being re-born but now I am wondering if it may be an empty form and not a necessary aspect of the dispensation of grace.

Regards,
Henry


"It is also significant that Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles and minister of the body of Christ NEVER ONCE, IN ANY OF HIS LETTERS, COMMANDS OR EVEN EXHORTS US TO BE BAPTIZED WITH WATER." - From C.R. Stam's Things That Differ

Thanks for that link BrotherLove. Chapter XII blew my mind.

I am also reading The Mystery: The Key to the Bible by Joel Finck (thanks a million BigD!) and that book covers some of the same ground. Took me 44 years to find out its all about GRACE.

Warm regards,
Henry

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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2004, 02:28:22 PM »

Powerful stuff! Very challenging and gives much to ponder and pray about.

I am recently born-again and the one the thing I am struggling with is the need to be re-baptized (I was baptized as an infant). I always thought that it would be a fitting touch to my being re-born but now I am wondering if it may be an empty form and not a necessary aspect of the dispensation of grace.

Regards,
Henry


"It is also significant that Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles and minister of the body of Christ NEVER ONCE, IN ANY OF HIS LETTERS, COMMANDS OR EVEN EXHORTS US TO BE BAPTIZED WITH WATER." - From C.R. Stam's Things That Differ

Thanks for that link BrotherLove. Chapter XII blew my mind.

I am also reading The Mystery: The Key to the Bible by Joel Finck (thanks a million BigD!) and that book covers some of the same ground.
Warm regards,
Henry



Took me 44 years to find out its all about GRACE.


Goosebumps again Henry!  Wink Smiley  Your're a miracle Henry...most people are very set in their ways by the time they have spent that many years in the world.
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2004, 02:41:31 PM »

Powerful stuff! Very challenging and gives much to ponder and pray about.

I am recently born-again and the one the thing I am struggling with is the need to be re-baptized (I was baptized as an infant). I always thought that it would be a fitting touch to my being re-born but now I am wondering if it may be an empty form and not a necessary aspect of the dispensation of grace.

Henry:
From the book Common Questions About the Grace Message by Joel Finck.

QUESTION 9: Why don't you water baptize

9) WHY DO WE WATER BAPTIZE?

Nowhere in Paul’s epistles do you ever find instructions for us to be water baptized. Many recognize that Paul was given revelation from the Lord and that in fact, he

writes directly to the churches and the church leaders, Timothy and Titus and to the saints of the Body of Christ. Yet, does it not strike you as a little strange that if we are supposed to be water baptizing that Paul never tells us to do it. He never tells us how it is supposed to be done, how it should be carried out, who should be doing it, etc.

Why is this? True Christianity is a faith which involves an inward reality, not outward ritual. And yet even as we write this, the vast majority of Christendom, has reverted back to the rituals of the Law and the Jewish Kingdom program.

Israel was a sign nation. God revealed to the Jewish people many outward shows of their faith. These involved sacrifices, water rituals and ceremonial washings, certain meats and drinks, observance of days, etc. All of these being designed to teach certain truths to the nation Israel. As one examines God’s spiritual program for this dispensation, however, as it is revealed to the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul, it soon becomes evident that these outward, visible manifestations of Israel’s religion, do not belong to the Church the Body of Christ. Indeed, they have no place in the practice of our faith in this dispensation. Amazingly, many churches would agree. They would say, of course, we do not observe those Jewish rituals. We have instead our own Christian rituals that we do! Many fail to realize that the so-called Christian ordinances and rituals actually can be traced back to the Jewish program for the nation Israel.

I Corinthians 1:17 says, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Water baptism is not a part of Paul’s commission. Later on we will discuss the Great Commission. One of the reasons many people teach that we should be water baptized is because it is a part of the Great Commission given to the Twelve Apostles. We will deal with that in depth later. But what we need to see here is the Apostle Peter and the other Eleven Apostles could not have said what Paul says here in I Corinthians 1, “Christ sent me not to baptize.” Peter would have been telling a lie if he had said this, because Christ did send him to baptize. “Go ye therefore, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Paul was not operating under the commission given to the Twelve Apostles, and neither are we. That Commission was a Kingdom Commission.

Where did water baptism come from and who was the first person who practiced water baptism? Perhaps 99 out of 100 would answer, John the Baptist. He certainly
sounds like one who would be the first to baptize. His name is John the Baptist (or “baptizer”). Why was he called the baptizer? Was he doing something new? No, not at all. Hebrews 9:10 speaks of the “diverse washings” of the Old Testament tabernacle. In the Old Testament, every time you read of a washing at the door of the tabernacle, it is a “baptism”. For the word translated “washings” in Hebrews 9:10 is “baptizmos” or baptisms.

Baptisms did not begin with John the Baptist. He was just continuing that which had been practiced for hundreds of years.

Ephesians 4:3 says, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body...” This is the Body of Christ. Then, in verse 5, Paul continues, “There is One Lord, one faith, one baptism...”

This verse has probably been more obscured by theologians than any verse in the Bible. It is not that they have never read it, but that they fail to grasp Paul’s point.

When we search the Scriptures we find that there are as many as twelve baptisms. Some of these are water baptisms of the Law, others are spiritual in nature. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said, “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.” Right here in this context we see three baptisms - water, Holy Spirit and fire.

Yet, Paul says there is one baptism! Did Paul not know the Scriptures? Of course he did, but Paul is speaking in the context of the Body of Christ and his conclusion is that while there are many baptisms in the Bible - twelve or more - only one of them pertains to us in this dispensation of the Grace of God. Which one do you suppose it is?

I Corinthians 12:12, 13 says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.”

Here is a spiritual baptism. This baptism has no water whatsoever. It is performed by the Holy Spirit of God. It happens the moment you believe the gospel of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. The Holy Spirit supernaturally baptizes you into the Body of Christ.

Another translation of the word “baptize” is the word “identify”, because that is what happens when we are saved. We become identified with Christ. What three things did we believe in order to be saved? His death, His burial and His resurrection. What three things are we identified with when we trust him? His death, His burial and His resurrection. This is what Paul is speaking of in Romans 6. Many a fundamentalist preacher is very adamant that this is not a water baptism. And yet, it seems as though by the time they dance all around the subject of baptism, they finally managed to squeeze a few drops of water out of Romans 6. Why is this? It is an attempt to prove a point which cannot be proven from Scripture. Romans 6:3, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ...” When you believed the gospel the Holy Spirit identified you with Christ. What happened then? “...as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” You became identified with the death of Christ. What is so important about that? The Scripture says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Furthermore it says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That is spiritual death as well as physical death. Because we are sinful, we must die. We must pay the penalty of sin with our life. But this is what the gospel is all about. Christ came and paid the penalty of sin by dying for us. Therefore, when you believe the gospel, you are baptized or identified with Jesus Christ, and therefore you are baptized into His death. This means you no longer must die spiritually for your sins, because His death is accounted to you. It now belongs to you. And you, therefore, have eternal life. This is the gospel message.

But not only are we identified with His death, verse 4 says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death.” This is the verse where many get the idea that believers should be dunked under water. They assume that since we are buried, we should, therefore, be put in a “watery grave.” But this not only misses the point, it actually totally destroys the meaning that Paul is trying to show. He is not saying you were buried in water. He says you were buried with Christ. His burial becomes your burial by virtue of your baptism into His death. Paul is building on that truth now. Not only are you identified with His death (you no longer have to die for your sins), but you are buried with Him as well.

What is the importance of the burial of Christ? First, it shows Christ really died. You do not bury people who are not dead. He was truly dead and therefore, He was
buried. But it also pictures the putting away of sin. When Christ rose from that grave, our sins stayed buried. This is the imagery that God wants us to see. The fact that we are identified with His death relieves us from having to die for our sins. The fact that we are buried with Him means that those sins are done away with, and finally, weare identified with His resurrection, because of spiritual baptism!

Finally, verse 4 goes on to say, “...that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Because of our identification with Christ, we now have the spiritual equipment by the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. This is what spiritual baptism is all about.

Why would we trade all this for a water ceremony?

Henry, Also read chapters 10, 11 & 12. I do know that you do have the book.

God Bless.
Live Well, Laugh Often and Love the Lord.

Regards,
Henry
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