WHAT mATTERS? ONE BAPTISM
There are seven doctrines listed in Ephesians 4:4-7 that we are to be unified in. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” But as I thought about each of these seven things it struck me that I could think of not just one, but several different baptisms spoken of in scripture.
First there was the Old Testament baptism or washing, expressed as an idea of cleansing from, or because of, sickness, impurity, sin, or contact with the dead. Leviticus 15:1-13 explains how this was to be done. Then we read about John the Baptist’s baptisms of repentance for remission of sins directed to the Jews in Luke 3:1-17. Next, we read of Jesus’ water baptism of identification with humanity in Matthew 3:13-17. Then we see the command to those who have believed the Gospel and have been born again, to be water baptized as an outward sign of obedience to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. We see other, non-physical, or positional baptisms spoken of in the scriptures, such as being baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3-4) and the baptism of identification with His burial and resurrection (Colossians 2:12.) Second to last is the baptism promised by Jesus in Acts 1:5 “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” This is the baptism of God giving the Holy Spirit to all who have believed the Gospel.
There is one baptism left, spoken of in scripture that we haven’t mentioned that is also the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5. That baptism is a spiritual baptism by means of the Holy Spirit “into” the body of Christ. Listen to 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” and Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” What matters is not an outward act of obedience by you in water baptism, as important as that is, rather, it is an inward act of repentance and belief in the finished work of Jesus by His death, burial, and resurrection, that brings salvation that matters. He will then perform the “one baptism” making us individual members of the body of Christ, known as “the church.” Let’s not confuse the other baptisms to the one baptism that makes us unified in the body of Christ.