Meditation

03/07/2022

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saves us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

The “washing of rebirth’ and the renewal by the Holy Spirit connects new birth and the Spirit in the say way they are connected in John 3:5. Baptism not literally wash away sins, but baptism would have no meaning if the Holy Spirit did not bring about a new birth and a renewal of the life of the Christian believer. Baptism must declare outwardly and visibly this inward and spiritual rebirth. Even the Jewish proselyte baptismal formula spoke of one coming from the baptismal waters as a ‘newborn babe.” The Christians proclaimed that the Holy Spirit brought new birth. They confessed it publicly through baptism.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, today we lift up the baptism for the purpose of cleansing, 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:

In trying times—-don’t quit trying!”

KNOWING GOD:

One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5)

Baptism emphasizes the unity of Christian believers because they are baptized into one body, through one Spirit, by one faith, in the one Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism does not guarantee this unity, but baptism signifies this unity in the One Lord. That is why Paul exhorted the Ephesians to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bod of peace.” If we do not keep the unity of the Spirit with our fellow believers in the body of Christ, we are contradicting what we confessed in our baptism.

I AM:

‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I an baptized with?’” (Mark 10:38-40)

To baptize (Greek – baptizo) can mean to drown or overwhelm as in a flood. It is 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 of the later Christian ordinances with His death.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council (Sanhedrin). He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform he miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no on can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’” (John 3:1-5)

The words “born of water and the Spirit” have been a battleground of interpretation. Bible students have seen 1)John’s baptism and Jesus’; 2) baptism and Pentecost; 3) a demand for humble submission by a Jewish leader to water baptism before expecting to received God’s Spirit; 4)reception of Christ’s word or teaching as well as the Spirit; and 5) spiritual cleansing and the Spirit’s power.

The immediate context compels us to see the primary contrast between the physical birth (which Nicodemus asked about) and the new birth for birth from above) which Jesus said is essential in order to see the kingdom of God. There is also a contrast, just two chapter earlier in this same Gospel (1:26, 33), between John’s baptism and Jesus’ Spirit baptism. This may be the background of this saying, but it cannot refer to Christian baptism at this point in Jesus’ ministry because it had not been given or commanded as yet! The Greek has no article (“the”) with Spirit, it would be ungrammatical to separate water from Spirit. Probably both water and wind (spirit) symbolize the powerful activity of the Holy Spirit in the new birth. The primary point is abundantly clear: physical birth is not enough; one must be born again spiritually to enter he kingdom of heaven. The contrast is emphasized but Nicodemus still did not understand. So in verses 14-18 state: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stand condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

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