BAPTISM- THE TRUE MEANING
Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome in Romans chapter 6 explains that baptism is a symbol of Justification, being made sinfree or being dead to sin. He shows wonderfully the experience of being dead to sin is through Jesus Christ, whose death is to save from sin and give the experience of newness of life.
The act of being immersed into water cannot in any way cleanse a man from sin. It is always shown to be a spiritual washing, a cleansing from sin. Psalms 51:2 “For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God.” Jeremiah 2:22. As spoken by Jeremiah the prophet your sins are not cleansed by your own washing. God is the one who cleanses us from all iniquity, giving us the born again experience (Ezekiel 36:25, Ephesian 6:25, 1 Peter 1:23)
However, the Catholics in their documentary, “Documentary: Protestantism's Big Justification Lie” presents baptism as the means by which a person is regenerated. It is craftily shown that the water “baptism is tool or instrument God uses to pour out his saving blood and the work Christ did to forgive sins on the cross, that baptism is the instrument of that regeneration.”
Is this biblical? Can one do the act of baptism and become regenerate or holy? Can being immersed into the water through the “sacrament of baptism” make you holy before God?
True history shows that the real issue of the reformation is the doctrine that sacrament makes the doer holy or just before God and this is what Martin Luther strongly fought against, justification by works. His issue was not whether or not justification was forensic or not; Melanchthon created that problem.
You see the Catholic church believed/s that sacrament makes the doer of them holy and sanctified; that these works make the doer holy. Sacraments such as Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction. “Signs are made to men for whom it is proper to learn the unknown from the known. So that strictly speaking, a sacrament is the sign of some sacred thing referring to man; so that a sacrament in the strict sense defined here is the sign of a holy thing insofar as it makes men holy.” An Aquinas Reader, pg. 481. Thomas Aquinas goes on to say “There are two aspects in the use of the sacraments: the worship of God and the sanctification of man.” Ibid, pg. 482. “So that in the sacraments of the New Law by which man is sanctified… “You are washed, you are sanctified,” we must make use of those things determined by divine institution.” Ibid, pg. 483. Quotation taken from Revelation 13 studies, The Thomistic Head by Nyron Medina. No wonder, we are told today in 2016 that “baptism is the tool or instrument God uses” as stated in this Catholic documentary.
This is not Biblical; there is no work (law or sacrament) that can be done to free us from sin, to change us, to make us right with God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9. However, it is shown in this documentary that one has to do the sacrament of baptism to be regenerated. Baptism is here seen as a work done to gain the favor of God. What does Regeneration mean? Regeneration: “Greek-Paliggenesia (spiritual) rebirth, spiritual renovation, messianic restoration.” Strongs Bible Dictionary 1890. Since we are dealing with something that is spiritual (regeneration) how can the physical water baptism bring about this spiritual experience? It cannot! While it is true Paul shows in Ephesians 5:26 “with the washing” which is Loutron in the Greek; a bath, that is, (figuratively) baptism: - washing", the question still had to be answered how can something physical wroth in us something that is spiritual? Does the water have magical powers or is it the prayer of the priest? It is impossible!
The answer is found in Paul’s writing to the Church in Rome as mentioned before. He shows us what baptism is a symbol of; it rightfully symbolizes being dead to sin or sinfree, which justification really means. The merits of Christ’s death is the drawing power. (John 12:32,33) Now the merits of Christ’s death is suffrage for sin (Hebrews 13:12, 1 Peter 3; 18) and the gift of life (John 10:10, 11). So we will find these phrases, “buried with him by baptism into death”, “planted in the likeness of his death” and “newness of life” in Romans chapter 6. So what does the death of Christ and his resurrection do for us who believe? We are told that we become “dead to sin” (Romans 6:6). In other words he no longer lives his life sinful, that grace may abound, but that he is sinfree living by grace. How is this possible? Does the water that he is immersed into make him sinfree? No, Paul shows us what all these symbols mean. He said, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified”. The buried with him in baptism into death simply means the crucifixion of the old man ( the carnal mind with its idol values Roman 8:6, Proverbs 23:7) and the inactivation of the body of sin ( Romans 6:6,12). This process is called “justified from sin.” For he that is dead [to sin] is freed (Gr. DIKAIOO-Justified) from sins. Roman 6:7. It is evident that baptism is therefore a symbol of Justification, an act done by Christ or God himself, since it is through Christ’s merits we resurrect in newness of life.
My dear reader, be not deceived into thinking that justification i.e. freedom from sin or the making righteous or holy of a person, is done through some sacrament as the Catholics believe. It is God that justifieth Romans 8:33. The making of the man sinfree, which is the point of change, the regeneration, the spiritual new birth is done by God only. It is monogistic. This is what Abraham our father as pertaining to the flesh had found and this was many, many years before the reformation. “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Romans 4:1-4. Be not deceived dear reader, Water baptism is only a symbol of Justification, thus being made sinfree. Let God Justify you, giving you the gift of the Holy Spirit in your heart in place of the carnal mind for sinfreeness today. Galatians 3:7-9, 14, Galatians 4:6, John 3:5,6, 1 John 3:9)
Sis. Karima Paris