BAPTISM >> Spiritual Washing >> Regeneration,
WATERS OF BAPTISM >> Temptations

BPT918 Baptism was instituted as a sign that the man belongs to the church, and as a memorial that he is to be regenerated; for the washing of Baptism is nothing else than     spiritual washing, which is regeneration. [AC 10386]

All regeneration is effected by the Lord by means of the truths of faith and a life according to them. Therefore Baptism testifies that the man belongs to the church, and that he can be regenerated; for in the church the Lord is acknowledged, who regenerates; and in it is the Word which contains the truths of faith whereby regeneration is effected. [AC 10387]

This the Lord teaches in John:--

Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5);

in the spiritual sense "water" denotes the truth of faith from the Word; "the spirit" denotes a life according to this truth; and "to be born" of these denotes to be regenerated. [AC 10388]

As everyone who is regenerated also undergoes temptations, which are spiritual combats against evils and falsities, therefore by the waters of Baptism these temptations also are signified.  [AC 10389]

 As Baptism is for a sign and a memorial of these things, therefore a man may be baptized when an infant, and if not then, when an adult.  [AC 10390]

 Be it known therefore by those who are baptized, that Baptism itself does not confer faith, or salvation; but that it testifies that men receive faith, and that they are saved, if they are regenerated.  [AC 10391]

From this it can be seen what is meant by the Lord's words in Mark:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark 16:16);

"he that believeth" is he who acknowledges the Lord and receives Divine truths from Him through the Word; "he that is baptized" is he who is regenerated by the Lord by means of these truths.  [AC 10392]

As to the baptism of John; it represented this cleansing of the external man; while the baptism of Christians at the present day represents the cleansing of the internal man, which is regeneration. It is therefore written that John baptized with water, but that the Lord baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and therefore John's baptism is called the baptism of repentance (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:4, 5; Luke 3:3, 16; John 1:25, 26, 33; Acts 1:22; 10:37; 18:25). The Jews who were baptized were merely external men, and without faith in Christ the external man cannot become internal. That those who were baptized with the baptism of John, became internal men when they received the faith in Christ, and were then baptized in the name of Jesus, may be seen in Acts (19:3-6). [TCR690]

But those who die in infancy or childhood, not reaching the age at which they can come worthily to the holy supper, are introduced into heaven by the Lord through baptism; for baptism (as has been shown in the chapter on Baptism), is introduction into the Christian church, and also insertion among Christians in the spiritual world; and there the church and heaven are one; therefore to those who are there, introduction into the church is also introduction into heaven; and as they are there educated under the auspices of the Lord, they become more and more regenerate, and become His children; for they know no other Father. But children and youths born outside of the Christian church are introduced when they have received faith in the Lord, into the heaven assigned to their religion by other means than baptism; and are not mingled with those who are in the Christian heaven. For there is not a nation in all the world that may not be saved if it acknowledges God and lives well; for they have all been redeemed by the Lord, and man is by birth spiritual, whereby he has an ability to receive the gift of redemption. Those who receive the Lord, that is, have faith in Him, and do not lead an evil life, are called:

Sons of God, and born of God (John 1:12-13; 11:52);
Also children of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38);
And again heirs (Matt. 19:29; 25:34);
The Lord's disciples are also called sons (John 13:33);
And so are all angels (Job 1:6; 2:1). [TCR729]



That baptism is introduction into the Christian church is evident from many considerations, such as the following:

(i.) Baptism was instituted in the place of circumcision; and as circumcision was a sign that those circumcised were of the Israelitish church, so is baptism a sign that those baptized are of the Christian church, as shown in the preceding section; and a sign is nothing more than a means of recognition, just as swaddling clothes of different colors are put on the children of two mothers, to distinguish them and prevent their being changed. (ii.)

[2] That it is merely a sign of introduction into the church, is made clear by the baptizing of infants, who are wholly destitute of reason and are no more able to receive anything pertaining to faith than the young branches of a tree. (iii. )

[3] Not only are infants baptized but all foreign proselytes who are converted to the Christian religion, both the young and the old, and this before they have been instructed, solely because they confess a wish to embrace Christianity, into which they are introduced by baptism, this same having been done by the apostles, according to the Lord's command,

That the disciples should make disciples of all nations, and baptize them (Matt. 28:19).

(iv.) [4] Again:

John baptized in Jordan all who came to him from Judea and Jerusalem (Matt. 3:5, 6; Mark 1:5).

He baptized in Jordan for the reason that entrance into the land of Canaan was through that river, and "the land of Canaan" signified the church, because the church was there; and so "the Jordan" signified introduction into the church That "the land of Canaan" signified the church, and "the Jordan" introduction into it, may be seen in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 285).

[5] All this, however, is what takes place on earth. But in the heavens infants are introduced by baptism into the Christian heaven, and angels are there assigned them by the Lord, to take care of them. Therefore as soon as infants are baptized, angels are appointed over them, by whom they are kept in a state to receive faith in the Lord; but as they grow up, and begin to exercise self-control and be governed by their own reason, these guardian angels leave them, and they draw into association with themselves such spirits as make one with their life and faith. From all this it is clear that baptism is insertion among Christians in the spiritual world also. [TCR677]

From what has been said now and heretofore it can be seen that the three uses of baptism cohere as a unit, like first cause, mediate cause, which is the efficient cause, and last cause, which is the effect and the end itself, for the sake of which the former exist; for the first use is that the man may be called a Christian; the second, following from this, is that he may know and acknowledge the Lord the Redeemer, Regenerator and Savior; and the third that be may be regenerated by Him; and when this is done man is redeemed and saved. As these three uses follow in order, and are conjoined in the last, and consequently in the conception of the angels cohere as a unit, so when baptism is performed, read of in the Word, or mentioned, the angels who are present do not understand baptism, but regeneration. Therefore, by these words of the Lord:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark 16:16);

the angels in heaven understand that he who acknowledges the Lord and is regenerated will be saved. And for this reason baptism is called by the Christian churches on earth the laver of regeneration. Let every Christian know, then, that he who does not believe in the Lord even though he has been baptized, cannot be regenerated. Also that baptism without faith in the Lord has no effect whatever, may be seen above, in the second section of this chapter (n. 673). Every Christian is well aware that baptism involves purification from evils, and thus regeneration, for when he is baptized in infancy, the priest with his finger makes the sign of the cross, as a memorial of the Lord, on his forehead and breast, and afterwards turns to his sponsors and asks whether he renounces the devil and all his works, and accepts the faith; to which the sponsors, in the place of the infant, answer, "Yes." The renunciation of the devil, that is, of the evils that are from hell, and faith in the Lord, are what effect regeneration. [TCR685]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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