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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

There was a time when this question was not a major issue, the gender roles were clearer. Husbands were the bread-winners, while the wives stayed home to keep the house and raise the children. With the ever-increasing pressure of feminism, the lines have become blurred and the question of who should be the head of the home has become a more thorny debate. The result is that any hint of the Biblical model of the husband being the head of the home, could be viewed with some suspicion by women, as a male contrived conspiracy to put the women ‘in their place’.

Against this backdrop, Paul’s statement in Ephesians is very clear:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Eph 5:22–23)

I have been surprised, given the current pressure on women to assert themselves, to hear from most of the wives at numerous Marriage Seminars, that they preferred their husbands to take the lead and be the head of the home. If there were any complaints about this subject, the majority of the wives wished their husbands would play more of a leading role and take on greater family responsibility.

Taking a closer look at this subject I think there are two important questions that need to be answered.

  1. Is the subservient position of the wife a form of punishment resulting from the Fall?
  2. Does submission suggest inferiority in any respect?

To answer the first question let us take a closer look at God’s pronouncement to the woman after she had sinned. “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”(Ge 3:16). Notice that God did not curse the woman, but rather, He explained the consequences of her actions, because both she and Adam had allowed the devil to become the third person in their marriage union. It was no longer the earthly ‘Trinity’ of God, the man and the woman, but it had become Satan, the man and the woman. Their offspring would not be God’s children spreading His attributes across the earth, but rather their offspring would be a reflection of ‘their father the devil’. For more detail on this point have a look at Part 2. In this respect her conception would produce children, who would do the deeds of their spiritual father the devil, bringing sorrow to her and her husband. Her conception would also be multiplied. Although speculative, there is some hint that if man had not fallen into sin, God would have played an active role in opening the womb of women at the appropriate time and producing children that would fit into His great purpose. Consider Sarah, Rebekah, Rachael, Manoah’s wife and Elizabeth in this regard. They were all barren, but when the Lord chose to open their wombs, they produced important children. It seems that one of the consequences of Eve’s sin was that conceptions would be multiplied and they would be indiscriminate.

Regarding the second part of verse 16 “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you”, in the ESV there is a note saying that ‘for’ could also be translated: ‘against’. The verse would then read: “Your desire shall be against your husband.. “. This second translation is supported by the fact that the same author (Moses) uses very similar language in chapter 4, where his meaning is a lot clearer. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Ge 4:7) In this verse it is clear that sin has a desire to pressurize Cain to go its way, but Cain would need to exert his will and try to dominate it. It is this same idea presented in verse 16 regarding the Husband/wife relationship. She would try to pressurize him to go her way and he would have to dominate her (in an un-Christlike way) to exert his will.

In other words, in the woman’s primary function as child-bearer, she would have pain and sorrow and in her most intimate relationship, there would be a power-struggle and strife.

To answer the second question we must note that God made mankind in His own image, “male and female made He them”, which clearly tells us that women are as much in the image of God as are men. If we look at the Godhead, we find that each person of the Trinity is equally God. Jesus, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” (Php 2:6) nevertheless He was subservient to His Father. The Father sent the Son and the Father also sent the Holy Spirit, the Father clearly is the authority in the Godhead. Therefore we could say that the Godhood of each person in the Trinity is equal, but their roles are different. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit died on the cross, it was only Jesus because their roles are different. Similarly we can say that in their personhood, men and women are equal, but in their roles, they differ.

It is also important to note that God made Adam first and then He made the woman to be Adam’s Helper, not the other way around and this was before the Fall. When someone comes alongside to help; the responsibility for the task still remains with the person being helped. Therefore Adam remained accountable, even though his helper had misled him. God called for Adam first to give account for his actions. In the New Testament we are told that the Holy Spirit has been sent to be our Helper. He does not take over our responsibilities, but He helps us to fulfil God’s requirement of us. Even though the Holy Spirit is our Helper, He remains God and therefore far superior to us.

We can conclude from this that women are equal to men and may even be superior in some respects, but their role is different to the man’s role.

Equality of men and women on a spiritual level is spelled out in this verse: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:28)

God’s order illustrating the differing roles is spelled out in this verse: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Co 11:3)

Husbands need to take their responsibility as head of their homes, valuing their wives as spiritual equals and appreciating them as their God-given helper.

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The Principle of the Doctrine of Baptisms

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. “(Heb 6:1-2)

The aspect of this topic that needs clarification is the fact that some versions of the Bible have translated the ‘doctrine of baptisms’ as ‘the doctrine of washings’. The Greek word used in the original version of this passage is ‘βαπτισμος  or baptismos’ which is where we get our word ‘baptism’ from. It is also in the plural, ‘baptisms’ which seems to contradict Paul’s teaching in Ephesians chapter four verse five,  where he says that there is, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”. This is one of the reasons why the translators of certain versions chose the word ‘washings’ to avoid this contradiction. We shall see in this principle however, that there is no contradiction to using the word ‘baptisms’ and in line with such important foundational principles, such as repentance, faith, resurrection and eternal judgment, ‘the principle of the doctrine of baptisms’ forms a vital part of this Foundation.

Another aspect of this topic that may need clarification is that certain theologians have suggested that because this book is addressed to the Hebrews, the writer is encouraging the Jews to leave their Old Testament styled ceremonial washings and embrace the New Testament message of grace through Christ and therefore contend that the word ‘washings’ is in keeping with this thought. A closer look at the content of these two verses however, will make it very clear that faith, resurrection and eternal judgment are not issues of the past, but are important aspects of the present and the future. Therefore the writer does not have Old Testament practices under the Law in mind, but is encouraging us to understand these important foundational principles as the Milk of the Word, to enable us to grow to maturity in Christ.

One Baptism

The word ‘baptism’ is derived from the Greek word ‘baptizein’ which means to ‘immerse’[1]

The Bible speaks of a number of baptisms, which differ in various ways, but are each a part of the one baptism; our baptism or immersion into Christ. There is one Lord, one faith and one immersion into Christ.

Before we consider the principle behind these baptisms, we need to draw clarity and the distinctions between the various baptisms that are taught in Scripture.

The Various Baptisms in the New Testament

1 Baptism into the Body of Christ

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”[2]The question we have to ask about this verse is, “When did this take place in our lives as Christians?” If we take this to be a reference to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, at some point subsequent to salvation, then we would have to conclude that those who have not experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit are not yet part of the Body of Christ, which is not correct nor is it Scriptural. It is however clear, that in this case the Baptizer into the Body of Christ is the Spirit. This is in keeping with Jesus’ explanation of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us as unsaved people. He said that the Holy Spirit would convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment to come.[3]

The Holy Spirit is the ‘Agent’ who brings about our spiritual conversion and places us spiritually into the company of blood-washed saints called the Body of Christ or the church.[4]

“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5).

We can conclude then that the baptism being referred to in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve and verse thirteen is our baptism or immersion into Christ, which happens at salvation and is also the one baptism that Paul refers to in Ephesians chapter four and verse five because without this experience we do not belong to Jesus and are therefore not saved. This is the one all-important baptism.

2 Water Baptism

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”[5]This command of the Lord Jesus is part of the great commission, instructing us to baptize believers or disciples. This is a reference to water baptism, which can be seen as the apostles’ practice throughout the Book of Acts. They baptized in water everyone who responded to the Gospel and repented of their sin.

Jesus Himself, although He was the sinless Son of God was baptized in water and He said that water baptism is the fulfillment of all righteousness.[6] To understand this more fully we need to look at Paul’s teaching in Romans chapter six. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”[7]In this passage Paul gives us an in-depth explanation of our baptism into Christ, which we referred to above in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve, verse thirteen. However, the way he describes this process in Romans chapter six, it becomes clear that water baptism is symbolic of this spiritual experience. The symbolic process of water baptism is that the believer is immersed into the water, ‘buried’ under the water and then comes up out of the water. This equates symbolically to death, burial and resurrection, which is the deeper truth and intention of the Lord for us, when we are saved, or baptized into the Body of Christ. We die to self, the old man is buried and we become new creatures in Christ and part of His Body of people. This is the ‘fulfillment of all righteousness’ that Jesus spoke about.

3 Baptism in the Holy Spirit

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”[8] This is the prophecy that Peter quoted on the Day of Pentecost, when God sent the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had promised the disciples.[9]It is worth noting that in none of the references to the coming of the Holy Spirit, does the Scripture say anything about getting saved or becoming a new creature, but the promise concerning the Holy Spirit is consistently related to receiving power to serve the Lord. Joel’s prophecy, which was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost indicates the kind of power that God had in mind; “your sons and daughters shall prophesy”. ‘Prophecy’ in this case is not necessarily foretelling future events, but rather forth telling the wonderful truth of God as people who have experienced Him and have a revelation of Jesus in their hearts, which they received from the Holy Spirit. They are therefore credible witnesses, who can speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

4 Baptism of Suffering

“But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, t“You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”.[10]Jesus was talking here about the baptism of suffering which He was about to go through and He said that we would also go through a baptism of suffering.

Paul confirms this to be true when he wrote, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”[11] Once we have been baptized into the Body of Christ (saved), declared our allegiance to Jesus through water baptism, been empowered for service by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of suffering is inescapable. The world will hate us because it hated Jesus.[12] There is a great benefit to suffering though, we will be strengthened to endure[13], develop character[14]and learn obedience.[15] Even Jesus, although He was (and is) the perfect Son of God, He also had to learn obedience through the things that He suffered, in order to become our High Priest or Representative.[16]

Following our Master

In Jesus’ earthly life He led the way through all four of these baptisms. He was immersed into a human body by the Holy Spirit at His conception. We are immersed (baptized) into His spiritual Body by the Holy Spirit at our spiritual conception (salvation); Jesus was baptized in water and received recognition from His Father for doing so. He has commanded us to do the same. He received the Holy Spirit after His water baptism, demonstrating the need for the power of the Holy Spirit to start His ministry even though He was the perfect Son of God. Jesus promised that He would also baptize us in the Holy Spirit to empower us to serve him. Jesus then suffered through temptation and the hatred of the world and He said we would also be tempted and be hated by the world.

The Four Baptisms in Summary

You will note that in this article we have not given exhaustive or conclusive details on each of the doctrines of the various baptisms. The reason for this is that we are seeking to understand the ‘Principle’ behind these baptisms, rather than exploring the in-depth doctrine of the baptisms. To establish the principles of these baptisms, we need to understand the distinctive features of each baptism. For example, we need to ask who the baptizer is. Who the candidate is. What the element is into which we are being baptized and what result is produced in each case.

The Table below sets these distinctions out:

 

BAPTIZER

CANDIDATE

ELEMENT

RESULT

1

 

 

 

Holy

Spirit

Repentant

Sinner

Spiritual

Body of

Christ

Salvation

Eternal

Life

2

 

 

 

 

Fellow

Believer

Obedient

Believer

Water

Declaration

of

fulfilment

of all

Righteousness

 

3

 

Jesus

Christ

Thirsty

Believer

Holy

Spirit

Power for

service

 

4

 

 

The world

and the

devil

Persevering

Believer

Suffering

Obedience

Endurance

The Principles of the Doctrine of Baptisms

Having considered some of the detail of the various baptisms and distinguished between them, we need to step back from the detail and get to grips with the overriding and governing principle of the doctrine of baptisms.

The principle is based upon these considerations:

  • We have been immersed (baptized) into Jesus Christ, which in practice means that we are part of the large company of blood-washed saints, both in Heaven and on earth, who form the church.[17]
  • As a member of the Body of Christ, I am obliged to declare this by being baptized in water and identifying with His death, burial and resurrection. [18]
  • As a member of the Body of Christ I owe it Jesus to be an active, participating member and therefore need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to empower me for service.[19]
  • Having been baptized into the body of Christ, and having declared this through water baptism, and having been empowered by the Holy Spirit, I can expect to suffer hardships and temptations, as this is all part of being in Christ.[20]

The Principle of the Doctrine of Baptisms is therefore quite simply:

Our total immersion into and involvement with Jesus Christ and His Body or church.

While this principle is simply expressed, the implications for us are so enormous, that we could spend a lifetime discovering all that this entails.

The implications of this Principle

  • I am no longer my own, I’ve been bought with a price. I need to love every other true member of the Body of Christ and seek to be in fellowship with some of them in a local context. This makes me responsible for and accountable to other believers.
  • My declaration through water baptism sets me apart as God’s child and also marks me as an enemy to the world and the devil.
  • My baptism in the Holy Spirit places an obligation upon me to be a witness to the world and an active participating member of the Body of Christ, to inspire others to grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
  • My identification with Jesus Christ marks me for difficulties and opposition in this world and I will be faced with many temptations, but my High Priest will succor me through these difficulties and I will learn obedience by the things which I suffer.

[1] Oxford English Dictionary

[2] 1 Cor. 12:13

[3] John 16:8

[4] Titus 3:5

[5] Matt. 28:19

[6] Matt. 3:15

[7] Rom 6:3-4

[8] Joel 2:28-29

[9] Luke 24:49

[10] Matt 20:22-23

[11] 2 Tim. 3:12

[12] John 15:18-20

[13] James 1:3

[14] Rom 5:3-5

[15] Heb. 5:8

[16] Heb. 5:8

[17] 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:12-13; Eph. 5:30; Gal 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:26

[18] Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2;41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:36-38;Acts 10;47; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 22:16

[19] Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38; Eph. 5:18-19; Acts 8:15-17; Acts 9:17; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 19:6; Eph. 4:16;

[20] James 1:2-4; Rom 8:17; Gal 6:13; 1 Thes. 3:4; 2 Thes 1:5; 2 Tim 2:12; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Pet 4:16; 1 Pet 4:1; Heb 2:18; Heb. 4:14-15; Heb. 5:8-9; 1 Cor. 10:13

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