24046Re: Question on Baptism of John the Baptist
- Oct 5, 2012Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
<< After the Holy Babtism, once the person is grown up and if he shows the characters (A) ( Galatians 5 19 21) instead of the characters with fruit of the spirit(B) What we have to understand.>>
In baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit. In Old Testament, we see that the Holy Spirit dwell in people but some times leaves when they sin. Holy Spirit indwelt King Saul but left him (1 Samuel 16:14) when he committed sin (1 Samuel 15:24). King David was afraid that the Holy Spirit would leave him when he committed adultery and he cried (Psalms 51:1) "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me". In New Testament, we don't see similar experiences of Holy Spirit leaving the body. Most scholars believe that Holy Spirit is sealed permanently in us at our baptism unlike the OT time, and they interpret the verse (Ephesians 1:13) as a permanent seal (as long as one remain in the same faith). Moreover, the purpose of sacrifice by Jesus was to restore permanently the lost glory on Adam and his children. As St. Paul says, our body (those baptized) is a temple for God where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies"). So we are supposed to live a life without sin. Mor Ephrem in his hymns says same thing:
O body, strip off the utterly hateful old man,
Lest he wear out again the new (garment) you put on when you were baptized.
For it would be the inverse of paying his due
That he, if renewed, should wear you out again.
O body, obey my advice; strip him off by (your) way of life,
Lest he put you on by (his) habits.
For baptism our Lord made new your old age-
He, the carpenter of life, Who by His blood formed and built a
Temple for dwelling. Do not allow that old man
Dwell in the renewed temple.
O body, if you have God live in your Temple,
You will also become His royal palace.
Jesus also had promised that he would give the Holy Spirit the comforter, to be with us forever. (John 14:16) "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever". St. Paul also quotes from Jesus implying to his everlasting presence and love (Hebrews 13:5) "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (KJV).
So, if the Holy Spirit never leaves(as long as one remain in the true faith), what would happen if a baptized person sin as mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 (A)? Well, of course those who sin are going to hurt the Holy Spirit who resides in them. By committing sins we are grieving the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. As St. Paul says, (Ephesians 4:30) "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. So if we commit sin the Holy Spirit do not leave us, but we are quenching the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some people feel the absence of Holy Spirit in them, probably because they are quenching the H. Spirit through their sins. St. Paul warns, (1 Thessalonians 5:19) " Quench not the Spirit". The Satan continuously tempt every one as he even did with Jesus (Mathew 4:1). So if someone shows the characters of (A) then they are fallen to the temptation of Satan. You can see similar action of Satan mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Corinthians 11:14. It is our responsibility not to fall to the tricks played by Satan. (Ephesians 4:27) "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold". It should be our goal to remain in the right side of Jesus always; but it is always the goal of the Satan to trick and deviate us from Jesus. Why would Satan do that? This need another whole section to explain and for the time being I avoid that subject here.
The presence of Holy Spirit in us forever do not qualify to avoid punishment for our sins. We all will be judged at the end based on our work in our earthly life. (2 Corinthians 5:10) "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad". Bible teaches us that Jesus will judge each one of us at the end. (Hebrews 10:30) "For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". St. John also says in Revelation that God said " I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds" (Revelation 2:23).
If we sin while we remain in the true faith, we do not have to get baptized again to receive H. Spirit. We believe and recite in the Nicene Creed that baptism, is only for ONCE (Ephesians 4:5). St. Paul also says (Hebrews 10:26) "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God". So for the remission of sins as mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21, what we need is a true repentance and confession. (1 John 1:9) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". The good news is that we do not have to wait until the last judgment to get our sins forgiven if we repent in truth. Jesus has authorized the apostles and their successor (clergy today), with the authority to forgive the sins (John 20:22-23) "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained".
Our church does not re-baptize or re-chrismate those who committed any of the sins (A) mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21. Rarely in a few situations where one is re-chrismated when he is deviated from the true faith and comes back to the true faith (like becoming a muslim, Hindu or other religion or sects rejecting Jesus and the true baptism he once received and comes back to true faith). Read more on this subject in chapter II of the Hudaya Canon for consensus of opinion from early church fathers. In this situation, as St. Paul says, they are crucifying Jesus again and again and putting Jesus on shame when getting re-baptized (Hebrews 6:4-6). True confession and repentance are the remedy for these sins (A), and not a re-baptism. The H. Qurbono we receive after the prayer of absolution also serves as a remedy for our daily sins. In our H. Qurbono we sing:
"O Lord Jesus, Messiah,
Not for vengeance-nor our judgment be for us here
Thy blood and Body taken
But for debts absolving, and for pardon,
And the standing, on Thy right-
Haleluiah-with clear faces"
But neither H.Qurbono, nor confession is a license to commit more sins again thinking they all will be forgiven with these sacraments. True repentance should be like what Prophet Joel mentioned: (Joel 2:12-13) "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil".
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
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