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BAPTISM - AN ACT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


Every man born of a woman is a sinner in the flesh because he does not have the divine glory of eternal life in his body. This is the key reason why no human could be a redeemer even though he may be willing to give his life for others out of love. Hereby we are referring only to those people who were recorded in God’s ‘book of life’ because they had a special status that they needed to keep. They should not have sinned against God because he said to Moses:

“Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.” (Exodus 32:33)

God could have inscribed every godly and righteous man in the Book of life. It seems that the Israelites were redeemed and introduced into the ‘book of life’ by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob even before they were born and consecrated with the blood of the covenant. Only a sin similar to Adam’s could be the reason for deletion from the Book of life. Jesus was also introduced to the Book of life, but as a genetic descendant of Adam, he was under condemnation that affected all humans. However, as God redeemed the Israelites from the world and inscribed them into the Book of life, at the appointed time He did even more when Jesus

  • was redeemed from death and
  • was given ‘life in himself’.

How do we know that? The angel Gabriel told his mother Mary who was to become pregnant by the holy spirit:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore also that which is born shall be holy, and shall be called the Son of God. ”(Luke 1:35)

From birth, Jesus was destined to be holy (separated from sinners) because God, by his holy spirit, was to redeem him from sinful humanity and call him his Son. Previously, God had anointed, sanctified, and appointed some of His chosen ones, but Jesus was by then the only and first earthly ‘Son’ redeemed from death and given “life in himself”. He had to become ‘first’ in all things, and in this way alone could he be the first in the resurrection to eternal life (Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 1:21). Namely, had he not been redeemed and given life in himself, he would not have been able to be resurrected into eternal life.

Just as all people took over Adam’s punishment at their conception, God could make legal arrangements for Jesus to be redeemed from punishment at his conception. Thus, he would be in the same position as Adam when created, without condemnation. However, he needed to know in advance what it meant to be redeemed and at what cost. So he had to become a mature person, or ‘become a man’ who, like Adam, would be aware of the reason why God created him and brought him into existence. Having learned this, he had to faithfully accept the atonement. This was confirmed at the moment when Jesus came to be baptised in water to demonstrate that he surrendered himself to the will of God. He told John that he had come to be baptised because it was necessary …

“to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)

The very thought of atonement is related to divine righteousness. Because of it the world was subject to the penalty of death. The atonement could also take place by this justice. The atonement involves a certain price that should be paid as a corresponding ransom.

Jesus was not baptised to repent of any sin against the law of God. He did not need repentance and deliverance from the sin, because he had successfully fought against it. However, Jesus needed deliverance from the slavery to death in order to take on Adam’s role, in accordance with God’s will. Therefore, when he came out of the water, in order to live according to the will of God, he prayed to God, who on that occasion anointed him and sanctified the holy spirit. Consequently he heard the voice of God:

“You are my beloved Son; I have approved you.” (Mark 1:11)

This was the moment when Jesus was ‘called the Son of God’ because he thereby received the ‘name’ or authority of God’s representative and was sanctified to be ‘holy’ (separated from sinners). At that moment, he fully suited his role as a redeemer who could fulfil the will of God because by this act, baptism in water and spirit, (as we did after him) Jesus was

  • redeemed from the slavery of death and
  • given “life in himself”.

Thus, he was made perfect for his role. Next, he needed to confirm it by his obedience. By this act, Jesus received the testimony that he is no longer counted among sinners, that is, those under penalty. Let me explain at what cost this atonement could be brought into effect and why it was necessary for Jesus to be set free from punishment, by the water and the holy spirit.