Vol.III No.XII Pg.3
January 1967

Rejecting God's Counsel

Robert F. Turner

When John the immerser was in prison he sent two messengers to Jesus -- apparently for reassurance and confirmation of his earlier testimony. These men came upon Jesus as he was teaching the poor, and healing the afflicted. When they asked, "Art thou he that should come?" Jesus said, "Go.. tell John what things ye have seen and heard". Clearly Jesus fulfilled prophecies made concerning Him.

And when the messengers departed, Jesus began to praise John as a prophet, "Yea, more than a prophet" for he had introduced the Saviour. He said, "Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" (Read LUK.7:19-35). The new birth, born of water and spirit, is of far greater importance than the natural birth; and it is by this new birth that we enter the kingdom of God (JOH.3:3,5).

Both John and Jesus had sought to prepare people for the Messianic kingdom; and this endorsement of John, and magnification of the citizen's role in God's kingdom seemed to reach many of the people. LUK.7:29 says they "justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John&qhy.& "Justified God" means they acknowledged His justice and righteousness in calling them to repentance and obedience. They submitted to the authority in His Word.

"But the pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him"

Look at this carefully! The wisdom of Deity was rejected. God made man a free agent, blessing him with the power of choice. Then, seeing man's need for guidance, the immutable counsel of God is made available to him. But man used his blessed freedom to reject God's counsel. He did so by "being not baptized of him". The baptism under consideration here is John's baptism -- a preparation for a kingdom which was at that time yet to come. But John was filled with the Holy Spirit -- his message was from God -- and the baptism he commanded was the will of God. By this act some "justified God" and others "rejected the counsel of God against themselves".

We can not measure the importance of such matters by human standards. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?" (ROM.11:33-34). When we reject God's counsel, we have rejected God.

And now, with the preparation finished -- John's work done, and the blessings of God's kingdom available to all -- what is God's counsel? Jesus Himself said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (MAR.16:16). Through Peter He counseled, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you" (ACT.2:38). "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (ACT.10:45). Can you doubt that God counsels you to be baptized? No, you can't doubt this. But you can reject God's counsel -- against yourself!!