How Our King Reveals What Pleases Him
In our first article in this series, we discussed what our primary motivation must be as Christians. We were redeemed by Christ to be His possession. We are His, and because of this, we are to make sure we please Him in all that we do as His people (2 Cor 5:9-10; Colossians 1:9-10) . This being the case, we need to learn what is pleasing to Him and what is not pleasing to Him. The only objective place where we can go to get this information is in the word of God. Only the word of Christ given through His Apostles and Prophets can equip us with the knowledge we need in order to be pleasing to God under the New Covenant.
But the question arises, how does our King in His word communicate to us what is pleasing to Him? He communicates His will to us the same way any of us communicate our will to others. For instance, parents, whenever they want to communicate to their kids that something is pleasing to them, how do they do it? Can I suggest they do it in one of three ways. They will either TELL them that what they want them to do, SHOW them what they want their kids to do, or IMPLY something to them in what they tell them or show them. Is there another way but these three ways to communicate your will to someone? This is how God in His word communicates His will to us.
Let’s look at an example of these in action in the New Testament. Let’s look at what God reveals about baptism:
He tells us, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). If we want to be pleasing to God, we will do what He tells us to do here in this direct statement to be saved. God uses both direct statements and commands to show us that baptism is something we must do to be pleasing Him.
Jesus gives us a multitude of examples in scripture of people being baptized. We learn in these examples that a way of baptizing that pleases God is by immersion. John was baptizing because it was a place where there was much water (John 3:23). When the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, we see that they went down into the water and then came out of the water (Acts 8:38-39). We are not given any examples of other modes of baptizing that are pleasing to God other than immersion. It is also the only mode that is inherent in the definition of the word.
God also implies certain things to us in scripture about baptism. God implies to us that preaching about baptism is included in “preaching Jesus.” We are told that Philip preached Jesus to the Eunuch, and the Eunuch responded by saying as they traveled, “look, water, what hinders me from being baptized?” This implies that Phillip told him about baptism. Another thing God implies to us in scripture about baptism is that babies cannot be baptized. Since he tells us that one must believe, repent, and confess Jesus as Lord before baptism, then it logically follows from this that an infant cannot be baptized because they are unable to do those things. Also, when God tells us in Mark 16:16 that we need to believe and be baptized to be saved, and when He shows us in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost that one must repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, God is implying to us that these passages apply to us if we want salvation and the remission of our sins. We must use our ability to reason and the logic that God gives us as we come to commands, direct statements, and examples within the Bible to decide whether they apply beyond their original audience to us.
How our King reveals His will on baptism shows us how He reveals what is pleasing to Him regarding every Biblical doctrine/teaching. Once again, what other way is there for our King to reveal His decrees to us other than these three ways? This is how communication works, and this cannot be denied. It is a self-evident truth. One cannot communicate their will about anything without telling you something, showing you something, or implying something to you.
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