Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 07/30/2023
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The 5 Baptisms in the Bible
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”Mt. 28:19
There are five baptisms mentioned in the Bible; baptism in water, repentance, Holy Spirit, fire, and suffering. Today we will look briefly at each in order to bring some clarity and understanding to the subject of baptism.
The word in Greek is “baptizo” which means: immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i. e. fully wet); can also be translated “wash”.
The word is only found in the New Testament, but as we will see, conceptually it is evident in the Old Testament in the form of several typologies.
Water baptism is perhaps the most controversial because some insist that baptism is a requirement for salvation, sighting the above verse (Mt. 28:19) and I Pet. 3:21, and Acts 2:38.
Suffice to say...just get baptized!
It is difficult to say how water baptism came into being. As far as we know from the Scriptures John the Baptist was first recorded to practice this rite. There were, however, some ceremonial washing and cleansing rites in Judaism that it may have come from.
The early church typically practiced baptism very shortly after a confession of faith; the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36) and Cornelius (Acts 10:47)
Though we don’t see the practice of water baptism in the OT, we do see much in the way of typology. Creation is baptized out of water in Gen. 1:2,3; mankind is rescued from the great flood in Gen. 7&8, the passing through the Red Sea in Ex. 14 and the crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3. Also, in Lev. 8:21 it was necessary that the offering be washed with water before being burnt. Hmmmm!
Baptism of Repentance:
Is often associated with water baptism because it is associated with John; “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mk.1:14
Heb. 6:1 calls them, “repentance from dead works”. John says, in Mt. 3:8, and Lk. 3:8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
We understand, and often emphasize that repentance is a very important aspect of our new life in Christ.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
So much to say. Let’s begin by looking at Acts 1:5 where Jesus says, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit…” Shortly following, in Acts 2, the promise of this event takes place. Later, in Acts 10:44, we see Cornelius and his whole household baptized in the Holy Spirit before they were even baptized in water.
Some segments of the church insist that when salvation comes it’s a full package deal with the Holy Spirit included. I believe that Acts 19:2-6 refutes that teaching. Consider the full immersion of the Holy Spirit and its consequences, when He takes up residence.
Suffice to say, the Holy Spirit is a gift, (Acts 10:45) and Paul says, “earnestly desire the best gifts.” I Cor. 12:31
Baptism of Fire:
Although this could be associated with the “tongues, as of fire…” which appeared on the disciples in Acts 2:3, I believe that it is better intended to mean a refining fire. It was John the Baptist who said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Mt. 3:11 and Lk. 3:16. Peter gives greater clarity on this when he says, “the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.” I Pt. 1:7. We may also consider I Cor. 3:15, “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
When the metallurgist refines gold, they turn up the heat to bring up the dross. Then they scoop off the dross, and when he can see his face in the reflection of the gold, he knows that it is pure.
Baptism of Suffering:
This is the one everyone desires!!!
This is only translated in the NLT; Mk. 10:38, 39; and Lk. 12:50
In each instance Jesus is speaking of His impending suffering on the cross. Praise be to God that we will never have to endure that degree of suffering. But suffering, similar to the baptism with fire, is a necessary dynamic that forms us into Christ’s likeness.
Rom. 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Heb. 12:7 “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”
As believers we should embrace the full immersion of our engagement with Christ since He is fully committed to us. Some forms of baptism are an outward expression of our inner conviction, such as water baptism. Others, as we have seen in Scripture are a transcendent force that comes upon a believer at the kiros moment of God’s sovereign timing and our openness to receive. Still others are part and parcel of our life journey. How we navigate them will determine much.
Paul encourages us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Eph. 6:10
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