And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
What is the big deal with 1 Peter 3:21? Surely he doesn’t mean what he says, in saying “baptism now saves us” at least this is the hope of many who would neglect the necessity of baptism for redemption in God’s plan. In 1 Peter 3:20-21, Peter makes the distinction between the flood waters that Noah faced and the waters of baptism today, drawing the idea together that as water separated Noah and his family from the sinful world of old, so water does for you and I today.
Peter stated that baptism was the antitype to the flood waters of baptism. Baptism is noted, parenthetically, in verse 21 as the means whereby we obtain a good conscience towards God.
J. H. Thayer gives the term this sense: “which (baptism) now saves us [you] not because in receiving it we [ye] have put away the filth of the flesh, but because we [ye] have earnestly sought a conscience reconciled to God” (1958, 230).
Charles B. Williams, a respected Baptist scholar, in his translation of the New Testament, yielded this phrase in this fashion: baptism is “the craving for a clear conscience toward God” (1966, 520).
In other words, in the action of baptism one “appeals” to God for the answer of a good conscience. Peter shows forth clearly that immersion in water is the culminating moment of gospel obedience whereby man is placed into the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27), where sins are remitted (Acts 2:38) and where the Lord adds us to the number of His church, the redeemed (Acts 2:41, 47).
One is saved ultimately by the blood of Jesus (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7, etc.), but that blood is spiritually accessed when the penitent believer obeys God’s command to be immersed in water, in the likeness of Christ’s burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12), unto newness of life.
Often individuals have stated “If the Bible would simply say baptism saves, then I would accept it as necessary!” Yet even this very clear teaching still is not sufficient often to change the minds of those who would reject it as necessary. The like figure whereunto baptism doth now also save us .... what a plain statement, what a powerful statement, and what a biblical statement.
[Editor’s note: Kyle Ellison is a former Baptist preacher who learned the gospel and was baptized to be saved.]
I will always remember the words of my late dad one morning when I walked in the door after a night of carousing, just as he was leaving for work. “Son, the greatest thing that ever happened to me was when I married your mother.” Being the loving and wise dad that he was, he knew I was wasting my life in pursuit of who knows what? I certainly didn’t, and like the Prodigal Son I was squandering my life, living an ungodly lifestyle. My parents were together as a husband and wife for nearly 60 years before the death of my mother. Together, like all married couples, they experienced times of joy, sorrow, trials and tribulations. But, the point my Dad was trying to make with me, his cavorting son, was that the married life he had with my mother was truly a blessing from God. Being married to her was the steadying compass in his life as they loved and supported each other, no matter what they faced. He summed it up succinctly by saying, "Son, the greatest thing that ever happened to me was when I married your mother.” This was in 1964, just a few months before I met the young woman I fell in love with and married in June of 1966, Francine Apostolos. For the next 49 years together, before her death in 2015, as my wife, she made the words my dad had told me earlier come true for me. As I sit here today, writing this, remembering my dad’s words I can only say, “Dad, how correct and wise your words were.”
God, in his infinite wisdom knew that man being alone was not good. Genesis 2:18 reads: “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Then just four verses later God created that helper, a woman. Genesis 2:22-24; “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23. The man said. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.” 24. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Dad, you sure had it right, and like it said in Proverbs 19:14, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” And later on, Proverbs 30:18-19 truly exemplifies the simple words you told me, “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: 19 “The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.”
Dad, as you looked back on your years of being married to mom, while the four things mentioned in Proverbs 30:19 were not a part of your words of wisdom imparted upon me, but now as I think back on those words they were truly a part of what you described as “the greatest thing that ever happened to you was marrying mom.”
Earlier this month, we were blessed to witness the marriage of our Brother and Sister in Christ, Seth Bass to Stephanie Parker. Being held outdoors, the weather was perfect, the setting beautiful and the joy and love they showed for each other was abundantly clear. To me, Seth and Stephanie personified Christ’s words found in Matthew 19:4-6, 4, “Haven’t you read, He replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female? 5. And said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? 6. So they are no longer two, but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Seth and Stephanie, at the moment they sealed their nuptials with a kiss, began their journey in life together, happy and joyous, unafraid and undaunted by what may lay ahead for them. Whatever that is there isn’t anything they can’t overcome together as one joined together by God and his blessings upon them.
Additionally, the newlywed couple (Seth and Stephanie) is blessed to have loving parents and grandparents that can give them spiritual advice and comfort when needed. Also, there are many young couples that belong to the Lord’s church at Mount Baker congregation that are examples worthy of seeking advice from if the need is felt. There will be many circumstances that you will be confronted by, many of which, only they can work out together.
Being the age I am, I feel very emotionally attached to newly married couples because I have been blessed by God and like my dad told me many years ago, “Son, the greatest thing that ever happened to me was when I married your mother.”
Thanks Dad! I agree and I thank God for your wisdom and simple words of advice. You were right, and marrying Francine was the best thing that ever happened to me. And in looking back on my life, my marriage and having children could only be over-shadowed by repenting of my sins and being accepted back into the Lord’s fold.
(My parents, Arthur and Leona Myers, were loving and faithful members of the Lord’s Church until they died.)
Scripture Reading: Jude 20-25
1. Why does a person “give up everything” to live a sinful, morally
bankrupt life? What drives a person to do so? Should not be perplexed.
I. THE TEMPTATION TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING FOR THE SAKE OF NOTHING IS COMMON TO US ALL, 1 Cor. 10:13.
II. ADAM AND EVE GAVE UP EDEN FOR A LIE, Gen. 3:1-7.
to Believe Were Missing Out.
III. ESAU GAVE UP HIS BIRTHRIGHT FOR MOMENTARY PHYSICAL SATISFACTION, Gen. 25:29-34; Heb. 12:14-17.
Pornography, Matt. 5:28 (Prov. 6:25).
IV. PRODIGAL SON GAVE UP HIS DIGNITY FOR SELF-INDULGENCE, Luke 15:11-17.
A. Gave Up Safety, Security, Sustainability, Eph. 5:18; 1 Pet. 4:3; Matt. 12:33-37; Jas. 3:8-10
V. JUDAS GAVE UP HIS FAITH AND HIS APOSTLESHIP (SOUL) FOR MONEY, Matt. 26:14-16 (Zech. 11:12-13; Exo. 21:32).
A. Let Devil into His Heart, Jno. 13:2, 21-27.
VI. COMMON THREAD IN SIN: FAILURE TO USE SELF-CONTROL, Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet. 1:5-6; Jas. 1:12; 1 Cor. 9:25; Lk. 9:23; Matt. 6:19-21.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Asthis is being written, multiple package bombs have been sent to current and former government officials, one business, and others. To this point the devices have been intercepted, are being investigated, and no one has been injured.
Terror. Whatever the exact motive, terror is clearly the effect of such immoral, illegal and potentially destructive conduct. Already we are hearing speculation about motives, but one thing is clear: No one deserves to be threatened and/or inflicted with bodily harm due to their political or religious persuasion (much less differences in ethnic origin, gender, or other alphabetic distinction of this present age). It is a time to be vigilant, not reactionary. Sober heads must prevail to successfully protect ourselves and our fellow citizens.
Christians can yield to the temptation to throw out sober-minded faithfulness at moments of uncertainty, difficulty and disagreement. Fear and doubt can motivate unwholesome and ungodly words and actions. We must exercise self-control in all things (1 Cor. 9:25; Titus 2:1-8).
The abiding presence of the Savior is a calming influence over the fear of uncertainty and the passion of over-heated emotions. Jesus is watching, and this should temper unwise and sinful words and deeds. The promises we have in Jesus soothe our souls, invigorate our hope and help us patiently endure moments of trial (Heb. 6:13-20). Christ’s power overcomes the storms of life with peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). The assurance of peace we have in Christ frames and fashions faithful conduct in the midst of doubt. “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’” (Mark 4:37–40)
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/28/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA