Salvation is all about covenant and this at my work at early wee hours of the morning. A covenant, which is in blood, requires a death on the part of the inheritor. Unlike a regular covenant like a will, which requires a death on the part of the one bequeathing this covenant, requires the recipient die. You see to establish the covenant the one making the covenant became in effect the first to receive of His own covenant... lest we forget Jesus was flesh and bone and that ALWAYS needs redemption in its fallen state. Yet that Jesus was covenentially without sin in His perfect obedience; then the only reason why He became the perfect sacrifice; in addition, it was preordained you know.
However, from that point on the death of the "testator" having established a covenant the inheritance of it always requires a death on the recipients part. Consider please what Jesus says to Nicodemus "you must be born of water and the Spirit. " "You must be born again" Now this is one of those hard statement to understand and many an attempt has been taught and in the past they had it right. They linked that initial salvation and the "goin' to the river to be baptized" together they called it sanctification. I seem to read a little different slant on that one and call it fully enacted covenant. You see the covenant actually has two phases. The confession of faith the Romans "road". Which we say now saves you for if you call on the name you shall be saved... but it says shall be not are saved. So calling on the name is the first phase or step and indeed, His is the name that redeems from the fall and saves from the wrath of the Father. A wrath, which is reserved for those, considered unrighteous and anyone who is not redeemed is unrighteous. But the grammar and the sense of the sentence tells us that the promise of the redemption starts with the faith that leads to two confessions. First You are the only one who can forgive me and second here what I need you to forgive me of. Why? Simple who is it that will pour out wrath on that day? The son, on behalf of the Father! Have any of us ever gone and done business on behalf of someone else r had prayer by proxy or a vote by proxy. Well that's what the day of the Lord is all about. Jesus honoring Father and avenging Father's honor from those who have besmirched it.
Now that we see the correct relationship here, lets look again at that river trip shall we? Pentecostals have had a partial understanding of the necessity of the water of immersion baptism for a long time but they are unaware perhaps to the fullness of the thing. First, it is a ritual immersion that sets apart for. Moses did it to Aaron and the boys. Second, it is what one person once called a "white Funeral". Let me explain. A white funeral usually denotes a clean pure burial and death, unlike the ones we stick in the ground. Additionally this is a funeral this is a death but the human undergoing it will get up tomorrow morning, albeit a different person but alive. But it is a death.
The other reason for the immersion is that like burial it closes a solid environ over the person. Indeed if you hold them until they really repent you risk a law suit in the morning; not to mention murder charges, ok?
Thirdly, this is permanent and not ever meant to be undone. You pierce you ears and momma says " Hold still now because once they're pierced you can't undo it and you want the holes even". Well this is that same permanency. Death and subsequent burial is a final thing, though the inner man never dies but is rather immortal, something a lot of cultures seem to grasp, funny ain't it?
Indeed the inner man continues on but since we don't traffic with ghosts. Departed people don't do the laundry in the night while we sleep... well then I guess for us its goodbye till we get into their world, which ever one that is. Death is the only allowable separation of husband from wife. Death can end contracts made in life and enact wills composed for just that occasion so that life goes on for the living left behind. Loved ones left behind is a theme in most funeral home commercials isn't it? Left behind is another aspect of the permanent separation of death. So too, anything that proposes a death will naturally involve a separation. Finally, death separates the life lived from the better place they went to. Consider the Christian relative telling the little kid," oh Uncle Joe is in a better place now but he ain't the man he used to be" Yes death separates the person from who they were in life. Now that you see how this works, lets look at the application
Called sanctification, which is a fancy word for separation anyhow, baptism is considered a response. But it isn't. In Romans sixth chapter much is said about the dying and reckoning as dead all that was before the baptism. Many pains are taken by Paul to elaborate on the idea that the water consecrates and sets aside the individual for the Master's use, as priest. Much is made of the reckoning as dead the self or individual to sin to temptations to the adversary by never again yielding to the adversary, in any way. But why water? Well we are attempting to safely mimic death and burial and resurrection aren't we? And there are only two elements that will enclose a body entirely. Earth is one Water is another. Now to bury you in earth can be done but the soil weighs a ton and you will suffocate before you can be dug up. However water on the other hand will cover you insufficient quantities and you can dive into and rise out of water with relative ease. Therefore the endurance of the burial time is drastically shortened and that you do break forth up out of the water again is the resurrection, just as the going under is the death. In some areas they actually bring a bag of salt when they baptize, a practice they do for other reasons but one I find most intriguing. You see the covenant is a salted thing and indeed the sacrifices were offered up with salt. Especially the ones for sin.
This brings to mind the next point the covenant completed.
We are to be salt and light having been salted and enlightened. The enlightening is obvious He is His word and His relationship with us reveals to minds and heart all that He is. But the salt is a little different. Recall that Jesus spoke of salt that has lost its savor or saltiness that is worthless and useless and thrown out in the street. What is it that gives salt its saltiness? The sodium in the water crystals that the liquid is dried out of leaving the crystal of sodium concentrate which can again be mixed in water or wetted for a season until the sodium concentration gets to low and the salt is "old" and "thrown out". The throwing out by the way is in Jesus perspective into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now over use with out fry out time or renewal of sodium content is what ruins salt. So if it is the sodium in the crystals that makes them useful then Jesus knowing this is telling us something more than we usually understand. Salted with the covenants means something at some pint is put in us and the excess is slowly over time purged out leaving a high concentration of the "thing" in us. That thing Peter said in his immortal epic Pentecost address was the Holy Spirit as was written in Joel that this should be. You see the Spirit has ALWAYS been the salt of the covenant and His person on or in a person marked than as "of covenant", but never had the Spirit simply lived in the person all the time as a side benefit or as a salt of covenant literally established within human flesh actually causing a redemption in a special way. Now however with the acceptable and perfect blood in its rightful place there is a provision for the Spirit to indwell human flesh and cause its to transform slowly over time until it yields not to its forever estate but must needs be changed on the day. The Holy Spirit is the salt of the covenant and the seal of the covenant at the same time, for the sealing mark is the inward salting of the man. But, what else does Peter tell us? Repent and be baptized for the remission of sin or the taking way of sin(s) and you shall (again the future promise) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of salt and sealing unto the day.
But first, be baptized after the repentance. See when we confessed we confessed the power of Jesus to forgive and the reason we needed forgiveness and the faith of that confession was made righteousness to us. In this there is a intrinsic partial covenant made and if the person died on route to water well they just might be able to enter heaven. But isn't it funny how most folk don't die unless they have a death bed conversion? Now they are going to become redeemed by confessing the faith and then literally dying, so they will be sealed and salted but have no reward accept their salvation. But the one, who will live to see a new day now, they also need to die. Why? The slat of covenant is reserved for the HOLY. The Spirit will only dwell in the HOLY. For He is HOLY and we are to be HOLY. The rest of the New Testament has variations on the theme of becoming like God who is Holy!
So then the ritual the Jew calls the Mikvah or the ritual of consecration unto holiness and setting aside from the day to say for the things of God i.e. Priesthood, is also for the individual a death. Consider again that I said death separated one from. What he or she was in life the baptismal immersion separates the persons past from their future in their present. It separated relationships and the inner change that the outer obedience unto death and the death itself create will cut off all relationships that were and change them into relationships that will be different forever, or remove them completely. Finally, death changes the persons perspective. They no longer belong among the living. This death of baptism should change the persons perspective as no longer belonging to the life lived outside of the covenant of I will be your God and you will My possession.
Paul's ends his discourse on these things by telling us to reckon the event as a death and consider forever ourselves dead or unable to respond to the stimulus of the sin of the world and the sin nature that was, by never again yielding any part of us to sin to allow any level of its dominion in us.
Without works, also faith is a dead faith not living. If you confess your faith in Christ as you savior but never act on it in the water of baptism you have negated the faith. Consider the words you hear at baptismal. "Upon your confession of faith it my honor and privilege to baptize you..." confession of faith is the term used not "upon your redemption it is my honor to baptize you..." Why do we say that? Because all it is, is a confession of faith and the baptism is the action upon that oral confession. Faith without corresponding work is dead and dead faith WILL NOT SAVE. What dopes this mean for all you dry believers our there? You ain't got not salt y'all. Now yes there is grace given if you cannot get to water. God will impute righteousness. But the very first opportunity you get to go to LIVING WATER you must. In so doing you will be obedient to the command of faith to make it alive with action and to show obedience to God in consecration and death unto the new life in Christ. A new life which is victory over the adversary and the sin around which we are constantly beset. I wager if some of you began to view the thing you have done in this light you will find your adversary less able to get at you or to woo you and you may even find your lives illumined with Him and stronghold will die on the spot.
Complete the covenant or consider the thing which you done. For this reason, if you ever walk away from Christ you will never be redeemed again. For not only will Jesus not suffer to be crucified in vain but He will reenact this salting a second time. For if you transgress the law outside of Christ you have redemption but thereafter if you transgress Christ you have no hope. It is that which is called the unpardonable sin. For since the Spirit has salted you with covenant and sealed unto the day and filled you with knowledge and power of God and chosen to dwell in your less than wonderful vessel to then transgress the covenant by continual willful disobedience and sinfulness causes him to strain to keep you and that is something He will NOT ENDURE. He will simply leave you and another deceiving spirit from the enemy will enter in His place sounding exactly like Him but on the day the rude awakening of the truth will leave you in tears and gnashing teeth.
Now as I end this I must address you dear ones who read this and tremble. Those of you who scoff or walk away without either agreeing or looking it up for yourself, well you made your beds dears lie in them. But you darling precious one who reads and then thinks over all the struggles of the faith that you fancy must put the salt and light within to His everlovin limits and fancy that you may well be without Him even now. Forget that notion my dears! That there is a lie from the liar himself! You see your conscience is the agent the salt of the covenant awakens to feeling by burning into it the knowledge of the law as instinctive, and by sealing away from you all other laws that may defile your conscience. He use you conscience to guide you into all obedience just as He uses the scripture and the revelation of prophecy to guide you into all truth. That you are a mess with mascara all over the place only proves that you are the redeemed and He dwells in you and you are going to be ok. But let me say this too, if no one ever took you to water and baptized you and you are bothered then yes you have a problem for t know knowledge has illumined you to covenential truth and you must act on it. If you can get no one to merely give you a baptism without some real strings and time involved then seek God and have Him to take you to one who will understand and give the baptism you truly need.