Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Testament - Doctrine of Baptism

The Doctrine that I have chosen to discuss is the requirement of baptism to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Matthew 3 we witness Jesus Christ visiting with John the Baptist in order that John could baptize Him. Of course Jesus was perfect and did not have any sins to be washed away. This led John to explain to Jesus that he could not baptize him; as he was thinking that under this circumstance baptism was not necessary.
Jesus then teaches us the doctrine of baptism and it's necessity for everyone as he states:
Matthew 3:15
And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
We also have many other examples of baptism being a necessary ordinance for exaltation. One is written in the book of John.
In John 3, a Rabbi was discussing with Jesus. Once again Jesus taught this same same doctrine of baptism and exaltation.
John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, verily verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of Heaven.
And then Jesus goes on to explain how the baptism should be performed:
John 3:5
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God.
Another example is written in Ephesians 4:5 : One Lord , one faith, one baptism.
During the four years that I was called by God to be a Ward Missionary ( one year in a previous ward and three-years in my current ward ), I did come across individuals of various Christian faiths that did not believe the doctrine of baptism in order to receive exaltation. These individuals justified that a belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world was sufficient evidence of being born again, and that a person did not need to follow through with the act of baptism.
Similarly, I am aware of those whom believe that sprinkling of water upon an innocent infant, whom has had no agreeance to their belief in Jesus Christ, even as a historical figure for that matter; as means enough for this baptism that Jesus Christ spoke of.
As I was pondering upon the Perfect, Sinless, Almighty Jesus Christ being baptized I understood more deeply why it was that Jesus Christ followed through on this act of emersion in the water, and that He did not just teach the doctrine, but he also participated in the action Himself.
I understood that Jesus did this because He knew that this doctrine could be easily forgotten or manipulated into a convenient ploy of Priestcraft, where there was no effort necessary for a member to gain membership into a church.
But as Jesus Christ and His works are perfect we were left with His example written in the scriptures, not only the doctrine that we should be baptized, but also after the manner which a person is to be baptized ( by full emersion and by their own free will and choice ).
In the past couple years I have witnessed four adult friends join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after this manner of baptism. Every time that I attended their baptisms I felt the Spirit witness to me and as I imagine my Savior being baptized this very same way...
I know that this is pleasing to Him.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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