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April 26 Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 13-14
Elisha’s Bones, The Resurrection, and Believer’s Baptism
2 Kings 13:21
The miracle recorded in 2 Kings 13:21 is too remarkable to pass over with little thought. By this miracle, we are made to understand that Elisha’s doctrine (the gospel of Christ by which the Word of God is preached and made known to immortal souls) brings life to the dead. By miraculous, omnipotent, free grace, God the Holy Spirit gives life and faith to dead sinners by the preaching of the gospel.
The Dead Raised
Elisha was also an eminent type of Christ. As such, the revival of this dead man, when his body touched Elisha’s bones, portrayed the sure and certain resurrection of God’s elect in the last day. Being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) at Calvary, believers publicly confess our faith in him in believer’s baptism; being buried with Christ in the likeness of his death and raised up from the watery grave to walk with him in the newness of life, we attest to all our blessed hope that we shall be resurrected with him at his glorious second advent John 11:25; Romans 6:4-6). This is the confident hope of every believer. — “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26).
This hope of the resurrection is a part of our confessed faith in Christ. Baptism (immersion) is the symbolic burial of our bodies in the watery grave and the symbolic resurrection of our bodies from the watery grave, by which we confess and portray the gospel of the grace of God.
Because baptism looks to Christ and his death upon the cross, this is how it must be performed and the reason it must be performed this way. Baptism is a burial. “We are buried with him by baptism.” It is a picture of death. What do you do with a dead corpse? Sprinkle sand in its face? Pour dirt on its head? Of course not! You bury it. And when a person is baptized, he is buried in water. Immersion is not a mode of baptism. It is baptism. Without immersion, baptism cannot be performed.
Baptism is unto death. It is the believer’s confession of faith in the merit, efficacy, and sufficiency of Christ’s death for his eternal salvation. Baptism says to all the world, “I trust Christ for all my salvation. Looking to him, his bloody death upon the cursed tree, trusting him alone, I am justified before God.”
In baptism we confess our commitment to Christ. Rising up out of the watery grave, we confess to all the world that as Christ arose from the dead by the glorious power of God the Father, “even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We have been raised from spiritual death to spiritual life by the glorious power of God’s almighty grace. Henceforth, we declare in baptism, we are determined, by the grace of God, to walk in newness of life. We renounce our former life, ways, hopes, and beliefs. Christ is our Life, our Way, our Hope, and our Truth. We are no longer our own. We belong to Christ. We will no longer live under the rule of sin, self, and Satan. We give ourselves to the rule and dominion of Christ our Lord to walk with him in newness of life. Because baptism looks to Christ and his death upon the cross, this is how and why it must be performed.