“They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” — 1 Corinthians 10:2
The Gospel message is about a coming out of sin and into the fullness of Christ. This is the way baptism is portrayed throughout the New Testament, but in the Old Testament, we have a wonderful foreshadowing, called a “typology”, which are events in Old Testament history that depict New Testament truths. The typology of baptism depicts this coming out of sin and coming into the fullness of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Paul talks about the children of Israel who were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Trapped by the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them, what happened next is a profound portrait of what it means to be baptized.
Moses held the staff of God over the Red Sea and all night long, God caused a strong east wind to blow and parted it. The Israelites went down into water on Egyptian territory where they had been enslaved and were now stepping out of enslavement. They went into the water with their old masters, Pharaoh and his army, trying to round them up and bring them back. After they had made it safely to the other side, tumultuous walls of water came crashing down and their old life, along with their old masters, were swallowed by the sea. The Hebrew people came up on the other side onto new ground, a new land with a new purpose and a new life.
This, says Paul, is a picture of what baptism is all about. We come out of the old life, the bondage of sin, leaving it buried behind us in order to come into the new life, the fullness of Christ. Sadly, many people are satisfied with being forgiven, cleansed and saved, but fail to embark on the whole purpose of coming out of the old life, which is to come into the new. Baptism is not simply identification with Christ’s death and burial, so that our sin is forgiven and we get washed up on the shores of heaven one day. That still leaves us treading water, trying our best to stay afloat.
All of Scripture leads to Jesus Christ, and the message of the Gospel is receiving fullness of life in Him. The Israelites, over 3,500 years ago, were nourished and sustained by the Spiritual Rock that was Christ among them. Today, having been raised with Christ, we have the incredible blessing of His presence, not among us, but “in us” and for all time.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your life that indwells me. Help me to leave the entrapments of my old life behind and teach me to live in Your fullness. Thank You, Lord.