(Eph. 5:18, Matt. 20:22-23, Luke 12:49-53, Rom. 6:4, Eph. 4:5, Ezek. 47:1-12)
Among the Greeks, the word baptism was applied to the sinking of a ship. Most of us would understand that the Lord’s intention in baptism is that we would be fully immersed. While the outward act is important and was specifically directed by Jesus, our experience of being totally immersed in Christ is most important. That is a process and not a onetime event. Nevertheless, the act of baptism is an essential beginning.
It comes to mind that Paul wrote, of God are you in Christ Jesus. Without faith in the working of God through all that He accomplished in Christ, we would pursue outward acts to grow. That will never yield a lasting result. God works something in us and we respond in and by faith toward Him. We have the example of Jesus, that at the beginning of His exposure to the masse, He was baptized by John. Jesus called it an act of righteousness. It represents our dying to our old life and being raised to a new one in Christ. Today practices and timing vary but the original idea of being immersed is important. And it is progressive.
In the passages in Matthew and Luke, Jesus refers to a baptism He is moving toward. While the same word is used, this is another type of baptism. He is pressing in to fulfill the will of God, the purpose of God, for His life. If we follow Him as the 12 did, we will find ourselves moving toward this baptism also. He refers to it in the context of fire. It is a passionate pursuit. He is straightened, distressed for it to be done. This is the thought expressed. Are we in the process of being immersed into a passionate pursuit of God’s purpose? Ultimately it is a refinement of being conformed to the image of His Son. It is the process of letting go so that the life of Christ would be expressed in our lives.
The picture which we have through Ezekiel is different. Do you see the progression\? Some mature saints I met years ago expressed the thought of letting go the shoreline. With Ezekiel, he was led into the river until it could not be crossed. A full baptism leads you into the currents of God and you no longer want to exert the effort to leave. You are “free” to leave but you know that every twist, turn, and all the dangers are worth the seeming risks. In God, our end is sure and always good. Jesus arrived at the point where He pressed into it. He knew His entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a colt was not the victory it appeared to be. The victory would come when He finished His work. And it would be revealed when He was raised. Was there ever such an intensity of spiritual activity within such a short time? I think even the final day and hour will not compare.
We hear much of the prophetic. Many have dreams and visions. Some are clear and full and their results confirm they are from the Spirit of God. I sense others are mixed, our own desires mingling with God’s. I see this among the prophetic when we are seeking to know God’s next move. We miss it. I cannot submit myself to the dreams, visions, and prophecies of others. However, we know of the times where someone confirms what we are already hearing. And sometimes, the words from one are confirmed later in another way. Recently however, I have sensed whole groups of prophetic people missing it collectively. Are we listening to one another and missing the Lord’s voice?
I am increasingly aware of our wrapping the history of earthly kingdoms with His purpose in the earth as if we know the future. More than that we ascribe too much significance to earthly kingdoms. The prophet Daniel confirmed that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed the passing away as dust all the earthly kingdoms. We do not seek for destruction but a complete displacement is coming. It will be total. Christ is not coming to establish an earthly kingdom. He is coming so that the heavenly kingdom will fill the earth. We keep seeking for Him to fix the old creation. That is not what we read nor what we should expect. He is bringing a new creation. Christ Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. He is the firstborn of a new creation. All things will be summed up in Him. One baptism. To be immersed in and filled with Christ. Will you allow the Lord to sink you like a ship? You need to lose your anchors and let go of the shore and safety of the harbor. All those are temporary anyway.