by Travis Bryan III
Back to Basics: Part 2-Baptism (Rom 6)
- The word “baptism” literally means “to be overwhelmed with calamity” or “adversity” as in a flood or storm or fire;
- Baptism is our experience of the cross. The most common form of this baptism occurs when a person is drowning in his own sins, failures, transgressions or failure to keep the rules, and he finally becomes exhausted from trying to save himself. This leads to a descent, a fall, a drowning without water or a sinking down into death. The law was given to multiply our opportunities for falling. Rom 5:20.
- We FALL or SINK DOWN OUT OF our arrogance, self-effort, self-confidence, self-esteem, pride, security, independence; self-righteousness; self-saving trust in idols like drugs, alcohol, food, entertainment, religion, networking, health fanaticism, knowledge of our trade or profession, earthly wisdom, intellectual knowledge of the Bible, lists of things to do to create order in our lives, psychological techniques, bromides for living like “God helps those who help themselves.” We FALL DOWN INTO God. This is what baptism is: a falling down out of things, some of which even have temporal value, and falling into a person, Jesus Christ, and His things, things that have eternal value. It is a surrender, a self-sacrifice, a letting go, a willingness to lose an illusion of what life is in order to gain real life (John 12:23-24), a consent to experiencing loss, after the letting go-a sinking down, an emptying out, a recognition of one’s utter inability to climb up anymore into happiness or success, an acceptance of undeserved suffering, a cessation of TAKING or GRABBING for gusto in hopes of being made into a giver instead of a taker, an admission of defeat, a resignation from our continual fleshly quest to gain the high seat of control, wealth, clout, earthly power, influence, and approval from others. In these ways, it is a death to self, a crucifixion or ourselves to the world and the world unto self. Gal 6:14.
- It is not water baptism. Water is a symbol of this only and has no actual salvific value itself. It is a falling down into depths from which we have only one choice: cry out to God for salvation OR rail against God in bitterness, blame and anger. This is the CRUCial place of decision, the “valley of decision.” See Joel 3:14 and Jonah 2.
- The depths of despair are where this death to self is finally found. It can be found nowhere else. It is “out of the depths” that we find God. Is 51:10; Ps 68:22; 71:20; Ps 107:22-end chap; Ps 130; Ezekiel 27:34; Deep calleth into deep. Ps 42:7. The depths of God (Christ’s burial) call out to the depths of your being (your burial with Christ). Rom 6:4.
- God allows Satan to bring upon us the depths of the cross-experience just as He allowed Satan to put His Son on the cross. John 13:27. God does this for a redemptive purpose: that we might experience resurrection newness of life and be freed from slavery to sin and self. Rom 6:3-7.