The Apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians 4 that there is “one baptism” (verse 5). However, the Bible, specifically the New Testament, mentions more than one kind of baptism. Which baptism are we talking about, then?
John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize the ones listening to him with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). Does that mean that we are today baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire? In actuality, Jesus referred to the moment at Pentecost (Acts 2), and the giving of the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10). This is known by harmonizing what Peter says about these two events in Acts 11:17. There is no evidence that every single believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit. We have an indwelling of the Spirit (Rom. 8:11, 1 Cor. 3:16, Jas. 4:5, 1 John 3:24), but we do not receive the same full measure as the Apostles and early disciples did. Thus, Spirit baptism is not the one baptism mentioned in Ephesians 4.
The one baptism we are left with is precisely what we find within the Gospels and Acts - water immersion baptism. Most might not consider it to be very important. In the usual denominations, baptism is not administered in order that a person might be saved, only that they might join that particular denomination, whatever it may be. Many in the religious world have trivialized the concept of water baptism for remission of sins, but that is exactly the baptism that is defined in the New Testament. The “One Baptism” is water immersion for the reason of remission of sins.
Jesus says in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” This implies a very serious consequence to the one denying that baptism has anything to do with salvation. Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist; not to join his sect or teaching, but to do as His Father willed. John at first said, “I need to be baptized by you”, but Jesus said to him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:14-15).
If Jesus was supposed to be baptized, how can we deny our need for it? Further reading in the New Testament tells us that baptism is for “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), saves us (1 Peter 3:21), and that it is the moment wherein we die with Christ (Romans 6:3-4). The meaning of the Greek word, baptize (transliterated into “baptism) literally means, a “burial”. What sense does it make for us to say that we have died with Christ before we are buried with Him?
There is much dishonesty about this subject in the religious world today. What baptism have you been baptized with? Is it the One Baptism, or some other one? Only the One Baptism will play any part in our salvation. -Steven McCrary