Our Baptismal Foundation (Lesson #1)


Text: 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:5

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit”

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism”

This is the first in a series of lessons on the doctrine of baptism in the Bible. As we explore this important subject, let us determine to discover what the Bible actually says about baptism, rather than what various denominations teach concerning it.

As a Mid-Acts dispensationalist, I am asked occasionally what I believe about baptism. Knowing that the questioner is referring to my position on water baptism, I will sometimes answer, “I don’t believe a person can be saved without being baptized”.

This reply usually evokes a silent stare. They don’t know if I hold to baptismal regeneration, or if I’m just pulling their leg. Eventually, I share with them the Bible truth contained in the above texts, about the waterless baptism that joins us to Christ. I then inform them of another Bible truth concerning baptism, that generally prompts the reply of, “I didn’t know that”. What I tell them is that there are at least 12 different baptisms spoken of in the Scriptures, and only 5 of these have any association with water.

It is my intention to present an adequate, but not exhaustive amount of basic information pertaining to each of the twelve baptisms, so the lay person may be equipped with a sound Biblical basis for discussing this key doctrine with others. Future lessons will address the various baptisms, but let us begin with that baptism which is truly foundational to our salvation.

Of the various and wonderful ministries of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the believer, the Spirit’s work of baptizing the believer into Christ is indeed a foundational act. Our salvation provides for us not only forgiveness of sins and escape from eternal punishment, but also our union, or identification, with our Redeemer.

This issue of identification is key to our understanding of the various baptisms in the Bible, as you will see. Our focus in this lesson will be on the baptizing (identifying) work of the Holy Spirit.

Five References to Holy Spirit Baptism

1) 1 Corinthians 12:13 This baptizing work of the Holy Spirit has to do with the forming of the Body of Christ by the addition of living members. The quiet work of the Spirit baptizes (places/identifies) the believer into union with the Body, and by association, with Christ, the Head of the Body.

It is this operation of the Holy Spirit that establishes every position, or standing, of the child of God. This is, indeed, our baptismal foundation, and it has nothing, whatsoever, to do with water.

Note: The Church is not a club or religious organization. It is, rather, a living entity, which has been made to drink (participate, live, commune) from the common wellspring of the Holy Spirit.

2) Romans 6:3 This, too, is a Spirit baptism (No water) for it plainly says “baptized into Christ” and “baptized into His death”.

By reason of our identification with Christ, we also are reckoned to have partaken of His death. All that Christ is and all that He has done, is reckoned, by God, unto us because we are “in Him” by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. Read verses 4-10.

Christ died unto sin (the nature) once, thereby paying the penalty for the results of the sin nature…our sins. And, being raised from the dead, He destroyed sin’s power over Himself. Therefore, we who have been baptized (identified, united) into Christ are also identified with His death, His burial, and His resurrection life. Therefore, the power and dominion of the Adamic, sin nature is also broken for us. We no longer must serve (or be a slave) to sin. No water could ever accomplish that.

3) Colossians 2:10-13 This passage is a helpful cross reference to Romans 6. The “circumcision made without hands” is obviously an operation that only God can perform in the believer. It is this operation that remedies the issue of our sins, on the basis of the circumcision of Christ.

The Biblical definition of death is separation. For example, physical death is when a person’s soul and spirit leave their body. Circumcision, in Scripture, is symbolic of separation, a “cutting off”. The “circumcision of Christ” is a reference to His death for sin.

The death of Christ is the means by which the body of sins can be put off, so much so, that God says we are dead (cut off from, separated from) indeed unto sin but alive unto Him (Romans 6:10- 11). Verse 12 confirms, again, the foundational aspect of our identification (spiritual baptism) with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The dominion and power of sin is broken for everyone who is in Christ. For everyone who has placed their trust in the finished cross work of Christ, all trespasses and sins are no longer an issue with God. They are all forgiven, and we have been quickened (made alive) with our Savior.

4) Galatians 3:27 Here, we find something that has been “put on” in contrast to our previous text, where the body of sins was “put off’. All those who have been baptized (identified with, placed into union with) into Christ (not into water) have put on Christ. We who have believed now possess His life and are joint heirs with Him, because of the wondrous work of God the Holy Spirit, in placing us into eternal union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

5) Ephesians 4:5 Today, there is one baptism only, which unites a person with Christ, and that is the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. In the dispensation of God’s Grace, there is no ceremony, no ritual, no purification rites (as in the case of the water baptisms associated with the Mosaic Law) that is necessary, or required, for a right relationship with God.

The One baptizing work of the Holy Spirit is our Baptismal Foundation that vitally connects us to our Lord and to each other, as members of His Body. We are complete in Him! By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. God’s Grace does not ask for anything other than the response of faith, in order to have your sins forgiven and to gain eternal life. To add anything to Christ’s perfect work of redemption is to subtract from it.

Larry Gabbard Grace Bible Church Bruce, Wisconsin


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Categories Bible Studies | Tags: | Posted on November 3, 2014

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