Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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10.3 The Meaning of Baptism

One of the reasons for baptism by immersion is that going under the water symbolises our going into the grave - associating us with the death of Christ, and indicating our ‘death’ to our previous life of sin and ignorance. Coming up out of the water connects us with the resurrection of Christ, relating us to the hope of resurrection to eternal life at his return, as well as to living a new life now, spiritually triumphant over sin on account of Christ’s victory achieved by his death and resurrection.

“...all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death (by baptism), we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5NIV).

Because salvation has been made possible only through Christ’s death and resurrection, it is vital that we associate ourselves with these things if we are to be saved. The symbolic dying and rising again with Christ, which baptism enacts, is the only way to do this. It should be noted that sprinkling does not fulfil this symbol. At baptism, “our old self (way of life) was crucified” along with Christ on the cross (Rom. 6:6NIV); God “made us alive with Christ” at baptism (Eph. 2:5NIV). However, we still have human nature after baptism, and therefore the fleshly way of life will keep raising its head. The ‘crucifixion’ of our flesh (human nature) is therefore an on-going process which only begins at baptism, hence Jesus told the believer to take up his cross each day and follow him, as it were, in the procession towards Calvary (Lk. 9:23; 14:27). Whilst a life of true crucifixion with Christ is not easy, there is unspeakable consolation and joy through being also united with Christ’s resurrection.

Christ brought about “peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20) – “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). Concerning this, Jesus promised: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives (peace) do I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). This peace and true spiritual joy more than balances out the pain and difficulty of openly associating ourselves with the crucified Christ. “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ” (2 Cor. 1:5).

There is also the freedom which comes from knowing that our natural self is really dead, and therefore Jesus is very actively living with us through our every trial. The great apostle Paul could speak from his own experience of this. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).

“Baptism ... now saves you ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21NIV) because our association with Christ’s resurrection to eternal life gives us access to the same at his return. It is through sharing in this resurrection, then, that we will finally be saved. Jesus stated this in very simple terms: “Because I live, you will live also” (Jn. 14:19). Paul likewise: “We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son ... we shall be saved by His life” (resurrection; Rom. 5:10).

Time and again it is emphasised that by associating ourselves with Christ’s death and sufferings in baptism, and our subsequent way of life, we will surely share in his glorious resurrection:-

“If we died with (Christ), we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11,12).

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body ... because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus ... will also raise us with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10,11,14NIV).

Paul shared in “the fellowship of (Christ’s) sufferings, being (by his hard experience of life) conformed to His death, if, by any means, I might attain to the resurrection from the dead.” as experienced by Christ (Phil. 3: 10,11 cf. Gal 6:14).

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||