What is the Gospel of the water and the Spirit?
The apostle Paul said, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). What does the word "the Scripture" in the clause "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" means? It means the Old Testament. The apostle Paul said that Jesus died for all our sin according to the covenant and revelation of the Old Testament. How did He atone all our sin? He did it through His righteous act: His baptism and His death on the Cross.
You know, in the time of the early church, there was no Christmas until the end of the 2nd century. The early Christians along with the Apostles only commemorated January 6th as "the day of Jesus' baptism," and it was the only early church's commemoration.
Why did the Apostles lay great emphasis on the Baptism of Jesus? It is the secret of the true Gospel of the water and the Spirit, which they received from Jesus and preached to the world. Jesus said, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). The Bible said that Jesus came by water and blood to save us from all our sins (1 John 5:6). Blood means the Cross, then what is the meaning of water?
Why was Jesus baptized by John the Baptist? Why did Jesus proclaim His Baptism to be "fit for us to fulfill all righteousness?" (Matthew 3:15)
Hebrews 10:1 says, "For the law (those sacrifices) having a shadow of good things to come . . ." Let's see the typical sacrifice God gave to His people for their salvation in the time of the Old Testament. If anyone sinned and was guilty, the sinner had to offer a sin offering to make atonement for his sin. Let's see Leviticus 1:3-5. "If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hands on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He shall kill the bull before the Lord; and the priest, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting." Here, we can see that the sin offering had to satisfy three conditions below to be lawful before God.
In these verses above, we must confirm God's law that the sin were to be transferred to the head of the sacrificial animal by means of the laying on of hands before the sacrificial animal was killed. It's a very important truth. You can find so many expressions like "laying hands on the head of the sin offering" for the remission of sin in the following chapters of Leviticus. Leviticus 16:21 says, "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shell send it away into the wilderness by the hands of a suitable man."
When Aaron, the high priest laid his hands on the head of the goat, all the sins of the Israelites were transferred to the head of the goat. When a sinner laid his hands on the head of a sacrifice, his sins are transferred to its head. In the same way, when a person is ordained to the priesthood, a minister lays his hands on the head of the person in order to pass the priesthood. Therefore, "the laying on of hands" was the act of passing sins onto the sacrifice. It means "to pass on to."
And then the animal must be killed by bleeding because "the life of the flesh is in the blood, and . . . for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11).
However, the Israelites were too weak to be expiated for all their sin, for they could not help sinning everyday until they died even though they offered sin offerings every time they sinned. So God opened another chance for them to be forgiven for all their yearly sins once a year. It was the ritual of the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement, Aaron, the high priest, laid his hands on the head of the scapegoat to pass the yearly sins of all Israelites onto it once for all (Leviticus 16:21).
Aaron was the representative of Israelites at that time because he laid his hands on the head of the goat in place of all Israelites. When he himself laid his hands on the head of the goat, all the yearly sins of the Israelites (about 2-3 million at that time) were passed onto the head of the scapegoat through his lawful deed. It was a statute forever for mankind (Leviticus 16:29).
That was the "shadow of good things to come" (Hebrews 10:1). Now, God completed "the good things to come" through Jesus Christ. Let's see how Jesus Christ fulfilled His covenant.
First, God the Father sent Jesus Christ in the form of a man without blemish as the promised Lamb of God. He is the only begotten Son of God, and He is Holy God, too. So He was fit to be the Sacrifice of all mankind without any blemish.
Second, He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Here, we need to know who was John the Baptist who baptized Jesus. John the Baptist was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest. The priest Zacharias, John's father was born in the lineage of Abijah, the grandson of Aaron (Luke 1:5, 1 Chronicles 24:10). So John the Baptist was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest. It means that he had the right to become a high priest. Moreover, Jesus approved John to be the greatest one among all mankind. "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John" (Matthew 11:11,13). It means that John is the last High Priest on earth and the legitimate representative of all mankind God promised and prepared.
The Old Testament prophesied him. "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me" (Malachi 3:1). "Remember the law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:4-6). Jesus said, "And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come" (Matthew 11:14).
John the Baptist was Elijah to come and returned all people to Jesus Christ making them prepared to accept Him. He was born six month prior to Jesus. He gave the baptism of repentance to people in the wilderness in order to prepare the way of the Lord. He needed to lead people to remember the law and the sacrificial system of the Old Testament in order to make them prepare their Savior Jesus Christ. So he baptized people and made them realize that the Savior would come soon and take away all the sins of the world in the form of the laying on of hands. John's baptism called upon sinners to return to God. So many people heard the words of God through John and abandoned their idols and return to God, confessing their sins.
Then Jesus came from Galille to John at the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus said, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). Here, all righteousness is "dikaiosune" in Greek, and its meaning is "fairness, justice." It means that Jesus saved all sinners from their sins in the absolutely just and fair way. To deliver all sinners from their sins in the absolutely just and fair way, Jesus had to take away all their sins through "the laying on of hands" according to the covenant, which God made in the Old Testament. It was the most proper way for Him to take away all the sins of mankind by receiving baptism from John. Because Jesus took on all the sins of the world through His baptism, the next day John the Baptist testified, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) The very John came to perform the baptism on Jesus by laying on of hands. At the moment John laid his hands on the head of Jesus Christ, all the sin of the world had been passed to Him according to God's law.
Third, He was crucified for the remission of our sin. Before His last breath He said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) He shed all His blood for the wages of our sin. And He was raised from the death the third day, and ascended to Heaven. He blotted out all the sin of the world absolutely with His baptism and His blood on the Cross.
The apostle Paul said, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3). Now, do you understand how the sacrificial animal was offered for the remission of sin in the Old Testament, and why it is the shadow of the good things to come?
There had to be "laying on of hands" before killing the sacrificial animal. If one had omitted "laying hands on the sacrifice" when he offered a sin offering, he could not have been forgiven of his sin because of his lawlessness. God had never received such lawless sacrifices. It was against the law of God to offer a sacrifice omitting to lay hands on it.
Jesus came to this world in order to cleanse all our sin by His righteous act (Romans 5:18). His righteous act was that He was baptized by John the Baptist to take away the sin of the world and was crucified to pay the wages of the sin. He came by His baptism and blood. But unfortunately, most Christians know only a half portion of His righteous act. We should know the whole portion of the Gospel of the water and the Spirit. Believe in Him omitting the important portion of His Gospel is lawless and void.
The apostle John clarified the whole portion of His Gospel in his first Epistle. "This is He who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood" (1 John 5:6).
We are born sinful natured, and sin until our last breath. We cannot but sin and we cannot escape from God's judgment. We all mankind are destined to go to hell, "for the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (Romans 5:20, John 3:16).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to this world as the Lamb of God. He took all the sin of the world when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. As the representative of all mankind, John laid his hands on Jesus' Head, and at the moment, all the sin of the world passed over onto Jesus. Thus Jesus took all our sins by His baptism and carried them to the Cross. He bled all His sacred blood as the wages of our sin, and atoned all the sin of the world absolutely.
So He cried out loudly, "It is finished!" before His last breath on the Cross. What was finished by Jesus? All the sin and its judgment was finished by His righteous act, in other words, we were forgiven for all our sin by His baptism and His death on the Cross. Jesus Christ blotted out all the sin of the world about 2,000 years ago, and has consecrated a new and living way (Hebrews 10:20). Now is the time of His grace. Whoever believes in His baptism and His death on the Cross can be forgiven for all his sin, and has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Halleluiah!
And what more shall we say! There are so many verses in the Bible asserting His Baptism as the indispensable righteous deed of Jesus for our salvation (Matthew 3:13-17, 1 Peter 3:21, John 6:53-55, Ephesians 4:5, Galatians 3:27, Acts 10:37, etc)
Do you believe in this truth? Do you have no sin in your heart? Did Jesus take all your sin from your birth until now? Did He take all your sin from now on until your last breath by His baptism 2,000 years ago? Then are you absolutely sanctified by believing in His baptism and His blood?
Christianity today should recover the Gospel of water and the Spirit. Whoever wants to know about the Gospel of the water and the Spirit more in detail, don't hesitate to make contact with The New Life Mission. You can get Rev. Paul C. Jong's books/e-books for free.