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              Spirit Baptism Saves Us, Not Water Baptism!


1. Another objection to the necessity of baptism involves making a 
   distinction between baptism in the Spirit and baptism in water; 
   this view proclaims...
   a. "The baptism which saves is a baptism in the Spirit at the point
      of faith"
   b. "Passages like Ro 6:3-7, Ga 3:27, etc., refer to Spirit baptism,
      not water baptism"

2. Those upholding this view point out...
   a. There are many different types of baptisms in the Bible
   b. We should not assume that water baptism is always the subject 
      under consideration

3. As expressed by one proponent of this view...
   a. "There is a way to distinguish between water baptism and Spirit
      Baptism in those scriptures which do not specifically tell which
      type is being discussed."
   b. "That way is this: if the passage is talking about being placed
      into Christ, then it is talking about Spirit Baptism, not Water
      Baptism, for Spirit Baptism is how we are placed into Christ."
   c. "...in Romans 6, for example, it is obvious that the context is
      being placed into Christ and the passage dwells on the believer's
      identification with Christ, with His death, and with His 
      resurrection. In this passage, the believer is not baptized into
      WATER, but into the death of Christ." - Baptism and Salvation,
      Charles T. Buntin
   -- Of course, this argument presumes the very point to be proven
[There are several problems that I have with this effort to explain
away the necessity of baptism in water for the remission of sins.  To
begin with, the Bible teaches...]


      1. At the very least there are six...
         a. The baptism of Moses (Israel) - 1 Co 10:1-2
         b. The baptism of John, a baptism in water - Mk 1:4-5
         c. The baptism of the Holy Spirit - Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16; Ac 1:5;
            2:1-4; 10:44,45; 11:15-16
         f. The baptism of fire (judgment) - Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16,17
         d. The baptism of suffering (persecution) - Mt 20:20-33; Lk
         e. The baptism of the Great Commission, which was a baptism in
            water - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 8:12-13,35-38; 
            10:47-48; 22:16
      2. Some include two more...
         a. The baptism of Noah, metaphorically speaking, which 
            involved water - 1 Pe 3:20
         b. The baptism of Jesus, which involved water and the Spirit 
            - Mt 3:16-17

      1. In describing the unity of the Spirit...
         a. Paul proclaims there is one baptism - Ep 4:3-7
         b. Just as there is only one Lord, one faith, one hope, etc.
      2. To which of the six (or eight) baptisms was Paul referring?
         a. I believe we can safely rule out all but two
         b. The issue boils down to this:  Is the one baptism of 
            Ep 4:5...
            1) The baptism of the Holy Spirit?
            2) The baptism of the Great Commission?
            -- Or might there actually be a connection between these
               two, with the end result there being one baptism with
               two elements:  water and the Spirit?

[Whichever, we cannot have two or more baptisms; there is only one 
baptism!  Now let me explain why regarding the one baptism...]


      1. This is the baptism...
         a. Commanded by Jesus
            1) For people of all nations - Mk 28:19
            2) For every person in the world - Mk 16:15-16
         b. Commanded by the apostles in response to the gospel
            1) As proclaimed to the Jews at Pentecost - Ac 2:38
            2) As commanded by Peter to the Gentiles - Ac 10:48
         -- Indeed, every example of conversion described in detail in
            the book of Acts involves this baptism!
      2. If there is only one baptism...
         a. It must involve this one, for it is commanded of all who
            would come to Christ!
         b. Otherwise we must throw it out (as some have done)

      1. This is a difficult subject, about which the Bible actually
         says very little...
         a. John promised that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit
            - Mt 3:11
         b. Jesus promised that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit 
            - Ac 1:5
         c. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is then explicitly 
            mentioned in just three places
            1) At the conversion of Cornelius - Ac 10:44-45; 11:15-16
            2) Which reminded Peter of Pentecost - Ac 11:15-16; 2:1-4
      2. This has led to much confusion about what the baptism of the
         Spirit is...
         a. Some say that it was an event that occurred only twice
            1) On the day of Pentecost, and only upon the apostles 
               - Ac 2
            2) At the conversion of Cornelius and his household, the 
               first Gentiles - Ac 10,11
         b. Some say it is an event that occurs at every conversion
            1) When a person is saved, they are that moment "baptized"
               with the Holy Spirit
            2) Occurs to all who become Christians, and no miraculous
               manifestations need be present
         c. Others say it is an event that occurs after conversion
            1) A "second work of grace" that must be sought diligently
            2) Many people understand "speaking in tongues" to be a 
               sign of this "baptism of the Holy Spirit"
            3) Some even say that it is necessary to be truly saved
      3. I am persuaded the baptism of the Holy Spirit...
         a. Refers to the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of
            Pentecost - Ac 2:1-21
         b. Was a one-time event, but with ramifications lasting
            throughout the gospel age
            1) In which the Holy Spirit is now available in some way to
               all whom God calls through the gospel - 2 Th 2:13-14;
               Tit 3:7
            2) For those who receive the Spirit, the Spirit then 
               empowers whom He wills to the degree He wills - 1 Co 12:
               a) For the servants of God used in the revelation and 
                  confirmation of His Word, the Spirit imparted 
                  "spiritual gifts" (this work of the Spirit was 
                  temporary, and ended once God's revelation was 
               b) For all of the servants of God, the Spirit serves as
                  the "instrumental agent" by which God strengthens and
                  blesses them (this work of the Spirit continues 
                  today, and will until Christ returns)
         -- This view presumes that one receives the Spirit at baptism
            (see below) - Ac 2:38-39; 1 Co 12:13; Ti 3:5-7
      4. So while at first there may be have been two baptisms spoken
         of by Jesus...
         a. The baptism of the Great Commission - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16
         b. The baptism of the Spirit - Ac 1:5
         ...once the Spirit was poured out, only "one baptism" remained,
         which was that baptism commanded of people in every nation!

[Having declared the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" a promise that was
fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, let me emphasize concerning the
"baptism of the Great Commission"...]


      1. Is evidenced by conversion of the Ethiopian - Ac 8:35-38
      2. Is made clearer by the command of Peter - Ac 10:47-48
      3. Is alluded to by Paul and Peter in their epistles - Ep 5:26;
         1 Pe 3:20-21

      1. Is indicated when Jesus declared that one must be "born again"
         - Jn 3:3-5
         a. To be born "of water and the Spirit"
         b. Not two births, but one birth with two elements (water and
      2. Is made clearer when Paul wrote to Titus - Ti 3:5-6
         a. God saved us "through the washing of regeneration and 
            renewing of the Holy Spirit"
         b. That washing (a clear allusion to baptism) involved a 
            regeneration and renewing of the Spirit!
      3. Is seen in Paul's remarks to the Corinthians - 1 Co 12:13
         a. By the Spirit were we baptized into the one body
         b. In baptism, the Spirit not only regenerates, but 
            incorporates us into the body of Christ!

[The baptism of the Great Commission is more than just an immersion in
water.  At the moment the penitent believer is lowered into the water,
the Spirit is very much at work in renewing, regenerating, and 
incorporating us into the Body of Christ.  In other words...]


      1. As Paul explains in Ro 6:3-7
         a. Baptism into Christ is a burial into His death
         b. In baptism we are crucified with Christ
         c. In baptism we thus die to sin, and rise to walk in newness
            of life
      2. Some contend Paul is teaching what water baptism symbolizes...
         a. That it pictures what took place when we were saved before
         b. That it depicts the Spirit baptism which occurred at the
            moment of faith
         -- But if so, then we have two baptisms, and Paul taught there
            was only one!
      3. Others say Paul is describing Spirit baptism...
         a. That water baptism (i.e., the baptism of the Great 
            Commission) is not even under consideration
         b. That this passage is depicting what happens before water
         -- Again, we would have two baptisms, not one!
      4. This passage describes what happens when a person is baptized
         into Christ...
         a. Since there is only one baptism, it must be referring to
            that baptism
         b. Since the one baptism is the baptism of the Great 
            Commission, Paul is describing the spiritual significance
            of what takes place when one is baptized in water!

      1. The one baptism (of the Great Commission) involves...
         a. A cutting away of sin - Co 2:11-13
         b. A putting on of Christ - Ga 3:27
      2. Again, some contend these passages are describing...
         a. "Spirit baptism" at the point of faith
         b. Not the baptism of the Great Commission
         -- But this makes two baptisms, when there is only one!
      3. Since the baptism of the Great Commission involves both water
         and the Spirit...
         a. There is no reason God (i.e., the Spirit) could not be at
            work when a person is immersed in water
         b. God has chosen to use baptism in water to be the point in
            time in which His Spirit does His work of regeneration and
            renewal! - Ti 3:5; Ac 22:16


1. Some people want to "have their cake and eat it too"...
   a. They want to say passages like Ro 6:3-7; Ga 3:27; Co 2:11-13 are
      describing "Spirit baptism", not "water baptism"
   b. But then appeal to these passages when they seek to describe
      "water baptism" as symbolic of "Spirit baptism" which has already

2. Note well:  If these passages are not discussing "water baptism"
   (i.e., the baptism of the Great Commission)...
   a. We have no Scripture that tells us what is the true significance
      and meaning of the baptism commanded by Christ and His apostles!
   b. The Lord has commanded water baptism, with no explanation as to
      what it means!
   -- Any explanation as to the meaning and purpose of the baptism of
      the Great Commission is pure conjecture and without any 
      scriptural basis!

3. The "unity of the Spirit" proclaims there is only one baptism...
   a. Not two baptisms, one of the Spirit at the time of salvation, and
      one later for some unexplained reason
   b. But one baptism, involving both water and the Spirit, in response
      to the preaching of Christ and His apostles

4. This one baptism...
   a. Is a rebirth involving both water and the Spirit - Jn 3:5
   b. Is for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit 
      - Ac 2:38; 22:16
   c. Is a baptism in water - Ac 8:35-38; 10:47-48
   d. Involves the Spirit incorporating us into the body of Christ 
      - 1 Co 12:13
   e. Is a burial into the death of Christ in which we are crucified
      with Him - Ro 6:3-7
   f. Clothes us with Christ - Ga 3:27
   e. Is a spiritual circumcision, in which our sins are cut away 
      - Co 2:11-13
   f. Is a washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, who
      was poured out as promised by Jesus - Ti 3:5-7; Ac 1:5; 2:1-4
   g. Saves us, not through some physical cleansing, but by the 
      resurrection of Jesus! - 1 Pe 3:21

Should we be surprised that the Great Commission of our Lord contains a
great command having great significance?

   "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
   them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
   Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded
   you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
   Amen. (Mt 28:19-20)

   And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel
   to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved;
   but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mk 16:15-16)

   'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' (Ac 22:16)
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