The Scriptures have a lot to say about “baptism,” but many seem to think it all pertains to water baptism. Even on the subject of water baptism, there is a vast difference of opinion among religious bodies as to its significance. Some believe strongly that water baptism is necessary unto salvation, others that it is a testimony of salvation, others that it is necessary for membership and service.
There is also a great difference of how it should be administered. In other words, the mode or manner in which it is performed. Does water baptism mean sprinkling? Does it mean immersion? Does it mean pouring? Should infants be baptized? Should persons be baptized more than once? The questions that could be advanced are numerous, but none of them really are as important as some believe.
Really, when one considers the doctrine of “baptism,” it must be realized that the subject embodies a lot more than just “water.” Anyone desiring a rich study should pursue the truth concerning all the baptisms taught in the Old and New Testaments and especially as presented in the epistles of Paul. For example, the Lord mentioned three in one verse of Scripture, Matthew 3:11. The Lord spoke of his death on Calvary as a baptism (Luke 12:50). He made this statement quite a while after He had been baptized in the river Jordan by John. I Corinthians 10:2 tells us that the children of Israel “were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”
However, the most important question should be, what is God’s plan for today in regard to baptism? Important and key verses to study are, Romans 6:1-4, I Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 4:4-6, and Colossians 2:10-23. When a person “rightly divides the word of truth,” (II Tim. 2:15), it will be clear that “water” baptism was in God’s program as long as He dealt principally with the nation of Israel.
The true church today is the body of Christ in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Eph. 2:14-18). God’s divine method of placing a believing person into the Body of Christ is the Holy Spirit baptizing that person into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. “Water” baptism is not necessary today either for salvation or a testimony. God saves us when we are “washed” in the blood of Christ and raised into a newness of life. Our testimony should not be a ceremony or ritual but an every day life that testifies to God’s saving and keeping power through the Lord Jesus Christ.
When a person sees that he or she has been placed into the body of Christ by the baptism for this age, the baptism into His death by the Holy Spirit, then earthly ordinances become meaningless. What is important is that we are “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10), and that we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
“Thorny was the crown that He wore,
And the cross that His body o’er came
Grevious were the sorrows He bore,
But He suffered thus not in vain
May I to that Fountain be led,
Made to cleanse my sins here below
Wash me in the blood that He shed
And I shall be whiter than snow.
Father, I have wandered from Thee,
Often has my heart gone astray;
Crimson do my sins seem to me
Water cannot wash them away.
Jesus to that Fountain of Thine,
Leaning on Thy promise, I go;
Cleanse me by Thy washing divine, and
I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than the snow;
Whiter than the snow.
Wash me In the blood of the Lamb
And I shall be whiter than snow.”