“…one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
So, we are still in the foundational principles and the sincere milk of the Word. We started out with repentance from dead works. Then, we moved on to an AWESOME teaching on faith toward God by Ose Burnett. This week, we get to dive into the topic of the doctrine of baptisms. Notice, it says “baptisms’ – plural. Yes, there is more than one baptism in the New Testament. The three we will cover this week are: Baptism into Christ Jesus, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and water baptism.
Before we go on, let’s investigate what baptism actually means. It comes from the Greek word, baptidzo, which means to be fully immersed by someone into something. It means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe, to overwhelm. Originally, it described what a person did when they wanted to change the color of clothing, cloths, etc. The cloth would be dipped into a container, and left there until the cloth was a brand-new color because it was so saturated with the dye.
Baptized into Christ Jesus
- For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
- For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27).
This happens at the moment of repentance and belief in Jesus Christ. This is what was spoken of in Ephesians 4:5, which says, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Of course, we are investigating three different baptisms, but this is the one required for salvation. It is not water baptism. Here, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ Jesus. This is done by Him, without your participation, at the moment of conversion. This is the only baptism REQUIRED for salvation. It is the baptism that enters you into the body of Christ. Again, there is nothing we need to do to receive this baptism except to repent, and call upon the Name of Jesus as our Lord. The rest is done by the Holy Spirit, placing us “in” Christ. The evidence of this baptism is the fruit (Matthew 7:16).
Baptized in the Holy Spirit
“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But, what is it, really? So much has been said to associate this with the speaking in other tongues that we have oftentimes forgotten the real significance of this baptism. It is an immersion into the power of God, and according to the biblical record, speaking in tongues plays a huge role in it. In nearly every instance where people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Still, something deeper happens, and John explains it: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17). There is a sanctification and purification that happens when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit. See, we are baptized in the HOLY Spirit. We are immersed into the power of God so long, we change in a way that impacts the world around us (Acts 1:8). We go from those who hid our faces from Christ, to those who shine with His glory. We become those who demonstrate the grace of Christ.
- And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”(Matthew 3:16-17)
- But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)
- Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:13)
- And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:36 – 38)
- And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”(Acts 9:17-18)
This baptism is performed by believers, and there must be a baptizer, water, and a person being baptized. You can be baptized at any time after salvation. Water baptism is a symbolic action to show that the old “you” is dead, and you are a new creation in Christ, raised from spiritual death. It is a public, outer declaration of an inner change. Jesus taught that we should baptize, and it is a priority. It is a special event, just as important as marriage and communion. He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). In the early days of the church, water baptism could very well have been a death sentence, due to increasing persecution from the Romans and Jews throughout Israel. Baptism takes the secrecy out of conversion, as they would go out to a large body of water to publicly declare Jesus Christ, and immerse themselves in the presence of everyone. It bring to mind the words of Jesus, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God (Luke 12:8).
- If you have been water baptized, what exactly do you believe it did for you?
- Do you have an assurance that you have been baptized into Christ Jesus?
- What do you think might hinder a person from being baptized int he Holy Spirit?
Additional scriptures on water baptism:
Acts 8:36, 38