Monday, September 27, 2010


Hope, my granddaughter-in-law, was baptized yesterday, and although I could not be there, reports say there was much rejoicing over the blessed event. When I asked Hope why she was being baptized again since she was raised as a pastor's daughter, she said that she kept feeling like the Lord wanted her to do it. So out of obedience to the Lord's will, she "took the plunge." I am not sure what others think about her action, but I see it as a public statement that Jesus is her Lord, and she desires to please Him. Praise God!

I have been baptized four times: as an infant (1942), as a conditional baptism at eighteen when I became a practicing Catholic (1960), as a born-again believer desiring to get a Church of Christ member off my back (1971), and as an act of obedience and public testimony of my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life (1971). Since then, I have discovered that there is an apparent contradiction in the Scriptures concerning the number of baptisms. In Ephesians 4:5, the Word says there is only one baptism. And yet, there is a baptism into Christ's death (Matt. 20:22; 26:27-28; 26:39; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12; etc.); John's baptism of repentance (Mk. 1:4; Lk. 3:3; Acts 1:22; 10:37; 13:24; 18:25; 19:3; etc.); and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5; 2:38). Because the Word is perfect, there can be no contradictions, so what is the explanation?

For me, the answer is found in the context of Ephesians 4:4-6. Ephesians is a letter that is focused upon the Church as Christ's body. In chapter four, Paul begins by requesting his readers live in humility and unity, based upon the fact that Christians need one another. The foundation for unity is seven fold: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. According to the passages I referenced above, the one baptism involves several factors. It is the work of the Holy Spirit Who places us into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection at the moment of our regeneration (Jn. 3:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-13). It is the result of the Spirit's conviction and our acceptance of the gift of faith to believe in Jesus (Jn. 16:7-11; Eph. 2:8-9). Public baptism in water is not what is being discussed; it is simply a testimony of what has already taken place the instant we were saved. And, John's baptism had nothing to do with the Church; John was calling Jews to repentance, and what he did was a ceremonial washing symbolizing the cleansing of the soul motivated by repentance of sin (Heb. 9:10).

So, while Hope and I have been baptized with water more than once, the one baptism we are counting on is the baptism of the Holy Spirit into Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Most church members have been baptized in water, but unfortunately, not all of them have been baptized into Christ. If you have never trusted in the finished work of Christ on your behalf, you have not been baptized into Christ. You can change that the moment you place your faith in Him.

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