The Second Use of Baptism

The Second Use of Baptism

The second use of Baptism is, that the Christian may know and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour, and follow Him. This second use of Baptism, which is that one may know the Lord the Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, inseparably follows the first, which is introduction into the Christian church, and insertion among Christians in the spiritual world. And what is this first use without the second but a mere name? … To bear the name of a Christian, of one belonging to Christ, and not acknowledge Him, and follow Him, that is, live according to His commandments, is as empty as a shadow, as a smoke, and useless as a blackened picture. For the Lord says,—”Why call ye me Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke vi. 46); “Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord…. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” (Matt. vii. 22, 23). (TCR n. 681)

The Third Use of Baptism

The third use of Baptism, which is its final use, is that the man shall be regenerated. This is the very use for the sake of which Baptism was instituted, and is thus its final use; because a true Christian knows and acknowledges the Lord the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who as He is the Redeemer is also the Regenerator; and because a Christian possesses the Word, in which the means of regeneration stand plainly described,—and the means therein are faith in the Lord and charity towards the neighbour. This is the same as what is said of the Lord, that,—”He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Holy Spirit means the Divine truth of faith; and fire, the Divine good of love or charity, both proceeding from the Lord; and by these two all regeneration is effected by the Lord. (TCR n. 684)

From what has been said before, and now, it may be seen that the three uses of Baptism cohere as one,—after the same manner as the first cause, the mediate, which is the efficient cause, and the ultimate cause, which is the effect and the end itself for the sake of which the former exist. For the first use is that one may be named a Christian; the second, following from this, is that he may know and acknowledge the Lord the Redeemer, Regenerator, and Saviour; and the third is, that he may be regenerated by Him; and when this is done he is redeemed and saved. Since these three uses follow in order, and unite in the last, and hence in the conception of the angels cohere as one, therefore when Baptism is performed, read of in the Word, or mentioned, the angels who are present do not understand Baptism, but regeneration. Wherefore, by these words of the Lord, “Whosoever believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but whosoever believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark xvi. 16), it is understood by the angels in heaven, that he who acknowledges the Lord and is regenerated is saved. (ibid. n. 685)

As regards the Baptism of John, it represented the cleansing of the external man; but the Baptism which is at this day among Christians represents the cleansing of the internal man, which is regeneration. We therefore read that John baptized with water, but that the Lord baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire; and for this reason the Baptism of John is called the Baptism of repentance…. The Jews that were baptized were merely external men; and the external man cannot become internal without faith in Christ. It may be seen in the Acts of the Apostles (ch. xix. 3-6) that those who were baptized with the Baptism of John became internal men when they received faith in Christ, and were then baptized in the name of Jesus. (ibid. n. 690)

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