HOW MANY BAPTISMS? ONE BAPTISM – WATER OR SPIRIT?

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Answers to Bible Questions

Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible

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The following articles are taken from a booklet titled “The Truth about the Truth,” published by GRACE GOSPEL PUBLISHERS and written by Pastor Robert Hanna. PART ONE OF A SERIES

(Q)  HOW MANY BAPTISMS?

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:5

(A)  Should the Christian believer be sprinkled or immersed? Should the ceremony be performed as a means to salvation or as a testimony for Christ or to “follow Christ’s example?” Should the water be drawn from a tap or imported from the river Jordan for the sake of authenticity? Such questions have been the source of much contention and conflict among and between church organizations for centuries. It is one of the most divisive issues in the history of Christianity. John the Baptist baptized the Lord Jesus Christ in water. The apostle Peter declared, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

But another apostle spoke of water baptism. To a congregation of saints of God, he declared, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (I Cor. I: 17). Shall we be disobedient to Peter and refuse water baptism? Or shall we ignore the statement of Paul, minimizing the significance of the practice, and submit to it?

In considering the instruction by Peter to “be baptized every one of you”, let us ask ourselves whether we are members of the house of Israel who “dwell at Jerusalem”. Were we present in Jerusalem “when the day of Pentecost was fully come” and “that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” was miraculously fulfilled in part? Of course, we were not. Therefore, Peter was not speaking to you and to me.

On the other hand, the apostle Paul made his statement as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11: 13). He explained his ministry as being “according to MY GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).

Peter did not mislead the Jews at Pentecost. Paul was faithful in his words of instruction to his hearers who were not of the house of Israel but were saved under the dispensation of grace, even as you and I.

(Q)  ONE BAPTISM – WATER OR SPIRIT?

Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 12: 13

(A)  Having been accepted in the Beloved One, and knowing that we are members of the Body of Christ, we are assured by our apostle (Paul) that we are “of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30). “For by ONE Spirit are we all BAPTIZED into ONE body.” Can this be water baptism? “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” (Rom. 6:4). Can this be water baptism? “One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM” (Eph.4:5). Can the ONE baptism by the ONE Spirit into ONE body – can this be water baptism? Surely this was not accomplished by a humanly-ordained human minister of the gospel in the sanctuary of a human church organization!

Paul besought the Galatians to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty where-with Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5: I). Every shackle has been struck from our limbs. Every fetter has been loosened and cast aside. We cannot work to obtain salvation. We cannot work to retain salvation. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5- 7). Can this washing be that of physical baptism in water?

Under the law there were many washings. But – “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). “If by grace, then is it no more of works” (Rom. 11:6). It is the human tendency to want to “do something” in our own strength. But under the dispensation of the grace of God there is no provision for this self-indulgent approach. “For BY GRACE are ye saved … NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Our freedom was bought – purchased in blood by the suffering of the living God. Enjoy it!

THIS SERIES WILL BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO.

May God bless all who read these articles!

Maranatha (Lord Come)

John

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