Vessels of Mercy

1 John 3:9

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Do you trumpet to be born of God? If so, a further declaration of perfection indeed follows as we stampede to apply the words as written by John. Still, there is a depth in John’s writing surpassing finite human intellect; enlightenment conferred solely by the infinite Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Multifarious spiritual entities aver singular use of the name Jesus Christ respecting baptism, unconsciously ignoring our Lord’s ringing words. When we sequence, cord scripture with scripture, we derive sharper perception; there are relevant prospects.

Is corporal baptism de rigueur to divine salvation or a voluntary, conspicuous declaration of faith? Has there ever been anybody baptized who thereafter rejected Christianity? The obvious answer is yes. Likewise, for those who feigned devotion, routinely observed church services for a season then finally dismissed the whole of Christianity. Thus, traditional ceremonies, simple confessions of faith, do not confirm one is truly reborn.

Ezekiel 36:25-27: Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The precise word baptism employed, not, nor is it necessary, as the process, purpose described, is distinctly recognizable. Note it is entirely of God—mortal beings, mere subjects. Acts 2:38 answers, Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Do we receive the Holy Ghost before baptism or after? Performed a work — proceeding at once to the nearest body of water and plunging in? The preceding verse (37) may shed additional light: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Observe they were “pricked in their heart” in advance. Examine the subsequent verses 39 & 40: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. A reference to “the promise” (resolved ahead of time) and God’s preparatory call in time. Also, Peter employs the phrase, “save yourselves” which may appear as a stark contradiction if taken plainly; for is it not our Lord, Jesus Christ, who perished on the cross to atone for sin once and forever? There is a divine spiritual expression involved leading to an exact, penetrating conclusion; may the living God perform the work described in Ezekiel mercifully turning us from veritable darkness to true Light. And let’s not fuse our Lord’s baptism on earth with our own. I would raise concerns should anybody allege the Holy Spirit descended upon them as a dove and heard God the Father speak with favor after they emerged from a pool of water.

Acts 8:26-39 records yet another example concerning baptism. Reflect on this account and note the Ethiopian proposed baptism; Philip did not broach the subject. Withal, let the associated commentary of Nonconformist minister and author Matthew Henry from the year 1710 avail:

“As soon as he was baptized, the Spirit of God took Philip from him, so that he saw him no more; but this tended to confirm his faith. When the inquirer after salvation becomes acquainted with Jesus and his gospel, he will go on his way rejoicing, and will fill up his station in society, and discharge his duties, from other motives, and in another manner than heretofore. Though baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with water, it is not enough without the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Lord, grant this to every one of us; then shall we go on our way rejoicing.”

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Concerning statements of fealty, study the outline of Simon of Samaria in Acts 8:9-25. Indeed, the ‘Parable of the Sower’ in Luke 8:4-15. The latter best reveals why perplexities abound. This parable illustrates that individuals who, although not born again, make an intellectual ascent to Christianity; give the impression of righteousness. However, this is not the case, as our Lord openly points out. As well, take Matthew 7:21-23, where we read:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

People professed the name of the Lord, bore splendid labors; still, our Lord extends a strong rebuke. Professions of loyalty and labors lands short of vital knowledge of the Lord, true repentance.

Judas Iscariot: counted among the twelve apostles, designated by our Lord. Was he not also imbued with peculiar abilities like the other eleven? Again, look over the aforesaid parable.

Commentary from the eminent Matthew Henry on ‘Simon of Samaria’:

“Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.”

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Those ‘called into being’ cannot fail because it is almighty God’s work. There are throngs fancying they are Christian, yet hitherto have not experienced genuine conversion, yet they appear too externally.

Romans 9:6

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

We’re not saved because we believe. We believe because we’re saved. The former recommends the fallen mass of perdition. The latter appeals to the scriptural truth: It is God’s work alone, 100%, in deliverance, of which we have nothing to recommend us.

Fallen creatures are prey to the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 affirms, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

1 John 4:1

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. John is communicating to Christians, specifying we are still subject to the Tempter. Satan and his malicious cohorts are experts in producing counterfeits. They prey on the human heart knowing its frailties, and in succession, the susceptibilities attending our lapsed minds.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

I would hazard Lucifer knows not who is born to be Christian. To the Prince of Darkness, everybody appears equal. However, upon manifestation of rebirth, Old Nick and his treacherous mob get the message; amplify their sinister attacks, respecting the Christian who gathers spiritual warfare. The children of the promise prevail, set apart by God prior to the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Peruse the entire first chapter of Jeremiah for clarity; particularly verses 4 and 5. This is true of all saints. Jeremiah’s investiture, classification, is comparatively elaborate, however.

John 19:30

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

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