The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 63 of 211
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#24.  BEWARE.
Baptism and burial (2: 12).
pp. 50 - 55
The rite of circumcision and the ordinance of baptism have something in common.
We have given some space to the consideration of the place and purpose of circumcision,
so we now devote attention to the allied subject of baptism.
Baptism was not introduced by John the Baptist; it belonged to the ceremonial of the
Levitical law:--
"A figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices,
that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers BAPTISMS and carnal ordinances,
imposed upon them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest
of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands
. . . . ." (Heb. 9: 9-11).
The reader will note, on either side of this reference to Levitical baptisms, the idea of
"perfection" and "not made with hands" that reveal something parallel in the teaching of
Hebrews with Colossians. We will not make the digression here, but we hope before this
series is finished to demonstrate the parallelism of Hebrews with Colossians for the better
elucidation of its central theme contained in Col. 2: 4-23. For the time being we must
pursue our present line of enquiry.
The other reference to baptism in Hebrews is in a context that is also suggestive of the
argument of Colossians:--
"Therefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;
not laying again the foundation . . . . . of the doctrine of BAPTISMS" (Heb. 6: 1, 2).
The context speaks of the ascended Christ as the High Priest after the Order of
Melchisedec, of the contrast between babes and full-grown, or as the word "full-age" in
Heb. 5: 14 actually is, "perfect". In both passages therefore where baptism figures in
Hebrews it is set over against "perfection". It hardly seems likely therefore that literal
water baptism is intended in Col. 2: 12.
We need not stay to discuss the place and purpose of the baptism of John, which is so
evidently part and parcel of his ministry as the forerunner of Christ, that there is no need
to prove its dispensational place in the Scriptures.
The baptism that was commanded by Christ, and which we find practiced during the
Acts of the Apostles, should, however, be given consideration:--