God’s people were complaining again, water was scarce and they did not like eating Manna every meal. God was providing their needs, but it did not suit their fancy, Num 21:5-9—
The people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food."
The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live."
And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (scriptures quoted from the New American Standard Updated)
It seems that mankind is never satisfied with how things are provided, and is always wanting something better. People even find fault with God’s provision for salvation. The preaching of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, seems foolish to many. Some think that salvation based on the shedding of blood is somehow out of place with modern thinking. But the scriptures are clear, that the believer’s salvation is purchased with the blood of Christ. As Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus, Eph 1:5-8—“
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Thus a sinner does not contribute anything toward the purchase of salvation. Salvation is freely provided in Jesus Christ. But some want to argue about how we get into Jesus Christ. Some deny that immersion in water has anything to do with the new birth into the kingdom of God. The excuse used for arguing against water immersion being connected with the new birth is that salvation is a gift, not of works, so that we do not think we are earning our salvation.
But what if immersion in water is counted as faith,
because it is the simple command of Jesus? What if
being born of water and the Spirit includes immersion
in water by faith in the command of Jesus? No one thinks
that being immersed in water can remove sins, any more than
looking at a brass snake can heal anyone from snake bite.
But what would have happened if those Israelites, bitten
by the serpents, refused to look up at the brass serpent
on the pole. Would they have been healed in their refusal
to obey a simple command to look up at the brass serpent?
When they looked at the brass serpent on the pole, they were healed of their snake bite. As Jesus said, John 3:14-15-
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”
Well, it was Jesus who said, Mark 16:15-16--"
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
Baptism, according to the record of scriptures, is immersion in water. It makes no more sense than looking up at a brass snake. But faith is completed in submission, and without submission there is no faith.
Stop arguing with Jesus by substituting your own ideas for what Jesus commanded. He did not command a sinner to pray a prayer to demonstrate faith, but He commanded repentance and immersion in water. It was Jesus who said, John 3:5--"
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
You do not have to understand, but you do have to submit. Without submission to the simple command of Jesus, there is no faith.