Find The Answer
By: Tom Marshall
Q: Is the soul of man mortal, immortal, or is he just another order of animals?
A: Gen. 2:7, informs us that God, “formed man out of the dust of the ground,” and though the process of formation is not specified, thethought is conveyed that man came into existence through special creation from materials rather than derived from originally inorganic,some previously living form.
The foregoing conclusion is further amplified in the statement that God, “breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life and man became a living soul.”
In his Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, J. Oliver Buswell (P. 160), says, the words, “living soul,” are exactly the same expression used for other forms of life. These words are translated, “creature that hath life,” Gen. 1:20, “living creature,” in Gen. 1:21and, “living creature,” in Gen. 1:24. The distinction between man and beast is not the mere possession of a soul, as the word is used in the Old and New Testaments, but the distinction is that the soul of man is created in the image of God. Whereas, this is not the case with the souls or lives of the beasts. We see therefore that the statement in Gen. 2:7 that “man became a living soul” literally would be entirely inappropriate if man were genetically derived from some previously living form. Thus, the scriptures whole-heartedly refute the idea that man is nothing more than a high brow ape with no moral responsibility to God.
Some have scoffed at the scriptural record because of the statement that God, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” This criticism is based upon ignorance of scriptural usage. Breath, symbolizing Spirit, is a common metaphor throughout the scriptures. “By the Word of God were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psa. 33:6. By the symbolical act of exhaling Jesus, meeting with His disciples after His resurrection symbolized for them the reception of the Holy Spirit. Jno. 20:22.
“The wind (Greek “Pneuma” also translated Spirit in the same verse) bloweth where it listeth…” Jno. 3:8. The Spirit blows or breathes where it chooses. Thus, we see that interpreting on the analogy of the familiar use of words in the scriptures, the breath of God in Gen. 2:7 symbolizes the special Spiritual creative act whereby man was made a living being.
At a recent conference of Christian teachers of science, the two anthropologists on the panel, Professor James O. Buswell III and Professor Donald R. Wilson, emphasized what they called the “bio-cultural gap,” between man and other living creatures. They testified that whereas many “gaps” in scientific knowledge are going closed, this bio-cultural gap between man and other living creatures seems clearly marked in antiquity and is not being closed.”
Ecc. 3:21, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” This passage reveals that there is a difference between the spirit of a man and the spirit of a beast, and God is the only one who knows the difference and the answer to this question.
Q: If, as the ecclesiastic writer declares, the spirit of a man goes to a different place than the spirit of a beast, then where does the spirit of man go, and does the nonmaterial being of man continue after death?
A: We must note that the word, “immortality,” as it occurs in the English Bible does not have the same meaning as the word has in secular philosophy or in popular speech. “Immortality,” in the New Testament translates “aphtharsia,” which literally means, “incorruption,” and which the biblical writers used to designate the future state of the redeemed only. Rom. 2:7; I Cor. 15:42,50,53,54; Eph. 6:24; II Tim. 1:10. And the corresponding adjective will be found in Rom. 1:23; I Cor. 9:25; I Cor. 15:52; I Tim. 1:17; I Peter 1:4, 23; 3:4.
Not only does the Bible teach the immorality of the soul but it also teaches what the Deists used to call “future rewards and punishments,”or a heaven of bliss for those who are saved through Jesus Christ, and a future hell of torment for those who have rejected the grace of God in Christ.
Jesus used the word, “Gehenna,” in the following passages: Matt. 5:22, 29,30; 10:28 (Parallel to Luke 12:5); Matt. 18:9; 23:15; 23:33; Mark 9:43,45,47. James used the word figuratively in 3:6. The lake of fire is referred to in Revelation 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8. This then is the “second death” and the eternal destiny of the wicked.
Q: Why does God permit so much evil?
This is a question for believers rather than unbelievers. If there is no God, then things just happen without cause and by blind chance. If there is a God, then those who believe in him must answer the question to their own satisfaction.
God is not responsible for suffering, but he allows it in order to purify nations, churches, and individuals. In a nutshell evil and suffering accomplishes good in human character. Even though God is not responsible for evil, He permits it in order to work out His sovereign will and purposes. Consider the case of Joseph and his brethren of whom Joseph said, “…ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20).
The blessings and mercies of God tend always to do one of two things, soften the heart or harden the heart of the one who is the recipient of said blessings and mercies. Appreciated they awaken a sense of gratitude. Abused they harden the heart. Affliction can often be a blessing in disguise which tends either to wilt the heart into submission to God’s will, or harden the heart until our whole outlook toward God, and our fellow man becomes distorted and out of shape.
Q: Why were the disciples understood at Pentecost, and the Pentecostals today are not?
Are the Pentecostals today really not understood (I Cor. 14:1)? Certainly, God understands what can be a language of men or angels (I Cor. 13:4).There have been authenticated instances of people having received the Holy Ghost Baptism in the missions fields, and when they did, they spoke in perfect English, a language in which they had never been schooled.
The real issue at stake in a question of this nature is not whether Pentecostal people who claim the phenomena of tongues are, or are not understood, but the real issue is a question of whether or not those who deny our claim to this experience are “rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15)
Obviously, those who question the validity of our claim to this New Testament experience, do so on the basis of the fact that on the Day of Pentecost the Pentecostians spoke in a language which was understood by the multitudes assembled in Jerusalem on that particular occasion (Acts 2).
Whereas, on the other hand, there is no mention of a comprehension by the members of Peter’s troop who visited Cornelius’ household. Cornelius and the members of his household all spoke with tongues (from the Greek word “glossa” meaning languages). Peter identified this as a distinguishing mark which indicated that, “On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For we heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:45,46).
Some would have us believe that whenever a person speaks with tongues, it must be done only when there is an interpreter present who can interpret and explain what has been spoken in tongues, supporting this view from I Cor. 14:27,28. However, they fail to distinguish the difference between the gift of tongues, (which is what Paul is talking about in I Cor. 14) and the evidence of tongues which accompanies the initial experience of Spiritual indwelling.
Notice carefully that the gift of tongues is given to those who already possess the Spirit (I Cor. 12:7-13).
If there is not a difference, then Paul flagrantly violated his own instructions (I Cor. 14:27,28) by allowing the Ephesians to speak with tongues without an interpreter, as well as Peter and the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:44,48).
The obvious conclusion is this, there is a difference between the gift of tongues, and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. One must always have an interpreter, whereas, the other can, but does not necessarily have to.
Q: How could the Baptism of the Holy Ghost be a Christian experience before the person even became a Christian?
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a Christian experience in the same way that Faith is a Christian experience in the same way Confession is a Christian experience, and it is a Christian experience in the same way that Baptism is a Christian experience.
It is a Christian experience in that God ordained it to be a Christian experience (Joel 2:28,29) (Jno. 3:5) (Rom. 8:9) (I Cor. 12:13). To the non-Christian at Pentecost it was said, “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” (Acts 2:38).
The thing to keep in mind is that the scriptures cannot be broken. If the Bible declares a thing, then it must be as the Bible declares it to be. If this statement is true, then how do we explain that the scriptures speak of “Belief unto life” (Jno. 3:16), “Repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18), “Baptism which enables us to walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4), and the “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2).
The answer is found in the word “synecdoche” which is a figure of speech which puts a part for the whole and the whole for a part.
As an example, a soldier walks into a room full of civilian friends and someone says, “Here comes the army,” meaning, of course, the man in military uniform stands for or represents the whole army.
Thus, we come to understand that when the Bible speaks of, “Belief unto life,” it incorporates in the one word the whole plan of God for the life of an individual as relates to Christianity.
That plan includes the Christian experiences of Faith in Christ, Repentance of sin, Confession of Christ, Baptism of the Holy Ghost by Christ, and a life of consistent Christian living.
Any of the foregoing experiences relating to Christianity would be Christian.
Q: Does the Bible teach “Justification by Faith” alone to the exclusion of everything else? What is the relationship of the Holy Spirit Baptism to justification?
A: We would like to explain the relationship of the Holy Ghost to salvation, and at the same time clear up the great misunderstanding which surrounds the phrase, “saving faith.”
First of all, it would do well for us to consider the fact that much of what is taught in traditional religious circles in the area of religious doctrine, was something which developed in the thinking of religious theologians down thru the course of centuries. Doctrines such as Heriditary Depravity and Predestination, were doctrines not clearly expressed in the Bible, rather were later developments of men like Augustine, and Calvin.
Such was the development of the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone, to the exclusion of everything else. This doctrine was developed in the thinking of Martin Luther and was handed down to traditional religions to the present day. The main proof text for his doctrine was found in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Incidentally, Luther became so confused when he read the book of James and it’s reference to “Justification by works,” (James 2:24) that he discarded the latter as an “Epistle of straw.”
The word justification is a legal term and carries with it the idea of absolving from blame or guilt, thus it is the judicial act whereby the sinner is freed from the guilt and penalty of sin.
That the scriptures teach that we are “Justified by Faith,” is in no way questioned. However, a careful examination of the Bible will reveal that man is not “Justified by Faith” alone to the exclusion of everything else.
In Romans 3:24, Paul speaks of Justification by Grace, in Romans 5:1, we read of Justification by Faith, Romans 5:9, Justification by blood, I Corinthians 6:11, Justification in the name of the Lord, I Corinthians 6:11, Justification by the Spirit, and in James 2:24, Justification by works. Thus, we must logically conclude that the scriptures teach Justification by Faith, but not by faith alone: Justification by the Spirit, but not by the Spirit alone: Justification by works, but not by works alone. It takes all of these things to effect a deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin in the life of a sinner. Thus, it cannot be said that a man is justified by any one to the exclusion of any other.
With this in mind, we can now proceed to the question of whether or not the baptism of the Holy Spirit (which infilling influence is necessary to be justified in the eyes of God. I Corinthians 6:11) is received when one has faith or believes in Christ. The answer to this question is found in Acts 19:2, where Paul inquires of the Ephesian believers, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
When these believers expressed ignorance on the subject of the Holy Spirit, Paul then laid hands on them and they received the standard and normal New Testament experience of salvation when they received the Holy Ghost Baptism. Acts 19:5,6.
All of this coincided perfectly with John 3:5, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Paul explains “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” I Corinthians 10:13. That the one body Paul speaks of is the church none can honestly doubt. Ephesians 1:22,23, Colossians 1:18. And that those who are in the body are the saved may be substantiated by such scriptures as Ephesians 5:23 and Acts 20:28.
Thus, we conclude that to be in Christ is to have salvation. II Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 1:2, Galatians 3:26,27. To be in Christ is to have redemption Ephesians 1:7, Acts 20:28. Redemption through the blood of Christ is in Christ. To be in Christ is to be in His church. Thus, it follows that redemption through the blood of Christ is in the church or body of Christ. To be in Christ is to be reconciled, and according to Ephesians 2:16, that reconciliation is in the church (body) Ephesians 1:22, 23.
Since salvation consists of redemption thru the blood, and reconciliation to God thru Christ, it stands to reason that the only way this can be accomplished is as we become one with Christ in the body of Christ.
The next question is, “How do men get into the body of Christ?” The answer is that they are born into it or baptized into it. John 3:5 speaks of a birth of “Water and Spirit.” Galatians 3:27 speaks of baptism into Christ (baptizo) without any qualifying phrases, which baptism can only be water baptism. I Corinthians 10:13 speaks of being baptized into the body by the Spirit, with the qualifying term Spirit explaining what kind of baptism it is. Ephesians 4:5, declares there is only “One Baptism.” In light of the scriptures, we conclude that the one baptism spoken of by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:5 is one baptism of two elements, corresponding to John 3:5, Galatians 3:27, and I Corinthians 10:13. Thus, the steps that lead into a new birth experience and complete New Testament salvation are as follows: Faith (Hebrews 11:6; Mark 16:16-17), Repentance (Acts 17:30), Water Baptism (Mark 16:16,17; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; I Peter 3:21), and Holy Spirit Baptism or Infilling (I Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:38; Ephesians 4:5; Romans 8:9; John 3:5).
Q: Will God give me a second chance?
A: Peter denied the Lord thrice, was forgiven, converted, empowered with the Holy Spirit, and used as the spokesman for the apostles in bringing the message of deliverance and salvation to the three stratums of humanity, Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles: (Matt. 16:69-75; Luke 22:32; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4, 14-40; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 10:9-48). Simon the Sorceror who after believing the Gospel and obeying the commands of Phillip to be baptized for the remission of sin, allowed himself to become carnal, to the extent that he wanted to buy the power of imparting the Holy Ghost thru the laying on of hands (Acts 8:5-19), is another example of one to whom a second chance was extended. Peter said unto him, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Acts 8:22). Other examples include Jonah, David, and the Prodigal son, etc.
To these and wayward souls of all ages God speaks in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Q: Will God hear a sinners prayer?
A: In answer to this question please notice again II Chronicles 7:14. Here is a case of a person or persons in sin being given the promise of an answer to their prayers. In Luke 18:13, is the case of the Publican who prayed, “…God be merciful to me a sinner.” Then in the l4th verse Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified…”
By contrast, in Psalm 66:18 David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” At this juncture the scriptures are paradoxical, but the answer is quite simple, God hears the prayer of the pentitent heart, but the man who utters an insincere prayer intention of doing better wastes his with no time.
It all boils down to this, when a man prays for the mercy and blessing of God, if he expects to receive an answer to that prayer then he must prove his sincerity to God by acting like the kind of person God would have him to be.
Q: Why do you baptize someone who has already received the Holy Ghost? Aren’t they already saved and a Child of God without baptism in Jesus’ Name?
A: Paul explains how the children of God are made by faith in Galatians 3:26,27, “For ye are (present tense) all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been (past tense) baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
It cannot be said of an individual that he is a child of God, (present tense), until it can also be said of that individual that he has been baptized (past tense). Then in Galatians 4:6 we find that the obedient soul receives the Spirit of Christ which makes them a living son of God. The order is love God, obey God, and the Spirit of God comes to make it’s abode in us. (John 14:23). Peter agrees with this in Acts 5:32, “And we are his witnesses of these things and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.”
Thus, Peter was inspired of the Spirit to declare, “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
The complete answer to all of the above mentioned questions may be summarized in John 3:5, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
To the discriminating eye it becomes obvious, that the New Birth is one birth of two elements. Water Baptism in Jesus Name, and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, which is in perfect accord with the apostles doctrine in Acts 2:38-42.
Paul, who was also an apostle and preached the same gospel doctrines advocated by Peter, declares, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:17,18.
Q: What was meant by Jesus, in the great commission, when he said to baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?
Note how the prepositions “in” and “into”, the name of jesus are used quite interchangably.
Vines expository dictionary of New Testament words under the heading of baptizo, p. 97, 2nd, paragraph. “the phrase in matt. 28:19, “baptizing them into the name” (r.v.; cp. Acts 8:16, r.v.), would indicate that the Baptized person was closely bound to, or became the property of, the one
Into whose name he was baptized.”
Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 2, p. 377, Name was an ancient synonym for “person.” Payment was always made in the name of some person referring to ownership. Therefore one being baptized in the Name (“Onoma”-proper noun) of Jesus Christ becomes the personal property of Christ. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Ye are Christ’s” (I Cor. 3:23).
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 3, p. 502, paragraph 2. “To speak or act in someone’s name is to act as the representative of that person and hence to participate in his authority…..Similarly, tobe called by a person’s name. (lit. “to call a name upon”) implies ownership by the person. Whatever is so called comes under the authority and protection of the one whose name is called upon it. Joab warns David that if he, and not David, completes the conquest of Rabbah, the city will be called by Joab’s name i.e., he will claim authority over it (II Sam. 12:28). Isaiah forsees that Jerusalem will be so depopulated that seven women will urge one man: “Only let us be called by your name,” so that they may enjoy the protection of being owned by a husband. (Isa. 4:1). In Bible language we find that a wife becomes the property of a husband when she relinquishes her name, and assumes his. Paul the apostle with reference to the body of Christ which is his church (Eph. 1:22,23) declares that those who are in Christ are married to Christ (Rom. 7:4) (II Cor. 11:2). This union with Christ comes when we are baptized into the NAME of Jesus Christ at the waters of baptism. (Gal. 3:27).
“Ye” is the subject of the sentence. “Go” is a verb, “and” is a conjunction that ties together a subordinate clause. “Baptizing them” is an adverbial clause modifying the word go. (no question about the mode of baptism since the word itself means to dip or immerse) “In the name” is a prepositional phrase which modifies the word baptizing, or explains that the baptizing is to be done using a particular formula. “Of the Father,” “and of the Son,” “and of the Holy Ghost,” are all prepositional phrases which modify the “name,” revealing to us the fact that there is a name that is the common object of the three prepositional phrases. That name is Jesus Christ. Proof of which may be found in (Isa. 9:6), a messianic prophesy which found it’s fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice also that the word name is singular not plural denoting the fact that there is only one name denoting the fact that there is only one name to be used in the baptismal formula that Jesus gave to his disciples. It would also be wise to consider the fact that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are not proper noun names rather they are common nouns which describe the position of the one in whose name the disciples are to baptize.
Some conclude that since capital letters are used at the beginning of the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that this indicates that they are proper noun names. However, we often refer to Mr. Nixon as Mr. President, or to the leader of a committee as Mr. Chairman, recognizing that this is a title of honor rather than the individuals proper name.
Authority? Some contend that “In the name” or “Into the name” means in the authority of, or under the authority of an individual.
It is interesting to note that men can be such sound exegetes on some things and ignore other things that are equally important. Everywhere in the Bible where there is a reference to “a name” or “the name” in relation to Christian baptism the word name is a translation of the Greek word “Onoma,” which is the Greek word for a proper noun name. Not one time, in any translation is this word translated “authority,” for that is not what the sacred writer intended to say. There are seven Greek words which conote the idea of authority as used in the New Testament: (exousia) (epitage) (huperoche) (exousiazo) (dunastes) (authenteo). If God intended that, “In the name of,” should mean, “In the authority of,” why didn’t He refer to it somewhere?
Q: Is the Holy Spirit just something to help you with your Christian life, or is it a necessary step to enter the kingdom of God?
A: First, let us explain that God is a spirit (John 4:24). As such, He is a “Holy Spirit” or “The Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the Executive office of the Godhead, the “Holy Spirit” is God in action.
Man can make, only God can create. Creative power being a divine prerogative was exercised by the Spirit at creation, when He brooded over a chaotic condition and produced this beautiful world of ours (Genesis 1:2).
The Spirit of God is the Life-Giver, and the means by which God has brought the world into existence. Job said, “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). Genesis 2:7 records, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
That it is necessary that man be converted in order to enjoy the favor of God is not a matter of controversy with any save Universalists and Modernists. Thus, we assume that man created by God, activated by divine breath, into a state of sinless life, has fallen from the Grace of Godthrough the sin of Adam, and must be converted from this lost state. Such an act of conversion is referred to in the Bible as “Regeneration” or “New Birth.” This regeneration, as the original generation is something that must and can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration id termed a “New Birth” by Jesus in John 3:5 when He declares, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Paul the apostle refers to this New Birth in Titus 3:5 as, “…the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Bringing to our awareness that it is through the experience of the New Birth that man is restored to the divine relationship enjoyed prior to the Adamic fall.
Paul further declares in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And John says of Christ, “…as many as received Him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God…” (John 1:12).
In I Corinthians 12:13 we read, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
Verse 27, amplifies the reference to the body by explaining to the members of the church at Corinth (and al who are in the Church of Christ), “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Thus we conclude that to be in Christ is to be in the body, and to get into the body we must be baptized into it by the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).
Romans 8:9 also emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual for Paul says, “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
Apart from the act of placing us in the body of Christ, the work of God in the office of the Holy Spirit is to comfort (John 14:16,17), lead and guide (John 16:13), is the means of access to God whether for salvation, worship or healing (Ephesians 2:18), and is the great pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Finally the Holy Spirit empowers us for Christian service (Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49), and will enable us to live a victorious overcoming life if we will only follow it’s leading and direction (Romans 8:14).
Q: Why is baptism necessary i.e. water baptism – what happens when one is baptized, what really takes place in the water?
A: There are nine designs of baptism (by design I mean purposes).
1. The first is the primary motivation. The others are secondary and subsidiary. They tend to express blessings which result from the primary motivation. The highest and nobelest design of baptism is simply to obey the will of God, in short obedience. Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15). The desire and eagerness to do the same should prompt our action. That obedience is the primary design of baptism may be found from the following scriptures: (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:17-18; I Pet. 1:22).
2. The second design of baptism is the legal sense baptism is the grounds of an appeal by a good conscience against wrong doing as suggested in the Greek word “eperotema” translated “answer” in I Pet. 3:21. The affirmative response to a good conscience renders the act legal and binding from that time forward. Baptism is a pledge or appeal to God for acceptance upon the basis of the proper attitude and response to the divine will. Baptism cleanses from the guilt of sin and purges the conscience from the stain of transgression making possible access to God.
3. The third design of baptism is to bring us into a relationship with the Godhead. Matthew 28:19 reads “eis to onoma (into the name).” The Greek “eis” signifies action from without to within. It is not that we are baptized “in” something to which we are already a part, but “into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” which baptism brings us into relationship with deity. Since the word name is singular, and there is only one proper noun name in the New Testament relative to deity (Jesus), we come to understand what that name is. Paul later affirms this great truth in Col. 2:9 where he says, “For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
4. Baptism enables us to receive the Holy Spirit, to indwell us as God’s wonderful gift (Acts 2:38).
5. Baptism brings us into organic relationship in the body of Christ (Gal. 3:27). Which body is the church (Col. 1:18). Thus as members of the body or church of Christ we enter into an organic relationship with one another thru the medium of baptism.
6. The sixth design of baptism is that it enables us to share in a likeness of the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3). What Christ did for all men that they might be saved each man must do for Jesus that he may be saved.
7. Baptism also serves as a garment. Isaiah the prophet spoke of God clothing man with the garments of salvation (Isa. 61:10), whereas Paul explains that this is accomplished in Christ (Gal. 3:27). It is one thing to identify with Jesus in his resurrection, but it is a different thing to wear him so that the shame of our nakedness does not appear.
8. The eighth design of baptism is to bring us into a state of wholeness. In Mark 16:16 the Greek word “sozo” translated saved, is also rendered heal 3 times elsewhere, make whole 9 times, and preserve 1 time. This is the very word used by Christ when he told the woman with the issue of blood that her faith had made her whole (“sozo”). The sinner is deformed. He is crippled and abnormal needing to be restored to the state of normalcy that God intended for man, this can only be accomplished as he is rescued, saved, and transformed from his condition.
9. The final design of baptism is the remission, or forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism is unto forgiveness, not because it purchases, procures or produces it, but because it transfers the obedient from a state of alienation to one of citizenship where amnesty can be freely granted by the King to all who have accepted Christ.
We do not trust in water for salvation but in Jesus who is the head of the church. We do not trust in Jesus because we have been baptized for the remission of sins, but because we believe that in Jesus we are baptized to enroll as his disciples, and God forgives our sins.
Q: Do you believe that the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection are reasonable?
A: History very seldom records reasonable things. Rarely do we read of the common man in history. For the most part reasonable things don’t make history, its the unreasonable, the unusual. Therefore, on the basis of the unusual nature of the Virgin Birth and the authenticity of the New Testament, I accept this account as well as the testimony of the disciples to the Resurrection of Christ as reasonable.
Q; Can we believe in the authenticity of the Bible?
A: No scholar refutes the authenticity of the New Testament or its writers. The New Testament documents are authentic, and can be proven beyond a shadow of doubt. According to the New Testament Jesus Christ is God. He was crucified, and rose from the dead. The Gospel writers are reliable, and must be accepted, or we cannot believe in anything.
The Old Testament scriptures were vague, but in the New Testament is an authentic account of how God broke into history, and revealed himself thru Jesus Christ, to give us an accurate record that is irrefutable.
None of the Philosophers have been validated as much as Jesus Christ. Plato’s disciples wrote of him, Socrates left no records, the only information concerning Socrates, which was left to posterity, was that written by his disciples. We accept Socrates, how can we accept him, and not accept the Gospel record of Jesus Christ?
“If the tests which have been used to disprove the existence of Jesus Christ had been used with the same severity on other characters of ancient history that they have been on Christ, then no historical character of antiquity would remain historical” (Jewish Theologian Joseph Klausner, in his book on the Life of Christ). Proof that the New Testament is – historically valid may be found in several sources, among them the following:
“Are The New Testament Documents Reliable?”Dr. F.F. Bruce, Prof. of New Testament University of Manchester, England
“Conservative Introduction to the New Testament” Samuel Cartlage
“Introduction to the Old Testament” E.J. Young, Westminster School of Theology, Penn.
These and several other outstanding conservative works along with archeological findings serve to substantiate the authenticity of the Bible.
Q: Why is the baptism of the Holy Ghost necessary?
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is necessary because Jesus said, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jno. 3:5).
For the purpose of clarification it is necessary to define a few terms:
Baptism means to be immersed in, or plunged into. We can be simultaneously immersed into the Spirit of God, and filled with the Spirit. However, the same cannot be said of water in relation to baptism. Hence, John the Baptist said, “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:8).
No distinction can be made between being baptized with the Spirit and being filled with it. John was merely using an analogy consistent with the purification by water. He could not have said, for example:
“I indeed have filled you with water, etc.” To have done so would not have been baptism but drowning. To prove this contention a little more strongly, read the words of Jesus as he reiterated John’s prophesy:
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5).
Since this was but a few days before Pentecost Jesus must have been referring to that event. He also spoke of the Holy Ghost coming upon them (Acts 1:8). However, when the day of Pentecost finally came the Bible says, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).
It should be quite obvious from the following passages as well as a host of others that the following terms are equivalent:
“Born of the Spirit” (Jno. 3:5)
“Baptized with the Spirit” (Acts 1:5)
“Filled with the Spirit” (Acts 2:4)
“Received” or “Received the gift of” (Acts 2:38)
“Fall on” or “Fallen upon” (Acts 10:44)
“Came upon” (Acts 19:6)
“Pour out the Spirit” (Acts 2:18)
Paul also states an equivalence between baptism and being filled:
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into that one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13).
The new birth; life with God, life with Christ; life free from sins mastery; life unaffected by death (Rom. 6:1-11); life of the same nature as God’s life and therefore characterized by righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24); life baptized in or filled with the Spirit; a definate spiritual reality (Jno. 3:3-7); a new person to be either nourished or starved spiritually (I Pet. 2:1,2) this is the “new life” or “new birth” of which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. This “new life,” or baptism in the Spirit, Jesus makes clear beyond a shadow of doubt, is necessary for spiritual life or kingdom citizenship (Jno. 3:5).
Since Christ is the saviour of the body (Eph. 5:23), and since one enters into the body thru the two constituent elements of water and Spirit (Jno. 3:5; Gal. 3:27; I Cor. 12:13), and to be in the body is to have a “new life,” it stands to reason that to gain entrance into thiskingdom in which there is “new life,” one must have “poured out upon him,” or be “receive,” “baptized in or with the Holy Spirit.”
This and this alone gives man the salvation which is in Christ, and comes with the “new life” thru the Spirit.
(The above material was published by Harvestime, St. Louis, MO.)
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