Tag Archives: baptism

Beware of Man’s Traditions

The early apostles constantly warned of false doctrines being taught to the new Christians. Since past is prologue and since there is nothing new under the sun, their warnings are valid for us in these last days.

A great deception was already sweeping through the little congregations scattered over the Mediterranean world. Paul is warning the Colossians. Walk in Christ the way you have been taught by His true teachers. And don’t be spoiled by men “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2: 6-8).

What were they teaching? What were these “traditions of men” that were obviously false and spiritually injurious to young Christians? What was this worldly thinking that is so deceiving?

In other words, those who believe man’s traditions about Christ will try to deceive you concerning the Savior. Beware of them, Paul is saying. All these seemingly innocuous platitudes about Christ will have “grand” intentions, but they will hurt the hearers. Beware.

Then in the next verse,  Paul counters the deceptive traditions that they were teaching. “For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (v. 9). Huh? At first glance, this does not seem to go with the previous three verses, but it has everything to do with them. For man’s philosophy and traditions are the opposite of the truth found in this verse.

First, the man Christ Jesus (Yahshua) had dwelling in Him the fullness of the Godhead. That means that the Father Yahweh dwelt fully in Christ. The Spirit dwelt fully in Christ. But man’s tradition teaches that Christ was only one person out of the three of the Tri-une God. They do not teach that Yahweh dwelt and walked around in the man Christ, even though He constantly told bystanders that it was the Father within Him that was doing the miracles.

“And you are complete in Christ, which is the head of all principality and power” (v. 10). Man’s tradition teaches that we need a priest to intercede for us and saints to pray to, that we need a church house and elders and a pastor and ceremonies and candles and tithes and offerings, et al.

And man’s traditions don’t teach that baptism is more than an outward show that you are joining the church. They don’t teach you that he that is “baptized into Christ is baptized into His death. “We are buried with Christ by baptism” so that our old sinful heart and spirit “might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Col. 2: 11-12; Rom. 6: 1-12).

The churches say you have to be baptized to show obedience to Christ. But they don’t have the spiritual depth to explain that the old sinful self is cut out without man’s hands by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The old sin guilt and desire to sin is cut out of our spirit and is replaced by a portion of His Spirit, resulting in a miracle heart transplant!

Sadly, in fact, man’s traditions teach just the opposite. They teach, You are a sinner saved by grace, and you will always be a sinner. And they say this with pride. But the apostles taught that you can in Him be free from sin (I John 3: 9).
Man’s teachings say that you cannot grow spiritually to eventually be like Christ. Their teachings, in a word, stunt a Christian’s growth like a seedling in the garden wilts under a sunless sky and brackish water.

These are some of the traditions of men that Paul warns us of. We must beware in order to grow up unto Him. For they will deceive and beguile and spoil the wonderful future that God has for those who believe His promises to us.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

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Is Christ Divided?

Obviously  not.  And neither are the true members of His spiritual body, the church.  Yet, in Christendom divisions abound, as they did in Paul’s day.

“We are the true church,” say the Roman Catholics.  “No, we are,” say the Baptists.  “We are the Church of Christ!”  “No, we are following Luther.”  “We are following Wesley.”

Please.  2,600 different denominations, each with a different take on Christ.  Divisions abound.  And they all claim to be following the words of the Bible, yet many do not obey its words: “I beseech you…that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you…that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1: 10).

The same mind.  Whose mind?  The mind of Christ.  Since Christ is not divided, then those who really have His Spirit will not be divided either.  “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom 8: 9).  If we are His, then we will have His Spirit.  And if we have His Spirit, we will have His mind, and we will not be divided.

Because of the divisions, Paul said that he would have to teach them the basics: the preaching of the cross.  This is what is lacking in Christianity today.  They have not been taught that they must surrender their own egos to the death of the cross.  They must identify their sin with the dying Christ who took upon Him the sin of the world that day at Calvary.

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom 6: 6-7).   The old heart dies with Christ, and then He gives us a new heart by faith in His resurrection.  If we can believe that Christ was raised from the dead, can we not also believe that His Spirit is now raised up in us, thus freeing us from sin and sinning?

If all Christians had this experience of deliverance from sin and sinning, then the divisions would evaporate.  We would all join hands in grateful fellowship, sharing His Spirit among us.  For “there is one body, and one Spirit” (Eph. 4: 4).  That one body is Christ’s one body of believers, which have His Spirit.

And that Spirit only comes into us after we believe that our old self  has died on the cross, and then believe that He has been raised up again in us!  That will get rid of all the divisions.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Doctrine of Baptisms–Baptized into His Death Frees Us from Sin

The early apostles taught their third doctrine–the “doctrine of baptisms–with an “s.”  For there are several baptisms in the Christian walk–not just the one with water.

The first baptism mentioned was John the Baptist’s “baptism unto repentance.”  He encouraged the people to repent of their sins, be baptized in water, thus pointing them to the Lamb of God, who would soon become the Sacrifice for all men’s sins.  “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Mt. 3:11).  Here we have three baptisms in one verse.

The baptism in water is symbolic of the death of our old sinful heart (see post on this at https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/baptismempty-ritual-or-symbol-of-death-of-self/ ).  Paul taught that it was symbolic of being immersed into Christ’s death.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6: 3).

Just How Are We Immersed into Christ’s Death?

     Just before Christ died, this perfectly sinless man took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future.  Sin was transferred onto this sin offering, and He died with all our sins upon Him.  Consequently, when He died, my old self died.  When He died that day, our old selfish egos died.

When He was literally buried in the tomb, our old lives were buried.  Gone.  Over with.  And when He rose from the dead, we rose from the deadness of our sinful existence, into a brand new wonderful life, energized with God’s Spirit now within (for more on this, see “Introduction” of my book The Unveiling of the Sons of God  found at the top of this page).  All this has already been done for us by God.  We have to only believe it when we read it in Romans 6: 3-7 :

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

We are now free from sin–if we really believe it.  Free!  We are no longer slaves to the pulls, urges, and demands of that old spiritual nature that held us in bondage to do sinful acts!  I’m talking about revolutionary freedom here!  We were dead to sin, but now we live unto God by faith in the Spirit that He has given us.

Water baptism is just the symbol of this immersion into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Believing and walking in this truth is the reality.  But God has promised his sons and daughters more and greater baptisms–the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire, which takes us into the very presence of God’s transformative power.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Self-Sacrifice Versus Self-Improvement in Christian Growth

Life is all about love.  It is about living to love. Life is our time to love.

But it is about great love, selfless love, agape love. For that is what touches the human heart–love. But this the highest love is the giving-up-one’s-life-for-another kind of love. It is that rare selfless love. And that is the part of the Christian story that reaches into the inner recesses of the heart and gently breaks it. It touches us. That’s the kind of love that is great–laying down one’s life for a friend.

And that is where the Christian’s Savior reigns supreme in touching hearts. Hearing of His undeniable love in taking our sins upon Himself and providing Himself as an offering for our sins–for the selfish likes of us–that is what touches us.

The cool untouchable reflection of Buddha does not touch us like Christ does. It is, after all, an exercise in helping one’s self gain peace. The busy petty pantheons of India, Rome, and Greece do not move us like Christ does.

Nor do nebulous new age imaginations touch us, for they all are mere means of self-improvement, not self-denial to help others.

And we humans know too well deep down in the core of our beings that self-improvement of the self is, well, self-centered and self-important and has little to do with worshipping the Creator who needs no improvement. For His ways are perfect; His thoughts are law.

This then should give us Christians pause. For we are warned repeatedly in almost every book in the New Testament that there will be false teachers. And even though well-meaning, they “will bring in damnable heresies.”

And the heretical teaching most damning, that condemns that vulnerable babe in Christ to a stunted spiritual growth is the doctrine of “self-improvement.” In an old tract it was call “The Modern Smooth Cross,” as opposed to the austerity of the “old rugged cross.”

The smooth modern cross does not demand the death of the old self on the cross with Christ, our sin Sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God. This doctrine merely re-directs ambitions, improves little idiosyncrasies. It never gets down to the real problem–the sin nature that is brought to the church house.

In this modern doctrine of self-improvement, the self is still there. It is never demanded to die with Christ. Therefore, the sinful self is hibernating there under the initial rush and excitement of fellowship, hiding like a cornered wild animal waiting to strike out and wound whoever would pressure it out of its comfortable lair. Some feel quite at home and feel no threats to their current status in Christendom and carry on walking through the wide gate.

The Self-Sacrifice of Spiritual Circumcision

However, we now must remember that we Christians have undergone an invisible spiritual circumcision, “made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh (Col. 2: 11-13).  For we were already “dead in our sins (v. 13). And now God has provided a way to let that sinful nature die now and avoid the rush. And we have been “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead” (v. 12). That is how God sees it and judges it regardless of whether we see it or even feel it. The “we,” the self is dead. He said it; now we believe it.

He died on the cross; our sinful nature died with Him. He was buried; we were buried spiritually, our old sinful nature entombed forever. He was raised from the dead; we are raised with Him and “walk in newness of life (Rom. 6: 4). And we must know this one thing: “That our old man is crucified with  Him [it is already done and over with], that the body of sin might be destroyed [that means dead, caput, no more, totally annihilated], that henceforth we should not serve sin”  (Rom. 6: 6).

So how to do this in a reality? We must reckon it so. We must account that it is done like God has already done. “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God” (6: 11). Let the invisible chains of sin’s slavery fall off of you. Just walk off of the plantation. You are already dead, so just let the old sinful life go. Be alive unto God. Walk in a new life through Him and through belief in His resurrection. It is already done. God’s Emancipation Proclamation has gone forth. Just believe it, and walk off of the plantation. You are free. You don’t have to sin anymore. Whether you have been going to church three months, three years, or thirty or more years–you are free now. Just believe it; it is already accomplished. I am proclaiming liberty to the captives. Walk on in the light of His love. Give up your life for others. Sacrifice your self to help save mankind. In a word, be like Christ. That is what He is asking us to do. After he told His disciples of these things, He asked them, Are you sure you want to do this? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

The Effect?

“He that is dead is freed from sin” (6: 7). Very few preachers tell their congregations that they are freed from sin. To the contrary, they tell them how sinful they are, but never tell them how to be free from that bondage to sinning. They proudly proclaim that they are a “sinner saved by grace” and will always be a sinner. Where does the Bible say that? Just read  1 John 3: 9. They will proclaim that they “sin every day.”

But why won’t they tell them that they are freed from the clutches of sin? Because they have not taught them that they must let their sinful old nature die with Christ on the cross. No death of sinful heart=no freedom from its bondage. For “whoever commits sin is the servant [slave] of sin,” Christ said (John 8: 34). He also said that “no man can serve two masters.” You cannot serve God and serve sin. Sharp cutting words, but needful.

But tired old churchianity slogs on, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Their leaders “cause them to err,” and they will give an account to the Judge who will weigh all their justifications and give His verdict, as they are led from the room muttering, “But did we not prophesy in Your name?”

The message written here will bless the hearts of some, but some will scurry out of its light, back to the friendly confines of modern Christendom’s “Today’s Tips for Self-Improvement. ”   Kenneth Wayne Hancock    {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom
https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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God Is the Teacher Teaching Through His Teachers

Oh, my God! This thing is real! You are the great Teacher, and when your Spirit dwells within a member of your body, then You the Teacher begin to teach, and the vessel that you speak through becomes a teacher of God. For it is no longer them that lives but Christ that lives in them. As Paul the apostle and teacher of God said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2: 20).

And really, this message, the death of the old sinful self, is the foundation of the temple of God.  We are His temple; consequently, our foundation must be the crucifixion of self, which is how we repent, and faith toward God, which is believing that He raised us up when He raised Christ up. That is the foundation that we are to build on. That is the cornerstone of the apostles’ teachings that we are to continue in (Acts 2: 42).

When we are baptized, we are immersed into His death (Rom. 6: 3). The water symbolizes to all that this is done. And what does “His death” entail? His death is the death of our old sinful nature; it is the end of our sin and sinning. “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who did no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5: 21).

Christ carried our sinful nature on Him; He was the scapegoat offering. He put an end to sin in us, for when He died, our sinful self died. When He was buried, our old self was buried; and when He was raised–HalleluYah!–then we too were raised to walk in a new life! Where old things are passed away! Behold, all things are become new!

“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been free from sin” (Rom. 6: 6-7 NIV). We are not bound to sin anymore; we are not under that bondage anymore. Believing in the His resurrection is the key because when we believe it, we are believing that we are being resurrected from the death that comes from the sinful self. Death is destroyed when our sin is put to death on the cross with
Christ. Ingenious plan!

Just the Beginning

This makes us a child of God. Wonderful, yes, but it is just the beginning of our walk with Him. It is the first step, the first stones to be laid in the foundation of us His house. Yet many new Christians are content to remain here as little children of God. But we are admonished to “go on to perfection,” to full maturity in God’s life cycle, for He is all about reproducing Himself. That is His plan and purpose.

But how do we continue growing? What steps must we take? What knowledge do we need, what spiritual meat was He talking about when He said to children of God that He had more advanced teachings for them, but they were “dull of hearing.” He was saying, You ought to be teachers of these advanced things of God, but you “have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God and…have need of milk and not strong meat” (Heb. 5: 11-14).

Babes need milk to grow. And that spiritual milk is comprised of the “principles of the doctrine of Christ,” which leads to Christian “perfection,” which is maturity.

These first foundational teachings of Christ are outlined in Hebrews 6: 1-2: repentance from dead works [sin], faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

And to get to full maturity like the early apostles, we must get these solid in our new life in Christ and then–leave them! We must not circle them like the Israelites circled the same old mountain. Forty years they wandered, and only two out of millions went into the Promised Land! We incorporate these teachings into our spiritual life, but we don’t remain there. These doctrines serve as our foundation in Christ, but to fulfill His will for our lives, we must leave them. They are stepping stones for the princes and princesses of the King! They are pre-requisites; they are means and not the end-all-be-all. To complete our royal destiny, we must grow in grace and knowledge and “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.”

And we Christians will leave the first principles of Christ’s doctrine and “go on to perfection”–if God permits. He wishes that all of us were prophets. He loves us and wants us to be just like Him. And more importantly, He has provided the way through the first two gifts of the Spirit–the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge, the tools of the trade for His teachers.

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Water Baptism–A Symbol of the Death of Our Sin Nature

We may not realize it yet, but we are blessed, for we have seen that our old self needs to go.  Many try to redirect or re-channel its activities.  Sometimes we try to clean it up, but He wants it to die.

He said to repent and be baptized in water.  Yes, water baptism is a symbol of something else, yet we should still do it.  But few know what the real baptism is.  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yahshua were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Rom. 6:3-4. NIV.

Going down into the water is a symbol of the mortal life we now live in this flesh.  Coming up out of the water is a symbol of the new spirit-being life we shall live which is the immortal life that we are called to.

Water is a symbol of our mortality.  Our first physical birth is an immersion in a bag of water.  We are born of water.  We mortals are about 75% water.  We  begin  in  our  mother’s  womb in water.  During water baptism we are baptized into His death.  To live in this mortal body is to die.  This watery entombment we call a body is really a deathtrap.  It by its very nature has to die.  The Messiah’s earthly body was composed of the same watery stuff that our bodies are.  And He died.  He had to die by reason of the nature of his shell during His earthly tenure.  This watery, flesh and blood body cannot inherit immortality and go into the kingdom of the Eternal One.  To be made of water is to be mortal, to be awaiting death, for water is extremely unstable, subject to every whim of nature’s forces.

To sin is to die.  Mortality is to be able to die.  Therefore, our mortality is to sin. Sinning insures a human of not receiving a new spiritual heavenly body.  But now He has enabled us to live a life where we do not have to sin, if we receive His Spirit.  Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust (desires) of the flesh (this old mortal body). Gal. 5:16. NKJV.

He was made to be sin for us

We, then, when we go under in water, are symbolically being immersed into this watery mortal state of sin with Him.  We “are buried with him by baptism into death.” Rom.6:4. God calls those things that are not,  as though they were.  We are dead already (Yahshua told the disciples, “Let the dead bury their dead”).  He calls it before its actual physical death when we consent to and experience it (in revelation).  The water is the symbol of our earthly mortal bodily state.  This spiritual death of our old self comes now in this revelation before the fruit of death comes to our earthly bodies.

In conjunction with this, few know that the Messiah, the day of His death, actually became sin for us—he who had never sinned.  He was the sacrificial  Lamb who was set to be sacrificed  before the world ever came into existence.  God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21. NIV. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. 13: 8.

The levitical priest, in types and shadows, laid his hands on the sacrificial goat, thereby transferring Israel’s sins upon it.  So did the Father place all of mankind’s sins upon the body of Messiah.  When He died, the body of sin died; our sin died that day.  To whom is the arm of Yahweh revealed?…Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all…It pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see His seed. Isa. 53:1,6,10.

We make the Lamb’s soul an offering for our own sins by realizing that it was us in our sinful state hanging on the tree that day.  We must be immersed in this knowledge.  We must believe that our old self—that old monkey on our back, that old demon that we were, that selfish, egotistical, self-absorbed, sorry excuse for a human being—that old thing that we were is now, in God’s eyes dead.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin. Rom. 6: 6.

[This is ch. 28 of my book, Yah Is Savior: The Road to Immortality, which you can find at the top of this page.  Just click “Ebook…”]

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The Apostles’ Doctrine–Baptisms (Plural)–Immersed into Christ’s Death

The early apostles’ taught their third doctrine–the “doctrine of baptisms” with an “s.”  For there are several baptisms in the Christian walk–not just the one with water.

The first baptism mentioned was John the Baptist’s “baptism unto repentance.”  He encouraged the people to repent of their sins, be baptized in water, thus pointing them to the Lamb of God, who would soon become the Sacrifice for all men’s sins.  “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Mt. 3:11).  Here we have three baptisms in one verse.

The baptism in water is symbolic of the death and burial of our old sinful heart (see post on this at https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/baptismempty-ritual-or-symbol-of-death-of-self/ ).  Paul taught that it was symbolic of being immersed into Christ’s death.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6: 3).

Just How Are We Immersed into Christ’s Death?

     Just before Christ died, this perfectly sinless man took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future.  Sin was transferred onto this sin offering, and He died with all our sins upon Him.  Consequently, when He died, my old self died; your old self died with all of its sins.  When He died that day, our old selfish sinful egos died.

When He was literally buried in the tomb, our old lives were buried.  Gone.  Over with.  And when He rose from the dead, we rose from the deadness of our sinful existence, into a brand new wonderful life, energized with God’s Spirit now within (for more on this, see “Introduction” of my book The Unveiling of the Sons of God  found here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/ebook-the-unveiling-of-the-sons-of-god/ ).  All this has already been done for us by God.  We have to only believe it when we read it in Romans 6: 3-7 :

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

We are now free from sin–if we really believe it.  Free!  We are no longer slaves to the pulls, urges, and demands of that old spiritual nature that held us in bondage to do sinful acts!  Why?  Because we believe what God believes about us. I’m talking about revolutionary freedom here!  We were dead to sin, but now we live unto God by faith in the Spirit that He has given us.

Water baptism is just the symbol of this immersion into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Believing and walking in this truth is the reality.  But God has promised his sons and daughters more and greater baptisms–the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire, which takes us into the very presence of God’s transformative power–a transformation that will carry us to eventually sit with Him on His throne.

But first, before that glorious day, we need to be like the early disciples of the Master, who “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine,” the first of which being “repentance from dead works,” explained through the “doctrine of baptisms.”  Being baptized into His death is how to repent from sins that bring forth death (Acts 2: 42; Heb. 6: 1-2).

{Being baptized into Christ’s death is just the first step.  Read how this leads us to the “hidden wisdom” of God.  For a deeper look into these mysteries, read this: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-hidden-wisdom-and-the-power-of-god/ }

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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