WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO REPENT?
BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
WHO IS THE LAW?
COMING FORTH OUT OF THE WATER
From the time of Jesus’ birth until His water baptism, Jesus was under the tutelage of His natural father, Joseph. Luke 2:52 states that Jesus grew in stature and wisdom during this time period. Jesus was the fullness of His heavenly Father in bodily form (Colossians 1:19) “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” The Greek word for fullness can be defined in this manner: Picture an empty ship in your mind. Slowly, the cargo is placed inside the vessel until it is full. The ship is the physical body of Christ and the cargo is God’s nature. The body can only hold so much but what it holds is filled with the fullness of God. So the “growing in stature and wisdom” was in the usage and implementation of the fullness which dwelt in Christ.
For thirty years Jesus grew in the ability to manifest the fullness of God in the body. The question arises as to how did He grow. Jesus was raised a Hebrew, that is, He was raised in the faith of Abraham as the Rabbi taught it from the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). He attended the Sabbath meetings, special meetings and had his father, Joseph, raise Him in the ways of the Lord. Deuteronomy 6 brings out that the truly religious had frontlets and phylacteries continually on their body to remind them of the Lord. Whether Joseph was this religious or not is not known, but Joseph did raise the boy in the manner of the teachings of the synagogue.
The men and boys would sit together in the synagogue and the women would be separate from them, but within the building. The Rabbi would teach or an adult male could speak. Any young man who had his coming of age (12) was also entitled to read the Pentateuch and share. While we do not have any information about Jesus teaching in the synagogue, we could believe that He did and would because it was customary for men to do so. We do find Jesus in the outside of the temple in the courtyard where the brazen altar is located, teaching some of the people (Luke 2:42) when He was twelve years old. Surely Jesus did more of this as He grew older.
Matthew 5:17 states: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Jesus, during the time of His birth until His baptism, not only grew in stature and wisdom but also daily fulfilled the requirements of the Law. He was the Lamb without spot or blemish to be offered for us. (John 1:29) This is the same word for fulfill as we found in Colossians 1:19. The verb tense is an active one. This means that Jesus actively, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually sought to bring about the manifestation in His life of the Law. Everything that He did was premised on the Law and the fulfilling of it twenty-four hours of the day. He was God, and only God could fulfill the laws that were required in the Hebrew faith. Man could not do it.
He not only fulfilled the law spiritually (Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual”), but He also fulfilled it in the natural. If the high priest of the order of Levi had to be cleansed by God, sanctified by God, in order to minister to God for the people, the high priest had to have been “dirty” with sin. But our High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus, did not have to be cleansed because He was pure, holy and undefiled. This is why the first covenant was removed and the second is better (see our booklet: The Ministry of Melchizedek). This is why the ministry of the first covenant could not bring us into life – it had to be done every year to cleanse the people, but what Jesus did was once and for all. (Romans 6:10) Now we can just walk in life. There is no need to remain in death.
If Jesus, because He was God manifested in the flesh, could walk perfectly and did so, why then did He have to conform to the ministry of John the Baptist, an Old Testament prophet whose ministry was under the Law? If Jesus is the Son of God, which He is, why did He have to fulfill something that He far surpassed? The answer is found in His response to John the Baptist.
“And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.’” (Matthew 3:15) The Greek for “suffer” actually means “to send forth with intensity.” By being baptized Jesus was sending forth into the future, foreshadowing His death and resurrection, an immediate future of three years when He died on the cross and in the distant future, the salvation of all mankind. (1 Corinthians 15:28, 1 Timothy 4:10, Romans 5:17-20) In type and shadow the water baptism was the evidence of a new life to come for all the world (John 3:17) because He, the Savior, was able to deliver. The word ‘salvation’ has within it the meaning of deliverance. Envision it this way, if you would. Picture the cross. Jesus manifested in the year “0.” This is the center of the cross. It extends backwards to cover all those in the past (1Peter 3:19) which is the left arm of the cross and those in the present (Matthew 27:52) which is the center of the cross and those in the future (1 Corinthians 15:28) which is the right arm of the cross. He did all this in order to find it all “righteous” as the verse states. He is the propitiation for our sins. He alone is Holy. He alone is worthy. The earth is to be filled with His glory (the “earth” meaning us who are made from the dust of the earth and the earth itself). Righteousness will be manifested in all its glory because of the cross and “His suffering it to be so” with the baptism.
The baptism of John was unto repentance (Matthew 3:11), and this is what Jesus submitted unto. This is different than the baptism of Jesus which was with the Holy Ghost and fire. (Matthew 3:11) Why would Jesus, who had a different baptism submit unto another baptism? Why would Jesus submit to something that was lower than His baptism? What was God trying to show us about this baptism of John?
First the baptism of John was unto repentance. Repentance from dead works is necessary. What are dead works? Deeds done to appease an angry god. All mother-worship religions appease an angry god concept. Fire, earth, wind and water are generally the gods people worship. Vice President Gore’s book speaks about our “mother” earth and how we need to honor her. Floods, fires, tornadoes and earthquakes are signs that the ‘gods’ are not happy. We must appease Poseidon, the god of water, Thor the god of thunder, etc. All religions except Christianity are based upon the doing of deeds in order to please a god. Unfortunately, Christianity has become legalistic, ritualistic and full of traditions which cause the faith to become like other religions.
The Hebrews (I call them Hebrews because the word “Jew” only refers to the tribe of Judah) were given a law that was spiritual but they carnalized it, codified it and then denied the power of it. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is a detriment to spirituality. The “good’ of the tree brings a conviction of sin, but the “evil” in it offers no solution. The Hebrew people needed repentance from the law because there was no victory. The Law only brought death. As Pastor Shirley Chambers has said, “God is not dealing with death any more, only life.”
Jesus came to the baptism of John because He sought to fulfill all righteousness. Only He could do that. The question is how could He do it. He did it from the realm of life! If Jesus had tried to fulfill it from His own efforts, it would have failed. He accomplished the victory of the cross through the repentance from the Law and thereby walked in grace. “The Law allows you to love certain slices of a person, a piece of a person, but grace can’t love pieces nor slices – only the whole (Ron Hirdes).” It was grace working in Christ that fulfilled the Law.
When the word of God, the Law, the spiritual word (Romans 7:14), is thrown down it is like the story found in the Old Testament with Moses. Moses was given the rod of God. It was a symbol of the authority that Moses had in God. When the rod was thrown down, it became a serpent and devoured all pagan serpents, false religions. When the word of God is lowered, it becomes a serpent and bites like the Law. When the serpent is lifted up it becomes Christ on the cross. Matthew 16 states that some thought Jesus was John the Baptist, the prophet of the Old Testament Law. He appeared that way because Jesus was lowered from the heavenly realm and subjected Himself to the trials of the Law.
Jesus’ baptism was for His body. Jesus suffered it to be so to bring His whole body into the nature of God, free from the Law and full of grace. It appears that some of His body (by body we mean the body of Christ, the church) is still a little dirty because they judge after the Law and not after grace. Some of His body have not yet begun to walk in the grace of the Lord which is sonship manifested. But blessed be God that where the Head goes, the body will follow. The baptism of Christ was total – some of Him did not get baptized and some of Him did. When He went into the water, all of Him was baptized. As it is said in Swahili “umoja” (unity). There is only one body – His, and we are baptized into it. (1 Corinthians 12:13) The whole body enters into the experience of the baptism. Paul writes how he was separated from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:16) for the Son to be revealed in him. Paul was separated from his mother’s womb, the pharisaical order of priests, who had carried him until Paul came to the knowledge of who he was in Christ. Jesus’ baptism is the separation of the Law from grace.
The Law was for sin. Jesus rendered the Law powerless because He was sinless. When we, like Paul, leave the religion of the Pharisees, the religion of do’s and don’ts Christianity, we come unto the perfect law of liberty. (James 1:25, 2:12) In fact we begin to live after Romans 8:2 which states: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.” It was because Jesus lived in the realm of the Spirit that He could fulfill the Law of the Old Testament. Jesus could be baptized because Life swallowed up the Law. Are you living in Him so well that the Law is being swallowed up by life in you?
Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. He even stated that He was the “way, the truth and the life.” So, we see truth then not as a thing but as a person, Jesus Christ. A person can manifest truth in a lifestyle since Jesus is our pattern to follow. Living in Truth is a spiritual life manifested in the flesh, the body, of the saint. Since Jesus is a manifestation of truth we come to understand that truth is not a dogma, not a teaching, not a thing. Truth is a whole person. So, then….
WHO IS THE LAW?
Did you notice that the word “who” is underlined. The Law is a person. It is not a thing. It is found only in those who have not been inChristed yet. The Law is only needed for the old man, not the new man in Christ. Why does the Law condemn you? Are we not a new creation in Christ and old things have passed away?
Revelation 12:9 -10 states: “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan…for the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” From this verse we see that the serpent is the same as the dragon, the devil and Satan. We also note that the serpent is the accuser of the brethren. It was the serpent in the Garden that began the accusation against Eve and then Adam. It was the serpent that fostered the capitulation of grace in the Garden. Who is this accuser of the brethren?
In John 5:45-47 we find Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day. Jesus states: “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” The accuser of the brethren is the Law of Moses. Who is the serpent? The Law of Moses carnally interpreted! Let me say that again. The Law is spiritual, but if it is carnally interpreted it becomes the accuser of the brethren, the serpent, that is Satan, the Devil, the Dragon. How is the Law manifested? Through people. Who then is the serpent? People who do not live in the realm of grace. Anytime that the Word of God is lowered, it becomes a serpent. It is still powerful enough to swallow up other serpents, even if it is carnally used.
Jesus gracefully fulfilled the Law during His youth by the Spirit, since the Law was spiritual. First, Corinthians 15:56 states: “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” The baptism of Jesus as a type and shadow of the death and resurrection of Christ fulfilled the Law, and thereby the strength of sin is removed. Not that sin might more abound, but that the grace of God might be more plainly seen and abound. (Romans 5:20) In fact, Paul writes that all disobedience will be removed “whenever your obedience is complete.“ (2 Corinthians 10:6)
Eve ate from the serpent. She partook of the Law. Eve “killed” Jesus in the Garden. The original sin began there. The soul, the mind, which Eve represents, placed itself as God through the Law. Eve “killed” Jesus and then is covered by His blood. We who know Jesus are in contrast called to follow His footsteps. We who are cleansed by Christ are now to fulfill the Law and put the Law on as a garment. Jesus rendered the Law powerless by fulfilling it on a spiritual plane. We are called into a walk in His image and to do likewise. We are to free people from the Law of sin and death by wrapping ourselves in the garment of Law and showing it spiritually. A life lived victorious in Christ fulfills the Law and sets others free. It is only when we are obedient to Christ that Grace abounds removing the carnal commandments of the Pharisees who accuse by the Law. When we complete our obedience, our identification with Christ, even the baptism unto death, the Law will be removed, that is, the legalistic devil, the sneaky serpent that seeks to ensnare us. Having begun in the Spirit let us not be like the Galatians. (Galatians 3:1-3)
“The one who practices sin is of the devil.“ (1 John 3:8) Since the devil is the Law, who is “the one” that practices sin? Is it not the saint who lowers the Spirit down to the flesh plane? We know “the Son of God appeared for this purpose that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus by fulfilling the Law removed the power of the Law. When we accept Christ, Satan is cast down from the heavens. Luke 10:18 states: “And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’” Who is Satan but the Law of the carnal mind, that religious nature which presupposes itself as God. The Law is cast down from heaven, meaning that it is no longer supreme but that Grace has preeminence.
The saint that is not baptized with Jesus is destined to live by the Law. It is only in Christ that we are free from the law. So many churches are legalistic; must have long hair and long dresses on women, men must wear long sleeved shirts, must be baptized into a specific church or denomination. Which way were you baptized: Jesus Name or Father Son Holy Ghost? Neither is correct. Words alone do not baptize one into Christ. You must be baptized into the nature, the character of God otherwise it is a legalistic denial of Grace. All these religious things destroy grace. But it is more serious than that.
“The Law is not of faith…” (Galatians 3:12) Satan, the serpent, the devil or the dragon are not of Christ. One who practices the Law, tries in his own efforts to keep the Ten Commandments, is not of the faith. When one enters into spiritual union with God, the life hid with God in Christ keeps the Ten Commandments without any effort because the Christ nature has no desire to sin, yea, cannot sin. When we find our identification with Christ, we are delivered from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13) and we become a manifestation of Him. When this occurs, others will be saved because they see Him within us, even as Jesus revealed the Father. (Our tape on the Ten Commandments explains these thoughts.)
Romans 3:20 states: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…” Justification comes through faith alone. (Galatians 3:24) When Jesus was baptized, He was already walking in grace and that is how one fulfills the Law. He had to be baptized in order for us to be free from the Law. Romans 6 brings out that we are baptized with Him in His death and resurrection that we should no longer be slaves to sin, the Law. Killing the devil, the Law, does not set you free. Knowing Him who is Truth sets you free and removes the Law consciousness. He is the answer.
Satan, the accuser (remember the Law accuses) of the brethren thinks he has the answers. This assumption causes deception and death. The Law always deceives because it sets itself up as God. Many Christians have been taught a Christian faith that is Law based. In reality is not the faith of Christ at all. James speaks of the tongue and states: “With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men who have been made in the image of God.” The Law sets itself up as judge and executioner. Many saints judge other saints as well as people not of the faith.
But James writes even the unsaved are “made in the image of God.” This is a hard saying, for the Law does not recognize that truth. Grace does! Grace sees every man in the image of God. (James 3:9) Grace sacrifices itself on the cross for the deliverance of another. Grace bows itself to death, the death of the cross, so that the Law has no effect. He who is grace and truth (John 1:14) fulfills the Law to deliver others. We are called to be conformed to His image, follow in His footsteps. We suffer it so to fulfill all righteousness as part of His body.
COMING FORTH OUT OF THE WATER
When we come forth from the water with Christ, we come forth cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word. (Ephesians 5:26) The Law is washed away and the newness of Grace begins to abound. Song of Solomon 8:5 states: “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.” The one coming out of the Wilderness is the Lord Jesus in type and shadow and the one leaning on His breast is the church, the bride of Christ. It is only as we identify ourselves with Him that we come forth from the wilderness where the Law is given and enter into the Promised Land where milk and honey flow, the place of Grace.
In Pilgrim’s Progress there is a section where a vision is explained to the traveler. He sees a room filled with dust. A woman comes in and starts to sweep. The dust flies all over and nothing is removed, and he sees himself start to cough. Then another comes with water and spills the water on the floor and the dust no longer flies and is easily cleaned up. The vision is interpreted in this manner: The Law stirs up the dust, the Adamic nature, but does not deliver us from it. The Holy Spirit comes in and cleanses us by the washing of the water of the Word and the dust nature is easily removed. It is only as we identify with grace that we are cleansed.
Permit me to use a few more examples of my childhood. In 1959 my father bought a brand new Plymouth station wagon. On the farm we had a one lane road. From the barn to the house the road had some trees. My father suggested that this 11 year old should drive the car to the house while he set on the tailgate of the car. I had been driving farm tractors for about two years, but I was excited about driving the car and worried since it was new. I decided to be very careful. As I drove I made sure the driver’s side never touched a tree by keeping the car from the trees but I did not take into consideration the passenger side of the car. I took off the right front door handle and almost the back passenger door handle before I slammed on the brakes. Dad rolled into the back of the front seat. Naturally, I was scared. Dad gave grace and told me not to worry about it. Mom came out took me in the house asked what Dad said and then proceeded to lambaste me and also used a belt. Can you see who acted out of the Law? She was right; I did deserve it. Grace, however, saw a larger picture and a learning process.
Another example. In the kitchen was ¼ of a chocolate covered angel food cake, my favorite. I cut a piece off of it and was eating it when my little brother walked in. He whined so that Mom could hear him in the living room. Mom yelled out “Split that piece of cake with your brother, Chuck.” Of course I did! So what was left we split. Of course, it came out in my favor! The Law has no concept of justice. Grace is seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6) Grace requires judgment. Grace cannot be administered until there is judgment. But the Law is legalistic and does not understand justice.
Another time, if you will. As a young child I collected toy soldiers. I studied history (love it yet) and set up scaled mock battles according to the books. On a 4 by 8 foot sheet of plywood Dad had made a table for me in the basement. I spent the better part of a morning quietly setting up the soldiers and weapons for a Civil War reenactment. I was just about to start when my 8 year old brother came over and intentionally with gusto knocked the table with a tool. It scattered everything. Well, I proceed with one right hook to knock out his front top tooth. He, screaming for Mom, caused her and Dad to come running. He told Mom I hit him and with blood streaming down his lip, gave her the tooth (which I picked up). Mom came after me. Dad stopped her and asked my brother why I hit him. He explained. He had the tooth re-stitched in and I was saved from Mom’s wrath. Grace uses the situation to teach and allows the situation to judge. Grace does not jump to conclusions.
Grace removes the inept ability of the Law. The Law brings condemnation. Grace brings Life out of a situation, even though judgment stands. Jesus came forth in His ministry after arising from the water. He came forth in the ministry of Grace. He then was led of the Spirit to be tempted by Satan, Matthew 4:1 states. Grace will always battle the Law. Three times the Law came to Jesus in the Wilderness, just as Eve failed three times with the same test. (Genesis 3:6) But Grace conquers the Law. We find in John 14:30 that Jesus says: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” The prince of this world – Satan, the Law, comes and cannot find a place to touch in Jesus because Jesus walked completely in grace. Jesus came up out of the water in Grace never again to battle what was settled – the demise of the Law.
Immediately when Jesus came forth out of the water “the heavens were opened.” The realm of the Spirit only moves in Grace. The Law and flesh operate in the order of Pentecost. Grace and Truth operate in the Feast of Tabernacles. While God blesses the flesh, even as He blessed the people in the wilderness, He seeks a Joshua and Caleb company to live in the Promised Land by the Spirit while still in the wilderness. Jesus came forth from the water ministering from the heavens while having been lowered into the realm of the flesh. Up to His coming forth, He ministered under the Old Covenant. But when the first covenant is removed then the second can be established. (Hebrews 10:9) Jesus removed the law of sin and death and established the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Heaven and earth joined each other! The two became one. When the word heaven is used it is generally thought of as an opposite of the earth. But one cannot have a heaven without an earth! The two become one. God is manifesting in the flesh. He comes not to destroy the body but to manifest through the body. God being God made Himself a man. Jesus was not a man making Himself god. The temple of God (you!) was opened in heaven Revelation 11:19 states. The temple was in heaven. You have been lifted and placed in the heavenlies.
He came forth out of the water in power. He came forth to be recognized of His Father. Up to this time while under the old covenant, Joseph was seen as His father. Many who saw Jesus even after His baptism still looked with jaundiced eye and saw Him as the son of Joseph. But if the truth be known, He was recognized as the Son of God for the first time when His heavenly Father recognized a Son who no longer was under the tutelage or the schoolmaster of the Law. Hear and understand!
“This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
When you realize that you have been placed in the Son, when you realize that the Law (Satan) has nothing in you, when you realize that you have been birthed there in the heavens (Psalm 87:4-6), then you will become who you already were! When you walk in grace so much that you fulfill the law in order to set others free, when you walk in grace so much so that you are crucified and accept it with joy to release creation, then God says you are His beloved Son.
Let us repent and come under the Law through the power of grace that we might fulfill all righteousness. Then and only then can we deliver creation as we are manifested in the realm of grace. Ministry, life, begins then.
JESUS REPENTED [Charles W. Weller] 1