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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 28 - Verse 19
Verse 19. Go ye therefore. Because all power is mine, go. I can defend you. The world is placed under my control. It is redeemed. It is given me in promise by my Father, as the purchase of my death. Though you are weak, yet I am strong. Though you will encounter many troubles and dangers, yet I can defend you. Though you die, yet I live, and the work shall be accomplished.
Teach all nations. The word rendered teach, here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means disciple, or make disciples of, all nations. This was to be done, however, by teaching them, and by administering the rite of baptism. All nations. The gracious commission was the foundation of the authority to go to the Gentiles. The Jews had expected that the offers of life, under the Messiah, would be confined to their own nation. Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go everywhere, and bring the world to the knowledge of himself.
Baptizing them. Applying to them water, as an emblem of the purifying influences of the Christian religion through the Holy Spirit, and solemnly devoting them to God.
In the name, etc. This phrase does not mean, here, by the authority of the Father, etc. To be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., is the same as to be baptized unto the Father; as to believe on the name of Christ is the same as to believe on Christ. Joh 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Co 1:13.
To be baptized unto anyone is publicly to receive and adopt him as a religious teacher or lawgiver; to receive his system of religion. Thus the Jews were baptized "unto Moses" 1 Co 10:2. That is, they received the system that he taught; they acknowledged him as their lawgiver and teacher. So Paul asks, (1 Co 1:13) "Were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" —i.e., Were you devoted to Paul by this rite? Did you bind yourselves to him, and give yourselves away to him, or to God? So to be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., means publicly, by a significant rite, to receive the system of religion, to bind the soul to obey his laws; to be devoted to him; to receive, as the guide and comforter of the life, his system of religion; to obey his laws, and trust to his promises. To be baptized unto the Son, in like manner, is to receive him as the Messiah—our Prophet, Priest, and King; to submit to his laws, and to receive him as the Saviour of the soul. To be baptized unto the Holy Ghost is to receive him publicly as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Guide of the soul. The meaning, then, may be thus expressed: Baptizing them unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by a solemn profession of the only true religion, and by a solemn devotion to the service of the sacred Trinity.
The union of these three names in the form of baptism proves that the Son and Holy Ghost are equal with the Father. Nothing would be more absurd or blasphemous than to unite the name of a creature —a man or an angel—with the name of the ever-living God, in this solemn rite. If Jesus was a mere man or an angel, as is held by many who deny his Divinity; and if the Holy Ghost was a mere attribute of God; then it would have been the height of absurdity to use a form like this, or to direct the apostles to baptize men unto them. How absurd would be the direction—nay, now blasphemous to have said, "Baptize them unto God, and unto Paul, and unto the wisdom or power of God!" Can we believe that our Saviour would have given a direction so absurd as this? Yet, unless he himself was Divine, and the Holy Spirit was Divine, Jesus gave a direction substantially the same as this. The form of baptism, therefore, has been always understood as an irrefragable argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, or that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal with the Father.
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