Sprinkled or dunked? Required for infants, kids, teens or adults only? Performed before salvation, after salvation or is it the actual act of salvation? Baptism. One of the key ‘sacraments’ of most ‘Christian’ denominations, is fraught with disagreements. Who, what, when, how and even if followers are to be baptized is one of the major defining tenets that differentiates between the denominations. Who is in-line with God? Let’s sort this all out.
Born of Water
“Except a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”John 3:5
Many so called “Christians” today teach that to be ‘born of water’ is to be ‘baptized’ or immersed in physical water. They accomplish this by physically dunking their flock in water or sprinkling water on the foreheads of their followers. This act is a perfect example of the fleshly, physical or earthly understanding of God’s Word. This is the literal “interpretation”, if you can call it that, because honestly, what does this understanding leave that needs to be interpreted?
Others believe that ‘born of water’ refers to your physical birth because you were developed of mostly water while floating in embryonic fluid and finally born after your mom’s water broke leading to the physical birth. Therefore, first you are physically born – of water. Do you know anyone that wasn’t physically born? No, me either. There is more here.
Born of the Flesh
The next verse spoken by Jesus is:
“That which is born of the flesh is fleshly and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”John 3:6
Again, there is the literal understanding. Those who are physically born, physically exist. Those born of the the Spirit (‘born-again’) become spiritual. But what does that even mean? Let us reason together by looking at what these words more closely. This is where you need to do some digging on your own in order to prove out what you have been taught. Let’s discern the right from wrong (Malachi 3:18).
Look up the Greek words translated as ‘flesh’ and ‘fleshly’ in a Strong’s Concordance. This resource gives an expanded definition of each specific word or phrase in the Bible. In this case, the Greek word for flesh also means to be carnally or fleshly minded. It’s your mindset! This same word in the Greek is in Romans 8:6 except here, the King James Version has translated it with the more descriptive and accurate phrase, carnally minded.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God… So then they that are in the flesh (fleshly mindset) cannot please God.”Romans 8:6-8
Stuck in the Fleshly Mindset
What’s an example of being carnally or fleshly minded? Thinking Baptism is achieved by physically dunking an infant, child or adult into a vat of physical water. You can not please God this way. God is not telling you to take a bath! God is a Spirit and must be worshiped in the spiritual understanding (John 4:24). Go read the entire chapter of Romans 8. Everywhere you read flesh, instead read fleshly mindset.
Now, if all these denominations think they are fulfilling the baptism by putting physical water on your physical head or body, that would put them in the fleshly or physical mindset and at enmity to God! Even the ones who see this as purely symbolic, a tradition you could say. If you’re focused on the “ceremonial works” of washing, you miss the point of what you should actually be doing.
“Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do… Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.”Mark 7:7-9
Baptized by the ‘Holy Spirit’ and Fire
John the Baptist said:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me is mightier than I… he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.”Matthew 3:11
What is the Baptism? Going to the Strong’s Concordance again, we find an expanded definition of the word translated as baptize or baptism. It means to immerse, wash or submerge, hence the fleshly mindset of dunking your whole body in physical water. But what are you to immerse, wash or submerge yourself into spiritually?
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise…be not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is… as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.”Ephesians 5:15-26
Look to God’s Word to understand His Word. The Words of God are the water to cleanse you of your fleshly understanding and look to the spiritual meaning. This is exactly what Jesus sent the Apostles out to do.
Go you therefore, and teach all tribes, 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…”Matt 28:19-20
How to Baptize
How were they to Baptize? By teaching the Name or Word of God, specifically what God’s Words mean so the Tribes could observe the Commandments. If the water is the Word, what is the Holy Spirit and Fire? The word Spirit also means breath or what comes out of your mouth, the Word. The “Holy Spirit” is the Pure Breath or Words of God. The Fire?
“Is not My Word like as fire? says the LORD…”Jer 23:29
To be baptized in the water, the Holy Spirit and fire is to immerse yourself in the Words of God. You must be “born” or brought forth out of your fleshly understanding and into the spiritual understanding. How? Study to understand God’s Will, God’s Commandments and be like-minded with God. Be as a child coming to understand your Father. You do this by looking into what He has said.
You will not learn the Will of God with a sprinkle or dunk of physical water. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are stuck in the fleshly mindset. Take your bath at home and get away from them!