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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

I say the name; for it is the same Greek particle, namely, " , which precedes the words "the spirit," and is translated " " in the common version that goes before "the name".

I have rendered them the same in both places; and upon authority of the phrase " washed by the name," I have translated baptisyhtw epi tw onomati be ye baptized by the name It must be clear to any man, unspoiled by a vain and deceitful philosophy, that to be washed in a name is impossible, unless the individual have faith in the name, and be subjected to the use of a fluid in some way.

Now when a man is "washed in the name of Jesus Christ," there are three witnesses to the fact, by whose testimony everything is established.

These are the spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree in one statement.

Jesus Christ was made manifest by water at his baptism; and by blood in his death; and by the spirit in his resurrection: therefore, the spirit who is the truth ( to pneumav estin h ajlhvqeia ), and the water, and the blood, or the truth concerning the Messiahship, sacrificial character, and resurrection of Jesus, are constituted the witnesses who bear testimony to a man's being the subject of "the righteousness of God" set forth in the gospel of His Kingdom.

The testimony of these witnesses is termed "the witness of God," which every believer of the Kingdom and Name hath as "the witness in himself".

Water, then, is the medium in which the washing occurs.

But, although water is so accessible in all parts of the world where the gospel has been preached, it is one of the most difficult things under heaven to use it so as to wash a man by the name of Jesus Christ What!

says one, is it difficult to get a man to be dipped in water as a religious action?

No; it is very easy.

Thousands in society go into the water on very slender grounds.

But going into the water, and having certain words pronounced over the subject, is not washing in the name.

The difficulty lies, not in getting men to be dipped, but in first getting them to believe "the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ"; or "the exceeding great and precious promises," by the faith of which they can alone become the "partakers of the divine nature".

Without faith in these things, there is no true washing, no sanctification, or purification, from moral defilement, and no constitution of righteousness by the name of Jesus for the sons of men; for, says the scripture.

"without faith it is impossible to please God" It was the renewing efficacy of the exceeding great and precious promises of God assuredly believed, that changed the gay and profligate Corinthians into "the sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints"; of whom it is testified that "hearing, they believed and were baptized".

Now, to these baptized believers he writes, and tells them that "God made (ejpoivhsen) Jesus, who knew not sin, to be sin (that is, sinful flesh) for them, that they might be constituted ( ginwntai ) God's righteousness in Him"; so that, being introduced into Him (for an individual cannot be in a federal person unless introduced into Him) the crucified and resurrected Jesus became "the Lord their righteousness"; as it is written, "Of Him, Corinthians, are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God was constituted ( ejgenhvqh ) for us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption".

So that, whosoever is in him, is said to be "complete in him"; in whom he is circumcised "in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh"; that is, all past sins; being buried with Christ in the baptism, in which also he rises with him through the belief of the power of God evinced in raising him from among the dead.

Now, because the unconstituted, or unrighteous, cannot inherit the kingdom of God, the law is revealed which says, "Ye must be born again"; for says the King, "Except a man be born again he cannot behold the kingdom of God".

This saying is unintelligible to men whose thinking is guided by the flesh.

They cannot comprehend "how these things can be": and, though they profess to be "teachers of Israel," "Masters of Arts," and "Bachelors," and "Doctors of Divinity," and of "Canon and Civil Law," they are as mystified upon the subject of "the new birth" as Nicodemus himself.

But to those who understand "the word of the kingdom" these "heavenly things" are distinguished by the obviousness and simplicity of truth.

To be born again, as the Lord Jesus expounds it, is to be "born of the water and the spirit"; as it is written, "Except a man be born out of water (ejx u{dato") and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God".

This is surely very explicit and very intelligible; who can misunderstand it, unless it be against his will to receive it?