Intercontinental Church of God Correspondence Course - Lesson Ten of Bible Course

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Lesson Thirteen - Repentance


Repentance is the act of acknowledging one's sins and resolving to fully obey God. To repent means to change one's overall attitude from wanting to go his own way to wanting to go God's way. It begins when God opens one's mind to see himself in comparison with God and His law. True repentance is the first step toward reconciliation with God, and thereby toward ultimate salvation.  


Repentance signals the start of a changed and godly life. It involves a fully conscious recognition of one's sinful, lawless way of life, a way of life that is antagonistic toward God and His law, accompanied by a firm conviction to make a total change and to begin to live in full accord with God's way of life as described in the Bible.  

True repentance can occur only when God Himself opens one's eyes to see his past sinfulness by granting repentance (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25). But repentance is much more than a recognition of personal sins. Repentance, rather is the process through which God leads us so that we can become progressively more like Him, thereby proceeding toward salvation as sons and daughters in His divine family which is God's ultimate desire for all humanity. As such, repentance should include the positive, joyful realization of the fact that it is God who grants repentance, that this repentance is "unto life" (Acts 11:18), and that all who are so called shall "come to know the truth" (2 Tim. 2:25).  

True repentance is a complex and deeply personal phenomenon that can only be understood, in the final analysis, by experiencing it. The first component is the realization that there is a vast difference, a great gulf, between God and oneself (e.g. Job 42). The next aspect is an all-consuming desire to close that gap, to become more like God in character, thought and behavior, though the capacity to accomplish this is far beyond human power alone and requires the active involvement of God's Holy Spirit.  

One who is coming to repentance must first understand that sin is the transgression of God's law (I John. 3:4), the penalty for which is death (Rom. 6:23). Added to this theoretical definition of sin must be the deep personal realization that one has indeed sinned and that his whole frame of mind and attitude of approach is oriented against God's law (Rom. 8:7). But the deceitfulness of sin blinds one to seeing his sinfulness unless God opens his mind to reality, to recognize that one indeed is a sinner. Genuine repentance, therefore, must come from God Himself, and man cannot claim credit for it, though he has a part in it. His part is to acknowledge the truth about himself which God has shown him and then to act upon it.  

In the process of seeing himself, a person comes to realize that the human "heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). Since sin is ultimately of the mind, he also begins to understand that even his own righteousness, which in an unconverted person is invariably motivated by selfishness, is only a "dirty rag," as it were, in God's sight (Is. 64:6). When an individual repents, he must compare his righteousness to God's righteousness and not to that of other human beings. When man compares himself to God-and with God's help sees himself as he really is-he is astonished at his own sinfulness and inadequacy.  

Confronted with this reality, the person nearing repentance comes to appreciate that man is incapable of leading a godly life without God's direct help and intervention through His Spirit. "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23). While man's intentions are often the best-he may want to do good-he nevertheless finds himself caught in a struggle between them and his natural inclination toward evil. Romans 7 describes this struggle: "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I . . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (vs. 15-18). A person in an attitude of repentance feels a strong need for help in this spiritual dilemma and reaches out to God for aid through His Holy Spirit. Thus, Paul admitted that the only relief from this eternal conflict between the good of God and the evil of our own nature is "through Jesus Christ" (v. 25).  

In his natural state without God's Spirit, man is cut off from God and indeed at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7; Is. 59:1-2). The story of Adam and Eve is an example of how this spiritual enmity has occurred in man (Rom. 5:12). The Genesis account indicates that Adam and Eve were born morally neutral, with the ability to do good or evil, right or wrong, but without an actual inclination toward either. God nonetheless instructed them in His law and explained to them right from wrong. They had no reason to doubt God or to disobey until Satan, symbolized (and/or materialized) in Genesis 2 as a serpent, tempted them by saying God was both holding back knowledge from them and lying about death as the penalty for disobedience. Adam and Eve chose to obey Satan rather than God and so ate of the forbidden fruit. The effects of this sin cut them off from God as is evidenced by His thrusting them from the garden. It also caused a rationalization of, or a blinding to, the sin, as shown by Adam's attempt at justifying himself. Likewise, their act of stepping from the realm of moral neutrality to that of sinfulness through the initiation of this one sin caused deep and profound mental changes in Adam and Eve. They were no longer morally neutral but became evilly oriented in much the same way as was-and is-Satan, since Satan's attitude of mind had now influenced their own.  

All human beings are, like Adam and Eve, born morally neutral. Yet living in Satan's world, surrounded by an ungodly environment, all persons soon sin, as did Adam and Eve. (To ask at what age or to try to discern the demarcation line between moral neutrality and sin is not practical.) Thus, sin has the same consequences in us as it did in Adam and Eve. It cuts us off from God, it blinds us to our own sinfulness and it changes our minds from neutrality to enmity against God (Rom. 8:7).  

Viewed in this context, repentance is the bridge between a carnal mind, one that is at enmity against God, and a spiritual mind, one that has God's Spirit and is obedient and pleasing to the Creator. When one repents, he sees for the first time in his life the ungodly, debilitating, wicked orientation of his natural mind; he asks God for forgiveness and is baptized. He then receives the Holy Spirit which, working in and through his mind, actually changes or "transforms" it from carnal to spiritual (Rom. 12:2). This transformation is called "conversion." And repentance is the bridge-first step-in this process of transformation.  

Although repentance involves seeing the sinful side of oneself, thus generating negative personal feelings, it nevertheless has extremely positive aspects. Upon true repentance and baptism, one is forgiven of sin. The psalmist said, "Blessed is the man to whom sin is not imputed" (Ps. 32:2). The sheer joy of having one's sins forgiven is the sure knowledge of being right and clean before God. King David bore testimony to the positive, uplifting nature of repentance when he prayed "Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which though hast broken [as a result of my sin] may rejoice" (Ps. 51:8). One who has repented can rejoice at the impending forgiveness of his sins, joy indeed.  

The most profound evocation of real repentance in the Bible must truly be this heartfelt prayer of David in Psalm 51. The occasion was Nathan the prophet's coming to him about his sin with Bathsheba. The prayer shows the important basic components of godly repentance: an attitude of abject wretchedness and contrite humility before God; a deep recognition of all one's sins, which are "ever before me"; the conviction that God can and will forgive all one's iniquities and cleanse him from all his sins; and the sure knowledge that God can and will create in a truly repentant individual "a clean heart" and put "a new and right spirit" in him, restoring "the joy of your salvation."  

"Have mercy on me, 0 God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment" (Ps. 51:1-4).  

"Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Ps. 51:9-12).  

Godly repentance must, of course, be accompanied by "godly sorrow." Godly sorrow reflects a profound awareness that one has sinned against God. It is a sorrow that is felt because sin hurts others and works against God's master plan of salvation. It is this "godly sorrow" that produces a repentance that leads to salvation" (2 Cor. 7:9-10).  

On the other hand, God also speaks of "worldly sorrow." Worldly sorrow is not sorrow that one has committed sin, but just a momentary feeling brought on by adverse consequences such as results after one has been caught and is being punished. It is temporary self-pity, in no way involving permanent change from sinning to obedience, and its end is death.  

True repentance, conversely, is a deep-seated desire to change one's whole being. It is a desire to reform and redirect one's motivational approach to life. It is coming to abhor sin as God does. This type of repentance can come only from God. As we have seen, it is God who must give and lead one to repentance (Rom. 2:4; 11 Tim. 2:25).  

In a more detailed way, repentance includes many things. It involves a profound sense of utter helplessness, realizing that to do what must be done is impossible by one's own willpower. It requires the conscious awareness that God must take an active part in redirecting and reshaping one's life, for only God knows the way to life and only He can solve the problems of mankind. We must come to realize this fact and accept the process by which we can become acceptable to God. We have to change from doing things our own way to acknowledging God, His will and His laws in our lives. This means a desire to change our very hearts and minds. We have to turn from our way of lust, greed, selfishness and self-centeredness to God's way of mercy, generosity, love and outgoing concern for others (Eph. 4:22-24). We can view this as a spiritual "mind transplant." We have to adopt new ways of thinking, new feelings and attitudes (2 Cor. 5:17). Repentance, however, is not designed to create total uniformity of personality, tastes, interests, life styles, etc. among Christians. Such would be an anathema to God, who is creating true sons in His family, not the proverbial "rows of yellow pencils." Repentance, in fact, is the means by which human beings can grow to have the same overall attitudes and character of God. This is the overwhelmingly uplifting result of godly sorrow.  

Paul lists seven attributes of this godly sorrow. "For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter" (2 Cor. 7:11). This type of sorrow generates real repentance which in turn will lead to salvation.  

Real repentance is a spiritual gift, and only God can give it. Human remorsefulness, even accompanied by great emotion, is not the repentance that the Bible says is a prerequisite for baptism and salvation. Consequently, an individual desiring to be converted must ask God for a repentant attitude of mind as well as for forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. This conscious act of asking God is an essential part of the process.  

As is commonly known, true repentance must be followed by water baptism, which results in the forgiveness of one's sins by God and the consequent reception of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of the ministry.  

Although one's initial act of repentance occurs prior to baptism, repentance is not a one-time event-It must be a continuous lifelong process. The more one learns about God and His way, the more one becomes aware of how far he must go to be like God. As a converted individual seeks God's way and reads God's Word to receive personal correction, so his inner sinful attitudes and motivations are perceived. This continuous process of growth and change is the very essence of the Christian life. As God opens His mind to see more clearly (even more than before baptism) his sinful nature, the Christian repents more and more deeply. His post-conversion repentance is a continuous reaffirmation of his commitment to live God's way as well as being contrite and remorseful for any errors made.  

Repentance is not synonymous with perfection. A repentant person is not guaranteed a sinless life for ever after. Even a converted person will sin out of weakness from time to time, but he need only repent of that sin and confess it before God, acknowledging Christ's atoning sacrifice once again, in order to restore contact with God and to obtain God's full forgiveness which reestablishes the joy of righteousness.  

Such a repentant person knows that God shall completely forgive all his sins upon repentance. He knows that God has willed to actually forget all our iniquities once they have been repented of and put under Christ's blood. God can no longer even remember our sins! ". . . as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us" (Ps. 103:12). This is the incredible promise of real repentance-real freedom: freedom from guilt and fear, freedom from anxiety and depression, freedom from sins, freedom from eternal death. It is the reason why true repentance is the most encouraging, beneficial gift God can give us. It is with this confidence that the Christian continues to suppress and overcome his human nature with God's help. He asks God to replace his ungodly thoughts with the godly approach of the Holy Spirit; he seeks to diligently understand God's law more and more through the practical experience of obedience.  

God does warn-and it should not be taken lightly-that "it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold Him up to contempt" (Heb. 6:4-6). This shows that any who willfully reject God by adamantly refusing to follow His way cannot be coerced into repentance and cannot be forced to receive eternal life. Yet, diametrically contradicting the alien concept of a harsh, vengeful God is the astounding, thrilling, clarion-call truth of the Bible that all who want to repent can repent-at any time, for any sin, with the full assurance of God's total and immediate forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Savior. God does not want any human being to perish "but that all should reach repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).  

In summary, repentance involves a change of one's whole way of life and frame of mind from disobedience and antagonism toward God to obedience and love toward God. It is the bridge that takes one from worldliness to godliness, from wickedness to uprightness, from the way of "get" (selfishness, self-concern, vanity) to the way of "give" (selflessness, outgoing concern, service). All this is only possible through God's Holy Spirit. Already working in the lives of thousands, God's gift of repentance is a great miracle that shall eventually work in the lives of billions.




Acts 11:18 - Repentance is unto eternal life.

2 Timothy 2:25 - God gives us repentance unto truth.

1 John 3:4 - Sin is the transgression of the Law.

Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is death, but through God is eternal life.

Romans 8:7 - The carnal mind is against God and not subject to His Law.

Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is abundantly deceitful above all things.

Isaiah 64:6 - Our righteousness is as dirty rags.

Jeremiah 10:23 - Man cannot direct his own steps.

Romans 7 - The struggle between man and his natural inclination toward evil.

Romans 8:7 - A restatement of Jeremiah 17:9.

Romans 5:12 - By man, sin entered the world and by sin, death.

Psalm 32:2 - Blessed is the person whose sins are forgiven.

Psalm 51 - Prayer of Repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 - Godly sorrow worketh repentance.

Romans 2:4 - God leads us to repentance.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - In repentance we develop a new mind and become a "new creature"

Ephesians 4:22-24 - God renews our mind.

2 Corinthians 7:11- The 7 attributes of repentance.

Psalm 103:12 - With repentance, God forgives us our sins.

Hebrews 6:4-6 - If one falls away from the Salvation Process, there is no further repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 - God wants all of mankind to come to repentance. 




1) Repentance is...

a] acknowledging one's sins
b] resolving to obey God
c] changing from wanting to do things your way to God's way
d] having your mind opened to see yourself in comparison to God and His Law.
e] the first step toward reconciliation with God.
f] essential for salvation
g] all of the above            

2) In the act of repentance, who takes the first action?

a] the sinner
b] God                     

3) Repentance is...

a] an emotion
b] a process
c] a conscious act                

4) Repentance is not possible without the Holy Spirit.  True or False?     

5) The deceitfulness of sins blinds a person from seeing his own sinfulness.  True or False?   

6) Which of the following best demonstrates how repentance works in process.

7) According to Jeremiah 17:9, the most deceitful thing is _______ [what?]

8) When a person repents he or she must compare themselves to:

a] their better self
b] Daniel, Job, Noah and the other biblical saints
c] the ministry of the church
d] God                                   

9) If a person is willing and sincere about doing good, he or she can actually, within themselves, overcome sin and do that good.  True or False?    

10) Man was created with a natural inclination toward sin.  True or False?   

11) Sin...

a] cuts us off from God
b] blinds us from our own sinfulness
c] changes our minds from neutrality to enmity against God
d] a and b
e] all of the above                             

12) Conversion is...

a] God calling a person to repentance
b] the Holy Spirit transforming our mind from carnal to spiritual
c] being baptized
d] being in regular attendance at Sabbath services.              

13) 2-part question:
Who prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."
In which Psalm do we read this prayer of repentance?            

14) Which equations are true?

a] Godly sorrow = repentance
b] worldly sorrow = salvation
c] worldly sorrow = death
d] Godly sorrow = perfection              

15) Who or what leads us to repentance?

a] our sins
b] our conscious
c] God
d] the ministry of the church                   

16) In repentance, we come to realize:

a] our utter helplessness in fighting the sin process
b] that what must be done is impossible by our own willpower
c] that God must redirect and reshape our lives
d] that we must acknowledge God, His will and His Laws in our lives
e] c and d
f] all of the above                           

17) What verse lists the 7 attributes of Godly sorrow?

a] Romans 12:2
b] 1 John 3:4
c] 2 Corinthians 7:11
d] 2 Timothy 2:25                  

18) Which chronological sequence is correct?

a] baptism...repentance...salvation
b] salvation...repentance...baptism
c] repentance...baptism...salvation                

19) An essential part of the repentance process is...

a] having great human emotion and asking God forgiveness
b] asking God for a repentant attitude of mind and forgiveness
c] showing human remorsefulness and then asking God forgiveness        

20) Initial repentance must be followed by baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit.  True or False?   

21) Repentance is a one-time event.  True or False?   

22) When a person repents of sin, he or she knows perfection.  True or False? 

23) When you repent before God, He promises to forgive your sins but not to forget them.  True or False? 

24) One of the best ways to come to understand God's laws is through the practical experience of obeying those laws.   True or False?      

25) If one should fall away from the Salvation Process and reject God, there is no longer a repentance unto salvation.  True or False?   

26) Which of the following are true?

Repentance is...

a] a gift
b] requires the Holy Spirit
c] a miracle
d] will eventually work in the lives of billions of people.               

Answers to Lesson Thirteen

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Lesson Fourteen - Baptism


The ceremony of water baptism is performed by immersion for the forgiveness of sins upon true repentance and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice.

After this ceremony, and as a result, one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Baptism symbolizes the renunciation of the past sinful way of life, the burial of the old man in a watery grave, and the emergence of a new spirit-led man living with Christ's mind and following in His footsteps.


The New Testament places great stress upon the ceremony and symbolism of water baptism. It is a deeply-meaningful initiatory rite referred to in Hebrews 6:1 as one of the foundational doctrines of Christian belief. John the Baptist is the one who introduced water baptism as a ceremony through which one outwardly demonstrates his inward attitude of repentance and his desire to submit to God.*

*we know that at a later time baptism accompanied circumcision as a means of entry into Judaism for the proselyte. This rite was possibly but not certainly pre-Christian, so that its relationship to Christian baptism is debatable.

Christ placed His stamp of approval upon John's baptism and set the example for us by Himself undergoing the ritual (Mt. 3:13-17). The Father likewise expressed His favor with Jesus' baptism by saying through an angel immediately afterwards that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom he was "well pleased" (v. 17). Jesus' disciples continued to baptize in a similar manner to John until the death and resurrection of their master, when the practice took on newer and deeper significance. (John's baptism did not make available the Holy Spirit. Later we have an example which shows the necessity of rebaptism in the name of Jesus for some who had undergone only the baptism of John-Acts 19:1-6.)  

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commanded that the apostles go into all nations preaching the gospel and baptizing the disciples. They followed Christ's command and themselves both stressed the importance of baptism and carefully explained its meaning in their preaching and teachings. Acts 2:38 is a fundamental scripture in this regard: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." This clearly explains one must be baptized in order to have his sins forgiven so that he may consequently receive God's Holy Spirit through the laying-on-of-hands ceremony (Acts 8:12-17).  

The main prerequisites for water baptism are repentance and belief (i.e., faith) in the person and message of Jesus Christ. Repentance includes godly sorrow over one's past sins and wrong way of life and a deep conviction to obey God. To believe in the person of Jesus Christ means that one believes Christ was indeed the Son of God, Savior and Messiah. Hence, in Acts 8:37 it is noted that Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch upon his certifying the conviction, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."  

But this general belief about the person of Jesus Christ must be more specific before baptism. "One must come to acknowledge, accept and desire Christ as his personal Savior-he must fully and deeply believe that Jesus' death on the cross (stake) was to pay for his (the sinner's) own, individual sins. Thus, the faith in Christ required for baptism is far more personal than merely a general belief in God or a theoretical understanding (however accurate) of New Testament theology. One who has this faith in Christ and His sacrifice will demonstrate his true conviction and belief by his actions. He will begin to obey Christ, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Mt. 7:21). Peter said that God will give His Holy Spirit only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). The apostle James also makes abundantly plain that faith and works go hand in hand (Jas. 2:18 ff).  

In addition to belief or faith in the person of Christ, one needs belief or faith in the message of Jesus Christ which is the gospel. It would not make sense to believe that Christ was the Savior yet disregard His message. Christ Himself commanded that all repent and believe the gospel (Mk. 1:15). Thus, one who wants to be baptized must not only be convinced of the reality of Christ as Savior of the world and Savior of the person's own life, but he must also believe the gospel. In every way this faith is "toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).  

Before baptism one must be deeply aware of the significance the act of baptism has in his own life. He must understand that baptism symbolizes a break with the old way of life and demonstrates a full commitment and determination to begin a new way of life obeying God. One who is baptized can never go back to the old way, or else he stands in jeopardy of losing out on eternal life and consequently being consumed in the lake of fire. One who will be baptized should thus carefully consider that he has the depth of conviction and the fortitude to put Christ first in his life, even before family and friends (Lk. 14:25-33).  

Upon such true repentance and faith, a person is baptized by a representative of Jesus Christ. The baptism is by complete immersion under water in accordance with the many New Testament examples of baptism and with the very meaning of baptism itself.

There is only one proper method of baptism described in the Bible. The word "baptize" comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means "immerse," "plunge into" or "put into." Many churches today practice baptism by sprinkling and pouring, even though the Greek words which normally indicate these actions are not used in the New Testament in reference to baptism. Usage of the time indicates the world has its classical meaning of "immerse." Complete submersion in water is the proper way to picture death and burial which Romans 6 shows is a major symbolic meaning of baptism (see below).  

In addition, the mode used by John the Baptist and Christ's disciples showed there must have been a great physical similarity in their general baptismal procedures. The scriptural descriptions of certain baptisms reinforce that the method was total immersion. Christ was baptized in the Jordan, and upon baptism, came out of the water (Mt. 3:13-17); John baptized in Aenon because there was "much water" there (John. 3:23); Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch traveled in the chariot until they came to waters in general, and they both went down into the water (Acts 8:36-39). Finally, proof is found in the biblical meaning of baptism, analogous to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One must be totally immersed in water to symbolize having been buried with Christ in a watery grave (Rom. 6).  

Peter drew the analogy between baptism and the flood in (I Pet. 3:20). "And I cannot help pointing out what a perfect illustration this is of the way you have been admitted to the Christian 'ark' by baptism, which means, of course, far more than the mere washing of a dirty body: it means the ability to face God with a clear conscience" (Phillips). Baptism, then, does far more than removing figurative dirt from the body, meaning the removing of sin from our spiritual record-It actively gives one the ability to face our Creator with a clear conscience.  

The RSV translates this verse slightly different, amplifying the intrinsically rich meaning: "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (v. 21). Baptism in fact does both: it gives the repentant sinner both "the ability to face God" and is "an appeal to God." But this ability or appeal for a clear conscience can only be through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; "For there is in every true baptism the virtue of Christ rising from the dead" (verse 21, Philips).  

Water baptism is the most important (of the very few) New Testament ceremonies or rituals commanded by Christ and followed by the apostles and early New Testament Church. It is, in a sense, the formal initiatory rite to Christianity and is replete with profound spiritual significance and rich personal meaning for every true Christian and prospective member of God's kingdom. The biblical injunction of water baptism is an outward sign showing an inward attitude of repentance and faith toward Jesus Christ, and is the only way by which an individual can receive God's Holy Spirit which makes him part of the body of Christ. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body [the Church], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (I Cor. 12:13).  

Baptism pictures and symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:2-6; Col. 2:12-13). Baptism is also symbolic of the repentant believer's own death, burial and resurrection from a watery grave, as already noted. In Romans 6 Paul explains that just as Christ died for mankind's sins and was buried, baptism, being plunged into a watery grave, as it were-is symbolic of the death and burial of one's old sinful life. And as Christ was resurrected in newness of life, when a person comes up out of the waters of baptism it is symbolic of his rising up out of his past "grave" to live a new, life free from the guilt of past sins and the death penalty those sins incurred.  

"How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Rom. 6:2-8).  

Paul explains again in slightly different terms the same principle in Colossians 2:12-13. " . . and you were buried with Him [Christ] in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith and the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God hath made alive together with Him . . ." Paul adds in Colossians 3:1 that since we have symbolically risen from the grave with Christ, we should set our orientation of mind on spiritual things instead of carnal, physical things. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above .. ."  

Of all the symbolic and deep spiritual meaning associated with baptism, there remain three fundamental reasons why a person should be baptized: to follow Christ's example, to have one's sins forgiven and to receive the Holy Spirit. In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter clearly stated that one is baptized to have his sins forgiven. he clearly explained Christ was the Messiah and that in killing Christ the people had killed their Savior. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and unto the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter's response was that they should "Repent and be baptized . . . for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (verse 38). Thus one is baptized because he wants to have his sins forgiven and covered by the shed blood of Christ.  

In addition to his own baptism "with water unto repentance," John the Baptist made a brief reference to two further uses of the concept of baptism; referring to Jesus Christ, he said, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Mt. 3:11). To be baptized with the Holy Spirit shows that a Christian must be "immersed" in it. The baptism of fire refers to the lake of fire which will totally "immerse" and burn up unrepentant sinners at the end of this age. John the Baptist compared those who will not obey God to "chaff" (v. 12) which would be burned up by Jesus Christ instead of being gathered to Himself as will the "wheat" (referring to Christians who obey God).  




Hebrews 6 - Baptism is a foundational doctrine of the Christian belief.

Matthew 3:13-17 - Jesus is baptized.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Jesus commands His apostles to go into all nations preaching the gospel and baptizing the disciples.

Acts 2:38 - Peter preaches urging people to be baptized.

Acts 8:37 - Ethiopian eunuch states he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Matthew 7:21 - He that doeth the will of my Father will enter the Kingdom.

Acts 5:32 - We must obey God.

James 2:18 - We show our faith by our works.

Mark 1:15 - Christ commands that we repent and believe the gospel.

Acts 20:21 -  We must have faith toward Jesus Christ.

Luke 14: 25-33 - We must love Christ more than family and forsake all that we have in order to be His disciple.

1 Peter 3:20 - Peter draws analogy between baptism and flood.

1 Corinthians 12:13 - By one Spirit, we are all baptized into the Body of Christ.

Romans 6:2-6 - Baptism pictures and symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

Colossians 2:12-13 - Baptism shows the repentant believer's own death, burial and resurrection from a watery grave.

Colossians 3:1 - When risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.

Matthew 3:11-12 - Christ will come baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire.  With the Holy Spirit in water baptism and with the lake of fire for those who disobey God.




1) Baptism symbolizes...

a) renunciation of the past sinful life
b) the burial of the old man in a watery grave
c) the emergence of a new spirit-led man living with Christ's mind and following in His footsteps
d) all of the above                2) What person in the New Testament introduced the water baptism as a ceremony?

3) Through the water baptism ceremony one outwardly demonstrates...

a) his or her attitude of repentance
b) his or her desire to submit to God
c) both                             

4) Both Jesus and God the Father give their stamp of approval to the baptism ceremony in...

a) Matthew 3:13-17
b) Acts 19:11
c) Matthew 17:8-10
d) Luke 3:1-4                   

5) Christ commanded the apostles to go into all nations preaching the gospel and baptizing the disciples.  True or False? 

6) Who said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins?"

a) John
b) James
c) Peter
d) Jesus                    

7) The prerequisites for baptism are ___________ and __________________.

8) Repentance includes...

a) godly sorrow over one's past sins
b) a deep conviction to obey God
c) both                                                  

9) Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  True or False?  

10) One must fully and deeply believe that Jesus' death was to pay for his (the sinner's) own individual sins.  The person who has this faith in Christ and His sacrifice will demonstrate this true conviction and belief by their...

a) intellectual understanding of theology
b) actions
c) sincerity                                     

11) Fill in the missing word of this verse:  "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that ____ the will of my Father which is in heaven."

a) acknowledges
b) accepts
c) does
d) believes                           

12) Acts 5:32 says that God gives His Holy Spirit to them that ________ Him.

a) obey
b) believe in
c) desire
d) love                                  13) In James 2:18, James speaks of showing his faith by his _________ [what?]

a) love
b) works
c) sincerity
d) understanding                           

14) One seeking baptism must have faith (belief) in...

a) Jesus Christ, the person
b) the message (gospel) of Jesus Christ
c) both                                                             

15) Mark 1:15 says that we must repent and believe ______________.

a) in Christ
b) the gospel                               

16) One must understand that baptism symbolizes...

a) a break with the old way of life
b) full commitment to God
c) determination to obey God
d) all of the above                               

17) Once one is baptized, he or she enters the Salvation Process.  If one then falls away from this process they...

a) can repent and get a second chance or opportunity at eternal life
b) are harshly rebuked and put back on track toward the kingdom
c) are placed into the lake of fire.                          

18) Upon repentance and faith, one is...

a) baptized by the pouring of water on his head by a friend or family member
b) baptized by full immersion into the water by a person of his choosing
c) baptized by sprinkling of water by a representative of Jesus Christ
d) baptized by full immersion in water by a representative of Jesus Christ         

19) The word "baptize" comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means "sprinkle" or "pour water onto."  True or False    

20) The Bible reinforces that the method of baptism was by full immersion.  True or False? 

21) Baptism gives the repentant sinner...

a) the ability to face God with clear conscience
b) is an appeal for a clear conscience
c) both                                                   

22) In every true baptism is the virtue of Christ rising from the dead.  True or False? 

23) Baptism is the only way for a true Christian to enter the Body of Christ.  True or False?  

24) In baptism we are...

a) baptized into His death
b) buried with Him
c) resurrected into newness of life
d) united with Him in death
e) united with Him in a resurrection like His
f) all the above                                                      

25) In Colossians 3:1 Paul states that if we be risen with Christ we should seek...

a) physical things
b) spiritual things or those things that are above              

26) The fundamental reasons why a person should be baptized are...

a) to have one's sins forgiven
b) to follow Christ's example
c) to receive the Holy Spirit
d) a and b
e) a, b and c                                        

27) John the Baptist said that he baptized with water but that Christ would come baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  The Holy Spirit for those who obey and with the lake of fire for those who disobey God.  True or False?       

Answers to Lesson Fourteen

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