Sabbath, November 8, 2008
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4.
• To answer God’s call to receive the true preparation for baptism.
• To understand that God and man pledge a mutual covenant.
• To acknowledge that for the believer true baptism means death of the old spiritual man and resurrection of the new spiritual man in Christ.
• To lift one’s eyes constantly to heaven and reach the promised goal.
“The blessings of God’s covenant are mutual….
“By our baptismal pledge we avouched and solemnly confessed the Lord Jehovah as our Ruler. We virtually took a solemn oath, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that henceforth our lives would be merged into the life of these three great agencies, that the life we should live in the flesh would be lived in faithful obedience to God’s sacred law.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 150.
Calls to the baptismal covenant
1. What command did Jesus give His disciples as part of the fulfillment of the great gospel commission?
Matthew 28:18, 19 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
“As Christians submit to the solemn rite of baptism, He registers the vow that they make to be true to Him. This vow is their oath of allegiance. They are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus they are united with the three great powers of heaven. They pledge themselves to renounce the world and to observe the laws of the kingdom of God. Henceforth they are to walk in newness of life. No longer are they to follow the traditions of men. No longer are they to follow dishonest methods. They are to obey the statutes of the kingdom of heaven. They are to seek God’s honor. If they will be true to their vow, they will be furnished with grace and power that will enable them to fulfill all righteousness. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.’ ” –(Letter 129, 1903) Evangelism, pp. 307, 308.
2. What is the great spiritual meaning of baptism?
Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
“Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Self is by profession dead to a life of sin. The waters cover the candidate, and in the presence of the whole heavenly universe the mutual pledge is made. In the name of the Father, and Son, and the Holy Spirit, man is laid in his watery grave, buried with Christ in baptism, and raised from the water to live the new life of loyalty to God. The three great powers in heaven are witnesses; they are invisible but present.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 146.
“As a Christian submits to the solemn rite of baptism, the three highest powers in the universe–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–place Their approval on his act, pledging Themselves to exert Their power in his behalf as he strives to honor God. He is buried in the likeness of Christ’s death, and is raised in the likeness of His resurrection….” –Reflecting Christ, p. 107.
Baptismal preparation and maturity
3. What is required of the penitent one before the sacred rite of baptism?
Psalm 51:1-3 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“All who live have sins to wash away…. True repentance of sin, faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, and baptism into His death, to be raised out of the water to live a new life, are the first steps in the new birth….” –Lift Him Up, p. 79.
“Repentance, faith, and baptism are the requisite steps in conversion.” –(Letter 174, 1909) Evangelism, p. 306.
“The steps in conversion, plainly marked out, are repentance, faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer, faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, shown by baptism, and His ascension on high to plead in the sinner’s behalf.” –Lift Him Up, p. 79.
4. What other requirements for baptism are presented in the Scriptures?
Matthew 3:2, 8 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand… Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
“Before man can find a home in the church, before passing the threshold of God’s spiritual kingdom, he is to receive the impress of the divine name, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 23:6.…
“Before baptism, there should be a thorough inquiry as to the experience of the candidates. Let this inquiry be made, not in a cold and distant way, but kindly, tenderly, pointing the new converts to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Bring the requirements of the gospel to bear upon the candidates for baptism.…
“The principles of the Christian life should be made plain to those who have newly come to the truth. None can depend upon their profession of faith as proof that they have a saving connection with Christ. We are not only to say, ‘I believe,’ but to practice the truth.” –Evangelism, pp. 307, 311, 312, 308, 309.
The new birth
5. What thorough transformation is implied by the new birth?
John 3:3-6 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
“There must be a new birth, a new mind through the operation of the Spirit of God, which purifies the life and ennobles the character. This connection with God fits man for the glorious kingdom of heaven….
“There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 96.
6. Once we have received Jesus in the heart, what invitation is extended to us?
John 15:5-8 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
“Now that we are branches of the Living Vine we will be nourished by the sap that flows from the Vine. It flows all the time to every branch, and every branch will bear fruit to the glory of God. ‘It is your Father’s good pleasure’ ‘that ye bear much fruit.’ Well then, what is our position? It must be a position of living faith.” –Faith and Works, p. 65.
“Salvation is not to be baptized, not to have our names upon the church books, not to preach the truth. But it is a living union with Jesus Christ to be renewed in heart, doing the works of Christ in faith and labor of love, in patience, meekness, and hope. Every soul united to Christ will be a living missionary to all around him.” –(Letter 55, 1886) Evangelism, p. 319.
7. How should the rite of baptism be conducted? What influence should it exert?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“And the repentant believer, who takes the steps required in conversion, commemorates in his baptism the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He goes down into the water in the likeness of Christ’s death and burial, and he is raised out of the water in the likeness of His resurrection–not to take up the old life of sin, but to live a new life in Christ Jesus.” –(Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 204) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1113.
“The one who administers the ordinance of baptism should seek to make it an occasion of solemn, sacred influence upon all spectators. Every ordinance of the church should be so conducted as to be uplifting in its influence.” –Evangelism, p. 314.
8. After giving our life to the Lord, what should we not do?
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
“Many who should be setting their tents nearer to the land of Canaan are pitching their camp nearer to Egypt. They are not living in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Many attend places of amusement to gratify the taste, but no spiritual strength is gained by so doing, and you will find yourself on the losing side. To encourage the love of amusement is to discourage the love of religious exercises, for the heart becomes so crowded with trifling, with what is pleasing to the natural heart, that there is no room for Jesus….” –That I May Know Him, p. 307.
“All should learn their lesson from this, that they are individually amenable to God. When they love God with all their hearts, they will be wise unto salvation. They will do His will, and their light will ever be their glory, and be undiminished because they recognize and fear and serve their Lord. The solemn work rests upon every soul to consider that he is a servant of Jesus Christ, solemnly pledged by his baptismal vows to clothe himself with the righteousness of Christ. Will we carry out the living example of the Lord Jesus?” –This Day with God, p. 128.
9. What is the divine wish when one makes the solemn baptismal vow?
Psalm 119:106, 126-128 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments… It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
“As Christians submit to the solemn rite of baptism, He registers the vow that they make to be true to Him. This vow is their oath of allegiance.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 145.
10. After baptism, how does one wait for the Lord Jesus’ second coming?
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
1 Timothy 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Instruction is thus of vital importance before and after baptism. Without adequate instruction in the great vital truths of the gospel, there can be no true religious life. At the same time, it is the wonderful love of Christ that subdues hearts. Without genuine love for Christ the doctrines and forms of religion lose their meaning and value.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 557.
“God’s people are to be distinguished as a people who serve Him fully, wholeheartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and Him only.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 17.
10. After baptism, what is one’s responsibility?
Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
“Those who have taken part in the solemn rite of baptism have pledged themselves to seek for those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; pledged themselves to labor earnestly for the salvation of sinners. God asks those who take His name, How are you using the powers that have been redeemed by the death of My Son? Are you doing all in your power to rise to a greater height in spiritual understanding? Are you adjusting your interest and actions in harmony with the momentous claims of eternity?” –The Faith I Live By, p. 146.