Different Types of Baptisms in the New Testament

Text: Ephesians 4:5

Paul said there was “one baptism.” Yet the New Testament mentions at least six different types of baptisms. What are they? Which is the “one baptism” that is right for us today?

Baptism of John

  • Preached by John the Baptist (Mark 1:1-5)
  • This was a baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4) – repentance was a prerequisite to this baptism
  • Directed to the people of Israel (Acts 13:24) – Why? … to lead them to Christ (Acts 13:23); he came to prepare the way for Christ (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
  • Jesus was baptized of John (Matthew 3:13-17) – shows that John’s baptism was divinely approved; but it is no longer valid today (Acts 19:3-5)

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

  • John spoke of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come after his time (Matthew 3:11)
  • This was miraculously given – done by God on the basis of His choice; man could not choose to be baptized of the Holy Spirit
  • Only two examples in the NT – apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5,8; 2:1-4) & the household of Cornelius, the first Gentile converts (Acts 10:44-46; 11:1)
  • This baptism was not for salvation, but confirmation (Acts 10:47-48; 11:15-18) – confirmed God’s will

Baptism of Fire

  • John also spoke of this baptism (Matthew 3:11) – this is not the same as Holy Spirit baptism
  • This refers to judgment/punishment – John explained this in the next verse (Matthew 3:12)
  • Jesus was going to be more than just a Savior – He was also going to judge & punish those who would not follow Him (2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

Baptism for the Dead

  • Mentioned in Paul’s discussion of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:29)
  • Those who baptize for the dead (Mormons) misunderstand Paul’s point in this verse – Paul was not speaking of this as an authorized practice, but to illustrate their inconsistency; if there was no resurrection (as some of them believed), baptism for the dead (which some of them practiced) was pointless
  • No one, through his actions, can cause another to be saved – we are individually responsible for our own salvation (Acts 2:40-41; Philippians 2:12)
  • No one can change his place after death (Luke 16:26)

Baptism into Moses

  • Refers to the Red Sea crossing (1 Corinthians 10:2) – the cloud covered them (Psalm 105:39), walls of water surrounded them (Exodus 14:22), they were immersed in water
  • In this “baptism,” they escaped bondage in Egypt (Exodus 6:6) – then began a new life serving God
  • This serves as an example for us (1 Corinthians 10:11) – this is a type (shadow); so what is the anti-type (substance)? [next point]

Baptism of Christ

  • Given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) – proclaimed beginning in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2:38,41)
  • This baptism puts us into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27)
  • This baptism is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21)
  • This is the “one baptism” that Paul mentioned (Ephesians 4:5) – therefore, it is the baptism that we must submit to today

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