Friday, June 19, 2015
A Significance of Baptism
Baptism does represent the washing away of sins, but having done so, it goes on into something infinitely more important. We note that the term used is “baptized into” or “baptized unto.” This gives us the key to a true understanding of this “one baptism.” It means “in reference to Christ,” or “into the realm of Christ,” or “into the sphere of influence which is exercised by Christ.”
There is an interesting statement, again in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which really throws much light on this. The Apostle is writing to those Corinthians who were so ready to divide, and he uses this amazing expression: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (10:1-2). It is a statement about the children of Israel. God had sent Moses to deliver them out of the captivity of Egypt. They had started on their journey, but Pharaoh and his hosts were chasing them. They came to the Red Sea, and God worked the miracle of dividing the Red Sea, and the children of Israel, led by Moses, went over on dry land. The Egyptians, trying to follow them, were all drowned. It is with reference to that incident that the Apostle says that they children of Israel were “baptized unto Moses.” That statement can have but one meaning. They were baptized into the leadership, the sphere of influence, of Moses. They had become identified with Moses and all he stood for, and the cause that was represented by Moses. In other words, they were separated from the Egyptians, amongst whom they had been living, and were now the redeemed people of God, the saved people, the protected people identified with Moses whom God had sent to deliver them. There was now a division between them and all who belonged to the real of Pharaoh.
This is a picture of that which is true of all who are in Christ. Baptism therefore represents and signifies our being put into the realm and into the sphere and into the influence of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means that formerly we belonged to the world, we belonged to the realm of the world; but the moment we become Christian we go out of the realm of the world, and into the realm of Christ, and baptism signifies this. Paul, in writing to the Colossians, says that we have been “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (1:13). We have been taken out of the world and put into the kingdom of God, and into the kingdom of Christ. We are in a new realm, we are in a new sphere, we are under an entirely new influence. Not only so, when we are baptized we are confessing Christ, we are announcing that we have submitted ourselves to Him, that He has become our Lord and Master. Those children of Israel, if they had preferred it, could have stayed in Egypt. But they had listened to Moses and had followed him, risking their lives with him, and stepping into the Red Sea. They had submitted themselves entirely to Moses’ leadership, had surrendered themselves to him; he was their leader, their master, their lord. Figuratively, they were baptized in the Red Sea unto Moses.
So baptism represents and signifies that you and I who are Christian no longer belong to the world, and its realm, and its interests; but that we belong now to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is to us the one Lord, the only Master whom we acknowledge.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:1-16, pp.124-126