Life-Study of Actsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 22:1-21 Paul defends himself before the rioting Jews. In this message we shall focus our attention on Ananias’ word to Paul in verse 16: “And now, why do you delay? Rise up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”
In the case of Paul, like that of the Ethiopian eunuch, water baptism is emphasized. We need to pay attention both to water baptism and Spirit baptism. Water baptism signifies the believers’ identification with Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12), and Spirit baptism signifies the reality of the believers’ union with Christ in life essentially and in power economically. Water baptism is the believers’ affirmation of the Spirit’s reality. Both are needed, and neither can replace the other. All believers in Christ should properly have both.
According to the Lord’s word in Mark 16:16, in order to be saved, a person must believe and be baptized. To believe is to receive the Lord (John 1:12) not only for forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43), but also for regeneration (1 Pet. 1:21, 23), so that those who believe may become the children of God (John 1:12-13) and the members of Christ (Eph. 5:30) in an organic union with the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). To be baptized is to affirm this by being buried to terminate the old creation through Christ’s death and by being raised up to be a new creation of God through Christ’s resurrection. Such a baptism is much more advanced than the baptism of repentance by John (Mark 1:4; Acts 19:3-5).
To believe and to be baptized are two parts of one complete step for receiving the full salvation of God. To be baptized without believing is merely an empty ritual; to believe without being baptized is to be saved only inwardly without an outward affirmation of the inward salvation. These two should go together.
Baptism is actually a great transfer. For this reason, the New Testament ministry began with baptism. We have emphasized the fact that baptism involves first termination and then germination. Through termination and germination a real transfer takes place. It is not surprising, then, that the New Testament begins with baptism to indicate that the things of the Old Testament should be terminated in order to have a new beginning. However, among many Christians today, baptism is simply a ritual whereby people enter into another kind of religion.
When we were baptized, we were transferred out of Adam into Christ. Many Christians have never been taught this adequately. Others know that in baptism they were transferred out of Adam into Christ, but for them this is only a doctrinal matter. It is not something practical in their Christian life. In our living as Christians we should be out of Adam and in Christ. No longer should we live in the sphere of Adam; instead, our living should absolutely be in the sphere of Christ.
In 22:16 Ananias told Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins, calling on the name of the Lord. In this verse “calling on His name” modifies both “be baptized” and “wash.” Here Ananias seems to be saying, “Paul, rise up and be baptized. As you are being baptized, you must call on the name of the Lord. Calling on His name is the condition of your being baptized.”
It would be a good practice for us when baptizing new believers to charge them to call on the name of the Lord Jesus. This means that while they are being baptized, they are calling on the name of the Lord. Just as we breathe and eat at the same time, so a person may be baptized and call on the Lord at the same time. The transfer that takes place through baptism is strengthened by one’s calling on the Lord’s name. Therefore, let us charge those who are being baptized by us to call on the name of the Lord Jesus and thereby have a stronger transfer out of Adam into Christ.
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