Look at the Church Differently

When we quit seeing the church as an organization and see it as Spirit, and One in Christ, these arguments over whether “this person or that can come to our church” will cease. The church is built by Christ Who designed it in such away that it is meant to come into contact with sinners. This is why He sends us out, equipped to bring sinners into the light so that they can be assimilated into His body by the Spirit, not a membership form. Light has no fellowship with darkness. No sinner can enter into the body of Christ, because sin does not exist in Christ. They cannot be in Him without repenting and washing their sins away.

Use fellowship, not as a tool of evangelism, but as participation in the Spirit, to worship God, to remember Jesus and what He accomplished by breaking bread with one another, and for equipping each for the work of bringing Life to the dead.

It is not us who determine or allow membership in the body of Christ, it is God the Father Who causes membership when, through His great mercy, He causes them to be born again into a glorious inheritance, which is not here on earth, but kept for us in heaven, in His dwelling place, not made with human hands, built by Christ from living stones. Quit being afraid of sinners and copy Jesus Christ Who spent His time going to sinners. It is not about good or bad or level of good or bad, it is about Life! Bring them life in the power of the endless Life!

The Power of an Endless Life

“Who hath been made. . . after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:18).

What can One Who abides in the power of endless life; Who is also the source of that endless life, wrought in you? In the power of an endless life He offered Himself once for all, and for all time. In the power of an endless life He destroyed sin, and He destroyed death; and in the Spirit, if you abide there, He has already destroyed temptations to sin, because it is finished, and He Who sits on the throne has sent His angels and “they will weed out of His kingdom every cause of sin and all who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 13:42). Does this mean that these temptations cease to exist now? Yes, and no. They remain for those who are being saved, but they become something altogether different for those who are redeemed. Instead of, for example, seeing a person as the source of temptation and looking away, see the source of the temptation behind that person and see the person as Christ sees them, and set them free. They cease to be a source of temptation to others, because they become a child of the light. This is why we are here; not to participate with darkness, but to bring darkness into the light that it may be saved, healed, and delivered.

Baptism as Symbol?

Why is baptism not a symbol?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has (caused us to be born again) [ἀναγεννήσας] to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Because God is the ultimate agent of our being born again; He causes it to happen, very specifically, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Even to call baptism our first step of obedience is wrong, because, then, through our own work of obedience we are saved. It is not obedience, but surrender into the hand of God; Who, through His great mercy, causes us to be born again through the resurrection of Christ, in which you have faith. Where is this linked to baptism? In the same letter, when Peter explains what “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ means:”

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

There is no power in a symbol, but there is ultimate power in the mercy of a God.

Baptism

Baptism is quite beautiful if you look at it from God’s perspective and is in-line with His nature of doing things in relationship: The idea of “prayer for salvation” is entirely individualistic and more in-line with the Western falsehood that everyone is “independent.” This is not Christ-like teaching; we are all dependent upon Him and serve one other. Baptism is the response to the gospel in which a person takes their willingness to surrender and their agreement to the terms of repentance, along with their faith in the resurrection of Christ and offer it to God; Who, through a powerful working of His great mercy, causes them to be born again, by the Spirit, into the Son. All three persons of the Godhead participate, and we, as the body participate. We say, “I baptize you into Jesus Christ” (And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved [Act 4:12]; While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me [John 17:12]). We, the body of Christ, in participation with the redemptive work of the Son, are baptizing, by the Holy Spirit in the powerful working of the great mercy of the Father, this new member into the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the true meaning of “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, repentance unto the Father, life re-positioned in the Son, filled with the Holy Spirit, all done through the touch (partnership, participation) of the body of Christ. This is far closer to the nature of God than any independent form of salvation.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Baptism is quite beautiful if you look at it from God’s perspective and is in-line with His nature of doing things in relationship: The idea of “prayer for salvation” is entirely individualistic and more in-line with the falsehood that everyone is “independent.” This is not Christ-like teaching; we are all dependent upon Him and serve each other. Baptismas the response to the gospel takes the will of that person to surrender, and their agreement to the terms of repentance, along with their faith in the resurrection and offers it to God Who, through a powerful working, causes them to be born again, by the Spirit, into the Son. All three participate, and we, as the body participate. We say, “I baptize you into Jesus Christ” (And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved [Act 4:12]; While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me [John 17:12]). We, the body of Christ, in participation with the redemptive work of the Son, are baptizing, by the Holy Spirit in the powerful working of the Father, this new member into the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the true meaning of “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, repentance unto the Father, life repositioned in the Son, filled with the Holy Spirit, all done through the touch (partnership, participation) of the body of Christ. This is far closer to the nature of God than any independent form of salvation.