Water baptism ended with Jesus's baptism
Updated: Sep 9
I was asked by a friend if I believe in Baptism, and I said yes, of course. His question was actually if I believe in water baptism, I rather explained from the scriptures than giving a yes or no answer.
The scripture is to be explained. First, I need you to know that baptism is not synonymous to water. The word baptism was translated from the Greek word"baptizo" which implies to immerse into, it's to identify with something.
Believers are baptised into Christ: Gal. 3:27 "for as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put in Christ. 1 Cor 10:2 "And were all Baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea". Rom. 6:4 “Therefore we are buried with him by Baptism.....”
Matthew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make people from all nations, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age." Nothing about water in those scriptures as we can see.
MARK 1: 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
Salvation is by believing the gospel of Christ. The facts of the gospel are specific. It is not any message from the bible when believed can give you salvation or eternal life. The gospel that saves from sin is the message of God’s love demonstrated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from death.
When a person hears and believes or express confidence in this message, he gets saved and receives eternal life immediately. He instantly becomes a child of God. His name is eternally written in the book of life. However, there is this practice of water baptism where some believers are taught that unless they get you baptized in water; your salvation is not complete.
Water baptism then becomes a requirement for salvation. It is important to note that water baptism was not started by Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was the one who was baptizing people unto repentance as a symbolism of the true baptism of the Holy Spirit by Christ. John emphatically said that he baptizes with water but Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Water baptism is therefore never a requirement for salvation. The only requirement for salvation is to believe the gospel of Christ. To believe is to get baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said whosoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.
This is the baptism done by the Spirit as prophesied by John the Baptist. When you believe, you are identified or incorporated into Christ by the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water as typology, Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit as reality.
A person does not need baptism by water immersion or baptism by water sprinkling to complete his salvation. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. Therefore, water baptism cannot add or subtract anything from one's salvation. I am saved by grace through faith in Christ. I don’t need water baptism to complete my salvation.
John 3: 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Born of water has wrongly been interpreted as water baptism. They say that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of God. The truth is that water baptism is never a requirement for salvation. The only requirement for salvation is to believe the gospel of Christ. To be immersed in water or to have water sprinkled on you has nothing to do with salvation in Christ.
Our opening text has nothing to do with water baptism. The word “of” before the Spirit is not part of the original, therefore it is italic in the KJV. The word “and” in Greek lexicon is “kai” which can mean a conjunction or an explanatory word which can mean “that is” or “which is”. Water in scriptures is mostly symbolic of the Spirit.
Our opening text can therefore be put as “Except a man be born of water which is the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. Born of water is the same as born of the Spirit. To be born of the Spirit is to be born by God through faith in the gospel of Christ. Water symbolized the Spirit in our opening text.
Jesus said unless you are born of water which is the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. Water was used as symbolic of the Spirit by Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ also said to the Samaritan woman in John 4: 14 that “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus also said in John 7:38- 39 that “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”Water is therefore symbolic of the Spirit. Our opening text is therefore not talking about water baptism. I am born of the Spirit therefore I am in the kingdom of God.
ACTS 18: 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John
Baptism of John was both an activity people undergo and a teaching people were to know. John the Baptist came preaching to the people to believe in the one to come who is the messiah.
He told the people, he himself is not the messiah but one mightier than him is coming whom they should believe. Anybody who believed in the messiah to come was immersed into water as baptism symbolizing the baptism into Christ by the Holy Spirit.
It was said of Apollos that he was mighty in scriptures knowing only the baptism of John. He was eloquent in the doctrine or teaching called the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla had to set Apollos aside and teach him this same gospel of Christ more perfectly.
Therefore, baptism of John was both a practice and doctrine under the Old Testament. The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the practice and doctrine of John’s baptism.
Baptism of John or water baptism was a symbol pointing to the death and resurrection of Christ. It has no power to save a person. No one is saved by water baptism but by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ which is the gospel. No one also loses his salvation by not having water baptism. Baptism has no effect on salvation.
Water baptism is never a requirement for salvation. Jesus does not baptize people with water but by the Holy Spirit. You were baptized in the Holy Spirit the moment you believed the gospel of Christ. I am saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. I am not saved or unsaved by water baptism.
Luke 12: 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
One important thing every bible teacher should not ignore is the contextual meaning of bible words. The bible is not a dictionary where words have omnibus usage. One of such words is baptism. To some people, anytime baptism is mentioned, they think of water baptism. Baptism is not always a practice nor does it always mean immersing people in water.
In our opening text, baptism was used to mean going through suffering which in this case is about the death of Jesus. In Acts 18: 25, baptism was used as a teaching or doctrine, something that was said of Apollos that he was mighty in the scriptures knowing only the baptism of John. Jesus told his disciples that, John baptized with water but he will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
One major usage of baptism is in our identification with Christ in his death. Colossians 2: 12 says, we were buried with him in baptism. Romans 6: 4 says, we are buried with him by baptism into death. These references are not talking about water baptism.
They talk about baptism into Christ by the Holy Spirit through our identification with Christ by faith in him. Therefore, we should not always associate baptism with water. Do not always associate baptism with water without considering the context it was used.
WHEN IS A MAN SAVED?
ROMANS 10: 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
The question of when is a man saved is very significant. It makes us know exactly when a person becomes born again, receives eternal life, forgiveness of sins and becomes a child of God. If you don’t know when a man is saved, you might be saved and not sure or might not be saved but thinks you are saved. You might also assume people are saved but might not be saved.
You are not saved because you decided stop a particular sinful habit. You are not saved because you had water baptism or a pastor prayed for you. You are not saved because you responded to an altar call. You are not saved because you received healing or demons were cast out of you. Though all these things are not bad, it does not make a person saved.
A man is saved when he hears and believes the gospel of Christ. At the moment of expressing faith or trust in the message, that Christ came to die for our sins and resurrected for us to have new life, you are instantly, eternally, permanently, completely saved and regenerated to become a new creation and a child of God. Salvation is not a journey or a process. It is one-time event. If you have believed the gospel of Christ, you are saved forever.
Paul said in 1 Cor. 1:14 "I thank God that I baptized none of you..." Vs 17 "For Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel... "Water Baptism was foreshadowing the Holy Ghost baptism (Baptism into the body of Christ).
Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,......... THIS IS NOT WATER BAPTISM!! Just like Paul, I pray that your eyes of understanding be enlightened.
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