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About-Him.Com Devotional 06-25-2011

Thoughts in Colossians: Water Baptism, the Circumscion of Christ

Text: Colossians 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

In our recent devotionals, we have stressed that after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God and that all of the fullness of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Ghost dwells in Him bodily.

Although, in an effort to simplify things,  we assign body parts to God, He is an invisible Spirit with no visible body parts.  The Right Hand of God is a metaphor for the place of power and authority.     At His ascension, Jesus said that all power of heaven and earth had been given unto Him. His sittings at the right hand of power displays Him as the image of the invisible God.

See: The Right Hand of God

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

We have also stressed that our salvation is complete in Jesus, we have need of nothing or anyone else. We have only begun to fathom the unsearchable riches of His being. Why are folks tempted to look elsewhere? He is the head of all principalities and powers. The angelic hosts  are subject to His instant command (Isa. 6:1-8), and the demonic legions were defeated at the cross (Eph. 3:10; Col. 2:15).

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Text: Colossians 2:11  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 Christ:
12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Paul calls water baptism, "The Circumcision of Christ."  According to Paul, this circumcision takes place in the water, where the sins of our flesh are cut away by the circumcision made without hands. In other words it a spiritual happening that man has nothing to do with.

There are two prevalent views on water baptism: The traditional view which deems water baptism to be necessary and is mentioned in some early creeds as being for the remission of sins. There is also  what some call the Baptist view which holds that water baptism  is an outward sign of an inward  work. Obviously something takes place when we repent and believe the gospel. But if our baptism is only a testimony of what has already taken place, this seems to contradict the words of Paul who tells us that this transaction takes place  in the water.

And then of course what is the proper baptismal formula? We may not agree but I'll lay it out as I see it and  you decide what does the bible have to say on the subject?  

I take the text of Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2;38 to be  absolute emphatic and imperative commands of Jesus and Peter. Obviously you don't get baptized until you have believed, come to faith in Christ  and repented first. The actual water itself does not save us (1Pet. 3:21), but faith and obedience does.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Our modern texts of Matthew 28:19 quote Jesus as commanding water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Eusebius, an early church historian, who had access to early writings, claimed that the actual words of Jesus were: "Go, and make disciples of all the nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," ...

A long list of respected scholars state that the early church baptized only in the name of Jesus until the apostles had passed away and the doctrine of the Trinity was gaining prominence.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached to an inquiring mob as to what they were hearing as the Holy Ghost was being poured out on about 120 believers. When he had finished, the mob was convicted of the fact that they had crucified their Messiah, the Lord of Glory. They cried out, "What shall we do?"  Peter commanded repentance and water baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, with the promise of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost? Three thousand obeyed and were added to the church that very first day. See: Baptism for the Remission of Sins

Acts 2:37 ¶  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38  Then Peter said unto them, 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.
39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

I've heard some say that they would rather believe Jesus than Peter. Well, if Peter contradicted Jesus, we might as well just throw our bibles away. No, there is no contradiction. In Whatever way, Jesus stated the baptismal formula, there is no conflict. We must remember that Peter and the other apostles had spent forty days listening to Jesus as He gave commandments of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). We should also remember that every instance where the baptismal formula is mentioned in the book of Acts, it is in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

God revealed Himself at the burning bush as the I AM, stating that this was His name and His memorial for all generations (Ex. 3:14-15; Isa. 48:12). Jesus claimed the name I Am for Himself (Rev. 1:8). Philippians 2:6 tells us that God has given Him the name above every name that every knee should bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. God's name denotes all that He is, has been and will be and it is revealed in Jesus. The literal meaning of His name is The Lord Jehovah has become our Savior.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

When we are baptized into His name, we are honoring the One to whom all power of heaven and earth has been given and in whom the fullness of the godhead dwells bodily. As we've studied in our earlier devotionals, it is He who created all things, all things consist by Him and He upholds all things by the word of His power. We honor the One who shed His blood on our behalf. We pray for the sick in His name and cast out demons in His name and Colossians 3:17 tells us that whatever we do in word or deed, we should do in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him.

In Romans 6:3-6 we see several obvious facts:

When we were baptized into Jesus Christ and we became partakers of His death.

We rose from water baptism to walk in newness of life.

If we have been planted by water baptism into the likeness of His death, we'll raise up into the likeness of His resurrection.

Romans 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6  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.

We can't deny that a change takes place when one responds to the gospel, but I believe that as soon as a person hears and believes the gospel, he/she should be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. Baptism is a command of Jesus, implemented in His name by the apostles and should not be treated lightly  as it is in our day and age. There is power in His eternal name.

Text: Colossians 2:13 ¶  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Paul is reminding the church at Colosse of their initial experience with Christ. They were dead in sin and trespasses, but Jesus  made them alive.  All of their sins were forgiven and they were free from the curse of the law. The ordinances that were against them had been nailed to His cross. And Jesus had delivered them from the grasp of all powers and principalities that had held them in bondage. Having experienced all of that, are they now going to submit to some gifted orator, who wants to put them back into bondage?

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

See: Baptism For the Remission of Sins"

See:     The Name of Jesus  

Somebody Has Said

The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. --C. S. Lewis  

Free Ebooks That You Can Download.

An Expository Study on the Book of Colossians  

The I AMs of Jesus     

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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries

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