One Baptism or Two?

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The Apostle Paul had it right: there is only one baptism that saves. To the surprise of many, it is not water baptism.

A caller to our broadcast suggested that both water baptism and spiritual baptism were necessary for salvation. With this as his premise, he wondered why Paul used the phrase “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5. 

Paul does have it right. There is only one baptism that saves. To the surprise of many, it is not water baptism. To the Corinthians who wrestled with this very question, Paul was very clear concerning water baptism: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17).

The Holy Spirit is the One who regenerates us and baptizes us into the body of Christ. This means we have been baptized, or placed, into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection according to Romans 6. It also means we have been added to the church as members of Christ’s body. Though we are many, Paul wrote, we form one body.

There are many people in this world who have been baptized in water. Simon the Sorcerer was one such person. Luke recorded in Acts 8 that Simon believed and was baptized. Did this act save him? Of course not. He went through the motions in hopes to add to his mystic and his financial empire. Peter called him out saying that he was still captive to sin. Water baptism didn’t change his heart. Just because someone has been baptized in water doesn’t mean that person is saved.

However, when it comes to spiritual baptism, here is a claim that is true. Everyone who has been baptized by the Spirit of Christ into the body of Christ is saved. John the Baptist said it best; “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8). It’s the “one baptism” by the Holy Spirit that matters. Let’s rejoice together in His work.

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