Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a tract, month, or collection:
The one baptism (Eph. 4:5) that cleanses fallen man from sin is not the baptism that washes the body; rather, it is the baptism that came "by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1Pet. 3:21); that is, the holy Ghost baptism. The water of Noah's flood, together with the ark, separated Noah from the wicked generation in which he lived; the flood destroyed the wicked and saved the righteous. In that way, it was a figure of God's baptism in spirit (1Pet. 3:20). The Spirit is the "water of life"(Rev. 21:6) to which Jesus calls us, and it springs up like "rivers of living water" from those who receive it (Jn. 7:38). The holy Ghost is both the ark of safety and the power that will destroy the wicked forever.
John's watery baptism in the Jordan River was another figure of the baptism of the Spirit. This is what John meant when he proclaimed, "I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I is coming, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the holy Ghost and with fire" (Lk. 3:16).
God used Noah and John to play special parts in producing "shadows of heavenly things". Then, when Jesus purchased our redemption and "the true light" began to shine, all such shadows, holy as they were in their time and place, passed away. In other words, after the Messiah had come, there remained no more need for the things that told us that he was coming.
In reality, it is as impossible to practice John's baptism in water today as it would be for us to re-enter Noah's ark. Neither of those two Old Testament shadows of heavenly things any longer exists. God's will is the thing that made both of them shadows of Christ, and it is no longer His will that we should enter into an ark made of wood or be baptized with a baptism using earthly water. Jesus fulfilled those symbolic works that had been commanded by God, and then, God moved on. We need to move on with Him.
It is good for anyone to obey God and be baptized by the holy Spirit into Christ (Acts 5:32; Gal. 3:27). If we continue to keep His word after being cleansed by the Spirit's baptism, God will keep us from even desiring to return to old things that have passed away. He will make us wiser than to try to return to things that no longer exist. In Christ-not in any shadow of him-is hidden all the wisdom and power and goodness of God.
Brother Billy Mellick sent the following response to this TFE:
I don't think Noah would have took a swim in the flood or that John would have tried to unloose Jesus' shoes. They were both perfectly content to be in their places.
Yes, Brother Billy, and we who are children of God are happiest when we stay in our place, which is out of the shadows and walking with Jesus in the light of life.