Monday, March 29, 2010

What is Baptism?

Baptism is a gospel ordinance associated with a covenant.  A covenant is a promise.  In this case to follow divine teachings and direction.  Baptism is the ordinance that confirms our faith in Jesus Christ.  If we say we believe and do nothing about it we fail in our God given opportunity to act. 

The doctrine of baptism has faded as a teaching from many that say they follow Christ.   The philosophies of men prevail in the religious teachings of our modern era.  To be born again as taught in the Bible is to act upon hearing the word of God to repent.  Repentance is followed by baptism and the receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The scriptures are very clear that it is the binding act of faith. When someone comes to realize by witness of the Holy Ghost that they do recognize the ministry and atonement of the Savior as important in their life, something has to change.  

That change is symbolized and sealed by an ordinance and covenant.  We go down in the water dying as to the old person and coming out washed clean from sin or symbolically resurrected as a new person.  We go forward striving to keep the commandments and live a new life patterned after Jesus' example.  

This is also the entry into the church and kingdom of God. Those accepting baptism are known and joined in fellowship to nurture their faith.  Receiving this gift to repent, manifest by baptism enables the mercy offered by the Saviors atonement to take effect in our lives.

To be binding, ordinances need to be performed by someone that God has authorized to do them.  How can their be a covenant if there is no administrator of the covenant?  This is what the priesthood is organized and established for. It is authority to act in the ministry of declaring and bringing people to the Savior.  One does not choose to do it.  They are called to do it.  In this way there is no self assuming power associated with it.  So it was in Jesus day and so it should be in our day.  

Many say they act in the name of God, but where do they get their authority?  They say the Holy Spirit?  How can this be confirmed?  Anyone can say this. It is not something you get from a book or a college course.  The way a person is called to serve is documented in the Bible and no one takes the honor to himself.

When a person has faith in Christ and is ready and willing to repent of their sins and covenant with God to change they proceed to be baptized.   They then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and the right to be guided by its power and influence so long as they keep their covenant. Through this covenant the darkness of spiritual death is lifted.  

God will  never fail on his end of the promise to bless us and save us even though we often and regularly fall short.   He is willing to constantly forgive us and renew the covenants of salvation as we meet and worship in His church, which is the authorized organization for priesthood government and administration.

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