Baptism is enshrined for ever in the gigantic catastrophe of the Flood, incomparably the greatest physical disaster the world has ever seen.  The Holy Spirit selects this startlingly vivid and enormous setting - a drowned world - in which to plant God’s ritual for ever. "Few, that is, eight souls were saved through water, which also after a true likeness doth now save you, EVEN BAPTISM,"(1 Pet. 3: 20, 21).




A pregnant sentence illuminates the whole background of the ritual.  "The long-suffering of God WAITED" - in a hundred and twenty years’ postponement of judgment - "in the days of Noah" (1 Pet. 3: 20).  God had made a private communication to the Patriarch:-"The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth" (Gen. 6: 13).  The parallel to-day is appalling.  The whole world is now under sentence of death: entire humanity is to be engulfed: the saved are to be ‘few’ - in figure, eight souls against the untold millions of the pre-Flood world; for it is a ‘true likeness,’ that is, an exact type.  Meanwhile God waits.  As before the Flood, so now, He waits for a repentance which never comes.  Longsuffering withholds judgment up to the point where further longsuffering would itself be sin; and if the Ark is not entered, the delay is only measuring, with omniscient accuracy, a world’s guilt to which every day adds its damming quota.  But the awful truth is balanced by another: it is a matter of unutterable thankfulness that the blue heavens cannot over-arch for ever such a mass of wickedness, nor the sun shine on such crimes; beyond lies the glorious [Millennial] Kingdom of Messiah.




Something almost equally sobering now opens on our view.  Only the few are saved.  The salvation which God offered then and which He offers now is embodied, in picture, in one of His great rituals. "Wherein" - the ark - "few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism."  The Christian baptistry thus pictures the Flood; and so vivid is the picture that, had the saved not come through the Flood, they would have been drowned; exactly as, in baptism, if the baptized were kept under the water, and did not merely pass through it, they would be drowned also.  For the water is the judgment of God; descending and ascending floods involved the world in a total immersion; and all flesh was buried as incurable.  "ALL FLESH DIED" (Gen. 7: 19): so the baptized man is laid under the water as a corpse; and he survives only because he is lifted: he lives solely because other hands come between him and death.  Those eight souls speak to us forty-five centuries later.  Since the few are saved, let us never fear being among the few: few even of the few - our Saviour says one in ten (Luke 19: 16) - reach the highest: isolation, ostracism can be hall-marks of Heaven.* "Prefer, if you please," says an old Father of the Church, "the multitude drowned by the Flood; but allow me to enter the Ark which held the few."


[* Better to have said, ‘isolation, ostracism can be hall-marks of those who are judged ‘worthy’ to inherit the Millennial kingdom: for “many are called, but few are chosen.”]




So now we behold the Ark.   As the water was their destruction, so the Ark is the only salvation, for all flesh; and as Noah built a water-tight vessel by obedience, so by obedience our Lord built a flawless asylum of righteousness.  What Noah constructed alone saved, and he himself was powerless to save without the Ark: one missing screw, one faulty plank, one miscalculated measure - anything short of a flawless holiness* and a Law observed in its entirety - would plunge all the saved into the boiling flood.  The Ark floated death-proof upon the waters.  An aged saint, asked to explain salvation, said:- "Something for nothing"; but another old servant of God, hearing it, said:- "Nay, it is better than that; it is everything for nothing."  It is God in the place of Hell.


[* Anything short of a flawless holiness gives eternal salvation to all believers; but the scriptures speak also of a future salvation which is dependant upon the regenerate believer’s works of righteousness. James 1: 21, 22; 1 Pet. 1: 9, 10.]




The Apostle next carefully defines what baptism is not, and the type fulfils the definition exquisitely.  Baptism, he says, "is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh."  Baptism, it is true, is a pictured bath: "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22: 16).  But, since it is a pictured washing away of sins, it is no ordinary bath; nor is it a ceremonial washing, such as the lustrations under the Law, which are called ‘baptisms’ (Mark 7: 4); nor is it an ablution from the ‘filth of the flesh’ in a higher sense - a baptismal regeneration of the ‘old man.’  Why?  Because the type is decisive.  The deadliest enemy of those saved in the Ark was the water: the water was God’s solitary weapon, and it slew earth’s millions: all salvation, then and now, is in spite of the water.  This is the death-blow of baptismal regeneration.  We do not pass through the water in order to be saved, we pass through it because we are saved; for we are in the Ark.  The flesh is nor cleansed in the water, but buried in it, and the Ark alone saves. * 


[* Dean Alford’s contention that "the waters saved them,* becoming to them a means of floating the ark," is overthrown as explicitly by the Scripture as by the type; for it was the ark, and not the lifting billows, which was "the saving of his house" (Heb. 11: 7). No one can get into the Ark by proxy, and no one outside the Ark can survive the tempest.  "He who believes by proxy will be damned in person" (Henry Rogers).]

[* ”The waters,” says the author, “ were the judgment of God.”.  Therefore the waters saved them in this sense, for only those judged worthy of entrance into the kingdom, will inherit it. Matt. 5: 20.]




So the Apostle now discloses the only definition of baptism ever given by inspiration.  Baptism, he says, is "the answer" - the question and reply, the catechism, the successful examination - "of a good conscience toward God": a good conscience God-ward, not man-ward; a conscious which God sees to be good, and not only the examiner for baptism.*   The Scripture leaves us in no shadow of doubt what ‘a good conscience’ is.  "How much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience" (Heb. 9: 13): "let us draw near, having our hearts sprinkled" - blood-sprinkled- "from an evil conscience" (Heb. 10: 22).  If there be no purged conscience, there is no baptism; for this is baptism, the [Holy] Spirit says - "Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God."  Baptism is the combination of an inner fact and an outward act, and of the two the inner fact is the one vital: baptism saves, because it is the saved who are baptized, and it is a completion, by outward confession (Rom. 10: 10), of an inward reality.  Those to be baptized are thus sharply defined.  As Noah’s household had to be within the Ark before they could pass through the waters, and committal to the water alone would have been almost instant death; so the conscience of the person to be baptized must first be blood-cleansed; first the Blood, then the water: "Shall be saved" (Mark 16: 16). ** 


[* The ‘answer,’ the asking or questioning of conscience, which comprises likewise its answer; for the word intends the whole correspondence of the conscience with God.  It probably alludes to the questions and answers used in baptism; but it further expresses the inward questioning and answering which is transacted within, betwixt the soul and itself, and the soul and God. - Archbishop Leighton, The First Epistle of Peter, p. 251. 

** Christian life properly began with baptism, for baptism was the convert’s confession before men, the soldier’s oath which enlisted him in the service of Christ.  The rite was very simple, as described by Justin in the second century.  After more or less instruction, the candidate declaredhis belief in our teachings, and his willingness to live accordingly.’  Here he made his formal confession, and here he was baptized by immersion in the name of the Trinity.  After this he was taken to the meeting and received by the brethren.  We have decisive evidence that infant baptism is no direct institution either of the Lord Himself or of His apostles.  There is no trace of it in the New Testament.  Immersion was the rule. - H. M. GWATKIN, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge, Early Church History, vol. I., pp. 246-250.]




So the type reveals that baptism is a burial in the flood of wrath: the proportions of the Ark are the proportions of a man, that is, of a coffin; six times as long as it is broad, and ten times as long as it is high.  No sooner was the Ark finished than it entered the awful storms; and most remarkably our Lord uses the very figure of baptism to express what He must meet after He had completed the active righteousness. "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened until it is accomplished!" (Luke 12: 50).  "Are ye ignorant," Paul asks (Rom. 6: 3), "that all we who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death?  We were BURIED therefore with him through baptism into death; that like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might * walk in newness of life" - landed on Ararat.  Our Lord’s resurrection was at once the completion and the proof of His righteousness: therefore it is the goal both in type and in fact.  "Baptism doth now save you, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." There opens before us an Ararat a new world ¹ made clean by the judgments that fell on Calvary.


[* Not every regenerate believer does walk in newness of life; many fall into sin and never recover, (Acts 5: 1-10); others become apostates and lose the kingdom, (Rev. 2: 14).]


Thus baptism, even apart from its being commanded, becomes binding on all the saved; for in both its Divine types, salvation and baptism are pictured as one: the Ark passing through the Flood to Ararat, and Israel, blood-cleansed before stepping into the Red Sea, "all baptized in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10: 2).*  The entire people of God, in both cases, are assumed as passing through the waters; and both waters are explicitly stated, by the Holy Spirit, to picture baptism; and both are a total immersion in dangerous death-dealing floods.

[* That they were baptized in the cloud as well as in the Sea - the cloud spanning from wall to wall of water - reveals baptism once again as a gigantic coffin for the whole people of God.] 


Experience exquisitely confirms baptism, so administered, as of God.  Here are some testimonies the writer has himself received.  "Last night I was smitten to the dust.  Of course I shall obey Him in baptism!  There is nothing else to do.  I do so gladly, humbly, thankfully, gratefully." - "Sunday night was far more beautiful even than I had thought: I saw no one - the Master was there." - "I shall never forget how I realized the preciousness of Christ after I obeyed Him." -  "It has brought greater joy into my life, and it has given me a stronger passion for service. To obey is better than sacrifice.’  The blessedness that has been mine since my baptism is more than words can express." - "I was just trembling in every limb - but when the time came to step into the water, it was just as if He held my hand, and led me.  Never in my whole life has He been so dear: I cannot tell you all that it meant to me, as I laid my whole life at His feet." - "Each moment of this evening last week comes to my mind tonight; so overpoweringly, that I was forced to my knees in the ecstasy of joy.  What hath God wrought!"









The Lord has been pleased to testify to us both concerning eternal life and the millennial kingdom.  Baptism is in close connection with both; but it is my intention now especially to treat of its connection with ‘the kingdom of God’ (or ‘of heaven.’)


God, who had spoken oft in the Old Testament, prophets of Israel’s day of glory, and of the kingdom of the Son of David, was pleased at length to send John Baptist to proclaim, that the promised kingdom had drawn nigh, when Jesus was about to be presented to Israel.  He called on all to repent; for all were sinners.  He preached "the baptism of repentance for (in order to) the forgiveness of sins." Mark 1: 4.  Those who received his doctrine, accepted his rite, and were immersed in the river Jordan.  Thus he carried out God’s call by Isaiah. "Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well:" Isa. 1: 16, 17For the kingdom of God is a kingdom of saints, as Daniel foretold, 7.  All, then, who enter that kingdom must have their past sins forgiven, and live a new life.   For the day of wrath must visit earth before the kingdom comes, to sweep away from off it all living sinners; as John also assumes; especially in his description of Messiah as the woodman with axe ready to smite the evil trees; and as the husbandman, with winnowing fan and fire, prepared to sever the wheat and the chaff.  Baptism seen in connection with John’s preaching, presented the receivers of it as set beyond that deluge of wrath, awaiting in safety the coming glory. There were, as Israel of old, standing on the farther shore of the Red Sea, while the enemies of God are swallowed up in the deep.


Great were the effects of this proclamation throughout the land.  A new dispensation of promise had opened; and they were eager to realize its glories - like soldiers ready to burst with sword, axe, and crowbar, through impediments, in order to plunder a place of wealth which has suddenly offered itself to them: Matt. 11: 11-13; Luke 16: 16.  Multitudes were aroused to desire a part in the promises of the prophets: they gradually accepted the prescribed washing, which told of their entrance into the proferred kingdom.  But there were two classes who refused this message of God.  The Pharisees disliked its doctrine of universal sinfulness: and rejected the bathing which was its token.  The Sadducees disliked its prophetic part; and they also stood aloof from the rite which spoke acceptance of the testimony.


But Jesus, though sinless, accepted His Father’s message as an Israelite; and submitted to the baptism commanded, as a part of his obedience.  Heaven opened, the Father announced him as his Son; the Spirit descended to anoint him as king.  David was anointed by Samuel with oil: the Son of David, with the Spirit from on high. Jesus overcomes, in a battle without sling or stone, the great Goliath, who proved to much for Adam, for Israel, and for mankind.  Then he goes forth in the power of the kingdom, to do good works and great works, as witnesses of the future millennial glory.  The movement which John began, next extends itself to all Syria: Matt. 4: 24.  While all are thus alive with expectation, Jesus proclaims in the Sermon on the Mount to all the receivers of John’s message, and of his own, the rule of life for all those who would enter the kingdom.  For it was not enough that baptism had spoken their death to law, and their cleansing from past sin, there was required a new legislation, in order to show how they who desired a part in Messiah’s glory were to live till it come.  The law was the rule of life to those seeking for justification by their works; and for eternal life,* as the result of their justification [by faith.].  The Sermon on the Mount is the loftier rule for those already justified by faith in Messiah’s promised righteousness; but who are seeking after the glory of the millennial kingdom, as the reward of the obedience of faith?


[* There needs to be a distinction between the two scriptural types of justification.  Justification by faith - (based on the imputed righteousness of Christ) - guarantees eternal life to all those justified in ‘a new heaven and a new earth’.  Justification by the regenerate believer’s works - (after receiving eternal life, as a “free gift”) - guarantees ‘age-lasting’ life in the millennial kingdom of Christ, 1,000 years beforehand, (Luke 20: 35).]


Israel at length refuses both the heavenly glory of the millennial kingdom, and even its earthly glory: for they reject and slay Messiah the king.  Jerusalem, his metropolis, takes the lead in this crowning sin.  But after Jesus is slain and risen, does the proclamation of this future kingdom of glory cease?   Is it ended by the descent of the Holy Ghost?  Many seem to think so: the only kingdom they recognize is the one of mystery, in which the Church at present is set.  But this is their mistake.  Let us look at the scripture evidence which refutes it.


Jesus, at the last Supper, discovers to the disciples the limit of the time during which faith is to be patient.  They were to celebrate His death in the drinking of wine; which should represent His blood, up to the time of His return.  For then He would Himself drink of wine as the literal produce of the vine, together with them new in the kingdom of the Father: Matt. 26: 29; Mark 14: 25.  Taking leave of them, He bids them make disciples out of all nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Why?  Because the doctrine of the future kingdom of glory was still to be heralded by apostles; and baptism was still the sign of God’s cleansing of sinners, and of man’s acceptance of the tidings.  The parable of the Wedding Garment shows, that the same message in the main is to be borne by the servants after bidden Israel has rejected it, as before: Matt. 22.  The wedding feast of the king’s son shall still be celebrated, though the first called refused.  And if the path of cleansing were needed, even for Israel the people of God; much more for sinners of the Gentiles.  Jesus after His resurrection: Acts 1: 3, also teaches the twelve more fully about the kingdom.


The Saviour ascends: the Holy Ghost comes down from above.  Does the [Holy] Spirit drop all mention of the kingdom?  By no means!  Peter takes occasion from the baptism of the Spirit, visible in the tongues of fire, audible in the sound of new languages, to assure Israelites, that this was the blessing foretold by Joel in the second chapter.  Let us look, then, at what precedes and follows the text of Joel cited by Peter.*  Jehovah promises, if Israel will but repent, all the fruitfulness of the earth as a token of his good pleasure.  They shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied: they shall know, that their God is dwelling among them, and they shall never be ashamed: Joel 2: 21-27Then follows the promise of the baptism of the Spirit to be granted to Israel, especially in millennial days.  "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance as the Lord hath said , and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call," (verse 32),   Then follows the scene of God’s judgment on the living nations, specially the Greeks, for their offences against Israel his people.  After this the prophet describes the Great Confederacy of all nations, and the terrors which accompany their being smitten when the Lord descends with His saints and angels.  After it, the kingdom and its blessings in full tale are granted to Israel; for the Lord dwells among them: Joel 3.


[* Joel 1 and 2, clearly describe the day of wrath which precedes the kingdom, in order to cut off God’s living foes.] 


Peter quotes also the 110th Psalm, which likewise speaks of Christ’s millennial kingdom, as a look at it will prove.  But the point in this first sermon which bears most upon our subject is this: David "therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God sware with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins ... * one should sit on His throne, He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, (Hades) nor did His flesh see corruption."  Jesus, then, is the Messiah, elevated to God’s right hand as the Priest, and about to come to Jerusalem as its King.  His anointing with the Spirit at baptism, the Transfiguration, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, discover Him to us as the King of the future kingdom of God.  Who so glorified already as He?  If Peter’s hearers believed these tidings, they were to escape from the evil generation destined to be cut off; they were visibly to leave it by God’s appointed rite of baptism.  But Peter preached again to Israel in the temple, on the occasion of the healing of a man lamed from his birth.  To the multitudes drawn together by so unusual a sight, he proclaims their sins against Jesus, and their refusal of the prophet whom Moses had foretold.


[*Omitted words are generally rejected by the critics, as not genuine.  The omission of them disturbs not the sense.]


To persevere in this course would be destruction, as the Lord threatened, when he made the promise.  What then was to be done? They were to repent and turn to God, in order that the vast pile of their national and personal sins might be swept away.  Only then could the long-promised season of refreshing come.  Only then would Jesus descend from the heaven to which God had elevated Him, and introduce the restoration of those blessings, of which tokens had been given in the earlier history of Adam, and of Israel under Joshua, under the Judges, and under David and Solomon.  See Hosea 13: 14; 14; Isa. 59. & 60.


While the apostles were yet speaking, they were seized, and hurried off to prison.  In spite of all testimony Israel’s heart grows harder, till their sin is consummated by the stoning of Stephen.


After the church at Jerusalem is broken up by persecution, does the testimony to the future kingdom cease?  Nay, it is continued, on God’s part by signs and wonders; and man’s acceptance of the message is still testified by the reception of baptism.  Philip goes down to Samaria, and preaches Jesus the Christ to them.  He draws them away by superior force of miracle from Simon the sorcerer.  "When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women:" Acts 8: 12.  The apostles are not satisfied therewith, but send them Peter and John to communicate to them the baptism of the Spirit, by the laying on of hands.


Peter is sent to the Gentiles.  By the vision of the sheet he is instructed concerning God’s election from among them, and the heavenly abode hereafter to be theirs.  While he preaches to Cornelius and his friends, the baptism of the Spirit is granted to the Gentiles, and he commands them to be immersed: Acts 10.


But another apostle is raised up, especial witness of the Day of Mystery, of the heavenly calling, and of the church, the heavenly body of the Risen Head.  When he is going forth, like Balaam, to curse the Lord’s chosen led through the waters, and about to enter the promised rest, the Lord arrests him, not to destroy but to save.  His heart is touched; is turned.  He is commanded at once to be baptized; and he complies.  Twice is the baptism named to us: Acts 9 & 22.  To Agrippa he professes that he still retained the hopes given to his nation; hopes realized by the resurrection of Messiah: 26.


Does Paul proclaim this kingdom?  He does habitually.  Himself suffering much persecution for his apostleship, he exhorts disciples to bear up with courage and patience, because "we must through many afflictions enter the kingdom of God:" 14: 22This, then, cannot refer to any kingdom they had already entered.  It refers not to entering the church, or the kingdom in mystery.  They were already in these.  This, then, speaks of the future millennial kingdom of glory.  Paul’s argument about the futurity of ‘the rest which remaineth’ applies here.


He visits Ephesus. (19.)  The Epistle to this church especially brings into view the time of mystery and the glories of the Body of Christ.  But what says the history?  Paul finds there some disciples of John the Baptist; on them he enforces the recognition of Jesus, as the Messiah for whom John was to prepare the way.  They receive his testimony, and are baptized, both with the baptism of water and with the supernatural gifts.  "But he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God:" 8.  In his Epistle to the Ephesians he sanctions baptism; and once he speaks of the future kingdom of God: Eph. 4: 5; 5: 5.


But the history of this remarkable church ceases not here.  Paul, aware that he would not be permitted to visit Ephesus again, while he is at Miletus sends for the elders of the church, and gives them a farewell address.  He recapitulates his work and doctrine among them.  He had taught them "the Gospel of the grace of God:" 20: 24.  He had also gone about heralding among them, "the kingdom of God," which is the exhibition of his justice.  These two great heads of doctrine include "the whole counsel of God:" 25, 27.


In the providence of God he is borne to Rome.  Arrived there, he assembles at his lodgings the Jews of Rome, "to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening."  The kingdom of God, then, of which Jesus is to be the future king, is the one of which Paul testified: for of that alone the prophets and Moses testify.  As they depart, he points them to Isaiah 6, a passage which foretells the blinding of Israel; during which time the Church, or ‘the secret of God’ has been introduced.  This blindness of Israel is not total, and it is to last for a time only.  The 7th of Isaiah, together with the 8th and 9th, describe the future kingdom in connection with Israel; the throne to be occupied by Messiah, being the throne of David.


The Jews mainly persisting in unbelief, Paul turns to the Gentiles.  He "dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ:" 28: 31.


It is certain, then, that, as the Acts begins with the kingdom of God as spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, so it ends with the teaching concerning that kingdom by Paul at Rome He propounds it alike to Jew and to Gentile It is closely connected with the Gospel of God’s grace concerning His Son.  The ascent of Jesus, the descent of the Holy Ghost, the removal of Jerusalem from its primary centralism, and the setting up of Gentile churches by Paul, make no difference in its proclamation; no difference in the enforcing of baptism in water as the sign of the belief of that doctrine.  The Epistle to the Romans though it very briefly touches on the kingdom, yet sets forth baptism prominently, as exhibiting, not the newness of life in which the believer redeemed and justified by faith is to walk, but also the hope which his calling sets before him.  "For if ye became fellow-plants" [with Christ in His death and burial, as exhibited in baptism,] "why we - shall be also of the [first] resurrection!"  Baptism, then, is no more ‘Jewish’ than the kingdom of God is.  It is also described as a washing fitting the [regenerate] believer for the kingdom of God, and received at the outset of his course: 1 Cor. 6: 8-11.


The Scriptures which speak so much of baptism tell us also what sad results the refusal to comply with this word of God will produce, in connection with the kingdom of God.  After brightening the expectations of the multitudes concerning the glory of the future kingdom, the sacred writer adds - "And all the people that heard, and the publicans justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.  But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves,* being not baptized of Him:" Luke 7: 28-30.  Baptism was the expression of faith in John’s message.  Those who refused baptism refused his mission.  Thus they shut themselves out from the blessing which he announced - the millennial kingdom of God.


[* The true translation is - "the counsel of God with regard to themselves."  But as it was a counsel of mercy and they refused it, the sense is that given by our translators.]


Another proof of this neglect of John’s invitation is found in our Lord’s words to the chief priests: Matt. 21: 25-32.  The inquiry was, whether John’s baptism came from heaven, or was it of his own devising?  They affirmed falsely, that they could not tell.  Our Lord then spoke the parable of the two sons.  The first being commanded by the father to go and work in his vineyard, bluntly refuses.  The second, on receiving the same command, promises to go, but does not.  The Saviour then expounds the parable to them. "Verily I say unto you, the publicans and the harlots are going into the kingdom of God before you."  That is, they are moving on into it, while you are not moving thither.  "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him.  But ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him." (Greek.)  The baptism of the publicans by John was the proof of their faith.  The refusers of the rite are adjudged to be the refusers of the doctrine which he sets forth visibly.  The proud and learned chose not to follow the good example set by the ignorant and vicious.  Hence they should have no part in the kingdom which John proclaimed.  For God sends the invitation to His kingdom, without refusing any because of previous sin.


And will it not be the same in the day to come, with those who refuse the doctrine of the kingdom, and baptism as its representative rite?  To me it seems clear.  If violent ones alone press into the kingdom, they who sit still enter not.


The same just reproach is cast upon the scribes and Pharisees by our Lord.  "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye go not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering, to go in:" Matt. 23: 13.  They not only themselves refused John’s baptism, but as far as their influence extended, they persuaded others not to accept it.  Is there not something like this in our day?


And does not our Lord teach, that the refusal of baptism would exclude from the kingdom"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born out of water* [* Greek 'ek'.] and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God:" John 3: 5.  Such also is Paul’s testimony. "For IF we become fellow-plants [with Christ] in the likeness of his death, why, we shall also be of the [first] resurrection:" * [* See Greek.]  This likeness on our part to the death of Christ has been shown to be our burial with Him as dead, in the immersion which God has commanded: verses 3, 4.  But on our burial as dead follows our emersion as alive.  This, then, is to us a pledge given of God, that those so following Christ in newness of life shall partake also of that first and blest resurrection into the millennial kingdom to which we are now being invited.  The insertions in italics made by our translators confound the sense.  Our partaking now of the likeness of Christ’s death is a token of our partaking in the reality of "the resurrection."  By "the resurrection" is meant the resurrection of the righteous - which is equivalent to entering the kingdom: Matt. 22: 28-30; Luke 20: 33-36.  As the Church of Christ is to invite whoever will to enter the kingdom, so it is to baptize all that accept the invitation.  The message about the kingdom (for substance) is still the same, as in the days of John the Baptist or our Lord, and therefore the mode of expression of our acceptance of the message continues the same.


But will a believer’s refusal of baptism, though seen to be commanded, entail on him simply the negative result of exclusion from the kingdom?  What then says our Lord?  "But that servant which knew his Lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes:" Luke 12: 47.


May the reader not be of this unhappy number, but one of the obedient and willing ones to whom the Lord when He cometh shall award praise, and the entry into His millennial joy!