|Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018||
Ronald D. Reeves
Someone probably asked, “Why do people do the things they do?” Sometimes, we really do wonder because some people on occasion do some strange things. Question: “Why are some people less than honest in financial matters?” While varying answers may be given, surely, we will agree that such dishonesty is a product of one’s frame of mind. Be reminded that the Bible exhorts us to think on honest things (Philippians 4:8). Without a mindset that embraces honesty, one cannot realistically expect honest actions to follow. The daily application of the godly attitude of honesty naturally leads one to do honest deeds (2 Corinthians 13:7), not only in a few matters but in all matters (Hebrews 13:18). Our honest actions, as all our deeds, are done before the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:21). We must also strive to be honest among the “Gentiles” (1 Peter 2:12) and among “all men,” including Christian brethren (Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21). May each of us make every possible effort to fulfill our financial obligations in a timely manner. Honesty is a good policy for all of us as citizens of this world and especially as citizens of the kingdom of Heaven. This is one way in which we may genuinely separate ourselves from the world and illustrate our sanctification in a very practical manner.
Christ Is the Savior of the Body
The Bible at Ephesians 5:23 teaches that Christ is the Savior of the body. Now what is the body? The body is the church. Speaking of God, the apostle Paul said, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Again, speaking of Christ, the apostle said, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). In verse 24 of the same chapter, the apostle again stated, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”
So, the body of which Christ is the Savior is the church. In saying Christ is the Savior of the body, the apostle in effect was saying Christ is the Savior of the church. Now the question is, “Which church?” There are hundreds and perhaps thousands of churches on earth today, with different names, following different patterns of worship and teaching different doctrines. In the first century when the apostle wrote these words, there was only one church—the one that Christ had promised to build. He had said it’s going to be, “My church” (Matthew 16:18). The Bible says that Jesus adds daily to the church (Acts 2:47) those who are saved by believing in Him and obeying His command (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
Evidently, He adds the saved ones to His church and not to many different churches. Does He know His church? His church wears His name (1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 16:16), and the members of His spiritual body, the church, are called after His name—Christians (Acts 11:26). They worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and they endeavor to abide only by the doctrine of Christ in everything (2 John 9). The apostle, in 1 Corinthians 12:13, also taught, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greek, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” Centuries before any Catholic or Protestant denominational churches came into existence, saved persons were all, by the direction of the Spirit of God, baptized into one body—that is, into one church. Since Christ adds all the saved people on earth to His church, the church therefore is the body of saved ones on earth.
The church Christ established is like Noah’s Ark. Noah and his family were ordered by God to get into the Ark to be saved from the flood that was going to destroy all living beings on earth, except those in the Ark that was constructed according to the specifications God had provided Noah (Genesis 6-7). The Ark was not the savior, but only those who got into the Ark were saved through water. Later, the apostle Peter reminded Christians about Noah’s Ark and the eight souls who were saved from the destruction.
Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah. While the Ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:20-21)
The point the apostle was making was that those who were in the Ark were saved through water. It was the water of the flood that separated Noah from the disobedient generation of his time, and it is the water of baptism that separates the saved of today from the disobedient. As Christ commanded, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The water that was the means of destruction to others became the very means by which Noah and his household were delivered from the old world of corruption. There is a resemblance between the two deliverances in that Noah was delivered by means of water and the hearers or the believers who have been saved through baptism in water. Baptism, the apostle declared, is the antitype of the water through which Noah was saved in the Ark.
In both cases water is involved. In baptism there is a picture or portrayal of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). The person being baptized realizes that baptism saves in the sense that it is a condition required by the Savior and that, in reality, salvation comes through the resurrection of Christ. The efficacy of baptism for salvation depends not upon the work done but upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which imitates Christ’s death. It is the foundation of our faith and hope.
It was the water of the flood that washed away the filth of that evil generation, and it is the water of baptism that washes away sins (Revelation 1:5). The former affected the flesh and not the conscience, while the latter affected the conscience and not the flesh. How, though, can one have a good conscience if he refuses to be baptized for the remission of sins or to wash away sins, as the Bible teaches (Acts 2:38; 22:16)?