Understanding

The Lord's Supper

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BAPTISM AND THE UNLEAVENED BREAD OF COMMUNION HAVE SIMILAR MEANINGS

I want to show in this article that the meaning underlying Baptism and the meaning of the unleavened bread of Communion are very similar. Baptism is ideally performed right near the point of conversion of the believer. The bread of Communion is eaten periodically throughout the believer's life to edify him, and strengthen his faith.

It could be accurately said that the unleavened bread of Communion takes the Baptismal theme or message and repeats it, thereby establishing it in the believer's heart. The bread of Communion then expands upon the Baptismal theme by showing how it fits in with teaching on the Christian life, with teaching on the Kingdom of God, and with teaching on the Body of Christ (1Corinthians 10:17)which is the church of Jesus Christ.

The bread of Communion along with the cup of Communion, also graphically show how there are two fundamental themes to Christ's death: forgiveness for sins (the cup) and deliverance from sin (the bread, 1Peter 2:24, Romans 7:4-6, 1Corinthians 5:6-8 etc.). It takes both eating the bread, and drinking the cup to fully proclaim the Lord's death (1Corinthians 11:26); and to fully proclaim the meaning of His death for us believers.

Now, the meaning of Baptism can be found in Romans 6 and in Colossians 2:11-12.

3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, Romans 6:3-5

As can be seen above, Baptism symbolizes the spiritual truths which are that the believer was and is UNITED with Christ in His death and resurrection by grace through faith. The believer must want this and believe this.

Baptism, ideally, is for brand new believers. It shows that brand new believers should be introduced to the fact that not only are they forgiven and redeemed through Christ's death, but that they died with Christ by grace through faith. Also, as it states in Colossians 2:12, the believer should believe for themselves to be raised up with Christ by the working of God who raised Christ from the dead.

These truths that are symbolized by Baptism, dominate New Testament teaching. Let me repeat; this theme symbolized by Baptism is absolutely dominant in New Testament thinking and teaching. Notice in the following examples how the apostles rely on this basic Baptismal theme to address various problems, teachings and issues in the church.

1 DEAD TO SIN AND SELF SO WE CAN LIVE FOR GOD - In Romans 6 the apostle Paul addresses the age old question of whether we should keep sinning, or concern ourselves with sinning, since we are saved by grace apart from works. In answer to this, Paul basically teaches in Romans 6, 2Corinthians 5:14, Colossians 2:11, Galatians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 10:10, and elsewhere; that not only is the believer forgiven and redeemed by grace through faith, but he is crucified with Christ by grace through faith. Then, in Colossians 2:12, Romans 6:4, and elsewhere, Paul teaches that the believer is also raised up into newness of life by faith in the working of God. The apostle Paul clearly considered and taught that our being united with Christ in His death and resurrection was part of the salvation message; and that it was a life changing revelation or insight for the believer. He clearly considered these truths key in our victory over sin. How important is it to have authority over one's sin and self, in order to be raised up as a new creation? What would it be like to ignore and side step such vital teaching, and only preach forgiveness of sins?

2 DEAD TO THE LAW SO THAT WE CAN BEAR FRUIT TO GOD-Our being dead to the law is critical teaching regarding the believer's relationship to the law.

4 Therefore, my brethren, you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Romans 7:4

19 "For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God." Galatians 2:19 (Jesus' body was the incarnation of the law, hence, "through the law.")

In Romans 7:4 Paul teaches that through Christ's body we died to the law so that we can be married to the resurrected Christ and bear fruit to God. Self-effort, self-reliance, and indeed, self-righteousness are promoted by the law. On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 1:11) flow out of cooperative hearts that are believing to be lead and raised up by His Spirit. This fruit will also bring about fruit in other people.

It should be noted from the above scriptures, that being dead to the law does not mean doing what you please, but it is the doorway to bearing fruit to God or living for God.

3 DEAD TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THIS WORLD IN ORDER TO PURSUE OUR INHERITANCE FROM THE RESURRECTED AND ASCENDED CHRIST-

20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle." Colossians 2:20-21

If the reader were to read the entire book of Colossians, he would see how the apostle Paul used this basic Baptismal theme to dissuade the Colossians from relying on worldly solutions, principles and ideas. The gospel of Christ's death and resurrection defies worldly wisdom. Try explaining to a psychologist how you are dead to sin in Christ, and brace yourself for the "buts," "ands," and uncomfortable, pregnant silences. The cross and the Holy Spirit just do not fit in with the world's wisdom. In a nutshell, psychology relies on self-improvement to solve human problems, while the cross is designed to eliminate self so that the Holy Spirit can replace self as the source and center of one's life. The true and complete Gospel is designed to make the believer dependent on God, not on himself or any man made system.

Also, note that in Colossians 2:11-12, and Colossians 2:20 through Colossians 3:5, Paul again uses this Baptismal theme to teach, encourage and correct this church.

4 DEATH AS A PART OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH, AND BEING RAISED UP TO SEEK GOD'S HIGH CALLING AS A PART OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH -

8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish , that I may gain Christ. 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8, 10-11

In his letter to the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-6, 1:8-12, etc.), the apostle Paul was urging them to continue and grow in their faith in Christ. He then used the dying with Christ and rising with Christ theme as his model and mindset for Christian growth in Philippians 3. This spectacular teaching in Philippians 3:3-15 gives us a beautiful application of the Baptismal theme. Also, notice that the apostle in Philippians 2:8-16 is using this theme to encourage the believers to have the same mind in their own walk.

In 2Timothy the apostle Paul was giving various specific instructions and teachings, and included the following faithful saying:

11 This is a faithful saying: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him,… 2Timothy 2:11

5 DYING TO SUPERFICIAL AND CARNAL VIEWS OF PEOPLE AND ONE'S SELFIN ORDER TO SEE BELIEVERS AS NEW CREATIONS-The apostle Paul had enemies of his ministry who ridiculed him to church members when Paul was not present. They claimed that Paul was unimpressive in his appearance, and that his speech was contemptible (2Corinthians 10:10). Paul preached the gospel in 2Corinthians 5 keeping in mind those who hold carnal and superficial views of people (2Corinthians 5:14-17).

14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died: 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Here, we have this Baptismal theme used to teach us to recognize believers as new creations. We are to see believers as those who have died and all their old things died with them. They are now raised up, new creations. All other characteristics (such as race, income level, appearance, natural talent, etc.) are secondary. Also, forgiveness was taught a few verses later.

It should be added that we should also see ourselves in the light of this Baptismal theme. We should see the old person and the old ways as buried, and the new creation as our true identity. Race, income level, one's car and house should take second place to the new creations we are in Christ. These other things should not be considered who we are.

6 DYING WITH JESUS AND RISING WITH JESUS AS PART OF THE GOSPEL-At the cross Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. At the cross we also died with Jesus. (Please don't add to this truth using words like "positionally," or "legally." These words are not in the Bible. Please, do NOT get me started!) Both forgiveness and our co-crucifixion are by grace through faith. So why should one truth be left out of the Gospel. Paul, as can be seen in all of the above teachings, certainly relied on the truth that we died Christ. Paul also relied heavily on the truth that we can walk in resurrection life. One should look for the forgiveness message and this Baptismal theme to be taught one message right after the other, as in 2Corinthians 5, Romans 3-8, Galatians 2, Colossians 2, etc.

All of the above mentioned scriptures in this article can be used as proof that the Baptismal theme is part of the Gospel. Baptism, itself, is for brand new believers; this fact should lead us to consider its importance in the salvation package. Even though there are plenty of other scriptures that I could use, I'll only cite two more scriptures from two other books of the Bible.

20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."Galatians 2:20

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Of course, the above two verses from two more books of the New Testament, demonstrate how pervasive this Baptismal theme is.

It should be noted that there is one and only one way to be delivered out of a self-absorbed, self-centered lifestyle; and that is through the cross of Christ (Galatians 2:20 mentioned above, 2Corinthians 5:14, etc.) and then a heart filled with the Holy Spirit (Also Galatians 2:20, etc.). In other words, the believer's attempts to lose his self-centeredness will fail without reliance on the fact that he died with Christ by grace. He simultaneously believes for and relies on the Holy Spirit to fill and use him. Here, the cross empties him, while the Spirit fills him. The Spirits seeks to replace what is taken to the cross. This is the Baptismal theme, and this is an essential part of the Gospel that the apostles preached.

I would like to also point out that repentance and making Christ lord of our lives, also fit in beautifully with this Baptismal theme. One has to repent in order to consent to being dead to sin, self and self-effort (dead works). Similarly, one has to also make Jesus lord of his life, in order to consent to dying to all of the above. Also, one has to make Jesus lord of his life in order to consent to be raised up as a new creation and be lead by His Spirit. The meaning of Baptism is truly great news to one who has repented and made Jesus lord of his life. In fact, Baptism will help a believer to more fully repent, and to more fully make Jesus lord of his life!

The truths underlying Baptism will make Lordship and repentance more "do-able" for a believer, and will help him endure in his commitments to the end. The point of this discussion is that Lordship and repentance need be seen in the light of this Baptismal theme.

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The unleavened bread of Communion has meaning similar to what Baptism symbolizes. Basically, as was stated previously in this article, the bread of Communion takes the Baptismal theme, and reinforces and establishes it in the believer's heart. The unleavened bread also expands upon this Baptismal theme. Let's look at a few scriptures that help define the bread of Communion.

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body (the bread) on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. 1Peter 2:24

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body (the bread) of Christ, that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Romans 7:4

10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body (the bread) of Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10 (Also in Hebrews 10:5-7, a body was given to Christ "to do Your will O God." His will ("that will") was to set us free or sanctify us at the cross, so that we could also do the will of God.)

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Corinthians 5:6-8

The above scriptures give proof for the meaning of the bread of Communion. For example, 1Peter 2:24 mentioned above, very clearly gives the meaning for the bread of Communion. The body (bread) means that Jesus set us free from sin by dying on the cross, so that we can now live for righteousness and be lead by the Spirit. This, in a nutshell, is the fundamental meaning of the Bread of Communion. To say this a little differently, the body (bread) means that the believer has been crucified with Christ and therefore is dead to sin, because Jesus died for him. This is by grace through faith. The body (bread) also means that the believer is now free to be lead by the Spirit into all righteousness. (Righteousness (right living), doing God's will, or walking in love, are all similar in meaning.)

According to how the Bible sees things, bodies are for DOING things on the earth. The body of Christ is for doing the will of God on the earth (Hebrews 10:5-7) To say this another way, the purpose of the body of Christ is to do the will of God on the earth (Hebrews 10:5-7, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 12:49-50, Matthew 25:31-46, etc.), i.e., fulfill all righteousness, or walk in love.Very simply, His body has to do with putting away evil deeds through the cross, and replacing them with good deeds by the Spirit. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for THE PURPOSE OF good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, Philippians 2:12-13, etc.)

Therefore, one needs to want to follow Jesus in order to be saved. He also needs to know that he won't be able to follow Christ except by the cross of Christ (Baptism) and the Holy Spirit (Baptism). He also needs to understand redemption, the forgiveness of sins through Christ.

As can be seen above, the meaning of the bread is very similar to the meaning of Baptism. They both have the "dying to sin and self" theme, as well as the "living for God" theme. Conversely, the meaning of the cup of Communion (redemption and forgiveness) is not the same as the meaning of Baptism. The cup is complementary in meaning, but not similar. The cup has to do with Jesus as our SUBSTITUTE, paying the price for our sins (redemption). The bread has to do with the believer wanting to be, and believing that he is IDENTIFIED with Christ in His death and resurrection.

Returning to proof for the meaning of the bread; the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread give powerful testimony to the truthfulness of the above interpretations for both the bread and the cup. The Feast of Passover has the familiar theme of deliverance from the judgments of Egypt. The blood of the Passover lamb applied to the Hebrew door posts was a great picture of the cross of Christ. The blood was to keep the Hebrews from the angel of death. This all was a picture of our forgiveness and deliverance from hell; and the powers of death and curses through the blood of Jesus.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:1,7; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12) , on the other hand, has the theme of deliverance out of Egypt itself. In the Exodus account, the unleavened breadis associated with the "out of Egypt" theme: Exodus 13:3, Deuteronomy 16:3,Exodus 12:17, etc. Also, when God opened the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could come out of Egypt, this event was also a spectacular picture of Christ on the cross setting believers free from their sin and their very selves. Crucified with Christ is the New Testament, spiritual truth pictured by this great deliverance through the Red Sea.

In this great Exodus picture the Hebrews are a type of the church ("Ecclesia," which is the Greek word for "church," meaning a CALLED OUT assembly.); living in Egypt is a type of living in sin and for self; the Egyptians are a type of the unbelievers; Pharaoh and his army are a type of Satan and his demons; the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night are types of the Holy Spirit leading the Church out of sin (Egypt) to the cross (opening in the Red Sea); and onto their journey with the Lord. Repentance is seen in how the Hebrews were trying to get out of Egypt (sin). The ten plagues were judgments on "the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:13, sin) and on the Egyptians (Exodus 12:26-27, sinners). Pharaoh and his soldiers could not get through the opening in the Red Sea, just like the demons can't come through the cross of Christ to devour the cooperative believer.

In 1Corinthians 10:1-2, it says that the Hebrews were baptized in the Red Sea and in the cloud.

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 1Corinthians 10:1-2

Here, we see Baptism also associated with this Red Sea crossing. In the above scripture Moses is a type of Christ. The cloud is a type of the Holy Spirit who leads the believer to the cross and then on their journey with the Lord. The supernatural opening of the Red Sea is a picture of how the New Testament believer has been crucified with Christ so that he can now come out of sin (Egypt). And, very importantly, Baptism is associated with all of this.

Thus we have both Baptism and the unleavened bread of Communion associated with coming out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and the Cloud. This is a great Old Testament witness to the fact that Baptism and the bread of Communion have similar meanings.

Now, let's see how the unleavened bread of Communion expands upon the Baptismal message or theme. Let's revisit 1Corinthians 5:6-8.

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Corinthians 5:6-8

The context of the above passage is that someone in the Corinthian church had a sexual relationship with his father's wife (possibly a step mother to him). The church is letting this happen in their congregation, possibly thinking that they were being tolerant, mature, and open minded about things. The apostle Paul rebuked and corrected them using the unleavened bread of Communion as a teaching tool.

The point that we should see here is that the purging out of the leaven is done both individually and corporately. The unleavened bread of Communion builds upon the individual faith and commitment seen in Baptism, which was to die to sin and be raised up a new creation. The unleavened bread reinforces this individual commitment and faith, and then broadens it to a corporate, church wide commitment and faith. Both the individual and the church need to purge out the sin symbolized by leaven, so that both the individual and the church can be true (righteous) and sincere (genuine love); this purging is symbolized by the unleavened bread. The believers encourage each other in this purging.

In fact, the unleavened bread of Communion symbolizes the church of Jesus Christ.

17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:17

The apostle Paul says above that we believers are the bread of Communion, and he also says in many, many scriptures that we are the body of Christ . He never says that we are the cup, and he never says that we are the blood. We are forgiven and redeemed by the blood, but we are not the blood.

Thus, we, the church, are characterized and pictured by the unleavened bread of Communion. One of our basic responsibilities is to purge out the leaven of sin(malice and wickedness) so that we can be the unleavened bread of sincere love (sincerity) and righteousness (truth).

Also, Jesus referred to false teaching as leaven in Matthew 16:6. In Ephesians 4:14, Paul admonishes the church to not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Therefore, the church has the fundamental responsibility of purging itself of false teaching and sin, in order that it may be the pillar and foundation of the truth (1Timothy 3:15), and a fair refection of the character of Christ. In Ephesians 4:15 Paul characterizes life in the body of Christ as those who speak the truth in love so that the members can grow up in all things in Christ. The unleavened bread of Communion symbolizes all of the above and much, much more!

The unleavened bread not only symbolizes purging out the bad, but it also speaks to the believer of becoming the new (1Peter 2:24, Romans 7:4, 1Corinthians 5:6-8, etc.). In other words, each member must find his God given place in the body of Christ in order to do his part in edifying the body. Living for righteousness and walking in love also mean using one's God given gifts to benefit others. Romans 12, 1Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and many other New Testament scriptures teach about the need for each member to fulfill his God given role to edify the body of Christ, which is the church of Jesus Christ.

In addition to the above teaching, there is a massive emphasis in the New Testament that encourages and addresses unity in the body of Christ. 1Corinthians 12, 1Corinthians 1, 1Corinthians 3, Ephesians 2 and 4, Romans 12, John 17 and many other scriptures teach on this subject. Not surprisingly, 1Corinthians 10:17 shows how the bread of Communion powerfully makes this point about unity: "we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread." The bread of Communion is designed to be a very graphic unifying symbol to those who eat it. The bread is meant to remind us of our inherent connectedness as members of the body of Christ.

Regarding the unity of the believers, it should be recognized that sin, selfishness, and false and incorrect teaching, cause divisions in the body of Christ. When the church is diligent to purge out the leaven in its midst, it is ultimately promoting unity among its members. Tolerance will not solve the fundamental problems that cause division. The truth has to be spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15).

In additional to the ocean of teaching and meaning for unleavened bread of Communion mentioned above; the bread and body of Christ is associated with our being seated with Christ in the heavenly places.

20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:20-23

The church is connected to the Head of all things. The church is the body of Him whosits at the right hand of the Power (Matthew 26:64). Satan works overtime to divide the church and keep her ignorant of her true identity.

Moving to another meaning for the unleavened bread, as it expands the believer's understanding of the Baptismal theme; the bread and the cup of Communion also show how the kingdom of God works. The unleavened bread speaks of the righteousness which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The cup speaks of the life (provision in all dimensions of life) and blessing found in the Holy Spirit. The life is in the blood! The blood is life and nourishment to the body.

In Communion the bread is had first. In the kingdom of God, right living by the Holy Spirit leads to life and blessing. Most all of the promises of God require some act of righteousness (bread) to release Gods life and blessing (cup). The act (or acts) of righteousness is required before the blessing comes.

33"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:7-9

38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38


Again, as stated above, the bread and cup symbolize almost every promise of God to the believer. The bread speaks of the obedience necessary for any particular promise, while the cup (cup of blessing, 1Corinthians 10:16) symbolizes enjoying the life and blessing of seeing that promise fulfilled in one's life and circumstances. Thus, the bread and the cup show this vital aspect of kingdom living. Where would we be without God's promises to help us function and be productive in this world?

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Thus, we can see the astounding truth that the meaning underlying Baptism is similar to the meaning underlying the unleavened bread of Communion. Just think about this. Redemption which is preached at the point of salvation is repeated and seen in the cup of Communion. Baptism, which is ideally done right near one's conversion, has to do with our being united with Christ in His death and resurrection (sanctification and right living)(identification). This latter theme is repeated and elaborated upon with the unleavened bread of Communion.

Thus, the two basic themes of salvation which should be introduced at or near conversion (Acts 2:37-39), are reinforced and even expanded upon in Communion. This should make sense to us because Communion is thought to strengthen and help the believer in his daily walk. Baptism is ideally for the new convert, while Communion is to be had periodically and throughout the life of the believer. People can and do get saved without Baptism or Communion, but these two ordinances are massively helpful in assuring a genuine salvation experience, if they are truly understood.

Let's think about the above ideas. The message of Baptism is repeated in the unleavened bread of Communion. The preaching of Redemption and forgiveness at the conversion point is repeated in the cup of Communion. Notice that there is no symbol for Redemption at the point of conversion. The meaning of Baptism is different (but complementary) from Redemption. Baptism does not have the Redemption message in it; they are complementary truths, not identical.

Let's think further. Redemption has to do with SUBSTITUTION. Jesus was our substitute. He paid the penalty for our sins. This was a penalty we were meant to pay in this world and in hell. Baptism, on the other hand, has to do with identification. By grace we were UNITED with Him in His death and resurrection. Another way of saying this is that we were IDENTIFIED with Christ in His death and resurrection by grace. This is something that we believe, and it is something that we want as true believers.

In modern day Protestantism, the preaching and teaching is all about forgiveness (substitution and Redemption). There is very little teaching and preaching on identification. Our being united with Christ in His death and resurrection is all about sanctification and righteousness (right living). Our being united with Christ is by grace through faith just as forgiveness and redemption is by grace through faith. By omitting our identification with Christ, Protestantism OMITS HALF THE GOSPEL. No wonder western churches tend to be so carnal.

When preachers and seminarians do teach and preach on our being united with Christ in His death, they add words like "positional" and "legal" as in "positionally dead to sin," or "positionally crucified with Christ." Such additions completely gut this vital truth of its power and authority in the believer's life. They put this truth out there in the future or in heaven. Maybe they make it a goal that we can achieve, which would put us back under the law. But whatever these words mean to people, they aren't in the Bible. They certainly take away the urgency, impact and force this truth was meant to have. They certainly destroy the true meaning of this truth in our lives.

This is meant to be a personal truth. It is meant to be an identity truth about the believer. It is what he is by grace. It is meant to get the "me" or "I" out of the believers life by repentance and faith, so that he can be filled with, and have faith in the Spirit of Christ in him. Baptism and the unleavened bread of Communion testify to this vital truth and this vital part of salvation.

Modern day Protestant-ism is the cup of Communion without the bread of Communion. It is the Redemption message without the true meaning of Baptism. In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus made the following famous statement right after He predicted that He would die and rise on the third day (Luke 9:22):

23 …"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24

Baptism is very much related to the above verses. By grace we have died with Christ as Baptism proclaims. Therefore, this truth of the cross is our authority to die to self as Jesus said. Being raised up by grace as Baptism proclaims shows how the power of God and His Spirit can raise us up to follow Him, like Jesus said.

Those who want to take Jesus up on the challenge in Luke 9:23 shown above, will find Baptism and the unleavened bread of Communion very good news. Modern day Protestant-ism has eliminated such truths and ideas from the Gospel. As a result we have forgiveness without repentance. We have forgiveness for sin without deliverance from sin. We have an incomplete salvation message that does not produce the fruit of good works. Baptism and the unleavened bread of Communion proclaim God's solution.

The Old Testament has two great witnesses (among many) to the above teaching. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, as was stated before, is all about coming OUT OF EGYPT. How God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt is the basic theme of this feast. The DAY of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb was sacrificed was the context for the Lord's Supper (Luke 22:1,7; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:1,12).

A second great Old Testament witness to the above analysis is the Scapegoat on the Day of Atonement which itself is another Feast of the Lord.

22 The goat shall bear on itself all their INIQUITIES to an uninhabited land; And he shall release the goat in the wilderness. Leviticus 16:22

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the INIQUITY of us all. Isaiah 53:6

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1Peter 2:24-25

On the Day of Atonement, one of the two chosen goats was a sin offering and was sacrificed to make atonement for the transgressions of the people. The second goat was the Scapegoat who was lead into the wilderness by a "suitable" man, all the while symbolically carrying the iniquities of the people OUT OF the camp.

Now, the sin offering was for the TRANSGRESSIONS of the people. Transgressions are specific sins. The Scapegoat, on the other hand, is characterized by carrying the INIQUITIES of the people. Iniquities lead to transgressions and transgressions are also mentioned as being confessed over the Scapegoat. Nevertheless, the Scapegoat is characterized by bearing the iniquities of the people.

Iniquities would include the ideas of bondages and sin habits. Although, the HEART of iniquity is a person deciding to do whatever he wants. He has decided to go his own way like Isaiah 53:6 declares. Then, as he is out there in the world (or wilderness) doing his own thing, he gets caught or stuck in something he can't get out of. He can't shake the habit or bondage.

In Isaiah 53:6 iniquity is pictured as a sheep going astray in the wilderness. The Scapegoat is a goat being left to go his own way in the wilderness. In the last verse in Judges, it says that everyone did what was right in their own eyes. In the garden of Eden the forbidden fruit made one able to make his own decisions (know good and evil) without reference to God's law and will. The forbidden fruit was able to make man like God in terms of His autonomous decision making abilities.

1Peter 2:24-25 and Isaiah 53:6 make the point that at the cross we died to sins so that we could come back to submission to, and the protection of the Great Shepherd. By dying to the "me" or sin, we simultaneously allow the Spirit of Christ to be the center and Lord of our lives. We follow Him rather than doing as we please (Galatians 5:22-24, especially 24).

Now, we can only be set free from our self-centeredness at the cross. We can't free ourselves. Remember Paul's misery of trying to free himself from himself in Romans 7:14-24. Remember the "I' this and the "I" that. Butwith the "me" or "I" taken out by grace through faith, the bondages or sin habits are sure to follow. "Me" living is the HEART of all bondage or sin habits.Self-confidence, self-will, self-seeking and self-centeredness will fuel and strengthen bondages or bad habits. We were baptized into His death in order to remove the SOURCE of all bondages. All bondages or bad habits which stem from self or selfish living, will dry up and fall away (over time) if we continue in this faith. Of course there will be some pain involved in all this dying; but afterwards, it will be replaced with the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Thus, the Scapegoat speaks to the deliverance we have from sin and self. The Scapegoat was taken out of the camp and released into the wilderness. This is a magnificent picture of our being delivered from sin through Christ's death.Our body of sin was united with His body on the cross by grace (Romans 6:6). The "me" living died with Jesus Christ, just like the Scapegoat symbolically bearing the iniquities of the people was taken out of the camp by a "suitable" man.

And so there we have it. Baptism, the unleavened bread of Communion, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Scapegoat are all testifying to this generation about a vital message of the cross and a more complete understanding of the Gospel. There are many more proofs to be made, but time is running out. They who have ears to hear, let them hear. They who have eyes to see, let them see. May the eyes of our understanding be enlightened by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:18).The Ephesians 1 prayer is a great prayer to continually pray for our teachers and preachers of the Word. This entire teaching is the product of my continually praying this prayer.

 

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