God provides each man certain knowledge called common sense right from his birth. It would be impossible for man to mature without God placing this knowledge in him. It is like this – a tree does not appear without first planting a seed. Such small seed is necessary even for a large tree to exist. Even so, mankind born of a woman is magnificently planted with common sense with which he or she reaches maturity. This common sense is also called wisdom; not necessarily the whole wisdom, but wisdom necessary to acquire the whole wisdom. By this wisdom, a child is made to grow up and is able to discern between good and evil. This wisdom, which is planted in him like a small seed is given to grow into a matured person. Whether he nurtures good or evil depends upon the delight he shows in it. The manner in which he or she becomes fruitful depends on the understanding acquired, as they nurture the common sense that has been planted. This is the ability that God has given each man or woman and it distinguishes them from animals. If God has not provided man with such wisdom to begin with, mankind would always be foolish.
This is the wisdom that God planted in Adam and Eve when He created them. By it they understood the good commandment of God concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, they sinned, when they stopped showing delight in their understanding of it. Therefore, with the common sense they had, they delighted in evil. Had they continued to nurture common sense with their understanding when sin crouched at their door step, they would not have fallen. Now, since they fell, sin has entered every man making him foolish through the common sense God provided. Man has lost his understanding! For this reason, all have become fools insofar God’s wisdom is concerned and man began revealing his mind, which produced works against the wisdom of God. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Prov. 18:2). Why do men reveal their own mind, though each man or woman is given common sense? Because, sin had already achieved the power to captivate man wherein he is easily trapped for foolishness. Through this foolishness of sin they delight in evil rather than good and in the one who has the power over sin rather than God. Where is the understanding of God and His wisdom? There is none, since man lost his delight in them when he began to reveal his own mind. “…For they do not know the way of the LORD or the ordinance of their God” (Jer. 5:4).
The result of not knowing the Lord is the revealing of our own mind. When our mind starts functioning apart from God’s wisdom, our ways are imperfect being intoxicated with sin. For this reason, Cain murdered Abel; none were saved when the floods filled the earth except the eight; none were called in those days, but Abraham; Israel could not reach to the righteousness of God. So also, are the churches in the present days that are without God’s way. How many can righteously say that they do not reveal their own mind when it comes to knowing the way or the ordinance of God? When we are without the many forms of the foolishness of sin, we mature to the understanding of God. These many forms are removed only when we nurture the common sense given to us by God with His ways or ordinances. Just as the seed planted works to grow into a tree by the things supplied by God, even so, should our common sense work to grow to understanding. Only now can we delight in understanding. This delight will empower us to further attain understanding.
The lack of this delight in the present day churches is the sign of their ignorance or rebellion against the way and ordinance of the Lord. Thus, many doctrines that are not of the Lord are produced and Christians speaking of the Kingdom of God are revealing their own mind. What is the result? Each one in bringing forth another way is giving undue advantage to the works of the flesh. When there is no avenue present in them that produces delight, they become foolish concerning the ordinance of God. This empowers them to reveal their mind for further foolishness. What is the outcome? It will be the same as in the case of Cain or those that died in the flood. The only way for Christians to come out of their foolishness leading to death is to receive the cleansing of the Lord. It will make them free of the many forms of foolishness. For what advantage do they possess when they call themselves Christians and yet, are unclean? “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols” (Ezek. 36:25). Even after having the Law in their midst Israel still needed cleansing from their sin! The Law in comparison to the lawlessness of the gentiles was much more worthy. Its worth was established when it was observed to protect and uphold the faith, and not for obtaining faith. The Law became advantageous in that it allowed people to keep it, but could not decipher in them the understanding of its purpose. Hence, faith was neither upheld nor protected, and Law could not provide a perfect conscience; it became weak. It was weak, because it was more lenient toward the conscience and severe for works done outside the body. Hence, it was good, and not perfect, but was more worth than the law of the gentiles, which is lawlessness.
When the goodness of the Law too could not provide perfection to a person, he needed a different cleansing. A cleansing that would make the foolish wise for the Lord; a cleansing that makes people know the way or the ordinance of God; a cleansing that removes the many forms of foolishness, and delights them with understanding. The notion behind cleansing by sprinkling “clean water” is not physical or outwardly, but inwardly. If it was not so, this water would be no different to the water used by the priests and the high priest for cleansing, since it cannot be any more cleanly. But, what water is present that can go to the inside of a man and make him cleaner than any Law could have done? In other words, what water is able to provide a perfect conscience? “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11). How many churches have realized the understanding present in this verse? If they did not believe, how then can they understand? If a church does not have the true understanding of the words of John the Baptist, it never truly believed in the one who came and is mightier. They neither have Him nor His cleansing!
Is baptism by immersion necessary? Certainly! Yet, the water used here is not what cleanses us inwardly. Does baptism cleanse us from all sin? Yes. Yet, not without the cleansing of the “clean water” that comes from Christ and goes inwardly, which is the Holy Spirit. Is baptism by immersing in water only? No! When one is willing to be baptized in water, by faith he is willing to appeal to God for a good conscience (indicating that his conscience is filthy) and by grace He removes all idols and provides a clean conscience by cleansing him with His Spirit. If one is willing to believe, this cleansing of conscience is Christ baptizing a believer with the Holy Spirit. This is where many churches do not possess understanding, and therefore, could not delight in it. They are still living with their idols of foolishness. Every believer in Christ must have the baptism of the Holy Spirit wherein his conscience is filled with the nature of the Spirit and is made perfect. With this nature of the Spirit he will be led by the Spirit in whatever measure God wills.
In order to ensure such leading, Christ also baptizes his believers with fire. This baptism of fire is nothing, but the testing of the Lord. Many are deceived concerning this fire, but the Lord immerses us with His fire that produces suffering. This suffering is not one that leads to death or as caused by the Law or by Satan and this world. It leads to life, as it causes in us the zeal to live for the Lord. This zeal is fulfilled when the Holy Spirit with which we are baptized guides us to perform His works. This gives us great delight and makes us wise. As long as the Lord immerses us with fire, He tests us and continues to purify us with the Spirit He provided us. This ensures a perfect conscience. Therefore, baptism is complete and true only when one is baptized with water, Spirit and fire. Yet, if one does not believe in either one of the three, he does not have understanding and delights only in revealing his own mind, since “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
His unbelief is a transgression and his sin is as good as the sin of Adam who did not delight in the understanding of the Lord! This is the sign that he or she has not been baptized with the fire of the Lord. It is imperative the churches understand that it is for this reason Jesus died and rose that we be baptized by water, the Spirit and fire to achieve a perfect conscience for the day of the Lord. This was schemed from the beginning in order to save mankind. It would be utter foolishness to ignore this truth. Some churches are unwilling accept the baptism that Christ offers, because of the doctrines they put forth and are entangled in. Some churches falsify this baptism for lack of understanding, and personal gain. Remember, those doctrines and falsities might provide great sufficiency on this earth; they may provide riches, fame, knowledge and great success, but when there are those living under the testing of the Lord and the guidance of His Spirit, the truth about God had been clearly testified. “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom. 1:19). Hence, none will escape; those that falsify as well as those that deny the complete and true baptism by producing doctrines against it.
Do these not know the truth when they plainly read the Scripture? For even the gentiles, when observe the creation and its makeup know that God exists. So, it is impossible that those who falsify the truth and deny the goodness of the Lord are unaware of the truth pertaining to God. Do they not read about His invisible attributes or His eternal power expressed in the word? Do they not know His divine nature? When God’s nature is godly, he desires that those who believe in Him ought also to be the same. For this reason, He calls men through Christ that they receive a perfect conscience, a conscience He can relate to, by providing the baptism of water, the Spirit and fire. Yet, if men with selfish reasons, ignorance and greed are manipulating the word of God, then their inward nature has never been cleansed from the filth and idols of this world. A Christian is godless when his conscience is without the fire of the Lord. This is a further indication to his lack of the Holy Spirit and thereby, has no intimacy with the Lord. Whether he is from gentiles or Jews, his inner self has never been cleansed by the “clean water” that God through the prophets promised to give. For this reason, in the name of Christ many preachers, elders, leaders and teachers are disregarding God and are leading many into darkness. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21).