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One can be baptized when one is old enough to understand the message of the coming Kingdom of God and understand all that one must do to have a part in that Kingdom and is prepared to love God with all their being and love their neighbor as themselves with the assistance of the Spirit of the living God. When one has come to that understanding then and wants to be with Jesus forever, then one is ready to be baptized. Notice what Jesus said in the parable of the sower: Mat:13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. Lu 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word [about the Kingdom] out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. We must believe in the word about the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus preached. It is all he talked about, it was his first and foremost message. It was Paul's: Acts 28:30-31:30 ¶ And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, Notice: Acts 8:12: But 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. Why isn't the Kingdom message preached to-day in most churches. It was all that Jesus and the apostles talked about! Our great hope should be to have a place in the Kingdom that flesh and blood cannot enter.
Baptism has three effects: 1. The baptised becomes a Christian. (Matthew 28:19) 2. All sin, both actual and original, is removed. (Mark 16:16) 3. Grace is poured onto the baptised. (Acts 2:38) With this understanding, the Church, being a loving mother who only desires the best for her children, suggests to baptise everyone as early as possible. As a father, these also has been a subject of my meditation: 1. When do I want my children to become Christians? 2. When do I want the sins of my children to be removed? 3. When do I want grace to be poured on them? My answer to all three questions, like the Church suggest, is "as early as possible."
John 1:11 " He came unto his own, and his own received him not." John 1:12 " But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" John 1:13 " Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John tells us those born into God's family were not born because of blood relation, not because of human desire, neither because of any man's will but of God. Baptism follows faith, an evidence of saving faith, not the means of faith. Acts 10:45 " And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 10:46 " For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter," Acts 10:47 " Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" Acts 10:48 " And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." Verse 47 states they had already received the Holy Ghost, already saved, born again. This was PRIOR to baptism. 1 Peter 3:21 " The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Notice it states "The like figure" meaning symbolic yet does not put away the filth of the flesh. How can an infant have a good conscience toward God? Notice the sequence. Saving faith first, baptism after the fact.
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