Water baptism is an ordinance or sacrament of the church of God. It is symbolic of a spiritual death and resurrection. We have died to the flesh and the world, we have been buried in a water grave, which symbolizes a cleansing of the filth of the flesh; and, we have been resurrected in Christ Jesus to a newness of life.
Hebrews 6:1-31 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
Let us take note of what the scriptures teach us.
First, we are exhorted to progress forward in our understanding and build upon those things which we have already learned.
Secondly, we should not need to be relaying the foundational beliefs which are mentioned here in verse one and two.
Thirdly, the “doctrine of baptisms” is stated in the plural. The letter “s” is put on the word “baptism” to convey the understanding that there is more than one.
A study of the Holy Scriptures will reveal that the Bible teaches two baptisms, not one and not many. Satan is always trying to take away or add to the commandments of God. If God teaches us that there are two baptisms, Satan wants us to think that there is only one on that there are many. Satan opposes everything God says.
In this lesson we will examine the teaching of the church of God concerning the baptism of water. Afterwards, we will examine the teaching of the church of God concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Mark 1:6-86 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
We have set before us the teaching of two baptisms.
John’s mission was to baptize with water teaching repentance..
Jesus would come and baptize with the Holy Ghost.
1 Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
Peter teaches us that this baptism of water is symbolic of our being washed from all our sins. It is compared symbolically to the saving of Noah and his family when the world was cleansed of all its wicked people. It is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Water baptism does not save us from our sins, but it is part of our obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:18-2018 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
This scripture gives us the proper invocation for the minister to use during the baptismal ceremony. We are commanded to observe all things which were taught by Jesus Christ. The ministry of the New Testament was commanded to baptize.
John baptized with water. Jesus’ disciples baptized with water while Jesus witnessed the ceremony. The ministers of the early church in the book of Acts also baptized converts with water.
Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, 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."
Repentance must precede baptism; thus we understand than infants who are not capable of having godly sorrow for their sins and true repentance are excluded from this ordinance. We are also instructed by these words that a heart change produced by repentance must be the experience of the believer prior to baptism.
1 Corinthians 1:14-17 "for Christ sent me not to baptize."
The obvious message is that the ministry of reconciliation, of restoring the lost soul to its Savior carries a greater priority than that of baptism.
Mark 16:16 "believe not shall be damned."
The scripture does not say that if you are not baptized you will be damned, but rather that if your do not believe unto salvation, you will be damned.
John 4:1,2 "though Jesus himself baptized not."
If baptism was essential to the effecting of salvation, Jesus would have baptized all those who came to Him and believed on Him.
Cornelius – saved, filled with the Holy Ghost, then baptized. In this real life experience, we see that this devout man experienced a relationship with God which followed certain steps of faith. First, he was saved by which means and faith he became a devout man. Secondly, he was sanctified by the receiving of the Holy Ghost. Thirdly, this man heard the instructions of the full plan of salvation and was obedient unto baptism as a public testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Acts 19:1-7 John’s disciples were re-baptized.
The disciples of John, who no doubt were baptized by John, were baptized again once they heard the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation is based upon the initial work of repentance and believing in Jesus Christ. All other acts of faith and obedience must follow true repentance.
1 Corinthians 15:29 "Baptized for the dead"
Paul was not confirming the need to be baptized for the dead, as was erroneously taught by the Maccabees, who were prominent Jewish leaders before the time of Christ; rather, he was proving the point that there is life after death (as even the Maccabees acknowledged). These all taught that there is a second resurrection to be experienced in the future of the soul.
Colossians 2:12 "buried with him in baptism…risen with him"
Here is a clear interpretation of the sacrament of baptism. We are symbolically buried with Jesus Christ (in this watery grave) and then we are "risen with him" into a newness of life. This is a public testimony of our allegiance to Christ.
Acts 8:35-39 "they both went down into the water"
Here is the mode and method of baptism. These two men found sufficient water that they both could wade out into the water to a sufficient depth that Philip could immerse the Ethiopian Eunuch in the watery grave of baptism.
Matthew 3:13-17, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.”
Jesus was already holy, but it was needful that He set an example of a public testimony to the world. It was not necessary for Jesus to be baptized except for the need to set an example for others to follow.
Romans 6;1-5, “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.”
There is a symbolic sequence of events in the plan of salvation, i,e, die-bury-resurrected-new life. These spiritual events are portrayed in the act of water baptism. Paul gives a plain statement of the mandate and mode of baptism.
Have you repented of your sins?
Have you been baptized by a true minister of the church of God who has authority to administer the sacraments of Jesus Christ in His church.