Regeneration and baptism, although not holding to each other the relation of effect and cause, are both regarded in the New Testament as essential to the restoration of man?s right relations to God and to his people. They properly constitute parts of one whole and are not to be unnecessarily separated. Baptism should follow regeneration with the least possible delay, after the candidate and the church have gained evidence that a spiritual change has been accomplished within him. No other duty and no other ordinance can properly precede it.
Neither the pastor nor the church should encourage the convert to wait for others? company before being baptized. We should aim continually to deepen the sense of individual responsibility to Christ and of personal duty to obey his command of baptism just so soon as a proper opportunity is afforded. That participation in the Lord?s Supper cannot properly precede Baptism will be shown hereafter.
(e) Since regeneration is a work accomplished once for all, the baptism, which symbolizes this regeneration is not to be repeated.
Even where the persuasion exists, on the part of the candidate, that at the time of Baptism he was mistaken in thinking himself regenerated, the ordinance is not to be administered again, so long as it has once been submitted, with honest intent, as a profession of faith in Christ. We argue this from the absence of any reference to second baptisms in the New Testament and from the grave practical difficulties attending the opposite view. In <441901>Acts 19:1-5, we have an instance, not of rebaptism, but of the baptism for the first time of certain persons who had been wrongly taught with regard to the nature of John the Baptist?s doctrine. These people had so ignorantly submitted to an outward rite, which had in it no reference to Jesus Christ and expressed no faith in him as a Savior. This was not John?s baptism nor was it in any sense true baptism. For this reason Paul commanded them to be ?baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.?
In the respect of not being repeated, Baptism is unlike the Lord?s Supper, which symbolizes the continuous sustaining power of Christ?s death while baptism symbolizes its power to begin a new life within the soul. In
<441901> Acts 19:1-5, Paul instructs the new disciples that the real baptism of John, to which they erroneously supposed they had submitted, was not only a baptism of repentance but a baptism of faith in the coming Savior. ?And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus? ? as they had not been before. Here there was no rebaptism, for the mere outward submersion in water to which they had previously
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