Baptism, which was so prevalent at the beginning of New Testament times, was already becoming obsolete as those times ended.
Even the apostle Paul in his first letter to the believers in Corinth stated, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). He knew then that baptism was a transitional ritual for taking the repentant descendants of Israel and preparing them for the kingdom of God which was about to dawn. On this basis, Paul made clear that the importance of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ transcended the ritual of baptizing. As it says in Hebrews 8:13, “Whatever is becoming obsolete is growing old and ready to disappear.” If this was true of the entire old covenant, how much more of baptism?
There remains a baptism today, but it is entirely spiritual in nature. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), be baptized in His Holy Spirit (John 1:33) , be washed in the water of His word (Ephesians 5:26), be cleansed by the rivers of living water flowing from your innermost being (John 7:37-39).
We live in the days after the New Testament – that is, in the promised days of the kingdom of God. Jesus is on the throne and ruling all of creation. His kingdom is entirely spiritual. This, however, does not make it less potent than physical kingdoms – on the contrary, it is more powerful than them all. Ascribe more value and power to spiritual things than to physical things (2 Corinthians 4:18). Jesus is Lord!
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.