Maurice M. Johnson

Did Noah Get Wet?
Buried "With" or "Like"?
Baptized Into Christ
How Can We "Obey The Gospel"?
Christ's Baptism On The Cross
When Was Christ Slain?
Only One Cross For All Dispensations
Christ's Life Was "The Righteousness Of The Law"
All Jewish Religion Extended Beyond The Cross


Let us look for a moment at the beautiful and very simple picture of salvation that is given us in 1 Pet. 3:18-21. In the 18th verse we are told of Christ's having endured the judgment of God in our place. In the 20th verse we are told how the ark endured the water judgment of God in Noah's stead. And how clear it is that the way those "eight souls in the ark were saved by water" is the "like figure" (or the picture) of the way "baptism doth now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Noah and his family did not receive a drop of the judgment water from heaven. The ark took their judgment. Likewise, we saved sinners did not get a bit of the judgment "baptism" that Christ, our Ark, "suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust." And remember that Christ called His death a "baptism". Luke 12:50. Noah's good conscience answered God's invitation to "come thou into the ark," by physically stepping inside that physical ark to be saved from the physical water judgment. And my good conscience answered Christ's tender invitation, "come unto me ... and I will give you rest". by taking the step of faith into Christ, my spiritual Ark and His baptismal death satisfied the Judge of High Heaven, so far as my offenses were concerned. But Christ's death, alone, could not save any of us. We must be raised from the dead in order to give us new life. And this entire need He perfectly met for "He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification." Rom. 4:25. Nor is this glorious message of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ a New Testament fact, only, for all who have ever been saved from their sins were saved "by faith without works". This is exactly what Peter meant when he said to Cornelius: "To Christ give all the prophets (the Old Testament prophets) witness that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43. Note, also, that as soon as Peter said "these words" God saved all of those gentiles "who heard the word." And they were saved before Peter had said a word about their being baptized with water, too. (See also Gal. 3:6-8.)


Sinners are saved today exactly like Abraham was saved. Gal. 3:6-9; Rom. 4:1-13. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10. The moment a convicted sinner calls upon the name of the Lord he becomes saved "for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Of course, God is the One to determine whether or not the sinner is truly penitent and sincere in his call. When a sinner thus "believes on the Lord Jesus Christ" he is "crucified with Christ, ... buried with Christ, ... raised with Christ" and his new life is " hid with Christ in God." Gal. 2:20; Col. 2:10-12; 3:1-4; Rom. 6:1-5. Note very carefully that the Word of God says the Christian has been crucified WITH Christ, not LIKE Him. Exactly in the same miracle way in which the believing sinner has been "crucified with Christ" he has also been "buried with Christ." No where are we told to be buried LIKE Christ was in the waters of the Jordan but all Christians have been buried WITH Christ in His baptismal death. It is, of course, a miracle. And, by the way, why do not some of our religious imitators, who are so eagerly seeking to imitate Christ in His water baptism, try to imitate Him in His crucifixion?

All are only too ready to admit that "with" means just exactly "with" and not "like" when Paul says: "I am crucified with Christ," but when he says: "buried with Christ", then many are eager to get their sectarian followers to seek to imitate Christ's water baptism. This they do in spite of the plain fact that the apostle is speaking of Christ's burial in death and not His burial in the waters of Jordan. My friends, be well assured of this: Christianity is not our miserable imitation of the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth as He lived His perfect life of law-keeping under Judaism, Christianity is the life we live after we have been created anew in Christ Jesus: the life of the indwelling Christ who move into all "broken and contrite hearts" the moment His glorious gospel of grace is humbly heard and honestly believed. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Rom. 5:19. In other words, Adam's disobedience made all of his children like their father, sinners. Now Christ's perfect, law-keeping obedience with His fulfillment of all the physical ordinances is passed on to all who receive Him. With His perfect heart and sinless flesh He obeyed all fleshly tests of character and then "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Now, that is good news! It is THE good news! It is simply the "gospel of Jesus Christ." I have "obeyed the gospel." That is I have heard with submission, of Christ's perfect, substitutionary life, death, burial and resurrection. He not only died for me. He also lived for me. Therefore his law-keeping and ordinance-keeping obedience is put to my credit as well as His death-obedience. Thank God, as a new creature in Christ I am "complete in Him." Col. 2:10-12.


And how did I get into this glorious place of salvation and completeness "in Christ?" "With (or by) one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have been made to drink into one Spirit,: 1 Cor. 12:12-13. This is the same two-fold operation of the Holy Spirit as that referred to in Acts 2:38. The moment a sinner hears the gospel of Jesus Christ believing in the depths of his repentant heart, that moment he is "baptized in (or into) the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" and he personally receives "the gift of the Holy Spirit." Christ is the One who baptizes him with the Spirit and the Father gives him the indwelling Spirit. John 14:16-17; Acts 10:38-46; John 1:33. What must we think any more of those who would say that there is no such thing any more as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit."? Will not the honest reading of these passages surely answer them? John 1:28-33; 3:27-30; Acts 1:5; 11:15-18; 1 Cor. 12:12-13 and Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:16-17.


The Lord Jesus Christ referred to his death as a 'baptism'. Christ was baptized with water, anointed with the Holy Spirit (Lu. 3:16-22) and then, two or more years later, said "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straightened till it be accomplished." Lu. 12:50. How does it happen that today when a preacher announces he is going to speak on "The Baptism of Christ" it is supposed by nearly all religionists that water baptism is meant?"

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the 'good news' or glad tidings concerning what Christ did for the sinner and is not a system of fleshly commandments as to what the sinner must do for Christ. Paul said: "I delivered unto you the gospel ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day ... I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; unto the Jew first, and also unto the Greek (Gentile)." 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 1:16. Therefore, to 'obey the gospel' merely means to trust the perfect, finished work of Christ as you humbly and gratefully believe God's record that "Christ hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit." 1 Pet. 3:18. Paul wrote the Ephesian saints reminding them of the fact that they were saved when they "trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 1:12-13; 2:8-10.


Surely every honest reader is convinced that the "baptism that saves us ..." does not have a drop of water in it. It is the miraculous baptism that Christ endured for us and that is put to our credit when Christ baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, thereby uniting us to Himself and everything in the way of law-keeping and ordinance-keeping righteousness, that He fulfilled for us. If you have not already, will you just here and now throw up your hands of rebellion and gratefully receive, by faith, the glorious work the Lord of Glory came to do for us sinners? Just think of the glorious privilege of being instantly accepted in the Beloved, of being miraculously clothed with the righteousness of Christ which is "unto all and upon all them that believe." "He that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16. "Why will ye die?"


As plainly as God can say it we are told that sinners are saved today exactly like Abraham was. "The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (save) the gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Gal. 3:6-9; Rom. 4:1-12. The Campbellites and other cults that deny "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" ignorantly seek to make the Bible teach two plans of salvation of the sinner. Their preachers demand the right to act as "priests" who must baptize the sinner in water and then and there place him in "The Church of Christ" or - sect. Since these modern "daughters of Rome" are willing to grant salvation to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David and others who lived and died before the cross they are forced to manufacture at least two plans of saving members of Adam's fallen family. By jerking verses away from their context they are enabled to "deceive the hearts of the simple" with their "good words and fair speeches". Rom. 16:17-18. But those who humbly read the two epistles that are written to give us the great underlying doctrines of "justification by faith" learn to their heart's delight that God gave the covenant of salvation through faith to Abraham 'four hundred and thirty years before the "works covenant" (law and physical ordinances) was given to Moses; and that God confirmed that "covenant of promise" to Abraham IN CHRIST nineteen hundred years before Christ actually came to this world to literally die. In these two "salvation epistles", Romans and Galatians, water baptism is not once mentioned. (See above paragraph entitled Buried "With" or "Like"? This disgraceful "water-salvation" doctrine is but the teaching of "new gods newly come up." Deut. 32:17. Though sin did not enter until Adam's disobedience had made the whole future family "sinners" (Rom. 5:17-19 our Gracious God Who "knew the end from the beginning" "foreordained from before the foundation of the world" that Christ as "the Lamb of God" should appear in the fullness of time to "take away the sins of the world". Thus it is said that Spirit taught Christians do not butcher God's plan of salvation by a carnal study of man's calendar as to the exact date when the body of our Blessed Lord was actually nailed to the cross for we are taught to "behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of world", "slain from the foundation of the world", "foreordained from before the foundation of the world." John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8.


Now it is quite true that God has different ages and dispensations and different programs with people but none of the dispensational or racial differences in any way affect the "gospel of Christ" that was foreordained for the salvation of any member of Adam's family that would "call upon the name of the Lord". Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; Acts 10:43; 15:10-11; 13:38-39. (Please honestly read these.) Though all penitent believers in Christ have His death baptism and His burial and resurrection put to their credit, I believe the Scriptures teach that only since Pentecost (Acts 2) have believers been baptized by the Lord "with one Spirit into one body." 1 Cor. 12:13. The difference between salvation from the penalty of sin and the rewards held out for faithful Christians, is another difference that none of the "water-salvation" cults observe. I will give but one text here. 1 Cor 3:11-15.


How plain this is to every unspoiled mind that the only good works that a human being can possibly do always follow his being "created anew in Christ Jesus." Water baptism is either a righteous act or it is an unrighteous act. In Matt. 3:15 Christ calls water baptism an act of righteousness. (See Titus 3:5) Now, all Bible students who have any intelligent conception of "rightly dividing the Word of truth" know that Christ's earthly life was "Made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law." Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 15:8. Likewise, Bible students who have any clear conception of God's different dispensations know that Christ lived for thirty years as a private, law keeping Jew for He said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill." Matt. 5:17. Oh how few people seem to recognize that no one but Christ ever did keep the law with its God-given system of physical ordinances, its "meats and drinks and divers washings (different baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (Jews) until the time of reformation." Heb. 9:8-10. And it was because Christ was born of a Jewish virgin under the law and the Jewish ordinances and came to "fulfill' them that His Heavenly Father never publicly endorsed Him until He had fulfilled ALL of the DEMANDS of that system of "meats and drinks and baptisms." You remember that it was immediately after Christ was baptized in the River Jordan that the voice came from heaven saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Matt. 3:13-17.

In other words, when He had gotten John to baptize Him with water, Christ had "fulfilled" the very last righteous act demanded by the law and its physical ordinances. John the Baptist was the foreordained one to thus baptize Christ so that Israel would know their Messiah and King. And don't forget, that is exactly why Christ was baptized in water, namely, "to fulfill all righteousness" and in order to "be made manifest to Israel." Matt. 3:14-17; John 1:31. When we thus clearly see that Christ's life for thirty years (Lu. 3:23) was lived in, perfect obedience to the law and its physical ordinances we can then begin to see what we have when we, by faith, receive Christ. We have nothing less than the perfect "righteousness of the law" for "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every that believeth." Rom. 10:1-3. Thus, it is that, without our having taken one single step in our vain efforts to keep the law or fulfill its physical ordinances with our weak and sinful flesh, we have put our credit every righteous act that Christ performed during those thirty years of his righteous life lived in perfect, sinless flesh. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:2-4. There it is. The repentant sinner, by believing the gospel of Christ, has a miracle performed in his heart. All of the "righteousness of the law" that Christ lived in His perfect flesh and blood life is instantly put to the credit of the trusting sinner without his making any effort whatsoever to "walk after the flesh," or try to keep any fleshly tests of character.


The God-given commands for testing the corrupt flesh of Adam's race were allowed to continue long after Christ had fulfilled them all, [see The Transition in Acts] however, for though Christ had nailed fleshly tests to the cross as He died for us law-breakers (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:6-17), still it pleased God to allow the Jewish temple to be left standing in Jerusalem and to allow even the Christian Jews to continue practicing all of the Jewish religion including circumcision, head-shaving and blood sacrifices along with the "divers baptisms." Acts 16:3; 18:18; 21:18-26; 1 Cor. 9:19-22. Apparently, God allowed this system of Jewish ordinances to be practiced about thirty years after Christ fulfilled it because, in His patience, God only gradually showed the Jews how it was that His program was changing. But, as careful spiritual students have noticed, about the time Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, God was "closing the books," as it were, on all fleshly tests (physical ordinances. How clear this is from 2 Cor. 5:16-17: "Henceforth (from now on) know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh (we knew Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, the properly circumcised Jewish law-keeper, etc.), yet now henceforth, know we him no more. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Thus it was that after God had slowly led the Christians out of Jewish religion He and Paul finally write these glorious, liberating truths. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Col. 2:10-17.

Let us who are saved remember well that water baptism is an act of righteousness that Christ fulfilled. Matt. 3:15. And that the righteousness is put to our credit when we receive Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Rom. 10:4. "For not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy hath he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit ... But, let us who ARE saved be careful to maintain good works ..." Titus 3:5-8. This we should do out of love and gratitude to Him Who has so wondrously saved us and made us righteous in Christ.

(Please remember that this study does not pretend to take up the entire question of water baptism.)

Maurice Johnson

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