Mat 28:19-20 “Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.” I have no problem calling these verses by their traditional epithet-The Great Commission. If I venture into any religious institution that lays claim to Christ and ask anyone randomly, “What’s the ‘Great Commission’?”, I am likely to get an accurate response, even if it isn’t quoted verbatim or the exact chapter-verse is unknown. Most can at least say something along the lines of, “That’s where Jesus told his disciples to preach.”
I’d like to continue our consideration of baptism which I began in my last article. Four times in the Gospel of John, Jesus promises His disciples a Comforter or Helper. John 14: 16, 26; John 15: 26 and John 16: 7 all promise this Helper. This comforter is none other than God’s Holy Spirit, called the Spirit of truth in Jn. 14. Jesus also says something both interesting and important in Jn. 14:7: “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (emphasis mine).”
Baptism is always a worthy topic of consideration since its meaning and utility are so diluted today as to render it meaningless in the eyes of many contemporary theologians. As with any doctrine, it must be approached with one achievable goal in mind: to understand what the Will of the Lord is and, with the understanding, to execute it to our utmost. There are few doctrines, with the exception of Hell and Judgment, that are as or more conspicuous in the Bible.
The Protestant Reformation is rightly viewed as a reaction against the theological, doctrinal and moral abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. Many educated members of the Latin church applied reason and scripture to what they witnessed in the common European religion of the day and saw that not only was the papacy and the bishopric corrupt, but it was also unscriptural.
One of the most beautiful and encouraging passages in the Bible is Luke 23:39-43. In spite of the suffering and humiliation we see faith and humility from a repenting thief and mind-blowing love, mercy and grace from our blessed Savior. It strengthens us because if a thief may enter into paradise with our Lord there must be hope for us! It is saddening that it is misunderstood and misapplied to say baptism is a useless work and unnecessary for salvation.
49 days after Jesus’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples as they assembled together on the Lord’s day. (Acts 2) The tremendous sound of a great, rushing wind sparked public curiosity: as they gathered to investigate, they heard the disciples speaking in 15 or more languages. Accused of drunkenness, Peter declares this display a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32. Included in this prophecy was a promise God extended to Israel first and the Gentiles second: “‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.'” (Act 2:21)