Matt 3:11              New Rules of the Gospel: Three New Baptisms  3/18/2018      ßà   


#1.      The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness (Matt 3:1-4, 4:17, Isa 40:3-5)







#2.       God Is Able of These Stones to Raise Up Children Unto Abraham(Rom 9:32, Matt 3:5-10, Rom 9:27, 1John  3:6, John 8:43-45, Rev 13:8, Rom 4:12, Eph 5:9)







#3.       He Shall Baptize You With the Holy Ghost and With Fire (Matt 3:11-12, Luke 12:50, 1Tim 3:15, Eph 4:5, Rom 8:9, Eph 2:3, 1:4, Luke 10:20, Rom  6:4-7)







#4.       The Baptism of Jesus; to Fulfill All Righteousness (Matt 3:13-17, Rom 6:4, Heb 7:24-27, Rom 8:2)








Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 3:1 (2X). Two weeks ago we have seen that God began the NT with a new set of rules. We have seen that God wrote the NT from the standpoint of a New Beginning. Immediately God was reaching out to all the nations of the world, rather than pouring His grace upon a few tribes that have descended from Jacob. God was letting us know that His mode of operation changed as soon as the Lord Jesus Christ came on the scene. No longer do we see that the nation of Israel was looking forward to the coming of their Messiah. Instead, the Gentiles are now eagerly looking for this Messiah that the prophets have proclaimed to the nation of Israel, and the nation of Israel is no longer interested. We have seen that this totally fit within the plan of God, for after the cross God is gathering a new nation of Jews with a New Covenant, and with a new set of rules that characterize their conduct in this world. We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel, and thus all those who are in Christ are also called the new house of Israel. We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ is called Abraham’s Seed, and thus all those who are in Christ are also called Abraham’s seed. And thus we see that a new set of rules are in place for those whom God chose out of all the nations of the world, and the old set of rules for the children of Jacob are set aside. From this we see that God’s dealings with the old nation of Israel were only signs and shadows of how God was going to deal with the new house of Israel in the NT time. We have already seen this in the first two chapters of Matthew, and we are going to see this again in the third chapter. But what we read here in Matthew has been prophesied long before by the prophets. We read in Matt 3:1,

#1.      The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness (Matt 3:1-4, 4:17, Isa 40:3-5)

Mt 3:1 ¶  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Mt 3:2-4  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.            For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.          And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

What do we see here? The words “In those days” refer to the Lord Jesus growing up in Nazareth. While the Lord Jesus grew physically and spiritually, before the day that He was divinely called into His ministry, John the Baptist already preached in the wilderness. And where was this wilderness? The Gospel according to Luke says that John preached “Into all the country around Jordan”. But that refers to a whole lot more than the wilderness of Judaea, for there were many cities in the country around the Jordan River. And so we see that in the Gospel according to Matthew God used the term “the wilderness of Judaea” in a metaphorical sense. God referred to a spiritual wilderness, for most of the people in Judaea did not know the God of the Bible. You see, the leaders of the Jews had already started to lead the people away from the true worship of the God of the Bible. And so, God sent John the Baptist to that area around Jordan to attract both Jews and Gentiles to the hearing of the Gospel. And what did John preach? He preached a Gospel of repentance. When John preached “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, it meant that people who were alienated from the righteousness of God, and who were banished from the kingdom of heaven, must again be gathered unto God, into His kingdom. This is done through the forgiveness of sins. And so, the Gospel that John preached was connecting repentance with the forgiveness of sins. In other words: “We are not forgiven of our sins without repentance”. Those who are of the Premillennial persuasion believe that there will come a time when miraculously all the physical descendants of Jacob will be saved. But this will not happen, for God says that salvation will not come to pass without repentance. Besides, in Rom 9 and Rom 11 God states that only a remnant of them will be saved, just like in any other nation. And therefore the Gospel that John preached was the same Gospel that the Lord Jesus preached, for we read in Matt 4:17 (2X), “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. It does not mean that we must first conjure up repentance, as some ignorantly suppose, as if this was the reason for the forgiveness of sins. The Greek word that is used here refers to a repentance that is a gift from God. We must always see that the whole Gospel consists of two parts: forgiveness of sins and repentance. In Matt 3:2 the forgiveness of sins is indicated by eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. Through John the Baptist God introduces the grace of God, whereby men receive the gift of repentance and the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 40:3 (2X). God announced here that He will send “The voice of one crying in the wilderness”. In Isa 39 God spoke of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, and right after this God promises in Isa 40 a restoration that would follow, where He says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people”. If we try to fit these verses historically in the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah by the Babylonians in 587 BC and the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 536 BC we do not get a good fit, for in verse 3 immediately John the Baptist came on the scene, which was not until 565 years later. 565 years is a long time. It is longer than the entire period of the Hebrew kings from Saul to Zedekiah. But let us now look at these verses with spiritual eyes. The physical destruction of Judah and Jerusalem is a picture of the great apostacy near the end of time when the majority of the Christian church shall fall away. But this destruction was also a picture of the great apostacy in the nation of Israel just before the coming of Christ. That is why John the Baptist came to preach in the wilderness. It was a spiritual wilderness. The people did not know their God. Now we read in Isa 40:3,

Isa 40:3-4  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.       Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

Isa 40:5  And the glory of the LORD (His mercy and grace) shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord”. This is what God asked to be done. It is remarkable how the providence of God caused the people of the world to prepare the way for the Gospel to spread. One language, Greek, was known through the entire Roman Empire and beyond. Roads were paved to allow the Roman legions to move quickly through the Roman Empire. There was peace throughout the Roman Empire, also called: “Pax Romana”. And then the Roman Empire also instituted execution by crucifixion. All these things had to be in place before Christ came. But when John preached, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, it also meant that people must repent of those sins which obstruct the salvation coming to them. For example, the works gospels of the Scribes and Pharisees must be taken out of the way. And to the same purpose are the following words, “The crooked shall be made straight”. It means that there are intricate and crooked windings in the world; but through such difficulties the Lord makes a way for Himself, and breaks through to accomplish the salvation of His elect. This salvation will not be obscure, but all flesh shall see it together. Therefore it follows that this prediction was far from complete when the people returned from Babylon. Please return now to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 3:5 (2X).

#2.       God Is Able of These Stones to Raise up Children unto Abraham (Rom 9:32, Matt 3:5-10, Rom 9:27, 1John  3:6, John 8:43-45, Rev 13:8, Rom 4:12, Eph 5:9)

The religion of the Jews at that time, and even unto this day, can be summarized in the words of Rom 9:32, where God says: “Israel sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone.” And what is that stumbling stone? It is the salvation by grace alone through Jesus Christ and Him crucified. They prefer to work out their own salvation by following the Law, rather than be saved as a totally free gift. Let us keep this in mind when we read in Matt 3:5,

Mt 3:5  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

Mt 3:6  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mt 3:7-9  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?      Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:   And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Mt 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

What do we see here? “Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan” went out to see and hear John preach. This does not mean that all the 2 million Jews and Gentiles came out to see John to be baptized, for this is physically impossible. Only a remnant shall be saved. God says in Rom 9:27, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved”. It was only a fraction of both Jews and Gentiles who came to see and hear John, and it was only a fraction of them whom John baptized in the Jordan River. But you can see that God was reaching out to all the nations of the world, both Jews and Gentiles. And they were all sinners in need of being saved. But once they were smitten by the Spirit of God and were regenerated from the inside they were changed from sinners into saints. After the moment of our salvation all our works are instantly cleaned up by God, for all our future sins have already been paid by Christ at the cross. That is why we read in 1John  3:6, “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not”, for all our works have been made righteous in the sight of God. But when John saw that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he scolded them and called them a “generation of vipers”. Was this not a very unchristian way of addressing them? Should they not also have the opportunity to become saved? But God revealed to John, and God has also revealed to us, that those who preach a false Gospel are a generation of vipers. The Lord Jesus used similar language when He addressed that fraction of the Jews who did not believe on Him. For example, the Lord Jesus said in John 8:43-44,

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

They could not understand Jesus, because they could not hear the spiritual meaning of His words. And then Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil”. Now why did God put these words in the Bible, and why did God put the harsh words of Matt 3:7 in the Bible? The answer is plain: God is teaching us that all those today who are bringing false gospels, a gospel of works, or a gospel of additional messages from God, or a gospel of salvation through other means than the grace of God, are all a generation of vipers. We do not have to be afraid to call them so, for the Lord Jesus is our example. To grasp more fully God’s design, we must understand that none are more stupid than hypocrites, who deceive themselves and others by their outward mask of holiness. While God thunders on all sides against the whole world, hypocrites construct a refuge for themselves in their own deceitful mind, for they are convinced that they have nothing to do with the judgment of God. There is an astonishing stubbornness in hypocrites and they have no fear of God, for they pick and choose from His Word to their own liking. In this same context let us now consider the words of God through John in Matt 3:9, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father”. Why would they say within themselves that they have Abraham as father? They believed that as long as they pursued the Law and were children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they were on the way straight to heaven, whereas all those Gentile dogs are going straight to Hell. They did not need salvation. They did not need a Savior. They did not need repentance from their sins. And this was the deception of the false gospel that the Pharisees taught them. This is the condition of hypocrites. They do not know that they are under the wrath of God. They firmly believe that they are going to heaven. But they do not fear God, for they have never understood that only those who fear God are saved.

But God has warned them here in verses 9-10. In verse 9 God says “God Is Able of These Stones to Raise up Children unto Abraham”. The priests and the teachers of the Law considered themselves as the holy first fruits. Just like in our days the mitered bishops, and monks, and every description of priests are glorying in the proud title of Clergy, and they regard the laity with contempt. The meaning of these words in Matt 3:9 is this: “God has made an everlasting Covenant with Abraham and his Seed. And while you are worse than bastards, you imagine that you are the only children of Abraham. But God will raise up elsewhere a new seed of Abraham, and God will pour His grace upon them instead of on you”. And likewise God says this to the unfaithful preachers and teachers of today who are so confident that God has blessed their work, for they see their churches grow into megachurches and they see their incomes rise into the millions of dollars. But they forget that we are in the last days, and therefore “All that dwell upon the earth, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, shall worship Antichrist”, from Rev 13:8. God has in His power ways of preserving His church. And therefore, God is able to raise up children even from these stones. But look now at Matt 3:10, for here God shows us HOW He is preserving His church. Literally God says in Matt 3:10, “And already the axe is laid unto the root of the trees”. God is ready to uproot those trees in national Israel who do not qualify to be called children of Abraham, because they “do not walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Rom 4:12). God is just about to drive out unworthy persons from His church as barren trees are in need of being cut down. And thus only the remnant chosen by grace out of the nation of Israel remain as children of Abraham. All the other children of Abraham are the remnant chosen by grace from the Gentile nations. And thus we see in Matt 3:10 again God’s new rules in dealing with mankind. God’s dealings are equally with all the nations of the world. And what is the “good fruit” that we are supposed to bring? What is the fruit of the Spirit living in each of the sons of Abraham? God says in Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”. And thus a good tree is that person who worships the God of the Bible, and who is faithful to all that the Bible says, regardless what our former teachers have tried to teach us. Let us now turn to:

#3.       He Shall Baptize You With the Holy Ghost and With Fire (Matt 3:11-12, Luke 12:50, 1Tim 3:15, Eph 4:5, Rom 8:9, Eph 2:3, 1:4, Luke 10:20, Rom  6:4-7)

Mt 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Mt 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

What do we see here? We see here three Baptisms: One baptism with water, one baptism with the Holy Ghost, and one baptism with fire. What does this mean? The word “baptism”, or the verb “to baptize”, does not mean “to dip” as is being taught in many churches, but it means “to wash”. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 12:50, “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” The Lord Jesus referred here to the cross. He had a washing to be washed with. He was laden with our sins, and He could not go back to heaven until all our sins were washed away by paying the full penalty that was due to them. Yes, the Lord Jesus had to endure the full penalty for our sins, or else the righteousness of God would not be satisfied. But what do we see here in Matt 3:11? John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance”. But John could not give repentance to anyone he baptized, for repentance is a gift from God, and God does not wait for an outward act of man to give repentance and salvation. God saves whom He will and when He will, and God gives repentance to whom He will and when He will. And so, the outward act of washing with water is only a sign of the washing of sins that hopefully has occurred already in the individual who undergoes a water baptism. This outward sign is given to everyone who externally belongs to the house of God, the church (1Tim 3:15). We would like this sign to be limited to only those who are truly saved, but we do not know who is truly saved. We can only teach them, but it is God who does the saving. Definitely we should not attach any magic powers to the ceremony of baptism with water, for then we have created a works gospel, which is an abomination to God. But can you see that this water baptism that John performed was offensive to the Jewish mind? Never before did God command people to be baptized. And when the Pharisees heard that this baptism was a sign for the washing away of their sins, they totally rejected the idea, for they were convinced that they did not need any washing away of sins. Perhaps the common people were in need of washing of their sins, but the common people were stupid and ignorant of their heritage as children of Abraham. And so you see that one reason why God instructed John to baptize was to repel the Jews and attract the Gentiles.

Secondly, John said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. Before we continue any further I should remind you of a well known verse in Eph 4:5 where God says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”. We want to agree with One Lord, and One Faith. But is there only One Baptism? We read about 13 different baptisms in the Bible. But God does not lie. There is only one baptism that is a valid washing away of our sins, and water baptism is not that one, for it is only a shadow of the real thing. The real washing away of our sins occurs in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is God, and God is 100% successful in anything He does. When are we baptized by the Holy Spirit? When we are “Born Again”, or when we are “born from above”, at that moment we are baptized, or washed from our sins, by the Holy Spirit. But when this was we do not know exactly. Only God knows when this moment in time was. But definitely, if we are saved then our souls also have been washed by the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of God has taken up residence in our soul, for God says in Rom 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. And so, the teaching that there is a “second blessing” in our salvation is the sign of a false gospel. Furthermore we read that “Christ shall baptize us with the Holy Ghost”. It means that Christ bestows all the grace unto our salvation. The payment of our sins by Christ on the cross guarantees that the Holy Spirit shall, at some point in our life, make us “born from above”, and apply the payment of Christ to us so that our sins are washed away. Before this moment in time we are still with our sins and under the wrath of God, for God says in Eph 2:3, that “we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. This then is the meaning of “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. But now we see another baptism in Matt 3:11.

Thirdly, John said, “He shall baptize you with fire”. What fire was God speaking about in Mat 3:11? When we find the word “fire” in the Bible, most of the time it refers to Hell. How is Christ going to wash us in Hell? We have to remember two things: First of all, we must remember that those of us who are truly saved were IN Christ already before the foundation of the world. God says in Eph 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us IN Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”. It does not mean that our souls were in Christ before the foundation of the world, for our souls could not be in existence before the soul of Adam was made in the Garden of Eden. No, our souls were made at the time of our conception in our mother’s womb. What then was IN Christ before the foundation of the world? Our names were IN Christ, for the Lord Jesus said in Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. And  so, since Christ is our representative in the Spirit, the Bible teaches that we were in Christ when He was nailed to the cross, and we were in Christ when He died, and we were in Christ when He was buried, and  we were in Christ when He rose from the tomb, and we were in Christ when He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:4 (2X). Secondly, we must remember that Christ had to pay the full penalty for our sins to satisfy the righteousness of God. What is the full penalty for our sins if we would have to pay it? It is to suffer for an eternity in Hell. And so, the suffering of Christ was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for each one of my sins, and for all the sins of all those whom He came to save. When did the Lord Jesus Christ endure this suffering? It began on Thursday night when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and it ended on Friday afternoon, on April 3 in the year AD 33, at about 3 O’clock. And therefore, when He suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, we were in Him, and we came out of Hell with Him and in Him. This was how He washed us in the fires of Hell. Praise God for arranging these conditions, for God shall never send anyone to Hell again who has been there already. God summarized all these things in Rom  6:4-7, where we read,

Ro 6:4-7  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.     For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:       Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.                  For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 3:12 (2X). We have here the parable of the thrashing floor. The thrashing floor is not the world, as some people imagine, but it represents the OT church. God represents the elect by the wheat, and the chaff represents those Jews who remain in their sins. The chaff occupied a great part of the thrashing floor and it is sifted out by the fan in the hand of Christ. Now this is how Christ creates the new Kingdom of Israel. The preaching of the Gospel is the fan, the winnowing fan, controlled by Christ, to blow out the chaff. The title of “people of God” has filled the Jews with pride. But God tells them that it is foolish to be proud of this title, for they will soon be blown out, like chaff from the thrashing floor. The state of the OT church was corrupt, for it was covered with chaff that was proclaiming false gospels. But soon Christ will thoroughly purge His thrashing floor and gather His wheat into the barn. And Christ will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Here again the fire represents Hell, and it burns unquenchable, which means it burns forever.

Let us now continue in this chapter of Matthew and look at:

#4.       The Baptism of Jesus; to Fulfill All Righteousness (Matt 3:13-17, Rom 6:4, Heb 7:24-27, Rom 8:2)

Mt 3:13 ¶  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Mt 3:14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Mt 3:15-16  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.          And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Mt 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Why was the Lord Jesus baptized? Christ had no need of this baptism, for He did not have any sin of his own of which He needed to be washed. But the Lord Jesus gave us here the reasons for His baptism: “to fulfill all righteousness”. What does that mean? First of all, it meant that Christ received the same baptism with us, in order to assure us that we are ingrafted into His body, and that we are identified with Him, and that we are “buried with Him in baptism”, in order that we may rise to a “newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Of course we recognize that this “newness of life” refers to eternal life which we already enjoy when we are saved. And so, it was for the sake of others that Christ asked to be baptized. Secondly, since baptism is a symbol for the washing away of our sins, it is pointing directly to the cross. Baptism is a shadow of the cross where we are spiritually sprinkled with the blood of Christ. And thus by his actions John asked the Lord Jesus to suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for him. Thirdly, the Lord Jesus became our great High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 7:24 (2X). You find the Epistle to the Hebrews at the end of the epistles of the apostle Paul, after Titus and Philemon. The Bible affirms that Christ became our High Priest, even though He was not a descendant of Aaron. The Lord Jesus was a descendant of Judah, and nothing in the law spoke of the eligibility of someone from Judah. Therefore it was necessary that the Law had to be changed. And so, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). Moreover the priesthood had to be changed. And so, the priesthood was changed from the line of Aaron to the new line of the order of Melchisedec. Christ is our High Priest and “we are made kings and priests

unto God and His Father”. We read in Heb 7:24-27,

Heb 7:24  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

Heb 7:25-26  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.     For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

Heb 7:27  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

But since the Lord Jesus was a descendant from Judah, He could not receive His anointing as priest in the temple in Jerusalem. Therefore God dispatched John the Baptist, of the line of Aaron, to anoint the Lord Jesus in the Jordan River. And so, the baptism of Jesus was also a ceremony of His anointing as our High Priest. This too is an offense to national Israel, for they will only recognize the Aaronic priesthood, and they refuse to believe that the Law was changed. Now another question: since we were in Christ when He was baptized, can we say that we too have been anointed?

Please turn a few pages to your left, to Titus 3:4 (2X). God speaks to us through the pen of the apostle Paul in his letter to his disciple Titus. We read here in Tit 3:4-7,

Tit 3:4  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Tit 3:6-7  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;      That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

We read here that we too have been renewed by the Holy Ghost, and we too have been washed by the washing of regeneration. And when we were “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” we were made kings and priests unto God and His Father (Rev 1:6). It means then that we too have been washed and have been anointed by Christ, our great High Priest.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.