Baptisms

Wednesday, Jan. 7

We generally think of baptism as water baptism. But baptism is used in other ways in the New Testament, too. Mark 1:8 refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12;12-13 talks about being baptized into the body, meaning into the church body. Romans 6:3 speaks of being baptized into Christ. All of these have to do with immersion into, or total identification with. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the fullness of the Holy Spirit coming to dwell in the believer. Acts 2 describes this as the Holy Spirit filled the first believers on the Day of Pentecost. Baptism into the church body means that a person is totally merged into the body, or becomes a vital part of the church body. Baptism into Christ means that we are united with Him, much the same way as the Holy Spirit indwelling us. In one sense of the word, water baptism is the least significant of all of these, simply because it is a picture of the real baptism. It illustrates the real baptism. Not that it’s not significant. It is a visible way to demonstrate what has happened inside, the divine transformation that takes place at the point of conversion. Being immersed in water pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It depicts the vicarious work of Christ in ushering us into a relationship with God that was lost due to sin. The act of being water baptized is a sign or testimony to the world of what has already taken place. It is like the Lord’s table. We don’t actually eat Jesus’ body or drink his blood; it is a picture of being identified with Him in His death. All of the above mentioned baptisms take place at conversion. Only water baptism, which merely pictures what happened, happens at some later time.

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