Nurture the Body with Real Food; Nurture the Spirit with Light and Truth!
Our baptismal covenant is a covenant of peace with God—to fully reconcile ourselves to Jesus Christ, our own spiritually begotten nature, and with our fellowmen. In the book of Matthew, chapter 3, we read that Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized by him, and when John saw Jesus walking toward him, he declared to all present, “Behold the Lamb of God.” However, when Jesus asked John to baptize him, John didn’t feel worthy to baptize the Christ and felt that it was Jesus who should baptize him.
In response to John’s hesitation, the first words uttered by Jesus that are recorded in the New Testament, are these: “And Jesus answering said unto him (John the Baptist), Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then, they went forth into the water together, and John baptized Jesus in the river Jordan, fully immersing him in the water, and then John brought Jesus forth from the water.
While traveling through Italy with my parents in 1978, we stopped in our travels to visit a small cathedral that we came upon in a lonely country setting, far from the more known and visited cathedrals. We loved seeing the beautiful architecture of each cathedral we visited. While at this particular cathedral the priest gave us a tour. I saw what I believed to be a baptismal font, which was shaped like a great bowl, and was covered with a board that had a hinge on it.
I asked the priest if I was looking at an original baptismal font from when the cathedral was first constructed. He declared with some enthusiasm that this was indeed the case. He then permitted me to lift the board and look inside the large font. At the bottom was a drainage system for removing the water from the font, after it was used to baptize people by immersion, Jesus was baptized by John.
The priest told me that the Catholic Church originally baptized by immersion, even as Christ was baptized in the river Jordan, He did not know why the church wandered away from Christ's example of baptism. The great symbolism of immersion is become washed clean, every whit. Not one part of us is to be left unclean in our journey with Christ, but we are to become clean—from the crown of our heads, to the soles of our feet—in the way we think, hear, see, and so forth.
After Jesus was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him from Heaven in the form of a dove, thus showing unto men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which we enter the path to eternal life—Jesus having set the example before us. And we being unholy and unclean, have far greater need to be baptized than Jesus, who was pure and holy.
Jesus was first baptized by water, and was afterwards baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost; and except we follow his example and are born of both water and the Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. For this reason the Father said: “Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.” And the Son said: “He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me. Wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
If you desire to enter into the fold of God and to receive the Holy Ghost as your constant companion, to guide you in your path, then repent and come before God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witness unto God that you have repented of all your sins, and are willing to take upon you the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end of your life; and truly manifest by your works that you have received of the Spirit unto the remission of your sins. If you do these things, then shall you be received by baptism into the fold of Christ.
And if you will follow the Son with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, and witnessing unto the Father that you are willing to take upon you the name of Jesus Christ, by following your Lord down into the water, according to his word—then you will receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. You will then speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
If you do these things, you will receive a new heart, and you will have no more disposition to do evil, and from this day forward you will see yourself as belonging to Jesus Christ, and will put him and his work first in your life. As a covenant member of the House of Israel, you will seek to always do what he wants you to do rather than what you want to do, or what the world teaches you to want to do.
You will also love and serve your fellowmen and will mourn with those who mourn; and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and you will stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ at all times and in all things, and in all places that you may be in, even until death. Coming unto a fulness of Christ is not a once and done event at baptism, but afterwards is a daily journey of repentance of all things in you that are not yet Christlike, and of coming fully unto Christ in those areas of our lives.
By so doing we are redeemed by Jesus Christ, and are numbered with all others who will take part in the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just, insomuch that we will receive eternal life. If this be the desire of your heart, and you have nothing against entering into the fold of Christ, then be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ, by one who has the authority to baptize, and do so as a witness before God that you have entered into a covenant to serve him and keep his commandments to the end of your life, insomuch that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you.
As you come to fully understand your baptismal covenant with God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change your life forever. You will want to be numbered among the just, or those who walk justly and in love and peace with all men.
Therefore, when temptations come your way, your desires toward God and his kingdom will lead you to call on the name of Jesus Christ for the deliverance you need to overcome the evil that is before you, and you will listen to, obey, and be strengthened by the Holy Ghost, who will enable you to choose good over evil, rather than support the kingdom of the Devil and the kingdoms of this world.