Scriptures teach in Ephesians 4:5 that there is “one baptism”. Of the seven types of baptisms mentioned in the Bible the two that stand out the most are “water baptism” and “spirit baptism”. Another type of baptism, preached less and needed most, and I believe the “one baptism” spoken of in Ephesians 4:5, is “baptism into the body of Christ”. This baptism happens at salvation – God does it, and therefore it is, very probably, the “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5.
Contrary to popular teaching, Spirit baptism happened once on the day of Pentecost shortly after Jesus’ ascension.
- The disciples were told by Jesus that they were to be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5).
- John the Baptist told ALL the people that Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and fire (Luke 3:16).
- Peter, quoting the prophet Joel, said God had poured out His Spirit on ALL flesh (Acts 2:17).
- After this day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, having been poured out on all flesh, began to convince the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
- Today as then, we all– baptized in the Holy Spirit–find the Lord not far off but near, for in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:27-28).
All these voices in the scriptures teach us that God’s Spirit has been poured out on ALL flesh – in Him we all live, move and have our being. Nowhere in scriptures do we find men being baptized in the Spirit after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But men since that day, beginning with the apostles, have been being FILLED with the Holy Spirit. When anything is baptized in a substance it is surrounded by the substance, but it is not filled until the substance comes inside. ALL flesh is baptized in the Holy Spirit but NOT ALL FLESH has been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Water baptism is thought by many to be instrumental in the washing away of sins. Although the scriptures clearly teach that only the blood of Jesus has power to redeem us from our sins, there are some scriptures that, being read without careful consideration may influence a person to believe water baptism takes away our sin.
- I Peter 3:20, in speaking of Noah and his family being saved in the ark, says he was saved “by” water. The Greek text more properly says “through” water, but anyone without the Greek who knows the story of Noah (Genesis 8, 9) knows that he was saved IN the ark, THROUGH the water. It was Noah’s getting into the ark that saved him, not the water. Likewise, we are saved by being baptized into Christ, our ark (Romans 6:3-4).
- Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38, as well as, Romans 10:9-10 & Acts 16:31 & John 3:16 & John 3:36 & Romans 10:13, when read in context all teach REPENTANCE and CONTINUED OBEDIENCE as the way. Matthew 26:28 says, “For this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for the remission of sins”. Jesus’ blood is the cleansing agent applied to our sins as we TRUST and OBEY.
- Mark 16:16 teaches that belief, when accompanied by water baptism saves, and that the man who doesn’t believe shall be damned. But NOTHING is said of the believer who isn’t yet baptized. Baptism as an act of obedience to our Lord should be a part of our early Christian growth, but to try to render condemnation to a believer who can’t be baptized or hasn’t yet been baptized because of lack of knowledge or opportunity is reading to much into this passage. We are saved so that we can obey, we aren’t saved by what we do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Water baptism, done in obedience, is a physical show of a spiritual event – of our being baptized into the body of Christ (Romans 6:3-4).
I believe baptism into the body of Christ is the baptism spoken of in Ephesians 4:5. Let’s examine the scriptures:
- I Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY”. Clearly, in this baptism we are all brought into one body–that of Christ–by the Holy Spirit, not brought into the water by the pastor.
- Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. —We are baptized into Christ, not into water, therefore we have put Him on.
- Romans 6:3-4: “Know ye not that so many of us as were BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” When we are baptized into Jesus Christ are we partakers of His death, His burial and his resurrection. Only then can we live the new life.
When we are in His body, we are partakers of the benefits of His death (Romans 6:3). We then put to death, by faith (Romans 6:11), the deeds of the “old man” (Romans 8:13-14, I Corinthians 12:13). Our “old man”, BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST’S BODY, is dead and buried with Him. We are now resurrected with Him and live in NEWNESS OF LIFE (Romans 6:4, Ephesians 4:24).