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Sunday, August 29 2021

Every believer seeking God’s blessings wants to be in Christ. God the Father has blessed those who are in Christ with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). What are those blessings? The apostle Paul revealed these blessings in Ephesians 1:3–14. God chose those in Christ to be holy and blameless (1:4). God has adopted the faithful in Christ as His children (1:5). As God’s adopted children, God redeems the faithful by Jesus’s blood and gives forgiveness according to His grace (1:7). These blessings come to the faithful through all the wisdom and insight set forth in Christ (1:8–10). Therefore, everyone who comes to know of the wisdom and insight of Christ and becomes a faithful saint will inherit as God’s children every spiritual blessing especially being counted holy and blameless by God through forgiveness that comes by Christ’s blood.

Furthermore, God the Father has given the faithful an inheritance in Jesus Christ as God predestined (1:11). God works everything according to His will, so no one can stop God from keeping His promises. Those whom God has predestined for hope in Christ (1:12). By Christ, people hear the gospel as the word of truth and the Holy Spirit seals them when they believe as God promised the Spirit as a guarantee (1:13–14). Peter promised the gift of the Holy Spirit when the believer repents and is baptized in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:38). God promised the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

God predestined those who are “in Christ” with blessings and promises before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Nowhere does the Bible teach that God predestined certain individuals to accept Christ and others to reject Christ (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). God has determined that those who confess faith and obey Christ will receive God’s blessings of grace. Those who are “in Christ” by faith start by being united with Christ in baptism. The apostle Paul explained in his letter to the Galatians, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26–27; cf. Romans 6:3–4). To receive God’s blessings, then one must be in Christ.

As Christians, we have every spiritual blessing from God because we have been baptized into Christ and we live by faith. Let us continue to live faithfully in Christ. Let us thank God as Paul declared, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3).

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, August 28 2021

John the Baptizer baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Mark 1:9–11). Jesus’s disciples baptized by Jesus’s instruction (John 4:1–2). John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:3–5). When Jesus resurrected from the dead, He commanded baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to become a disciple of Christ (Matthew 28:19–20). Peter preached and commanded this baptism when the apostles received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Peter instructed, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ESV). This must be the “one baptism” that Paul noted in Ephesians 4:5.

Baptism is not sprinkling or pouring of water in the Bible. Baptism in Jesus’s name is a burial as Jesus commanded (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism comes from the Greek word in the Bible meaning “immersion,” and baptism needs much water (John 3:23). The apostle Paul explained that baptism unites the repentant believer with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3–4; cf. Galatians 3:27). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the gospel that saves Christians from death and separation from God by their sins (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). Both Peter and Paul taught that baptism is when God does the work of forgiving sins (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12–13).

Why would Jesus command baptism in water? Water has always been associated with cleansing, so baptism is symbolic of God’s spiritual work. However, baptism is no mere bath to clean the body but it is an appeal and a call to God for a clear conscience and forgiveness of sin (Acts 22:16). Peter taught, “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). Evidently, baptism is essential to salvation and the moment that God forgives sins.

Thank God that He forgives our rebellion and degrading of others. “All have sinned fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23; 5:12). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus died for us and overcame the consequence of death due to everyone when He resurrected (Romans 6:9–10). Jesus brought peace and overcame the consequence of sin (Romans 3:23–26; 4:22–25).

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email