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“The Baptism of John Versus The Baptism Of Christ.”

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

                   When we read the book of Mark, it begins by introducing us to John the Immerser, or John the Baptist. This man who prepared the way for Christ (1:3). Among other things, we read about John baptizing people in the wilderness and specifically baptizing folks in the Jordan river (1:4-5). This was not the only place he baptized folks, but this was one area, and this is where he baptized Jesus (1:9-10).

                   Later, when we read about John’s baptism, we read where folks were told basically that John’s baptism was not valid, and they needed to be baptized in the name of Christ (Acts 19:5). Why the difference? If John’s baptism was valid in Mark 1, John 3, and other places, why is it treated as invalid in Acts 19? What difference is there between John’s baptism and Christ’s?

                   While at first glance, there seems to be little to no difference. Both baptisms are immersion. Both baptisms are for those who are seeking “remission of sins.” What difference is there between these acts? Notice, I said at first glance there seems to be no difference. When we study, we see several differences between these acts.

                   In John’s baptism, we see:

  • John told men to confess their sins (Matt. 3:6).
  • John told them to believe in “the One to come” (Acts 19:4).
  • This baptism added none to the church (No church existed then!).
  • There is no connection with Christ’s blood.
  • John’s baptism is described as “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mk. 1:4).

                   In contrast, Christ’s baptism:

  • Was “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) - not an act looking forward to something that had not yet come.
  • Puts one “in Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3).
  • Adds us to his church (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:13).
  • Is connected with the blood of Christ (Rom. 6:3-6; Matt. 26:28; Acts 2:38).
  • Saves us (I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12-13).

                   John’s baptism served its purpose, but its purpose has ended. Now, we are to be baptized in Christ’s baptism -- that baptism which allows us to experience the cleansing effect of His blood, adds us to His church, washes us from sin, and enables us to be called “Christian.”

                   Have you been baptized? If not, what is stopping you? Contact me, and let’s make sure you are right in the sight of God.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

The Great Salvation In Christ

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

         In Hebrew 2:1-5, the Jewish Christians were shown the great salvation that belongs to those in Christ. What is it that makes salvation great? Let’s find out.

First, a great God planned our salvation (Heb. 2:3). God promised that it would be through Abraham that “all families” of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). We can also read in the Bible of the multiple prophecies of a coming Savior (Isa. 7:14, 9:6; 53; etc.). When learning about our great salvation, we see forethought and extensive planning on God’s part.

Next, we see a great Savior executed the plan. Passages like Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 show us that God’s plan included Jesus dying as a sacrifice for man’s sins. While on earth, Jesus had one motive: to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). His life, death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. For example, His crucifixion in Matthew 27 was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Jesus also prophesied of His own death and burial (Matt. 12:40). Such was foreshadowed in the life of Jonah. He then prophesied that He was to be resurrected the third day (Jn. 2:19). The four gospel accounts record His resurrection in which even His enemies declared that Jesus had risen! The Bible states that Christ’s resurrection gives us the hope of everlasting life (I Cor. 15:13-20; I Pet. 1:3). God’s plan for this great salvation was executed flawlessly by the Sinless Savior (Matt. 5:17; John 17:4, 19:30). We can have salvation today, thanks to what He has done!

Great miracles were performed to prove Jesus is our Savior. (Heb. 2:3-4). These miracles showed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He was speaking the truth (Jn. 2:11, 23; 4:46-54; 11:43-48). The Apostles and 1st Century Christians used miracles for the same reason (Acts 13:7-12). What good would it have done for God to offer salvation to people who wouldn’t believe Him? They didn’t have Bibles to read as we do (I Cor. 13:8-10), thus the need for miracles, signs, and wonders.

The simplicity of obedience makes salvation great! What good would it do for God to devise a plan of salvation that was impossible for man to obey? God’s commands have always been stated so that man can accomplish them. For example, in Genesis 2:15-17, mankind was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden and stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Wasn’t that simple? In II Kings 5:10-14, we read about Naaman, who complained about God’s plan for cleansing him from leprosy (an incurable disease) because it was so simple! Today, God’s plan of salvation is that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repent of our sins, and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Isn’t this plan simple? Have you obeyed it yet?

Finally, a great reward awaits those who accept God’s great salvation. This reward is an inheritance for His people (Matt. 25:34; I Pet. 1:3-4). This reward provides great joy to those saved (Matt. 25:21, 23). One of the best parts about this great reward is that those saved will be in the presence of Jesus forever (Jn. 14:1-3). This great reward makes salvation great! Will you neglect this great salvation? I hope not!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Christ Purged Our Sins.

Monday, November 02, 2020

            Hebrews 1:3 (KJV) states unmistakably that Christ “purged our sins.” Other versions use terms like “made purification,” “cleansed/cleansing,” and “washed away.” It is evident that this was done at the cross. In fact, as we read Hebrews 1:3, we see that once He purged (cleansed) our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God (Mk. 16:19; Acts 2:33; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1). I marvel at the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and the ability to succinctly describe the death and ascension of Christ for our salvation in one verse.

            Purging our sins would mean a great deal to the Hebrew Christians. They were well-aware of the sacrifices of bulls, goats, sheep, heifers, and the like. Yet, these sacrifices were not sufficient to forgive sin. Hebrews ten says the law was a “shadow of good things to come” (10:1), and the sacrifices offered served a purpose, but they could not take away sins (10:4). Yet, Jesus, in His sacrifice, was able to purge or cleanse us from our sins (1:3) -- something the Old Law wasn’t able to do! Hebrews 10:10 repeats this fact.

            What an encouragement this would have been to the people to stay faithful to Christ and not return to Judaism! Christ is the One who has purged us from sin! The dead altars of the past could do nothing of the sort. Why then, would they want to leave Christ and go back to them?

            What does this mean to us in the 21st century? Do we not still have a problem with sin? Yes, we do (Rom. 3:23)! Sin still results in the same death it always has (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:15). Now, however, instead of planning for someone in the future to purge our sins, One has already come to do that! We have a way in which we can be saved. In our salvation, we do not look toward our past for the answer, toward the practices of ancient people, to the whims and wishes of men today, or to philosophies that may dominate our culture. Instead, we look to the same Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). He is the answer!

            What has Jesus done? He has died upon the cross, and His blood was shed “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:12-14). Now, when we believe on Christ (Jn. 8:24), repent of our sins (Lk. 13:3), confess our faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and are baptized (Mk. 16:16), we can be saved from sin! In baptism, we come in contact with the cleansing effect of that blood! (Rom. 6:3-6). Yes, our sins can be cleansed, purged, or washed away, thanks to Christ (Acts 22:16).

            Through the shed blood of Christ, the purging of our sins is possible. Now, will we accept the Lord’s conditions or not? Why would we want to refuse the greatest offer ever given to man? Why would we refuse the only way our sins can be purged? Don’t delay (II Cor. 6:2)! Take advantage of the Lord’s precious gift now while you have the time and opportunity (Heb. 3:7-8)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Christ Is Better

Sunday, November 01, 2020

                   When we read the book of Hebrews, it is evident that “better” is a keyword. Christ is contrasted with the angels and Moses. His priesthood is contrasted with Aaron’s, and His covenant contrasted with the Old Covenant. These and many other things (blood, etc.) show Christ and what He did to be “better” than all others. This is how God intended it.


                   I wonder if we miss one of the contrasts, though, because it is presented so early in the book. It is seen in the first two verses of Hebrews. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).


                   While there is no question that the Holy Spirit inspired Old Testament writers and prophets (II Pet. 1:20-21), there is something different and notable about the fact that “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). Again, note the contrast in Hebrews one. In the past, God revealed His will in various ways and by various means. He stopped doing that when Christ came to earth. Christ came with a mission and a message, and it behooves all of us to listen! I think it is interesting to note that in the presence of Moses and Elijah, the words came from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5)!


                   When Jesus left the earth, the apostles had a message to preach (Mk. 16:15). Paul called it “the word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:20). It was the same message he taught “everywhere in every church” (I Cor. 4:17). The message of Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection was taught as reality by Paul and all of those preaching in the first century, and it needs to be preached today with the same fervor and fire (I Cor. 2:2, 15:1-4).


                   This message is contrasted with Old Testament preaching because while those godly people preached about One to come, we can now preach that He has come to this world. What they looked forward to, we can have the trust and understanding that it has happened. What those from the Old Testament saw as a far-off glimmer, we see as the “day star” (II Pet. 1:19).


                   I hope this will help us see that great contrast in Hebrews 1:1-2.  The Old Testament people had God’s word given to them (Rom. 3:1-2). This was indeed a great blessing. Greater still was when the word became flesh and dwelt among us! It was when the words were no longer words of what was to come, but words that proclaimed it has happened! God has kept His promises! We have salvation at our grasp because of the sacrifice of the Lord! Are you glad that you live in a time when you can benefit from the knowledge given since God has spoken to us through His Son?


                   As I close this, let me hasten to add I am not trying to take anything away from the work of the Holy Spirit after Christ ascended (Jn. 14-16; Acts 2; etc.). In this study, however, I have tried to emphasize what the text emphasizes – how God has spoken to us through Christ in these last days. What a blessing it is to have a Bible in our hands. Let us read it, learn, and obey, and we will see for ourselves how Christ is better than all!


- Jarrod M. Jacobs

“Praising Physical Beauty.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

            Song of Solomon is probably best known for the descriptions of physical beauty contained there. There are four of these descriptions in the song. Three times the Shulammite is complimented (4:1-7, 6:4-9, 7:1-9), and one time, her beloved is praised (5:10-16). These descriptions make some folks uncomfortable. These descriptions have caused some even to suggest that perhaps Solomon’s Song is pornographic. I have also seen the opposite reaction when one chose to depict all that was said about the Shulammite literally. She looked like a monstrosity -- a mixture of goats, sheep, pomegranates, deer or gazelle, a tower, etc., instead of a human woman (See attached).

            What is said, though unfamiliar to our “western” ears, is simply a poem praising the beauty of the one he (or she) loves. I will not be able to explain every description in this short article, but please understand, he compares his beloved to the beauties of nature created by God (Gen. 1-2). Just as some suitor might tell his girlfriend, “Your eyes are bluer than the sea,” the Shulammite was told a similar thing in chapter seven, verse four! She is spoken of in majestic terms in verse five. This would be the equivalent of calling a beautiful girl a “fox” or some other description today. Solomon’s song spends time complimenting the Shulammite for her physical beauty. She also compliments her beloved in the text for the beauty she sees in him.

            Why say such things, and why describe a woman in this way? Is it not obvious? He loves her and therefore compliments the beauty of the one he loves! She had a low opinion of her beauty (1:5-6), so her beloved (and later husband) showers her with praise.

            Husbands, how are you doing at praising your wife for her beauty? Did you praise her before you were married but have since ceased? This man didn’t do it. When we read Song of Solomon 4, 6, and 7, we read him complimenting her before and after the wedding! Husbands, don’t forget this lady is the wife of your youth, and a part of you (Eph. 5:28-29). Pay her compliments! Praise her! Ladies, do this for your husbands as well. Husbands love to be complimented, so act as the Shulammite and do it (Song of Sol. 5:10-16). If you are having marriage problems, or feel like you are drifting apart, maybe part of the problem is a lack of communication. Perhaps you are not communicating your love or your praise to your spouse. This is the point of those four sections in the song. It is not pornographic, nor something meant to stir up evil desires. Instead, it is intended to be sincere praise showered upon two who genuinely love one another.

            Just as husbands and wives today need to compliment and praise one another, I find it interesting that Christ does the same for the church. The church, considered Christ’s bride, is honored by being called “glorious” and without a flaw (Eph. 5:27). The picture of Christ and the church is a picture of a husband and wife and the love they share for one another. It is a picture of genuine, sincere love that ought to be true in the lives of all of those who are married.

            To those married, may your love deepen and grow through the years. As you mature, may you grow closer together, and may it be that the beauty you saw in the wife of your youth only enhance through the years. True beauty is within. May we thank God for that beauty we see in our spouses.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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