Business As Usual

“In circumcision, Adam was Divided.
In baptism, Adam is Conquered.”

It seems to me the assumption that the New Covenant “people” includes infants because the Old Covenant people did has to overlook Pentecost. Are we to believe that once the Gentiles were included things went back to business as usual, with churches simply serving as Jew-Gentile hybrid synagogues, another “genealogical” people of God?

I just saw this quote from R. T. France posted online, and it’s relevant here:

The Failure of Israel

John the Baptist called Israel to repentance in the light of coming judgment. His new type of baptism symbolized what he explicitly proclaims, that this judgment threatened the ‘children of Abraham’ themselves, whose deed had not matched up to their privileged status. And Matthew takes care to show Jesus’ ministry as in direct succession to that of John, as the bringer of ‘Holy Spirit and fire,’ the one who is to implement the judgment.” [1]

In the early church, the opposite of circumcision was not baptism but uncircumcision, the Jew-Gentile division. Baptism—credo-baptism– wiped them both out by slaying them and resurrecting them both as something new.




CIRCUMCISION     >           BAPTISM            <     UNCIRCUMCISION

But there is still a division, isn’t there? Circumcision or uncircumcision became nothing for those who believed. Those outside are those who do not believe. To baptize infants is to misinterpret baptism as simply an update to the Mosaic division. [2]

To go back to Covenant “business as usual,” we have to treat baptism as circumcision, that is, it has nothing to do with the final status of a Covenant member. Circumcision had nothing to do with the final status of the Covenant member. But that is not how baptism is presented in the New Testament. Baptism is very clearly presented as an expression of the final status of the Covenant member. It pictures for the true saint not the beginning of salvation but the end.

Some argue that we don’t know whether a church member is a sheep or a goat until the final day. Yes, there was, and is, further threshing to be done, but the requirement for baptism was not birth but rebirth, that is, Pentecost. Baptism brings the first birth to an end.

We cannot be certain about regeneration when it comes to individuals, (their own personal standing on the final day) but we can be very certain about what baptism is intended to mean for each individual by what baptism means in the big historical picture.

Baptism actually brought Israel’s historical Day of Atonement to an end [3] and began the world’s Day of Atonement (the Laver, this age of baptism) [4]. Baptism is actually all about the final day, with the Church called to discern, as closely as possible, the spirits within men. This age is the final day, and to use baptism to denote only “Christian hopefuls” rather than actual regenerates is to treat it as simply a co-ed version of circumcision. It is not. Baptism exterminates every human demarcation, beginning with circumcision and uncircumcision. It is only for those who have legally and willingly “departed” this life for a better one. What baptism was for all Israel, and is for the Christian Church as a whole, must be replicated in the baptism of individual Christians. In circumcision, Adam was Divided. In baptism, Adam is Conquered.

So, this is the age that divides the whole world. It began with Israel, ripping Judah in two, Veil to Temple (30 to 70), and it continues today. To use baptism in any other way is to misrepresent the “ripping,” harvesting results of the Gospel and confuse it with the planting work of the Gospel. It is to say, “Jesus has gone, and taken his sickle with him. Phew! Back to (Old Covenant) business as usual.”

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’
(Matthew 3:7-9)

[1] R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 51.
[2] I have written elsewhere on here that if baptism were simply the new circumcision, for the firstfruits church it would have meant that Jewish baby boys would have to be circumcised and baptized. This is unthinkable. The first Christians understood that baptism concerned personal faith. It is logical to believe that the confusion concerning infants could begin only after the destruction of the Temple at the very earliest.
[3] See Bible Matrix, p. 191.
[4] See Bible Matrix, p. 215.

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