During the dispensation of the grace of God, there is “one baptism,” the baptism of the Holy Spirit, at the time of faith (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6; Acts 11:16; 19:3-5; 1 Cor 1:14-16).
- To seek out baptism would be to do a “work” – you are attempting to add something to your salvation and that is an affront to God and the completed work of His dear Son.
- God stated that He would cleanse Israel and sprinkle the nation with clean water (Ezek 36:25 – the New Covenant). This explains John the Baptist’s baptizing ministry.
- To be fit for the Kingdom, one must become clean.
- Water baptism symbolized repentance and the cleansing of the nation from sin.
- Multitudes came to John to be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mt 3:5-6; Mk 1:4), but John prophesied of One greater than he that would baptize the nation with the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16 – a New Covenant promise).
Many say that the “one baptism” consists of water. That is incorrect. The one baptism is purely a Spirit baptism. Being put into Christ is not synonymous with being put into water. How is one put into Christ? What kind of baptism is required? The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that baptism is done by the Holy spirit. Ephesians 4:5 states that there is only one baptism.
If baptism is performed with water, then the Holy Spirit must be in the water. If baptism is done by the Holy Spirit, then we must not be able to see it. Colossians 2:11 tells us that we, if we have trusted the gospel of the grace of God, have undergone a circumcision not made with hands. This is not water baptism. Water must be read into that passage. That would be an erroneous assumption.
All saved persons have been made members of the body of Christ by one spiritual baptism into Christ by the Spirit. By that one baptism every member of the body of Christ is identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. In light of the statement concerning one baptism in Ephesians 4:5, the statement concerning baptism in Colossians 2:12, and Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that “Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel,” it is affirmed that water baptism is not relevant in God’s spiritual program for the body of Christ during this present dispensation of grace.
There is only one baptism today, whereas there are over 12 baptisms mentioned within the Bible. Make sure you are preaching and teaching the correct one. We are put into Christ when we “believe and trust” the Gospel (Eph 1:13-14), not when we are dunked in water. It is better to be dry and sealed, rather than wet and lost. What are you putting your faith in? I pray that it is in the power of the Gospel and not an attempt at religion (Rom 1:16; 4:5; 4:25; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
“Repent and be baptized” is not God’s message to you today. We must learn to rightly divide Scripture if we want to know what God is requiring today. Are you saved? If you are trusting in anything but the finished work of the Cross and the ressurection of Christ our Lord, you may want to reconsider the truth of God’s Word, rightly divided!
The Holy Spirit places all believers into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation by one spiritual baptism. Through this work of the Holy Spirit, we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. As stated earlier, the Bible also speaks of other baptisms, some are spiritual in nature and others were ritualistic and played a key part in God’s program with Israel. While those baptisms all had importance in the past, Scripture speaks of this divine baptism as the one and only baptism that is operative today. Therefore, Christians are to practice no other baptism. We must emphasize this spiritual baptism as foundational to the unity of all believers (Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 1:17; 12:12-13; Gal 3:26-27; Eph 4:3-6; Col 2:9-12).
- The believing sinner is baptized (placed) into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13).
- The Holy Spirit has established unity within the body of Christ, which includes the one baptism associated with the one body (Eph 4:3-5).
- The believer’s baptism into the body of Christ identifies the believer with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3-5).
- Israel’s dry passage through the Red Sea is called a baptism (1 Cor 10:1-2) – it identified the called out nation of Israel with Moses who descended into the sea (death) and ascended out of it (resurrection) (Ex 14:26-30).
- Water baptism was NOT part of Paul’s gospel preaching (1 Cor 1:17, cf. Rom 3:25), BUT it was certainly part of Peter’s gospel preaching (Acts 2:38).
- John the Baptist preached the “baptism of repentance” for the “remission of sins” (Mk 1:4).
- The theme of the Kingdom message to Israel was “repent and be baptized” (Mt 3:1-2; 3:5-6).
- Israel’s hope was in becoming a “kingdom of priests” (Ex 19:6), a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9).
- The purpose of John’s baptizing with water was to introduce Israel’s “Priest King” (Jn 1:30-31, cf. Zech 6:12-13) who would “sprinkle clean water” upon her (Ezek 36:24-25) and prepare her to enter into the prophesied Millennial Kingdom (Rev 20:1-6).
All saved people have been made members of the body of Christ by one divine spirit baptism (1Cor 12:13). By this one baptism every member of the body of Christ is identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-4). Paul’s statements concerning this “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:12, and Romans 6:3-4 explain his statement in 1Corinthians 1:14-17 concerning water baptism, that “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” Water baptism, in Paul’s early Acts ministry, was practiced temporarily during the transition period from the Kingdom program to the grace program but eventually ceased along with certain other signs and miracles, including the gifts of tongues and healing. Water baptism is not needed for salvation today and has no place in God’s program in this present dispensation of grace.