|REPENTANCE AND BAPTISM
I know a lady who says she does not need to repent, because she has never sinned. She was a friend of my late aunt's, and they both attended the Baptist church. Although my aunt knew better than that, she could not convince her friend. Scripture says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Yahweh (Rom. 3:23).
Today, let's examine the premises of repentance, conversion, and baptism. Why do we need to repent, and what are we to repent of? Converted from what, and to what? And saved from what?
Right after creation, in the garden of Eden, Yahweh gave Adam and Eve instruction in righteous living. He revealed His laws, the 10 Commandments, to them. But Eve chose to listen to a different instructor, and Adam went along with her. They brought sin into the world, because the penalty for committing sin is death. Yahweh had said, "in the day you eat thereof, ye shall surely die." They brought the death penalty upon themselves on that day.
(1 Cor 15:21-24) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to Yahweh, even the Fa-ther; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
So, the man and woman, the progenitors of all mankind, had sinned and brought the death penalty upon all their future children. But Yahweh made a way for them to avoid the death penalty - not by compromising with His eternal, immutable law, but by promising to send a Redeemer at a future time to redeem them from their lost condition - from the death penalty.
Gen 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Isa 7:14, Therefore Yahweh himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall con-ceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Mat 1:23, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, El with us.
So, in due time Yahweh sent this Redeemer, this Savior, in the person of Yahshua the Messiah. But those to whom He was sent rejected Him and killed Him. Of course, this was part of Yahweh's plan. Because only by the shedding of blood can sin be blotted out and for-given. And not just any blood; it had to be from an innocent, sinless victim. If we shed our own blood and die, that is only sufficient to pay for our own sins. But Yahshua, sin-free, died to redeem us to Yahweh. He made a covenant with Israel, but they broke it. Then He made a spiritual covenant with those whom He is calling. He promised that if we would accept the Savior's sacrifice to pay for our own sins, and then stop breaking His law, His 10 Command-ments, He would send His Holy Spirit to dwell in our minds, to make it possible for us to keep the Commandments.
Baptism, which means complete immersion or burial in a watery grave, is the New Covenant sign of acceptance, just as circumcision was under the Old Covenant.
(Col 2:8-13), Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Messiah. For in him dwel-leth all the fullness of the Heavenly Father bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Mes-siah: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of Yahweh, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
(Mat 28:18-20), And Yahshua came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We have a commission to teach others, and baptize those who accept Yahshua's sacri-fice, and who then stop their law-breaking and begin to keep the Commandments. This is what the Apostles did on the Day of Pentecost in 31 CE. Note particularly the Apostle Peter's instructions:
(Acts 2:36-41), Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that Yah hath made that same Yahshua, whom ye have impaled, both Lord and Messiah. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apos-tles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be bap-tized every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as Yahweh our El shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
As I said, baptism is a symbolic burial of our old carnal self, and resurrection of the new person from a watery grave.
(Rom 6:3-8), Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua Messiah were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with him:
But how can we live with Him? What will preserve our lives? What will get us into this resurrection he speaks of? The Holy Spirit dwelling in our minds!
(Rom 8:8-11), So then they that are in the flesh cannot please Yah. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Yah dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Messiah, he is none of his. And if Messiah be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
And then, when that Spirit dwells in you, you are a new creature: (2 Cor 5:1721), Therefore if any man be in Messiah, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; be-hold, all things are become new. And all things are of Yah, who hath reconciled us to himself by Yahshua Messiah, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that Yah was in Messiah, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Mes-siah, as though Yah did beseech you by us: we pray you in Messiah's stead, be ye reconciled to Yah. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of Yahweh in him.
We are to be saved from death (Rom. 6:23), from the second death, which is the final death from which there is no resurrection (Mal. 4:1-3, Mat. 25:41, Rev. 20:14-15).
We are to call on the Name of Yahweh for Salvation. Yah-shua means Yah's salva-tion.
We are to be baptized into the family of Yah, by the authority of, and in the name of, Yahshua the Messiah, calling on the Name of Yahweh. (Acts 22:16) And now why tarri-est thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of Yahweh.
(Acts 2:21) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yah-weh shall be saved.
(Joel 2:32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yah-weh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Yahweh hath said, and in the remnant whom Yahweh shall call.
Then, after baptism, we are to have hands laid on us for the receiving of that life-giving Holy Spirit:
(Acts 8:14-17), Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of Yahweh, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: (For as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Master Yahshua.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 19:1-6), And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily bap-tized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Yahshua Messiah. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Master Yahshua. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
This not only gives an example of laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit, but also an example of re-baptism. These people had already been baptized by John the Baptist, but they were then re-baptized in Yahshua's Name.
And when we receive the Holy Spirit (The Mind of Messiah dwelling in us), we then can obey the spiritual intent of the Law. Phil. 2:5, let this mind be in you, which is also in Yahshua Messiah. We must obey, and we must have the Holy Spirit in order to obey.
(Acts 5:32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom Yahweh hath given to them that obey him.
(Heb 5:9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;.
To repent means to ask forgiveness for our past sins, to trust that Yahshua's sacrifice is sufficient to pay the cost for those sins. To be converted means to turn around and go the other way; to reform ourselves, stop going the world's way and start following Yahshua. He is our example. And, then, if we remain faithful to the end, we will be in Yahweh's Kingdom.
But Satan is not pleased with this arrangement - neither is your own flesh. Just as soon as you repent and begin your new life of obedience, WAR is declared against you and that new life.
(James 4:1-8), From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Yahweh? whoso-ever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Yahweh. Do ye think that the scrip-ture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, Yahweh resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to Yahweh. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to Yahweh, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
In Romans 7:14-25, we read of Paul's problems with the flesh. Verse 23 mentions this war, and verse 25 offers the solution: Yahshua Messiah. Through Him we can overcome. But we will endure testing and persecution. We are not promised a "rose garden," and a life of ease. (2 Tim 3:12) Yea, and all that will live righteously in Messiah Yahshua shall suffer persecution.
We have to resist Satan and our own fleshly pulls.
(1 Tim 1:18) This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophe-cies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
(1 Pet 2:11) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
(1 Cor 9:26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
(1 Tim 6:12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
(2 Tim 4:7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
So you see we are in a spiritual warfare - the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seek-ing whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We are in a spiritual warfare against wicked spirits in high places (Eph. 6:12).
(Rev 12:17) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the testimony of Yahshua Messiah.
And then, when Yahshua returns to set up His kingdom here on earth, He will say to us, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:---" Mat. 25:34.
In conclusion, let me just say that if you have not been baptized into the Name of the only One in whom there is salvation, then you should consider doing so as soon as possible. Repentance comes first, then faith toward Yahweh, then baptism into Yahshua's saving Name for the remission of sins, then the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. This is the key that will get us into the first, or better, resurrection. Remember, though, that repentance comes first - truly repent of our sins. Otherwise, we will go into the water a dry sinner, and come up a wet one. May Yahweh guide you as you seek His will.
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