By Jeff Asher
Almost two thousand years ago the Son of God was nailed to a rough hewn cross, not to satisfy a jealous rabble of Jews or a savage squadron of Roman soldiers, but rather to pay the penalty for all the sins of our rebellious race. In the words of Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). Christ died for us. The death of the sinless Son atoned for our sin instead of God judiciously exacting the penalty upon each of us.
In the Scripture we read that sinners are saved by washing in the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). This is the blood that Jesus shed in his death (Jn. 19:34). Now, this is not a physical application of Jesus’ blood, but a spiritual one. The death of Christ, that is, the benefits gained in his death must be applied to sinners.
This application of Jesus’ blood takes place during baptism. The Scripture says, “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3) In baptism our sins are washed away or forgiven (Acts 22:16). This forgiveness is possible through our faith in the blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).
Yet, the forgiveness of sins is a prerogative reserved only to God (Isa. 43:25; Lk. 5:21). Forgiveness of sins takes place in his mind and is likened to their being buried in the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:19). Therefore, we understand baptism as God’s operation whereby he appropriates to sinners the blood of his Son and forgives sin (Col. 2:12). It is in this sense that baptism saves us (1 Pet. 3:21).
Consider also that Jesus’ blood was the purchase price paid for the church (Acts 20:28). Also, we Christians are redeemed by his blood (1 Pet. 1:18-20). Thus, the Lord adds to his church those that are being saved by the blood of Jesus. These are they that believe and are baptized (Acts 2:40; Mk. 16:16).
It should be evident that the blood of Christ is appropriated only to penitent believers in baptism into the death of Christ. Friend, have you been properly baptized into the sin cleansing death? If not, why not?
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 17, p. 530
September 6, 1990