Written by His Grace,
Kevin K. OíConnor
Note: These thoughts were penned at the request of my Mom and Dad Ray Robinson on Nov. 21, 2003
Main thought: to examine the differing techniques that we believe
Baptism by immersion vs sprinkling
The only problem with documenting in black and white the truths of God is that we tend to make the letter of the law our God and not God Himself. The Jews did it with the Ten Commandments and even we do it today with the Word of God given to us in the Bible. We tend to make technique our righteousness and not God Himself, which the technique testifies to. The Lord Himself tries to communicate this truth to the Jews in Matthew 5:27&28 27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Man had a written truth of what adultery was, but Christ says that adultery is from the heart. Man says adultery is what you see, and Christ says adultery is who you allow yourself to become. We even do it with the truths of Godís Word today.
God speaks in His word about resting on the seventh day and then we interpret that to be a certain day of the week instead of setting a day any day aside to honor Him. We get so hung up on the trees of the forest we miss the forest entirely.† Another example of these truths is seen in John 4:19-23 19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.† 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." 21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. Here again, man got hung up on a place and Christ was trying to tell them to look through to the Spirit of what He was saying. And again, we even do it with baptism. We see where Christ entered the river and we see that baptism represents a display of dying to our old nature to rise in newness of Life with Christ and so we believe that everyone must be totally submersed to truly do it right.
God is not looking for our technique to be right, but our hearts. What about the people living where there is no standing water to be baptized like in Barrow Alaska in the wintertime or in the Sahara desert? Some more good scriptures depicting these truths are in 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (Whole Chapter: 1 Samuel 16 In context: 1 Samuel 16:6-8) And please note the following scripture; 1 Corinthians 8 1Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God. 4So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall. So, if you have heard Godís heart in all of this you should realize that itís very possible to be totally correct technically and yet completely miss the heart of God compared to someone who is totally off technically and yet right on with Loving God. Here again God speaks to us in Romans 2:27&28 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
So, what is correct, baptism by submersion or sprinkling? Neither if neither is done out of Love for God instead of Love for technique, both if done out of Love for God. How very sad it is that we get so wrapped around the letter of the law that we miss the heart of God. God didnít make one type of flower and so it is with us. We all have different convictions as how to live to honor Him. As long as we do them for Him and not for ourselves or for others we will be blessed. None of us see all of Godís revelations the same way; 1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (Whole Chapter: 1 Corinthians 13 In context: 1 Corinthians 13:11-13) I personally believe that the whole purpose of baptism is to portray a dying to self (depicted by submersion under water) and then rising to newness of life (depicted by the rising up out of the water) with Christ. But, just as much as I believe that for myself, I can also see that those who believe in sprinkling could see that as a representation of the blood of Christ, which cleanses us from all our sin.
Heavenly Father, ever teach us to focus on Loving Christ with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths rather than our own techniques that we may grow up in Him having a righteousness that is of Christ and not of our works. In Jesus Glorious Name, Amen
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