Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Holy Trinity Part 3
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 2, 2009

Last Updated :
January 2, 2009

Tithes And Sacrifices - Heavy Burden Of Scribes & Pharisees,
The Widow's Mite, Jesus Chased Money Changers Out Of Temple,
Commercialized Christianity, Jesus Frees Us From The Burden
Of The Law, Why The Jews Killed Jesus, A Perfect Sacrifice,
Supremacy Of Grace Over The Works Of The Law, Justified By
Grace And Not By The Works Of The Law, Water Baptism Was A
Schoolmaster, Baptism Of Repentance, Meaning Of Repent, John
The Baptist Prepared The Way For Jesus Christ, Completion Of
John The Baptist's Mission, The Old Testament Ritual Of The
Sprinkling Of Blood, Baptism By Blood In The New Testament,
Consistency In The Writings And Meanings Of The Apostle Paul,
Spiritually Cleansed Renewed Regenerated By Blood Of Christ

As I noted earlier, when Jesus arrived in Israel 2,000 years
ago, the common people were totally beholden to the religious
rulers of the day; more specifically, to the temple priests,
and to the Scribes and the Pharisees. Their word was law to
the common people of Israel, especially in Jerusalem. These
oppressive religious rulers enriched themselves by enforcing
the Old Testament laws regarding sins, tithes and sacrifices
upon the people. There were specific kinds of sacrifices, as
well as different types of tithes which had to be paid; all
of which depended upon the nature of the sin, and the social
and economic status of the person involved. These religious
rulers used sin and guilt to condemn the people, and to keep
them in complete submission. They used the Mosaic Law like a
sword hanging over people's heads. This is why Jesus said of

"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and
lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not
move them with one of their fingers . . . Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows'
houses . . ."
Matthew 23:4, 14a, KJV

Do you recall the story of the widow's mite? In spite of her
poverty, she gave all that she had in order to try to fulfill
the mandates of the Old Testament laws. As Jesus said of His
hypocritical, self-righteous enemies, she gave of her poverty
and was blessed, while they gave of their abundance:

"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two
mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his
disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That
this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have
cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their
abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had,
even all her living."
Mark 12:42-44, KJV

The story of the widow's mite is a prime example of exactly
what Jesus meant by the previous verses. As I point out in a
number of other articles as well, this is precisely why the
Lord drove the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem
with a whip. It seriously grieved Jesus that they had turned
the sacred business of worshiping God into nothing more than
a worldly commercial enterprise. How many Christian churches
and denominations do this very same thing today; and I think
you already know which ones are the biggest culprits of all.

As Jesus Himself made very clear, He came to lift the heavy
burdens from our shoulders, and to free us from the bondage
of sin. The way that He did this, is by placing the sins of
the world upon His own shoulders, when He died on the Cross.
Please consider the following verses:

"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet
Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place
where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach
deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the
blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"
Luke 4:17-18, KJV

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest
unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye
continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . .
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
John 8:31-32, 36, KJV

Naturally, Jesus' liberating message posed a serious threat
to the Jewish religious Elders and the corrupt system which
they had controlled for so long; many hundreds of years in
fact; thus, they hated Jesus for it. After all, if too many
people began to follow the Lord, their oppressive religious
empire would eventually collapse, and the vast wealth they
had accumulated would disappear. Thus, through intentional
deception and craft, they eventually convinced their Roman
occupiers that Jesus posed a threat to Rome; and therefore
must be eliminated. Little did they realize, however, that
Jesus' Death would bring spiritual freedom to us all.

So as I noted a moment ago, our bondage to the letter of the
Law was terminated by Jesus' Death on the Cross. As a result
of being perfect and without sin, Jesus became the Perfect
Substitute, and the Perfect Sacrifice, and freed us from the
bondage of the Law. He did what we cannot do ourselves. As
the Apostles Peter and Paul wrote:

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with
the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15, KJV.

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,
that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV

Being as the Apostle Paul had been educated as a Pharisee,
and thus had a keen insight and understanding of their view
of the Law, it was only fit that once he had been converted
to the new Christian faith, God would choose to use him to
fight against the very thing which had once been the core
beliefs of his life. This is clearly evident in some of his
various Epistles. Over and over again, Paul discusses the
supremacy of Grace, (through faith in Jesus Christ), over
the Law. He expounds on the fact that the Law was our guide
and schoolmaster to bring us to the knowledge of the truth;
that truth being that by knowing Jesus, and by trusting in
His Sacrifice alone, we are henceforth justified by faith,
and no longer by the dead works of the Law. Consider the
following key verses:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law
by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another,
even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should
bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of
Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of
the law shall no flesh be justified."
Galatians 2:16, KJV

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of
God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."
Galatians 3:11, KJV

"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto
Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that
faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
Galatians 3:24-25, KJV

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you
are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Galatians 5:4, KJV

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise
grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no
more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Romans 11:6, KJV

At this point, you may possibly be wondering how all of this
ties into the issue of water baptism. Quite simply, the water
baptism that was performed by John the Baptist, and the first
Apostles, was likewise a guide and a schoolmaster. It was a
physical aid to help people to understand a deeper spiritual
truth. Water baptism was a simple picture, just like the many
Parables that Jesus told. However, as had occurred with the
ceremonial portion of the Mosaic Law, which dealt with the
different kinds of sacrifices which had to be made in order
to atone for sins, once Jesus' Blood was shed on the Cross,
water baptism became unnecessary. It served a purpose for a
time, but that time is now passed. Similar to observing the
symbolic rituals of the Mosaic Law, water baptism was just a
physical act that was used to symbolize an inward spiritual
change of both mind and heart, and a cleansing of the spirit.
The cleansing by water was replaced by cleansing by Christ's
Blood. The message of John's water baptism was in fact this:

". . . Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 3:2b, KJV

In other words, John's ministry was a baptism of repentance.
This is clarified for us a number of times in the pages of
the New Testament, as we see by the following verses:

"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism
of repentance for the remission of sins."
Mark 1:4, KJV

"And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching
the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;"
Luke 3:3, KJV

"When John had first preached before his coming the baptism
of repentance to all the people of Israel."
Acts 13:24, KJV

"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of
repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe
on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ
Acts 19:4, KJV

The true meaning of the word "repent" is not simply to feel
sorry for something wrong that we have done. Derived from the
Greek word "metanoeo", it means to change one's mind for the
better. It means to make a positive change in our lives; to
turn around and go the other way; to put on the brakes, and
in fact, to make a U-turn, and go in the opposite direction;
that is, in a better direction. True repentance represents a
complete revolution in our lives. As we saw earlier, this is
what John was preaching. His whole ministry of water baptism
was to prepare the way, to prepare people's minds and hearts
so that they would be ready to accept God's Divine Plan of
Salvation through Jesus Christ, who would wash us in His own
Blood. Furthermore, with time, some people would also begin
to receive the baptism by fire; that is, the baptism of the
Holy Spirit.

As I explain in "Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?", when Jesus
arrived, and more specifically, when He gave His life on the
Cross, the way to Salvation was finally made available to all
men everywhere. As Jesus Himself said in the Gospel of John:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me."
John 12:32, KJV

The phrase "all men" means exactly that, both Jew and Gentile
alike. However, in order to accept this wonderful free Gift,
the Jews had to be willing to forsake some of their old ways
of thinking. It is for this reason that once John the Baptist
had fulfilled his final mission, that is, baptizing Jesus and
identifying Him to the people of Israel, as soon as John was
sure that Jesus was indeed the One they had been waiting for,
he knew that his life's work was just about over. That is why
John then directed his disciples to begin following Jesus. He
knew that Jesus would baptize them, not with water; that is,
the old way, but rather first with His own Blood, and later
with the fire of God's Spirit -- the new way -- and also take
away the sins of the world. This is quite evident in verses
such as the following:

"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his
disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith,
Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him
speak, and they followed Jesus."
John 1:35-37, KJV

"Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the
Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the
bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom,
which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of
the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
He must increase, but I must decrease."
John 3:28-30, KJV

"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:"
Matthew 3:11, KJV

"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you
with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of
whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost and with fire:"
Luke 3:16, KJV

In fulfillment of Jesus' own promise that is found in Acts
chapter one, as well as promises that He made in the Gospels,
we all know that this is precisely what occurred on the Day
of Pentecost in chapter two of the Acts of the Apostles,
where we read:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all
with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a
sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled
all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared
unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon
each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave
them utterance."
Acts 2:1-4, KJV

The previous verses demonstrate the first major outpouring of
the Holy Spirit on a large scale; however, I am not so sure
that this was the first time that Jesus shared a portion of
the Holy Spirit with His most intimate followers. This seems
to be evident by a little-mentioned verse which I have also
briefly discussed in other articles. That verse is found in
the Gospel of John and states:

"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my
Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had
said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive
ye the Holy Ghost:"
John 20:21-22, KJV

Exactly what is going on in the above verses? Weren't we told
that the Apostles received the Gift of the Holy Spirit on the
Day of Pentecost? Yes, but my speculation is that the above
incident is a small "preview" so-to-speak, that Jesus gave to
the eleven remaining Apostles. As I point out in the article
"Was Jesus Filled With The Spirit From Birth?", as well as in
a few other articles, the Scriptures, and more specifically,
the Gospel of John, tells us that Jesus possessed the Spirit
without measure. He was a spiritual powerhouse. In the third
chapter of the Gospel of John we find this verse:

"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for
God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV

That's why Jesus was able to perform so many miracles. It is
also why some people felt the power of the Spirit emanating
from His body, such as the woman who had been healed of the
issue of blood. Jesus was a powerhouse of the Spirit; and in
that instance in John chapter twenty, Jesus chose to share a
small portion of the Spirit with His followers; not a full
in-dwelling of the Spirit yet, but just enough to give them
a foretaste of what was to come on the Day of Pentecost. It
is also important to realize when this incident occurred. It
happened after the Lord's Resurrection. Why was this? Again,
the Scriptures provide us with a very clear answer. The Lord
had told them a few chapters earlier in the Gospel of John:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you
that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
John 16:7, KJV

There are certain mechanisms pertaining to the Spirit World
which we humans simply cannot understand; but all we know is
what Jesus said; and that is that He told the Apostles that
He would send the promised Comforter and Teacher following
His Death; and that is exactly what we see occurring in that
previous verse.

From the Scriptural evidence that I've now presented, we see
two very clear instances where the Lord baptized His closest
followers, not with water, but rather with the fire of the
Holy Spirit, exactly as John the Baptist prophesied that He
would do. We have also seen that while His Apostles baptized
people with water in the Gospels, there's no record of Jesus
having ever done this.

To reiterate a point, when Jesus arrived on Earth, He changed
a lot of things. Many physical examples and foreshadows were
replaced by their spiritual realities, or counterparts. Water
baptism was simply a schoolmaster, to help people understand
the baptism by blood, as well as the baptism by fire that was
yet to come. This is what so many Christians still fail to
understand. This is due to the fact that organized religion
has purposely cultivated this erroneous belief, that every
time you see words such as "baptism" and "baptize", you must
immediately think water baptism; but this just is not so. The
New Testament clearly refers to different kinds of baptism;
such as water baptism, (or baptism of repentance); baptism by
blood, (cleansed and saved through Christ); and finally, the
baptism by fire, (the baptism of the Holy Spirit).

The Greek word "baptisma" does not mean "baptism by water".
What it does mean is immersion or submersion, but that most
definitely does not necessarily mean that it has to be in, or
by, water. It can mean anything. In fact, after providing a
two-word definition, the very first example that the Greek
lexicon provides is "of calamities and afflictions with which
one is quite overwhelmed". So baptism literally means to be
immersed, submerged or overwhelmed by anything, such as being
overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit in a baptism of fire. The one
strict meaning of applying to water only was added later by
the deluded so-called "Church Fathers" of the Roman Catholic
Church, who were more interested in promoting their doctrines
as a way to keep the people in bondage to the Roman Catholic
Church. To even suggest that the word "baptism" only means by
water, makes the phrase "baptism by fire" sound illogical,
because water is the exact opposite of fire, and puts out a

So initially, water baptism started out as a good thing, and
it served a good purpose by preparing people's hearts to know
and accept the Lord. However, just as the brass serpent made
by Moses also started out as a good thing, that is, to serve
as a vehicle of faith to cure the people of serpent bites, it
eventually was idolized and had to be destroyed. In similar
fashion, for many modern churches, particularly those which
adhere to the misguided doctrine of baptismal regeneration,
such as the Roman Catholics, water baptism has followed a
similar course. It has become a tool of bondage which should
be done away with, because our Salvation does not depend upon
it by any means.

When we look at the original meaning of the Greek "baptisma",
where it doesn't necessarily mean water, it is so much easier
to understand why we can speak about baptism by fire, or why
John the Baptist could say 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", and why Jesus could say
"John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized
with the Holy Ghost". To suggest then that every time we see
the word "baptism", or derivatives thereof, we are to think
it means water baptism, is simply wrong, and reflects a poor
understanding of the Scriptures. It is poor exegesis.

So John was basically saying to them, "Look, there is your
true Saviour. Now it is time for you to follow Him, and not
me. I have accomplished what I came to do. My ministry here
is almost over. It is about time to put away these childish
things of water baptism. There is the One who will baptize
you with His Blood, and with the true Spirit of God." As I
explain in the four-part series "Is Jesus The Only Begotten
Son Of God?", The Apostle Paul spoke all about this parallel
between the Old Testament ritual of the sprinkling of blood,
and the New Testament revelation regarding the sprinkling of
Christ's Blood on the Cross. In speaking of our "baptism by
blood", Paul very clearly wrote the following:

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come,
by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands,
that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of
goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into
the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For
if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the
flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the
eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God? . . . For
when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according
to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with
water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the
book, and all the people . . . And almost all things are by the
law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no
Hebrews 9:11-14, 19, 22 KJV

So as you can see, being baptized by Christ's Blood, that is,
to be symbolically sprinkled with Christ's Blood and not with
physical water, is what results in the remission of our sins,
and thus in our Salvation, and nothing else. Once we gain an
understanding of what Paul is saying in the previous verses,
it becomes a lot easier to understand what he means in other
verses, in other of his Epistles, where he likewise mentions
being baptized in Christ. In order for there to be continuity
in his thoughts throughout his Epistles, he must be referring
to the very same sprinkling of blood, or baptism by blood. To
suggest that he is referring to baptism by blood in the above
verses, but to water baptism in every other place, is simply
confusing. Thus, in the following Scriptures, it is my belief
that Paul is likewise talking about the baptism by blood:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ were baptized into his death? 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."
Romans 6:3-4, KJV

"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are
sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV

"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the
flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in
baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the
Colossians 2:11-12, KJV

"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;"
Titus 3:5, KJV

Paul is clearly talking about being washed in, (or sprinkled
by), sanctified by, justified by, cleansed by, renewed by and
baptized by the Blood of Jesus Christ. As we've clearly seen,
it's only this symbolic baptism by blood that results in the
full remission of our sins. It is this baptism by blood that
results in the death of the Old Man, and the resurrection of
the New Man. It is the baptismal blood of Christ which fully
regenerates our spirits. In my view, the phrase "washing of
regeneration" is not referring to water baptism, but rather,
is synonymous with the sprinkling of blood, or blood baptism.
In short, the Old Testament, or Old Covenant, sprinkling of
blood ritual, has been replaced by the New Testament, or New
Covenant, symbolic sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ.

This symbolic baptism by blood, (as opposed to meaning water
baptism), is confirmed for us by the fact that in those three
sets of verses, Paul is writing from a spiritual perspective,
and not from an actual physical perspective. When he speaks
of our being buried in baptism with Christ, he is obviously
writing of a symbolic burial. This is why Paul writes in his
first Epistle to the brethren at Corinth, "I die daily", as
we see here:

"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our
Lord, I die daily."
1 Corinthians 15:31, KJV

Obviously, we cannot physically die, be buried, and be raised
from the dead on a daily basis, so Paul must be speaking in a
metaphorical or spiritual sense in those verses; and this is
in perfect agreement with what Jesus Himself taught us, as I
point out in a number of my other articles. Jesus said:

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever
will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV

That Paul is speaking metaphorically, is made even more clear
for us by the previous verses in Colossians where he explains
that he's referring to spiritual circumcision, and not to the
physical act of circumcision, with which all Jews were quite
familiar. Thus Paul clearly says "ye are circumcised with the
circumcision made without hands". So Paul was writing from a
spiritual point of view, and not from a physical one. To try
to insert a physical water baptism into his words, is to only
confuse his readers, because it wouldn't be consistent with
what he plainly tells us in Hebrews regarding the sprinkling
of blood, or baptism by blood. The phrase "buried with him in
baptism" should therefore also be understood in a spiritual
sense, and means the spiritual baptism by blood, and not in
a physical sense, meaning water baptism. To say that any of
those verses is referring to water baptism, is to force upon
them a meaning which was not intended by Paul, in my view.

Let me remind you again that a large part of Paul's ministry
was to convince Jews and Gentiles alike outside of Israel, of
the spiritual significance of Christ's Death and Resurrection.
The Jewish Elders were so caught up in the physical aspects
of temple worship, and their dead religion, that they missed
the spiritual significance of Christ's coming. It is for this
reason that over and over again, throughout his Epistles, he
purposely expounds on the spiritual aspects of our Salvation
Rebirth, and New Life in Christ, and repeatedly de-emphasizes
the importance of the physical rituals of Judaism, even going
so far as to tell the brethren:

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is
a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of
the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose
praise is not of men, but of God."
Romans 2:28-29, KJV

Even Jesus Himself made it very plain that our cleansing, our
renewal, our regeneration, the remission of our sins, and our
Salvation, is a spiritual process and not a physical one that
is tied to physical rituals of any kind. In the Book of John,
Jesus said:

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto
John 15:3, KJV

Jesus repeatedly forgave, cleansed and healed people through
nothing but the awesome power of His words, and, of course,
by the Power of His Father's Spirit that flowed from within
Him. As Jesus also taught us:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit,
and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV

Please go to part four for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

BBB Tools And Services

Please avail yourself of other areas of the Bill's Bible Basics website. There are many treasures for you to discover.