Baptism in The Word

In Ephesians 5:26, nestled among Paul’s writings about the way husbands and wives are to love each other, is a nugget of truth for ALL people, married or not.

The picture here is of how Jesus loves His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25 sets the stage telling us how to love unselfishly, like Jesus- seeking your loved ones’ highest good, surround them with a caring, unselfish love and thoughtfulness. {Amplified version of the Bible} Again, loving like Jesus, not like imperfect human beings.

Then, in Ephesians 5:26, another facet of this verse is a strategy we can use to have peace in mind and heart. A deeper teaching about how Christ helps us renew our minds: 

First, Paul tells the reader that Christ loved the church unselfishly, “giving Himself up” for us; putting us first, loving us more than His own life (by dying an incredibly painful death for us). 

Next verses 26 focuses on a strategy for victory in the war within our thought life:  “(26)…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing (or having cleansed) her by the washing with water through the word

 (27) and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

These verses point out that we are cleansed by “The washing of water through the word.”

In the original language “washing” is the Greek word hydatos, and “word” is  rhḗma which in Greek literally means “an utterance” or “something said.”   Rhḗma signifies action. In scripture, Faith is a verb!! And if we speak our faith out loud we are literally putting our faith into action. We will be victorious over the enemy. As we “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the [spoken] word of God”. 

Jesus set us an example of how to battle the enemy- with God’s word. If we are to be like Him, we too must use God’s word to battle our enemy. 

When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He countered each temptation by speaking a “rhema” word. In Matthew 4:4, He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every [spoken (rhema)] word.’ “ 

Jesus spoke the written Word He needed for the situation. He spoke a rhema word! 

Now, take notice: the enemy did not just give up. Satan continued to tempt Jesus, and Jesus continued to battle the enemy with the Word. Even when Satan left Jesus, Luke 4:13 says that Satan left Jesus until another opportunity to tempt Him arose.

So we must remember that when the enemy comes back, it is not that we are weak. It’s that he sees us getting stronger- moving closer to God’s plans and purposes for us and he surely does not want that! 

Again, look at how Jesus responded when the enemy attacked. In Mathew 16:21 Jesus is preparing His disciples for what would happen to him-how He must go to Jerusalem and suffer, and be killed, and raised again. In verses 22-23 Jesus says, “Get behind me Satan” because Peter rebuked Jesus for saying He would suffer and die. The enemy was trying to tempt Jesus through Peter’s words.

Take note: 

Jesus had to battle the enemy again because the tempter came back. The enemy will come back. So, we have to be prepared. And if we pick up the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, we will defeat him! Each and every time he attacks. God’s word is the prescription for success in every area of our lives.

Looking back at the teaching in Ephesians 5:26, when we read the Word and put it into practice, we are putting into action what is symbolized by the baptism of believers. The practice of baptism through immersion symbolizes the believer’s spiritual death (going down into the water) and new life in Christ (coming up out of the water). 

Romans 6:3-4 is often read during the Believer’s Baptism. When we are baptized into Christ Jesus, we are symbolizing being:  “buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Paul teaches that baptism symbolizes the believer’s death to sin and new life in Christ; “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”. 

This means that as we study God’s word and put into practice what we learn, our old ways are passing away and the new ways are being made as we follow God’s directions for healthier habits of living. 

Romans 12:2 tells us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

My pastors often say: “Renew your mind with the Word of God”. I translate that as “Renounce the enemy’s lies in the name of Jesus and replace those lies with the Word of God”. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 takes it further by urging us to: “Take captive EVERY thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

How do we make our thoughts obedient to Christ Jesus? 

  1. KNOW what the word of God says so we can follow God’s instructions for healthy living!
  2. Read what Jesus taught, and what His followers taught.
    Jesus was a traveling Rabbi (Jewish teacher) while He walked the earth. He had followers or Talmidim who left everything to learn His ways. The objective of the Talmudim was to become like their master.
  3. Put His Word into practice.                
       *Be sure and look at context and read with a commentary that explains the culture and what the original audience would have understood from Jesus’ rabbinic teachings. (*A great resource is Sitting at The Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg) 

Paul says, in his letter to the believers at Philipi: 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”(ESV) Philippians 4:8

So, in every situation we face, we are to FIX our minds and meditate or keep continually in our thoughts:

What is TRUE, and Good, and Right, what is PURE, and Commendable and Excellent, and worthy of Praise. “The best, not the worst” is how the message version puts it. The living Bible says:

Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

What we think about and dwell on matters. The words we speak matter! There is power in our spoken word. Our brains believe what we tell them! 

Scientists have proven that the words we speak can help us create healthier patterns of behavior because the spoken word has the power to change unhealthy thought patterns into new healthy thought patterns. Patterns which actually show up on Brain Scans. 

Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” 

The brother of Jesus wrote in James 3 that the tongue is a small part of the body but can direct the course of our lives as a rudder directs an entire ship! 

So if we “baptize” ourselves with God’s word, immersing our minds in His promises-His ways of healthy living- we will be cleansed and made new. If we create a NEW HABIT of speaking God’s Word out loud when the enemy attacks (through negative thoughts, anxiety, fear or depression) we can actually create NEW, healthy pathways in our brains! 

Remember, if it is about stealing, killing, or destroying it is of the enemy. It is not our own thoughts, and it is definitely NOT God’s best for us.

Negativity is of the enemy. Fear is a spirit which we must rebuke in the name of Jesus. Depression is a spirit which we must rebuke in the name of Jesus. Unbelief is a spirit which we must rebuke in the name of Jesus. 

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us: 

  1. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. We have a very real spiritual enemy. 
  2. God has given us weapons to defeat our enemy! 

John 10:10 was written by “the beloved disciple” John who was a follower and a close friend of Jesus. In this verse John tells us that our enemy is a thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. 

If it’s about stealing, killing, or destroying, John alerts us here that whatever it is, we can be sure it is the enemy. Not God. Not our own thoughts. 

1 Peter 5:8 was written by another of “The Big Three”; Jesus’ three closest followers. Peter was part of what I’ll call Jesus’ “Top “Talmidim”, if you will. (Remember, Talmidim is the Jewish word for someone who follows a Rabbi, or teacher*).  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8: Our adversary, the devil, prowls around continually seeking whom he may devour. 

So we have to be watchful and we have to battle with the weapons God had given us.

 There’s a whole list in Ephesians 6:10-18 but the Sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon God has given us to protect ourselves: Verse 17 tells us to wield “the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”

Remember, these are people who walked with Jesus! And while the writer of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, may not have met Jesus in the flesh, Acts 22 is a record of Paul’s experience with the risen Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus clearly spoke to Paul and radically changed his life; turning him from someone seeking to murder the followers of Jesus to someone who followed Jesus to the death (literally). 


We DO have the power to defeat the enemy and walk in peace and wellness and wholeness! We just have to USE the Sword of the Spirit which is God’s word. 

Steps to Wellness: 

1.Recognize enemy’s lies

2. Wield the Sword of the Spirit

3. Battle the enemy’s lies with the TRUTH of God found in His word. 

When we make these three steps part of our daily life we will be actively living a Rhema life as portrayed in Ephesians 5:26, daily being “washed by the Word” and “cleansed” by putting our faith into action! 


Sitting at The Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg

Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg

Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg

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5 Responses

  1. Rebekah this is great stuff! Right on the mark and the more word we have the stronger we get. I will be following you! Thank you so much for the blog.

    1. Thanks Mona! I appreciate you! Yes, the word is SO powerful! The more we utilize it the more victory we will experience! 🤗🤗🤗

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