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#5. BAPTIZED INTO the NAME of THE FATHER, and of THE SON, and of THE HOLY SPIRIT

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Greek Word Study βαπτίζω
baptizo baptize.

Greek Word Study βάπτισμα baptizma baptism.

Introduction 5.1

The process of baptism which will guarantee our salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21), is a baptism into full obedience to the word of God, in thought, word, and deed, which is a baptism into the very character of Christ, and of God. It requires the death of our "old man" by self crucifixion. This is a bible study about water baptism, answering the question, What are we baptized into?

(Romans 6:3) "so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death."
(Romans 6:6) "our old man is crucified with him,".

It requires our burial:

(Romans 6:4) "We are buried with him by baptism into death:"

And it requires the resurrection of the fullness of Christ, "the new man", in us:

(1 Peter 3:21) "the antitype, baptism, now saves us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

Death, burial, and resurrection is symbolised by the relatively instantaneous ordinance of water baptism, but the real spiritual process itself will continue in us, either until we attain the perfection that God has called us to (Matthew 5:48; Colossians 1:28; Hebrews 13:12; James 1:4), or until we die, or until Jesus returns:

(Philippians 1:6) "he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

It is this same process which baptises us fully into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), the true Church of God See #7.2 (Baptized into One Body), and makes us a partaker of the New Covenant.

#5.1 BAPTIZED INTO (εἰς) THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

MATTHEW 28:18-20 (Jesus to his disciples) (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

MATTHEW 28:18-20 (RPT)
18 And after he came, Jesus spoke to them, saying, All authority1 was given2 to me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
20 Teaching them to keep all things whatever I commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age. Amen.

Note: We have already seen that the word translated "in" (Gr. εἰς) really means "into" in this context (See #3.3 Baptized into the Name), and that the "name" can mean "authority" (See #2.12 The name Indicates Authority). The word translated authority1 (Gr. ἐξουσία Gtr. exousia) is incorrectly translated power in the KJV, and this is evident by a passage which includes "power" (Gr. δύναμιν Gtr. dunamin) and "authority" (Gr. ἐξουσίαν) translated together (Luke 9:1). The word translated "was given" (Gr. ἐδόθη Gtr. edothe) is the third person, singular, aorist, indicative, passive, of the verb δίδωμι (Gtr. didomi), "I give". It is better translated "was given" than "is given", as it is commonly correctly translated elsewhere (John 1:17; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Revelation 6:2; 6:4; 6:8; 7:2 etc.). Jesus here is stating that he had all authority from God before his death, during his earthly ministry, and this is confirmed by other scriptures (See #2.12 The name Indicates Authority). Taking the whole of this scripture in context, the word "therefore" (v19) refers back to the previous statement of Jesus, "All authority was given to me in heaven and on earth." (v18). So we can take the meaning of "the name" to mean "the authority", and stay completely in context, leading us to the conclusion that Jesus meant "baptizing them into the authority of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." In other words, baptizing them into the authority of the Godhead or the authority of God. Let us look at an example of the need for this baptism. The disciples were given full authority over all demons:

(Matthew 10:1) "When he had called to him his twelve disciples, he gave them authority (Gr. ἐξουσίαν) against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every sickness and every disease."
(Luke 9:1) "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to heal sicknesses."
(Luke 10:19) "Behold, I give unto you authority (Gr. ἐξουσίαν) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy."

However, there was a time when none of them could cast a demon out of a man (Matthew 17:14-16; Mark 9:17-18). Jesus' explanation of this was because of their unbelief (Matthew 17:20), for which the cure would be prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29). Authority, though already given, needs to be received and operated by faith. It also needs to be first proven (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21), and one way of doing this is by bringing the body into subjection (Psalm 35:11-14; 1 Corinthians 9:27) through prayer and fasting, which is part of the overall spiritual process of baptism.

#5.11 THE NAME CAN MEAN CHARACTER

We have also seen that "the name" can mean "the character" (See #2.13 Name Indicates Character), so another logical explanation of this scripture is that Jesus instructed the apostles to baptize people "into the character of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". Let us examine each in turn:

#5.111 The character of the Father

Jesus commanded us to be like the Father:

(Matthew 5:48) "Be therefore perfect, even as you Father who is in heaven is perfect."
(Luke 6:36) "Be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."

As we grow from babes in Christ towards maturity, we may begin to bear fruit in the form of spiritual children: people who become saved though our ministry. At this point, we become a spiritual father to them, and have to learn how to deal with these new spiritual children, as God would have us to deal with them. We can see this with the ministry of Paul who referred to:

(1 Timothy 1:2) "Timothy my own son in the faith:"
(2 Timothy 1:2) "Timothy, my dearly beloved son:"
(Philemon 10) "my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds."

The apostle John also wrote in a similar manner:

(1 John 2:1) "My little children, these things I write"
(1 John 2:12) "I write to you, little children,"
(1 John 3:7) "Little children, let no man deceive you:"

Both of these apostles were writing to their spiritual children, to teach and correct them, when they could not be present with them. So in their relationship with them, they had to take on the Father-like character of God, in order to deal with them in a godly manner. This indicates that they were baptized into the character of the Father. When Paul taught others how to deal with those under their ministry (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:17; 2 Timothy 4:2), he was carrying out this command, and he was helping them to become baptized into the character of the Father.

#5.112 The character of the Son

One aspect of the character of the Son was to submit himself to crucifixion for the sake of other people. This is what baptism is symbolic of (See Introduction). Just before Jesus went to the cross to die, he said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with;" (Luke 12:50), talking about his coming death, burial, and resurrection, which is a type of baptism. All Christians have been called to follow Jesus (Matthew 8:22; 10:38; 19:21; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 9:59; 18:22), which means taking up our crosses (Matthew 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 14:27), by totally denying ourselves (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). By doing this, our "old man" (which is self) becomes crucified, and we become buried with him by baptism into death (Romans 6:4). (See #8.2 Baptized into Jesus Christ.)
Another aspect of Jesus' character was to be in total subjection to his Father. He was an example to us, showing us how we should be in relationship with God as our Father. Jesus could do nothing of his own self (John 5:19; 5:30; 8:28), but spoke only what the Father told him to say (John 3:34; 8:28; 12:50; 14:10; 17:8), and did only what the Father showed him to do (John 5:36; 9:4; 17:4). As we are meant to become sons of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:2), then we should grow into a similar total subjection to God, being led by his spirit (Romans 8:14), which is the spirit of his son who indwells us (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

#5.113 The character of the Holy Spirit

This is a baptism into spiritual holiness, after which we are "set apart" for God's service. God has commanded:

(Leviticus 11:44) "For I am Yahweh your God; you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy:"
(Leviticus 20:7) "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy: for I am Yahweh your God."
(Leviticus 20:26) "And you shall be holy to me: for I Yahweh am holy,"
(1 Peter 1:16) "You be holy; for I am holy."

This spiritual holiness is therefore God's will for us, as other scriptures also indicate (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15), and is required for us to obtain eternal life (Matthew 7:21 with 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Romans 6:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14). This sanctification is a process of putting off "our old man" (Ephesians 4:22) and putting on the "new man", which is Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24). As the Holy Spirit comes in Jesus' name (John 14:25), that is in his authority and character, he will sanctify us to be holy like Jesus:

(Hebrews 2:11) "For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one1:"

#5.12 THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONE

There is another analogy that we could make, but before we explain this more fully we need to understand a little about the Godhead, so let us examine this first. We see that "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: ... are one1." (1 John 5:7), and Jesus said, "I and my Father are one1." (John 10:30), "he who has seen me has seen the Father;" (John 14:9). How then are they one? Look at the prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father just before he died:

(John 17:20-23) "Neither do I pray for these (the apostles) alone, but for them also who will believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one1; as you Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one1 in us:
... that they may be one1, even as we are one1:
I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one1;"

It seems evident that believers are one with Jesus, and with each other, in the same way that Jesus and his Father were one. We can confirm this also by these statements of the apostle Paul:

(1 Corinthians 3:6) "I have planted, Apollos watered;" with
(1 Corinthians 3:8) "he who plants and he who waters are one1:"
(Hebrews 2:11) "For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one1."

This is certainly not a mathematical oneness. Paul did not become Apollos, neither did any believer become any other believer, nor did any believer become Jesus; but the most obvious explanation is that this is a spiritual oneness, and a oneness of character. The Greek word translated one1 in each case is ἓν (Gtr. hen), which is neuter gender, as also is the Greek word for "spirit", which is "pneuma".
Other scriptures confirm this:

(1 Corinthians 6:17) "he who is joined to the Lord is one1 spirit."
(Ephesians 4:4) "There is ... one1 spirit,"
(Philippians 1:27) "stand fast in one1 spirit,"

Just as Jesus and the Father are the same "one spirit", and Jesus was a manifestation of his Father's character. The Father is God (Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 6:23; 2 Timothy 1:2), the Son is a manifestation of God (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 3:8), and the Holy Spirit is also a manifestation of God (1 Corinthians 12:7). The Father is never spoken of directly as a manifestation, although some may consider him to be one. The Son and the Holy Spirit are both manifestations of that same "one Spirit", which is the Word of God (See #7.3 Baptized into One Body). The analogy that we are about to make of the Godhead, is "one sense" in which we can look at the terms "the Father", "the Son", and "the Holy Spirit", which will help us to understand the way God operates. Look at some examples. Jesus is described as the shepherd (John 10:11; 10:14), the door (John 10:7; 10:9), the way (John 14:6), the lamb (John 1:29; Revelation 5:12), the lion (Revelation 5:5), etc. All analogies are not applicable in every context, but each shows some function of the character of Jesus. When he was dying on the cross, he was fulfilling his character attribute as "the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29), but when he led his disciples about, showing his sheep the way to go, he was fulfilling his role as "the good shepherd" (John 10:14). Similarly God describes himself in various ways, of which this is just one example. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit always refer to the same one God, but they can differ in function. We could consider that the Father "thinks the Word", the Son "speaks the Word" (Hebrews 1:1-2), and the Spirit "does the Word". In faith we could consider that the Father "believes the Word", the Son "confesses the Word", and the Spirit "acts on the Word". We could also consider it like this. The Father fulfils the functions of the "heart" of God, the Son fulfils the functions of the "mouth" of God (Hebrews 1:1-2), and the Holy Spirit fulfils the functions of the "finger" of God (cf. Matthew 12:28 with Luke 11:20), or the "hands" of God (Psalm 95:5; 102:25). So just as Jesus proceeded from God (the Father) (John 8:42), so spoken words proceed from the heart (Matthew 12:34-35; 15:18-19). Just as God made all things by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), so we see that he made all things by his word (John 1:1-3), which he spoke (Genesis 1:3; 1:6; 1:9; 1:11; 1:14; 1:20; 1:24; 1:26). The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all work in perfect unity at all times. When we are baptized "into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", we are baptized into the character of the Godhead in its fullness, and we take on the character of God. When we are baptized "into the name of the Father", we are baptized "into the character of the Father", which is to "think the word of God", and to "believe the word of God". When we are baptized "into the name of the Son", we are baptized "into the character of the Son" (See #5.112), which is to "Speak the word of God", and to "confess the word of God". When we are baptized "into the name of the Holy Spirit", we are baptized "into the character of the Holy Spirit", which is to "do the word of God", and to "act on the word of God". This may be how originally "God created man in his own image," (Genesis 1:27), and this is the condition that Jesus died to restore us to. Thus the commission that Jesus gave to his disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) was not just a simple water baptism, but to make perfect disciples by baptizing them into thinking the Word, speaking the Word, and doing the Word, into believing the Word, confessing the Word, and acting on the Word. We are baptized into obedience in thought (2 Corinthians 10:5), in word, and in deed (Romans 15:18), so that we can operate in the image of the fullness of the Godhead (See #5.13), and live a life of total faith. Disciples are perfected through the teaching (Ephesians 4:11-13), through their obedience to it (Matthew 28:20), and through their sufferings of dying to self on their cross, just as Jesus was (Luke 13:32; Hebrews 2:10; 5:9). We can conclude then, that this is what Jesus was referring to when he linked the three verbs "make disciples of" (KJV teach), "baptizing", and "teaching" together (Matthew 28:19-20). This analogy of the Godhead, which we have used here is obviously not applicable in every context, because the Word and the Spirit are the same (See #7.3 Baptized into One Body).

#5.13 GODHEAD QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The previous point does answer some otherwise awkward questions at times. Look at a few examples.

Question 1: If "the Son" is God, how could he not know the day of his return, when "the Father" knew it?

(Mark 13:32) "But of that day and that hour no man knows, no, not the angels who are in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father."
(Matthew 24:36) "but my Father only."

Answer 1: That day is in God's heart or thoughts (the Father), but he has not spoken it yet (the Son).

(Isaiah 63:4) "For the day of vengeance is in my heart,"

Question 2: If the Son is God, and the Father is God, how can the Father be greater than the Son?

(John 14:28) "my Father is greater than I."

Answer 2: The Father is greater in function than the Son, as the term "the Father" refers to God in his function as decision maker, and the term "the Son" refers to God in his function of carrying out those decisions. Thus we can see that Jesus could do nothing of his own self (John 5:19; 5:30; 8:28), but spoke only what the Father told him to say (John 3:34; 8:28; 12:50; 14:10; 17:8), and did only what the Father showed him to do (John 5:36; 9:4; 17:4). Even in the secular world, the one who gives the orders is greater in authority and function than the one who carries out those orders.

Question 3: How can a person be forgiven for blaspheming "the Son", but not forgiven for blaspheming the Holy Spirit?

(Matthew 12:31-32) "Therefore I say to you, All manner of blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men.
And whoever speaks a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in the age to come."
(Mark 3:28-29) "Amen I say to you, All sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and blasphemies with which they shall blaspheme:
But he who shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit does not have forgiveness, but is liable to long-lasting condemnation."

Answer 3: In these scriptures, "the Son" was the one who spoke the words, but the Holy Spirit was the one who removed the demons (Matthew 12:28), called "the finger of God" (Luke 11:20). People can argue and blaspheme against words, but it is a far greater sin to speak against the works of God. God spoke through John the Baptist, but he worked no miracles (John 10:41). When Jesus came, speaking the words of God, and working miracles, he said:

(John 5:36) "But I have a greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me."

God working through someone is a far greater witness than God speaking through someone. That is why God confirms his word with signs (actions) following (Mark 16:20). The Holy Spirit is God in spiritual action, and actions speak louder than words. Even the council who tried to stop Peter preaching after the healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple knew this:

(Acts 4:16) "What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all those who dwell in Jerusalem: and we cannot deny it."

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