Anglican Morning Devotion, 6 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:13-17; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
From the primitive age of Creation, the Lord has directed the sure and certain progression of His redemptive plan of salvation. Having known His elect from before the foundation of the world, there can be no annulment of that plan. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
At the early dawn of life in the Garden eastward at Eden, man was created in the image of God, but just as a shadow resembles the frame of its object, man was weak and frail to obey the only commandment God had given him. Instead of partaking of the Tree of Life (representing the Lord Jesus Christ), he partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil of which God had commanded him not to partake. Once sin entered the heart of man, it grew and took possession there. The first man born of woman, Cain, was a murderer – the second man born of woman, Abel, was a prophet of God. That division of good and evil prevails to this day among the sons and daughters of men. Those who are under the redemptive blood of Christ are righteous by virtue of the imputed righteousness of Christ – not by their own works. By the first man, Adam, came sin and death; by the second man, Jesus Christ, came life eternal.
THE FIRST BAPTISM – GLOBAL:
As the heart of man grew more and more evil, “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) God determined to destroy the old world through the baptism of the Global Deluge – the first baptism was that of all of Creation during which God saved eight souls of Noah’s family to repopulate the new creation. This global baptism was the First Baptism. It was global. But God winnows down the grain in His redemptive plan separating the chaff from the grain continually. As the baptizer said: “. . .he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
THE SECOND BAPTISM – NATIONAL:
The Lord God chose from the generations of man a nation to set apart as an example of His personal favor and protection – Israel. These He would baptize as a peculiar people set aside as His chosen as an example to all others. But the favor was national and not individual. “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.” (Hebrews 11:29) The same Almighty Hand of God that saved the Children of Israel in this second baptism is the same that destroyed the mighty army of Pharaoh. The seal that sets true Israel apart from all nations is the trust in that promise of a Redeemer made to Abraham, and not the racial aspect of the physical bloodline. That seal remains today.
THE THIRD BAPTSIM – INDIVIDUAL:
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17) The fulness of the Triune God was present at this further culmination of God’s redemptive plan: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This baptism of the Son of God set the Lord’s standard for us all to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in the individual and covenantal baptism of faith of which His baptism was the example.