Contrary to popular Christian belief
we are not under the great commission
as given by Christ to his apostles
commission has water baptism in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately
misapplication of Christ’s commission gives the wrong foundation, and
reinforces the misinterpretation, that water baptism is an ordinance
As the jailer said “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and Paul replies “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 16:30-31).
Paul didn’t come to water baptize (1Cor
1:17), and we are to be
Paul, why would he then make it an ordinance for the church to do what
didn’t do? He wouldn’t.
Lord’s supper “… he took the cup, as OFT
as ye drink it …”. (1Cor
is not an ordinance but for remembrance as often
as you drink it. It’s not a mandatory thing or a must do. In fact, you
never have the Lord’s supper, or indeed, be water baptized.
is a set belief among many Christians that water
baptism and the Lord’s supper are ordinances for the church today. Is
must remember that Paul is writing to a disorderly
church, a church out of order.
following outlines just a few of the sins of the
had a man sleeping with his father’s wife; there were
quarrels and divisions; there was the fleshy misapplication of tongues;
was division and vain glory; they were keeping company with professing
Christians who were fornicators, covetous, idolators, railers,
extortioners; they were unfaithful stewards; they were taking each
the world’s courts; they were defiling the consciences of the weak in
they were not keeping their bodies under control; they were lusting,
murmuring, idolatrous and tempting Christ.
church has wrongly misinterpreted the meaning of
an ordinance. The proper meaning of the word ‘ordinance’ is to bring
and to correct behavior, and in this case, to correct the wild excesses
fleshy Corinthian church.
is to be noted that Paul states ““…
keep the ordinances, as I delivered
(the past tense
which was earlier in 1Co
11:2) them to you.”
was in fact referring to instructions previously
given. We note that when Paul talks to the saved, he entreats them not
them. This is what ordinances are – they appeal to reason. Paul
certainly not averse to giving orders as he directly orders them
‘the collection for the saints’ (1Cor
16:1). But ordinances are not orders. They are
instructions on how to bring back and set in order, the proper
we to suppose that the symbolic ceremonies of water
baptism and the Lord’s supper would do this? Hardly!
Paul required was a change of the heart and
behaviour, a repentance, not an outward ceremony.
some of the Thessalonian church were walking
disorderly by not working and being busybodies, and Paul wanted
of their behavior. He certainly didn’t recommend more water baptism and
supper to accomplish this.
when people walk disorderly, as in the case of the
church at Corinth, Paul could certainly order them no problem, but
the Lord does in Colossians and Ephesians, he talks gently as it were,
in the family.
were the earlier ordinances and instructions that had already been
them in the first ten chapters? There were many! The Corinthian church
them all as they were a church full of the flesh. Paul doesn’t use the
‘ordinances’ for any other church.
are the procedures and instructions necessary to keep right order in an
1:10 no divisions; 1Co
1:31 glory in the Lord; 1Co
2:13 compare spiritual with spiritual; 1Co
3:8 reward for own labour; 1Co
heed how you
build; 1Co 3:16-17 be holy; 1Co
3:20-21 no vain glory; 1Co
4:1-2 be a faithful steward; 1Co
don’t be puffed up;
4:16 be followers of Paul;1Co
5:1 no fornication; 1Co
5:11 no eating with professing Christians who are fornicators,
covetous, idolaters, railers, drunkards, extortioners; 1Co
5:12 judge those within; 1Co
6:1-8 don’t be judged in the world’s courts; 1Co
6:9-10 no inheritance; 1Co
6:18 flee fornication; 1Co
7:1-40 marriage advice; 1Co
8:13 don’t defile the conscience of the weak; 1Co
9:7 soldiers worthy to be paid; 1Co
9:19 be servant to all; 1Co
9:24 run for the prize 1Co
9:27 keep the body under; 1Co
10:6-9,10-13,14 cease lusting, idolatry, fornication, tempting
murmuring; 1Co 10:23 all things edify not; 1Co
10:32 give none offence.
the symbolic, formal ceremonies of the Lord’s supper and water baptism
nothing to do with correcting out of control behavior at Corinth.
Paul needed ordinances for this sinful and disorderly church. Paul
repentance and changes in their sinful behavior.
fact, they were probably keeping up appearances with many Lord’s
water baptisms as an outward show, but what the Lord wanted was a
Indeed the Lord reminds us through the prophet Isaiah to Judah (Isa 1:10-13,14-15). Indeed he calls them Sodom. Stop the ceremonies! I want true repentance - a change of heart.
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