“Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water.” (Leviticus 8:6)
This “Levitical washing” or symbolic cleansing of the priests (Arron and his sons) for religious service is the background of all religious ceremonies of cleansing in the Bible. It was practiced in the Dead Sea Scrolls community of Qumran, and it probably influenced the popular understanding of John’s baptism and Jewish proselyte baptism. Christian baptism differed both from these washings in these ways. It was performed only once, pictured the death and resurrection of the believer with Christ, and pointed forward to the final resurrection unto eternal life. Because all Christians are priests and ministers unto God, Christian baptism became the sign of their dedication to Christ and their new life in Him.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, today we lift up the gift of baptism, for all who seek to serve Christ. The purpose is to make an outward statement of an inward commitment to serve Christ in our daily lives, and carrying the gospel message of salvation that Jesus delivered to us in His death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead, and to ascend to God the Father in the Kingdom. Our Father loves us all; Christ loves us all, and we love each other along with our Creator and Savior. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Love is seen through our words and actions, not by a microscope!”
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
All of Hebrews uses the worship practices of he Old Testament as a picture of Christian life and worship. The priests had to be washed with pure water before they exercised their religious duties. Christians are all priests and ministers of God. Baptism is similar to the washing of the Levitical priests in that it publicly symbolizes cleansing and dedication for service. Having their “hearts sprinkled” and their bodies “washed” is a parallelism such as we have throughout the Bible, revealing that both the inward cleansing (hear) and outward washing (of the body) must take place in valid Christian baptism. Whether you believe in “full immersion,” or “symbolic cleansing by sprinkling of the body is acceptable and is fully within the intent of Scripture.
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into
the world to save sinners—-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1st Corinthians 1:13-17)
Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, is exhibit A of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The grace which saved Paul can save us all. No person is too evil to be saved through God’s grace. Jesus’ basic mission was to gain salvation for sinners. He thus made salvation available to each one of us to accomplish this task.
Paul fully understood that his teaching had proven trust in life and could be trusted. The “worst of sinners” could teach absolute truth (3:1, 4:9; 2nd Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8). The church agreed that Paul’s teaching was trustworthy. Thus they collected his personal letters to young pastors as part of Holy Scripture. Not just the verses Paul indicated are trustworthy. All Scripture is trustworthy. God’s salvation is from sin and for sinners (Matt 1:2), and a proper human response to salvation is the confession of sin. All who commit themselves in Christ in faith receive eternal life, and all sinners have a chance if they will repent and believe.
Finally, Paul used His own prayer of praise to teach Timothy the basic nature of the Father. He is the one and only true God, who rules the earth; His is immortal; He is invisible (but would not let anyone make an image of Him to worship. He wants us to worship Him, without never seeing Him at all. Invisible and immortal refer to His existence as spirit rather than as a physical being.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?’ “We can,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit on my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.’” (Mark 10:38-40)
To baptize (Greek – baptizo) can mean to drown or overwhelm as in a flood. It is crystal clear that Jesus used this word as a metaphor for the suffering and death which would soon “overwhelm” Him on the cross. The “cup” is also the symbol of bitter dregs of suffering . In mentioning baptism and the cup, Jesus connected both the later Christian ordinances with His death.
Seats or service has been a continuing issue of debate and discussion in the Christian community. The issue has developed into conflict and controversy since the beginning of the church. Jesus cleared up the issue for the elect, yet the controversy persists. Suffering and service with Jesus are the proper positions for those who are the elect of God. Are you one who is hanging around expecting a comfortable seat and a position of authority? This is usually what gets people into trouble in this world and the next!