DISRUPTING THE FOUNDATIONS
LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
NOT LAYING AGAIN
THE FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE
OF FAITH TOWARD GOD
IN THE NAME
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God" (Heb. 6:1).
It is doubtful that we can count the number of sermons, studies, and comments made over the past several years concerning this verse. And almost every time it was heard, we heard it about the same way as before; primarily, that if we are ever to be "perfected", we have been told, it is of the utmost necessity for us to grow up by GETTING AWAY FROM THE ELEMENTARY TEACHINGS OF CHRIST and start chewing on "real meat", i.e. "the DEEP things of God." It is often said that the simpler teachings are O.K., for the little babes, that is, but WE are no longer babes and are in need of "STRONG MEAT." The above verse is usually the one used to convey this thought. It is strange, however, that the babes are rarely fed any of the vitally basic truths so they can go on to maturity, and needless to say, many of them end up with either spiritual belly aches or spiritual death as a result of being fed this so called "strong meat." It is not a pleasant sight, but this is what happens when one tries to live on the knowledge of "revelations" alone rather than the Revelator -- The Christ, The Living Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. We cannot eat bread alone without the Wine of Life, for in doing so, it is like building a structure without a foundation, and when the heavens and the earth quake and the sands begin to shift, down comes baby, cradle, and all.
There is one thing, brethren, that we can all count on. Regardless of our theological beliefs, EVERY WORD that we embrace WILL BE TESTED WITH SHAKINGS AND WITH FIRE. For is it not recorded in Psalms 12:6 that "The WORDS OF THE LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, PURIFIED SEVEN TIMES"? And again in 18:30 David wrote, "...the word of the Lord is tried..." Yes, every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God shall be tested for its worth; but it does not stop with only the words that we hear, for THE ANOINTED FIRSTFRUITS ARE ALSO WORDS THAT ARE SPOKEN OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD, AND ACCORDING TO WHAT IS WRITTEN WE SHALL NOT RETURN UNTO HIM VOID. Whatsoever it is that He has spoken us into existence to do...THOSE THINGS WE SHALL ACCOMPLISH AND WILL CERTAINLY PROSPER IN THE THING WHERETO GOD SENDS US. (Should we take the time to read Isaiah 55:10-13, we would see that we are the words that are spoken out of His mouth, and it is we who shall come down as rain to refresh and give life to the earth). Therefore, not only will the Words that we hear be tried and then become fire in our mouths (Ps. 12:6 & Jer. 5:14 & 23:29), but we are also Gods Word who will be refined with the consuming Spirit of Himself and then come forth as His ministers of FLAMING FIRE as well (Ps. 104:4). Have we ever considered that after being refined, we will be flaming words of fire in the mouth of God? And when He says, "Let there be light", don't we know that we shall go forth from Him as a shining light to the darkened world?
Therefore, let us be mindful of HOW WE HEAR (Lk 8:18). For if we hear the truths of God that are fit for a sure foundation with only the intellect of our minds (rather than by the anointing) the shakings and the testing fires will surly cause our houses to crumble and fall and be burned to ashes. So if we should find ourselves sitting in the middle of an ash-heap, then PRAISE GOD; for we don't want the things that are not of Him anyway, even though they may have had a luster to our natural eye. After the pain and shock of the loss (everything Paul called dung) we can start afresh, and with care we will be able to build a mansion fit for the King. Rather than getting angry when we hear something that challenges our doctrines, let us give thanks unto the Lord for revealing to us whether our foundations are of precious stones or of sand. More doctrines than we might imagine will no doubt eventually have to be adjusted, balanced, or totally destroyed in order for us to continue growing up into the fullness of the stature of Christ. If this be the case, let us start today with opened hearts to the realities of Christ and begin to examine by the Spirit every doctrine that is contained in our foundations...lest we find ourselves lacking in this great and notable day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES
"Therefore LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES of the doctrine of Christ..." The word LEAVING carries the thought of simply REMOVING ourselves from that thing or person and temporarily becoming "PHYSICALLY SEPARATED" from it. Such as, when we leave our home and family and drive to work. On the other hand, it can also have a very negative meaning. When a man "LEAVES" his wife for another woman, not only has he left her physically, but it is a permanent situation and a painful division in their relationship -- for HE HAS FORSAKEN HER. With one type of leaving, we have a strengthening and building of the home, even though there is a continual "leaving" taking place; yet with the other we see total ruin in the home and life of the one who leaves as well as those who have been left. The one who has forsaken the principles of the marriage has in effect committed murder. They may not have physically killed their spouse, but he is certainly guilty of spiritual murder by slowly tormenting her to death in submitting himself to the weakness of the lusts of his own selfish flesh. How do we suppose, now, are we to "LEAVE THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST?"
The context of this verse suggests that we are to leave the principles of Christ's doctrines by BUILDING UPWARD FROM THE FOUNDATION, rather than "FORSAKING" it. When a natural foundation is laid, we begin to LEAVE IT by placing one stone at a time UPON THE FOUNDATION and building UPWARD from there. We do not leave it by moving across town and building the walls some place other than where the foundation has been laid. Likewise, when, and IF, we have a FIRM foundation laid, we should never leave it by separating ourselves from it but leave it by BUILDING continually UPWARD from it with knowledge while still being joined to it by the mortar of God's love. In I Corinthians 3:10 Paul said it like this: "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth THEREON. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon." Not only are we to build UPon the foundation, but we are to be careful of HOW we build.
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
"...Leaving the principles of the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST..." For many Christians today the word "doctrine" has come to be a negative word, but we shouldn't take offense when we hear it. Doctrine merely means a "teaching", of which we all can use a little more. However, in this verse DOCTRINE is translated from the word LOGOS (the only place where logos is translated doctrine). In our previous studies (The Word, Parts II & III),we saw that the LOGOS conveys the THOUGHT and INTENT of the speaker and is an outward EXPRESSION of himself as well.
The word RHEMA is also a SPOKEN WORD, but it does not have the EXPRESSION that LOGOS has. Rhema, as we are concerned with it here, is a word spoken from God and quickened to us by His Spirit. This word does not carry with it the understanding of HOW a thing is to be accomplished -- it just makes a statement, and the one who hears the word believes what was said and knows that it will come to pass. This is FAITH that comes by hearing. Listening to many tapes does not produce this faith, unless of course, the Anointing that abides within brings it to life. It is then that we have heard the rhema and we need not have any man teach us.
We must be careful, though, of how this thought of not having man to teach us is expressed, for there are some who have taken this truth and run with it before it has been written upon the tables of their hearts. In doing so they have become just as unprofitable as those who imagine that listening with their natural minds to volumes of tapes and sermons will give them the faith they desire to have what they want. They have gone out of balance in the opposite direction...believing that by deliberately withdrawing themselves from any fellowship with the rest of the body, they will not be polluted with man's doctrines, for they will be hearing nothing but the "pure word of God that comes straight from the throne." This would be fine if such a thought was the way God had chosen to deliver His truths to His church and the world, but according to Paul, PREACHING WAS THE VITAL ELEMENT IN HEARING. He said, "...how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? AND HOW SHALL THEY HEAR WITHOUT A PREACHER? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?..." and "...it pleased God BY THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE." (Rom. 10:14-15 & I Cor. 1:21).
The above verses would almost lend credence to the idea of withdrawing oneself from the rest of the body until "they" are sent to save the world. Indeed, in order for one to be sent they must first HEAR A WORD OF THE LORD, and no doubt, this word would be THE RHEMA. However, I believe that we are safe in saying that the word that men are sent with did not come totally from God while being shut in with the Lord. No doubt, the word they are sent with was given to them by the anointing, for it is the anointing that teaches us all things (I Jn. 2:27); but probably, only ten percent of the pure sermons that have been preached came directly from God to the one being sent. The other ninety percent was quickened to them through fellowshipping with others. The word is no less pure and alive just because one hears it through another vessel; and if there is a mixture in their words, then let us submit to the Christ within so we can know what is the truth.
When we receive our ten percent directly from God (if that is an accurate figure) and refuse to become one with the body of Christ, the ten percent is all we are likely to have. The rest of what we receive will be such a hodge-podge mixture of "revelations" from our own minds and lying spirits that we won't know the truth if we stumble over it. Paul did not write to the Ephesians in vain when he said, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by THAT WHICH EVERY JOINT SUPPLIETH, according to the EFFECTUAL WORKING in the MEASURE OF EVERY PART, MAKETH INCREASE OF THE BODY unto the EDIFYING OF ITSELF IN LOVE." (Eph. 4:15-16).
Brethren, we do not hesitate to say, that if any member of the body of Christ withdraws him or herself from the fellowship of the saints, that individual will cease to mature and will not know the joys of being edified with the body in love. Therefore, if we want to continue to hear the RHEMA OF CHRIST and be able to go forth conquering the powers of hell, then let us join the ranks of His mighty army and submit ourselves to the authority of the One who can and will lead us to victory.
The first principles of the DOCTRINE of Christ, or rather, THE LOGOS OF CHRIST, as mentioned before, is God's very thought and intention coming forth. It is God being expressed to our innermost being which brings us to a conscious understanding and knowledge of Himself and His thoughts to our spirits, our souls, and eventually to and through our bodies. When the Logos is SPOKEN to us by His Spirit, we begin to KNOW how a thing works, rather than just BELIEVING that it will. When we know how to put something into effect that God had first given to us by faith, we no longer have to wait for it, for "THROUGH WISDOM IS AN HOUSE BUILDED; and BY UNDERSTANDING IT IS ESTABLISHED; AND BY KNOWLEDGE SHALL THE CHAMBERS BE FILLED with all precious and pleasant riches." (Prov. 24:3-4). If the Logos had been spoken to Abraham, he would not have died in faith (not laying a hold of the promises of God), but he would have KNOWN WHERE HE WAS GOING and HOW to establish that "city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:8-10). However, since God did not speak the Logos to him, all that was required of him was to simply believe; but we, at the end of this age, are hearing the Logos that will enable us to build that city in and by the Spirit of Christ.
Are we then going to forget about THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST? Hopefully not. Think about it! In the first grade when we learned that 2 + 2 = 4, we learned a principle in mathematics. In college calculus, did we leave and forget this principle to never use it again? We should say not! For even in calculus that principle is still used, regardless of how advanced and difficult the equation might be. Although we don't stay in the first grade forever, there will be times in calculus when we will once again add 2 + 2 and the answer will always be 4. Although we have "left" the first grade we find ourselves continually using that foundation in our daily lives. This is what we see as being done with the principles of the doctrine of Christ: they are always being used as we press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ. Therefore, we should be a little more cautious when we are ready to "leave" some of these anointed doctrines, for we may find ourselves throwing out the baby with the bath water.
NOT LAYING AGAIN
"...Let us go on unto perfection; NOT LAYING AGAIN THE FOUNDATION of repentance from dead works..." There is a truth in "not laying again the foundation," as it is written in the King James Version here; that is, IF we have it laid according to the proper specifications -- it should not have to be laid again. However, if it is not properly laid or it has been disrupted; then in order to continue on with the building, it must be laid again. In Heb. 5:11-14 the writer rebuked the people because they had destroyed the foundation that was previously laid. Therefore, they were in need of having it LAID AGAIN: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one TEACH YOU AGAIN" (Vrs. 12). In other words, "ye have need that one LAY THE FOUNDATION IN YOU AGAIN." The Hebrews had forsaken the grace of God's rest (one of the very first principle doctrines of Christ) and had gone back to works as we see so many doing today. Therefore, since their foundation had been cast down, it was necessary for them to be taught again.
The words LAYING AGAIN certainly do make this verse sound as if they were not to bother with such things once they had participated in it. However, in looking into the Greek we will notice that it conveys another thought. The word is KATABALLO, which means TO CAST DOWN. The same word is used two other times in the New Testament, in Rev. 12:10 and in II Cor. 4:9: "...Now is come salvation...for the accuser of our brethren is CAST DOWN..." and again, "Persecuted, but not forsaken; CAST DOWN but not destroyed." This word has no thought of LAYING DOWN as in ESTABLISHING something, but to the contrary. It speaks loudly of TEARING THINGS APART. It wouldn't make sense to say, "now is come salvation, for the accuser of our brethren is LAID DOWN, i.e. AS A FOUNDATION," and neither does it make sense to say that we are never to LAY AGAIN THE FOUNDATION IF WE HAVE FOR SOME REASON DESTROYED IT. However, we can conceive of being admonished NOT TO DESTROY IT AGAIN, if in fact, we have destroyed it once before. According to the original text and the context of this verse this is exactly what is being said; rather than to walk off from it and build according to our own specifications.
THE FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE
One of the precious stones in the foundation is REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, and once it has been laid it is not to be CAST DOWN -- we are to let it remain and use it the rest of our lives as we journey into the far reaches of the inner space of God. But what is REPENTANCE anyway? It simply means to TURN FROM SOMETHING, and there are two kinds that we are concerned with here. One comes from a worldly sorrow that works death, but the one we are interested in comes from a GODLY SORROW that works REPENTANCE UNTO SALVATION, i.e. DELIVERANCE. (II Cor. 7:10). When we repent of something only because of having been caught in the act, this is a sorrow of the world. Although we may or may not do the same thing again, our hearts remain in the same condition and inwardly we are never DELIVERED of the sin which works death to us. In this state of mind, although we are not outwardly manifesting works and lusts of the flesh, we will have the tendency to harbor and entertain in our hearts those deadly things that exist in the realm of the dust. However, when the Christ within is so grieved by such things that there is a GENUINE SORROW, we will submit ourselves unto God. Then in the Spirit of Christ we can resist the devil and watch him flee from us (Jms. 4:7). The terrible things that once held us in bondage to beggarly elements of the world are broken by the power of Christ; and we walk as free men and women in Christ, actually DELIVERED from the chains that held us captive for so long.
Let us now ask, "Have we come to the place to where we have overcome all things? Have we overcome all the LUST OF THE FLESH, all the LUST OF THE EYE, and all the PRIDE OF LIFE (I Jn. 2:16); and have we overcome all the DEAD WORKS of the flesh? Is everything that we do a result of FAITH from HEARING the RHEMA OF GOD?" If not, then there is still THE FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE that must be applied to our lives. If we don't get this basic foundation established and working in our lives, then our victory in Christ is only a delusion in our minds and never a present reality.
If we are still drawn to the piano player or preacher in our church who is so "spiritually" in tune to our "revelations", thinking "this is the one who was created with me from the beginning, and God has now brought him/her forth to be my soul mate (lust of the flesh)"; or if we are desiring to possess things of the world more than that of God (lust of the eyes); or perhaps we want to be "someone" in the world or church today (pride of life) -- then let it be far from us to cast aside the very foundation of our deliverance. For If we do cast it aside and sin willfully, there remains no more a sacrifice for our sins. We can no longer be restored through repentance, buy by fire, for there awaits us the FIERY INDIGNATION OF GOD that will devour that fleshly adversary of rebellion in our lives (See Heb. 6:4-8, and 10:26-27). Yes, we will be freed from those hellish shackles of death, and we "shall be saved; yet so as by fire." But oh my! We shall suffer great loss (I Cor. 3:15).
OF FAITH TOWARD GOD
If we were really required to leave the foundations of God, this WOULD MEAN WE ARE TO CAST ASIDE THE VERY FAITH THAT TAKES US CLOSER TO HIM. If we already have all the faith that is necessary for our spiritual walk, and all knowledge of spiritual things is now a present reality to us, then amen, we should have no need of faith, for we would have reached our destination where faith is a thing of the past. However, since we are still in the process of learning and growing, and there are still areas in our lives that are in unbelief because we have never heard; we are in dire need of faith which comes only by hearing the anointed Word of God.
We could speak more on FAITH and how it comes by hearing the RHEMA of God, but rather than being too repetitious, we will look into some of the other parts of the foundation. If it is desired, however, for memories to be refreshed concerning this topic, read again "THE DOCTRINES OF CHRIST" (page 3 of this article) and "THE WORD", Part II (free upon request).
Baptisms...this is another thing we may or may not feel is necessary. This of course, depends on what type of baptism is considered -- water, Holy Spirit, fire, or Christ's body. Some say that once we have been baptized (dipped or immersed, Grk.) in water, we no longer need to be too concerned about baptisms, for that part of the foundation is complete.
It is agreed that when any particular baptism has been accomplished, such as water baptism, it is no longer necessary to "repeat" it over and over again. However, in looking into what water baptism REPRESENTS, we might be able to see where we have never left it at all. The immersion of our bodies into the watery grave symbolizes the dying to ourselves (Adam), and when we were raised up out of the water is symbolic of a continual living into Jesus Christ -- our resurrection. These two realities, the death to self and progressive living into Christ, make up the first baptism that every Christian should know about from the very beginning of their conception. They should be taught that their walk with and into Christ is going to cost them something, and that cost is their very life. But they should also understand, this is not much to pay in comparison to what is received -- his very life.
This ordinance of water baptism, indeed, should be left and never performed again; because the act of being baptized in water IS NOT the thing that constitutes a part of the foundation of the building and city of God -- but the experiencing of the dying and living certainly do. Anything in the foundation or building of God must be a reality of Christ. Otherwise, it will be rejected. We can be baptized in water a thousand different ways; but if we have not lived the reality to which that symbol points, then brethren, we have missed it and our baptism has availed us NOTHING. However, if we have tasted the bitterness of death while ascending into the riches of Christ and His kingdom, then the foundation is becoming a reality. This is when water baptism is not necessary; for once the reality of something is experienced, the symbols tend to lose their importance.
Water baptism is like the blueprints and specifications for the foundation of a house (not the foundation itself), and once the foundation has been laid the blueprints are no longer needed; and there are times when a blueprint or specs are not even necessary. When my wife (Margit) and I added some rooms onto our mobile home, We had the knowledge of how deep and strong the foundation must be to support the weight of the walls and roof. Therefore, we didn't have to go through the process of getting the blueprints and specifications drawn up. If we had not APPLIED the proper principles of foundation building, we would have soon found out that we had done something wrong, making it necessary to draw up the proper specs, find the weakness, and correct it. Likewise, if we find in our own lives, that we have not EXPERIENCED the DEATH TO SELF and are not RISING DAILY INTO CHRIST; let us read the specifications again and see what this baptism is pointing to and submit ourselves to God that He may perform it. This is not to say that we are to be dipped again into water but to examine the symbols and see HOW to apply the principle to our lives.
It seems that the church is so busy wrangling over how one is to be baptized that they have missed the point of baptism all together. Some denominations believe that if a person is not water baptized, they are "eternally doomed to hell." Such thoughts would make us wonder what was the eternal fate of that poor fellow in New York we read and heard about in the news a couple of years ago. The pastor was baptizing him in one of the rivers there; and when he was immersed, the swift current swept him out of the pastors hands and he drowned. Since he was only half-way baptized; Was he saved because of being in the act of baptism, not saved and eternally damned for not being able to complete the baptism, or was he a little saved and a little damned (half-way in heaven and half-way in hell) because he had only been able to get the job half done? Don't laugh, for the churches have engaged themselves in much more ridiculous things than this. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, in one of their councils, tried to determine what to do if a dog ate the "host," "the very flesh of Christ," and then vomited it up. And when the Czars of Russia were overthrown and communism was established as a result, the church of Russia was in another council with their most important concern in that day. They were in "great" deliberation on how much was a fair price to pay for the skullcaps that they wore on the shaved spot of the crown of their heads. These are just a couple of the follies that the learned masters of the "church" have idled away eons of time with. We could go on and on, but we will leave it for now. Some contend that one must be completely immersed in water in order to be saved, while others say that sprinkling will suffice. The majority of the churches believe that salvation hinges on water baptism regardless of the method. But some believe if the person has made a "profession of faith" and is intending on being baptized but suddenly dies before the ordinance is performed, then this one will surely be saved from the endless woe. And then, if they get to the baptismal tank, it is very strongly argued on what name or title to baptize them in -- in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, or in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, etc. When one is baptized, we would wonder then, whether they are sprinkled with water or completely immersed, what is the significance of it? Is God so concerned with the exact mode, name, or title we use when being baptized that it could effect our eternal destiny? Is He really sitting on His throne somewhere beyond the Milkyway observing and having His angels take notes of such ordinances? And when someone is not properly baptized, is there a sorrowful "Oh no, not again" heard echoing throughout the heavens as God shakes His head in disappointment while inquiring of His angels, "Did you get that one recorded?" Well brethren, if water baptism is all that important to God, then such thoughts would be in order.
There are so many different and varied beliefs on this subject alone that it would be futile and a waste of time to try to cover each doctrine that is taught on baptism, much less everything else that one must do to be saved. We will, however, look a little further into what being baptized is all about.
We are not saying that water baptism has no value, for it does, but the importance of it lies within the individual rather than with God. We will notice what Peter said about it: "By which also He went and preached unto the Spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls WERE SAVED BY WATER. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, BUT THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Pt. 3:19-21). "WERE SAVED BY WATER" is more accurately translated "WERE CARRIED SAFELY THROUGH WATER" (Diaglott), which would indicate that they were saved FROM THE WATER, i.e. THE SENTENCE OF DEATH. This verse is not saying that the water (or baptism) is what saved them from sin or death -- IT WAS THE ARK (JESUS) THAT DELIVERED THEM SAFELY THROUGH THE JUDGMENT OF DEATH. The only thing that a literal water baptism can save us from is our CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD. If we are to be saved any farther than this, we will then have to obtain it THROUGH THE LIVING RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, not intellectually but EXPERIENTIALLY! In the original manuscripts it does not say BY the resurrection but THROUGH (dia) THE RESURRECTION. This is not being saved or delivered just because of Christ's resurrection, but because we are GOING THROUGH HIS RESURRECTION DAILY -- which is LIFE! We can also read of this in Romans 5:9-10: "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, WE SHALL BE SAVED IN HIS LIFE," (as it is rendered in the Greek).
Let us now read I Peter 3:21 without his parenthetical thought (that which is enclosed in parenthesis): "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us...THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST." It is THE RESURRECTION, THE LIFE, THAT SAVES US. As we have it here, BAPTISM MOST CERTAINLY DOES SAVE US, but PRAISE GOD, IT IS NOT BEING IMMERSED INTO WATER THAT DOES IT, BUT BEING IMMERSED INTO THE RESURRECTED LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD! Regardless of how deep we go into the darkened grave of death, when we are engulfed by the glory of His vibrant life, we come up out of it and into the rapturous beauty of the brilliance of God -- something that water can never do.
So now, does water baptism save, that is, DELIVER, us from our present carnal condition? Or is DELIVERANCE the reality of the life of Christ coming forth and DEATH BEING SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY? (I Cor. 15:54). I don't think we need to ask. Therefore, from this perspective, water baptism itself is not a part of the foundation but is only that which symbolizes LIFE OVERCOMING DEATH. And if we are not established in this living foundation, we will find our self-life "Well and Alive on Late Great Planet Earth" when we should be dead to the world but alive to God through Christ.
What then, can we say of these things? ARE WE TO "LEAVE" SUCH A FOUNDATION AS THIS? Are we to forsake the BAPTISM OF LIFE and go soaring off into the sky-blue yonder of "DEEP REVELATION" that puffeth up? Or are we to EMBRACE OUR LORD OF LIFE AS WE ARE IMMERSED DAILY INTO HIM AND BUILD UPON THAT LIFE CONTINUALLY, that we may live, being free from all the bondages of death and every form of sin that so easily besets us? We, dear ones, opt for the latter.
IN THE NAME
There is some debate, as mentioned above, on what is the proper NAME or TITLE to be baptized in; and we have a variety to choose from: IN THE NAME OF THE LORD (Acts 10:48 & 22:16), IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST (Acts 2:38), IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS (Acts 8:16), or IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST (Mt.28:19). Some play it "safe" and cover all the bases by baptizing IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST...WHO IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The sad thing about it is, that in all their voicing of the "proper" rhetoric, the majority of those who have been baptized have still not been BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF ANYONE.
The word NAME in the Hebrew and Greek, or any language for that matter, simply means NATURE, i.e. Christ Jesus means ANOINTED SAVIOUR. No other name would have been suitable to Him. Therefore, when we are BAPTIZED (immersed) INTO THE NAME of our Lord, we are in fact being IMMERSED INTO THE VERY NATURE AND LIFE OF GOD HIMSELF. Every one of the names and titles mentioned above speak of the SAME THING -- GOD'S NATURE. If we are baptized INTO the NATURE of JESUS CHRIST, Are we not being IMMERSED INTO THE NATURE OF GOD? And when we go forth teaching and baptizing the nations in the NAME (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Are we not IMMERSING them INTO THE NATURE, CHARACTER, and LIFE OF GOD? And don't we know that there is no NAME (NATURE) under heaven wherein a man can be saved except that of JESUS CHRIST (Acts 4:12)? Likewise, without Jesus there is no Life of God to be known, for if we will recall He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE" (Jn. 14:6). Or we could safely say, "He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life of THE NAME...THE NATURE...THE CHARACTER...THE VERY ESSENCE of the LIVING GOD, and whosoever believeth and is IMMERSED INTO THAT LIVING NAME SHALL LIVE."
If our trust in being purified does not hinge on water baptism, then we see no harm in it, for according to the record, it was practiced by some in the early Church, but as history has it, it went back further than that. Smith's Bible Dictionary tells us, "It is well known that ablution or bathing was common in most ancient nations as a preparation for prayers and sacrifice or as EXPIATORY OF SIN. There is a NATURAL CONNECTION in the mind between the thought of physical and that of spiritual pollution. In warm countries this connection is probably even closer than in colder climates; and hence the frequency of ablution in the religious rites throughout the east. The history of Israel and the Law of Moses abound with such illustrations. It was natural, that of all people, the priests most especially should be required to purify themselves in this manner. It was first by baptism, then by unction, and lastly by sacrifice. From the Gospel history we learn that at that time ceremonial washings had been greatly multiplied by TRADITIONS of the doctors and elders (see Mark 7:3-4). The most important, and probably one of the earliest of these traditional customs, was the baptizing of proselytes."
For all practical purposes, water baptism was a glorified washing at the laver of the Tabernacle and the Temple, and as Doctor Smith stated, "There is a NATURAL CONNECTION IN THE MIND between the thought of physical and that of the SPIRITUAL POLLUTION." However, let us, brethren, not be minding that which is PHYSICAL (the cleansing of our BODIES), but rather, that which is SPIRITUAL to the cleansing of our SOULS by THE BAPTISM INTO THE LIVING WATER -- CHRIST JESUS! If, however, it is necessary for your conscience to be cleared, and you haven't experienced the baptism into the Spirit of Christ, then as a statement to the world of your faith and allegiance to your new Lord -- go ahead and be baptized. Afterwards, if you ever slide back into the world, the witnesses of your baptism can say, "You have broken the covenant with the Lord, for I saw you sign the contract -- I witnessed your baptism...."
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
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