CONTEXT by Pastor Paul Locke for loxland.com 25/06/2015
Literal is an exact application of the meaning of words and the Bible is to be translated literally except where symbolism is used to illustrate. The Bible makes it clear when symbols are used and is used to represent something abstract such as a dove to symbolize peace. False teaching comes from failing to apply these rules to Scripture and the most serious misapplication is to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This mandatory Spiritual condition must be made clear. (Jhn 3:3-5)
Apostle Peter uses symbolism to compare water baptism to Noah’s Ark but literally salvation comes by confession of faith in Jesus. (1Pet 3:21) The Greek word for immersion is ‘Baptizo’ and used in the context of water baptism and also Holy Spirit baptism. The cross reference is to the literal meaning “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) So dunking in water a righteous act is not the reason we are saved but because of mercy.
Apostle Paul is misinterpreted in the Epistle to Ephesians by many teachers who symbolise baptism of the Holy Spirit to being sealed with a deposit of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing an inheritance if redeemed. (Eph 1:14) The literal meaning becomes clear in the Thanksgiving Prayer that follows when Apostle Paul identifies the lack of power and is overcome when the eyes of our hearts are opened by the Spirit of Wisdom to seek what does not come automatically to believers. (Eph 1:17-20)
Parables are symbolic of the Kingdom of God and the teaching needs translating to the literal as it is in the Parable of the Sower. (Mtt 13:18-19) The seed is the Word of God that can be stolen by the devil and I liken this to being sealed with a deposit. God does not take back gifts so the deposit is not the gift referred to by Jesus when he told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. The seal deposit is like the One Talent that if not invested is taken back. (Mtt 25:28)
Born Again is the literal fullness of the Gift that cannot be stolen because that person is good soil and the gift is the miracle from on high. (Rom 11:29) The disciples of Jesus in Ephesus confessed to Paul that they had not even heard that there was a Holy Spirit but received when the Apostle prayed and laid hands on them. (Acts 19) Acts 8 reveals that you can be a believer and not Born Again until you repent and receive by the laying of hands of an Apostle who goes and is anyone empowered to do the work.