About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Years ago a pastor
once told me that there is nothing Biblically
significant about water in respect to water baptism. "Sand
would do just fine, he said." Was
he Biblically correct? Why
Romans 6:3 and 4
says: "Donít you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ
Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with Him
through baptism into death ..." One
thing we learn from the Apostle Paul here is that when we are water
baptized we are acknowledging the historic fact that from God's
perspective, we were buried in the tomb along with Jesus. We
received the sentence of death along with Jesus because Jesus was punished
in our place. He was our
representative to God in death. Water,
therefore, in respect to baptism is associated with God's judgment that
ends in death.
With the above in
mind I find Revelation 21:1 interesting.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any
sea." Why are there no
seas on the new earth?
In answering the
question about why no seas we should know that the book of
Revelation was written in Old Testament Jewish prophetic style, and maybe
specifically to Jews living at the end of this age.
When the text says that there will be no seas on the new earth,
Jews in the first century and throughout Old Testament times would have
found that significant. They
had a real dislike and uneasiness for oceans.
They were not people of the sea like other cultures.
This might have been due to the waters of judgment and death as seen in the destruction of the Egyptian army
in the Red
"Now the earth
was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the
Spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:2). One
thing we know from this and the following verses is that the waters
covered the entire earth. However
you understand Genesis 1, this world-wide ocean prevented human life from
existing on dry ground, and thus the reason for Genesis 1:9.
"And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one
place, and let dry ground appear."
All of this
suggests to me, and it is merely a suggestion, that in Biblical terms
water may have some significance. If
water prevented human life from existing in Genesis 1:2 and 9, and if it was associated
with judgment and death at the Red Sea, the flood of Noah's day, and Jesus' death, then
water, not sand, is significant in water baptism.
Water baptism is
the acknowledgment of the fact that from God's perspective, we were
judged, condemned, and sentenced to death with Jesus.
The Biblical fact, therefore, is that in the eyes of God, when
Jesus died, we died too, and like Jesus, we have been raised to a new life
by the reception of the Holy Spirit into our lives.
We are not who we once were. We have become new creations.
Our old self has died. We
have risen from the waters of death into the life of the Spirit (2
Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15).