The Rule of the Heavens (continued)
The Universality of Christ's Baptism (continued)
It is at Jordan. "God's Lamb which beareth away the sin of the world." It is the universal sin brought upon Him. Then, with all that resting upon Him, with these final words with which he met the reticence of John, "It thus becometh us to fulfill all righteousness," "all the sin of the world," "all righteousness" bound up in His act. What a tremendous thing this baptism was. It fulfilled all the law and the prophets. It dealt with the sin of the whole world. It settled forever the question of all righteousness. What a baptism! Was there ever a baptism like that!? Yes, yours, if entering into the meaning of that one, if it was a true one. Not your bearing away the sin of the world, but entering into the good of His baptism. With those words He went down into Jordan and was raised. Death, universal, has been expressed, universal judgment received, resurrection life, the universal law of the new creation by resurrection. All that involved, not only the past, but all this is to be.
Then heaven opened. The heavens came in again, and then hell broke in. For the temptation was a part of the baptism. It was not a thing in itself. "Then was Jesus led of the Spirit into the wilderness" (Matthew 4:1). This baptism has touched all the past and all the future. How was all righteousness fulfilled typically in the baptism of the Lord Jesus? It is simply this - that God has as His irreducible minimum sinless perfection and God has never accepted anything that is not sinlessly perfect. Can you find it in this old creation? How then is it to be fulfilled? The old creation must perish under judgment and there must be a new creation which is created by Go. And so in Jordan He passed out typically and rose again. There was no sin in Him, but universal sin was laid upon Him. The whole question of righteousness has been settled in the death and burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Paul has been used by God to interpret baptism as this, the putting away of the whole body of the flesh (Romans 6; Colossians 2:12). It is not a theory of sinless perfection for us now, but there is that for us which is sinlessly perfect. But that is not us in ourselves. We still carry about a very sinful nature to which we have to reckon ourselves dead. There has something come in from above which makes it possible for us to repudiate that and live as though we were dead to it.
I ask you, is that what baptism has meant to you? It is not good enough that you should take this matter on simply because it is a command in the Word, or that the Lord Jesus did it and you simply think you ought to do it. The only adequate basis is that we see the heavenly meaning. If the thing has been entered into just as a form, or because it is a command, it has not meant very much, but when it has been entered into with any spiritual understanding that has been a breaking out of the devil to oppose it. It is not a form or ordinance, but a mighty testimony that brings in the vast realm of spiritual powers.
(continued with # 22)