?Man is mortal. Why has man become a slave to death? The Bible tells us that all men come to die on account of their sin.

We cannot have life when we are still filled with sin. In order to receive eternal life, our sins must be disposed of. Baptism is the first step we can take toward salvation. Through this gracious regulation of God, our sins are cleansed and we are atoned.

Therefore, the Church of God performs baptism, according to the teaching of the Second Coming Christ Ahnsahnghong.

The Origin of Baptism

God promised His people that He would send the prophet Elijah to prepare the way for Him; Elijah would appear before God came to the earth as the Messiah. The purpose of Elijah’s coming was to testify about the Messiah, and to “make straight” the way for Him.

Isa. 40:3 『A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”』

John the Baptist was sent to fulfill the mission of Elijah. He preached the news of repentance to the Israelites who did not obey the words of God, being confined within their hypocritical faith.

Matt. 3:7-9 『But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.'” 』

Mark 1:4-5 『And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.』

John did not baptize people by his own will, but according to the orders he had received from God, who had sent him.

God established the principle of the forgiveness of sins through baptism, so that we could realize that baptism is one of God’s righteous laws, given to us for our salvation (1 John 1:33). Therefore, Jesus set the example of being baptized, by John the Baptist, to institute baptism as a sacred law.

Matt. 3:14-15 『But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”』

Matt. 21:32 『For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him . . . ” 』

Baptism, the truth of righteousness, was not only an ordinance to testify about Jesus, but it was also a law of the new covenant, for Jesus himself baptized people and set the example of being baptized with water (Matt. 3:16).

John 3:22-23 『After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.』

When Should We Be Baptized?

Baptism is the first step toward receiving God’s favor, through which we receive the forgiveness of sins. It has been likened to the birth of a baby coming out of the womb. As our body is born from the womb and then learns about the world one by one, our spirit removes its sins and transgressions through baptism, being born again as a child of God. Then, after baptism, we learn about God’s providence and the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

Eph. 1:7-9 『In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding . . . 』

In this verse, Jesus describes the same creation process as in Genesis chapter two, revealing the separation between the death of the body [the dust] and the death of the spirit.

Without receiving the forgiveness of sins, we cannot be given the wisdom to recognize God. Therefore it is against God’s will to insist that baptism should be given after six or twelve months of studying. If we want to believe in God, we should be baptized first. After, we are given the opportunity to participate in God’s divine nature through our life of faith.

Here are some examples of those who, upon hearing the good news of Jesus, participated in God’s righteousness by being baptized.

A eunuch who was in charge of the treasury of Candace [queen of the Ethiopians] was baptized while traveling along the road, immediately after Philip had testified to him about the Christ (Acts 16:13-15). A woman named Lydia, a purple cloth dealer, received Paul’s message and believed in Jesus; she, and her household, was baptized immediately (Acts 16:13-15). And a jailer, who patrolled the gate of the prison where Paul and Silas were confined, heard about Jesus. Immediately he and his family came to believe in Jesus, and were baptized (Acts 16:25-33). Baptism means the rebirth of our spirit and it is the starting point of our faith in God.

Through baptism, we promise God that we will repent of our past sins and that we will follow the will of God. In return, God promises that he will remember us in the time of Judgment.

Suppose there is a church that insists that someone should be baptized after six months or one year, after his faith has grown. If he dies while learning the doctrines of this particular denomination?without having the promise of God’s salvation?who will be responsible for his soul?

Baptism and Rebirth

All men are destined to die because of their sin. The kingdom of heaven is a place where our physical bodies can never step foot. Even though our bodies are slaves to sin and destined to die, God allows us the opportunity to return to heaven. To enter the eternal kingdom, our spirit should be born again.

John 3:3-5 『In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”』

Rom. 6:3-11 『Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life . . . Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him . . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.』

The purpose of the law of baptism is not to wash the dirt off of our body, but to wash the sin off of our soul, so that we may be revived.

Baptism and the Book of Life

Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” To be “born again” means to be born a second time?being born of the Spirit (John 3:1-8). As one’s name is recorded in the census when he is born, so is one’s name written in the book of life after he is born again of the Spirit. Therefore, when someone is baptized, his name is written in the Church’s book of life, and most importantly, is also written in the book of life in heaven.

Matt. 16:19 『”I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”』

Like this, when one’s name is written in the book of life on earth, it is also written in the book of life in heaven. The Apostle Paul said:

1 Cor. 4:15 『. . . for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.』

Phil. 3:20 『But our citizenship is in heaven.』

Phil. 4:3 『Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.』

And Jesus said:

Luke 10:20 『”However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”』

Ps. 69:27-28 『Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.』

Even if we diligently believe in God, unless our names are written in the book of life, we can never enter the kingdom of heaven. As it is written:

Rev. 20:15 『If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.』

Rev. 21:27 『Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.』

Isa. 4:3-4 『Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.』

The prophet Daniel wrote:

Dan. 12:1 『”At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people?everyone whose name is found written in the book?will be delivered.”』

But David, the writer of Psalms, wrote:

Ps. 69:27-28 『Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.』

Even though someone’s name has been written in the book of life, his name will be blotted out of the book of life if he commits the unforgivable sin.

Rev. 3:5-6 『”He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”』

Through baptism, we receive the forgiveness of our sins, our names are written in the book of life in heaven, and we are born again with a new life, just as Jesus was raised from the dead. That is why we are baptized. If we have not been baptized, we cannot keep the Passover, and unless we keep the Passover, our names cannot be written in the book of life. We must be baptized, and then keep the Passover, so that we can escape the last plagues and enter the eternal kingdom of heaven.