Doctrine of Baptisms, (seven)

July 14, 2010



A. Baptism Means Identification or Association.
1. This meaning began in Homer’s time. Homer wrote of the giant Ulysses who took a piece of hot metal and rammed it into Cyclops’s one eye, and called it “baptizing.” Homer’s Odyssey, book 9, used baptism for hot metal identified with water when a smith dipped a piece of hot iron into water.
2. Xenophon said that the Spartans baptized their spears by putting them into a bowl of blood.
3. Euripides used the word for a ship identified with the bottom of the sea when it sank.
4. So “baptize” in the classical Greek meant to identify one thing with another thing so that the characteristic of the original thing was changed into another characteristic by what was identified with it. Therefore, the interpretation of the word “baptism” is identification.
5. The Greek word BAPTIZW has been transliterated “to cleanse by washing, to immerse, to dip, to baptize” Jn 3:26.
6. The Greek word BAPTO means “to identify, to intimately unite, to dip” Lk 16:24. In Rev 19:13 it is used to dye a piece of cloth.
7. The Greek word BAPTISMA is used of ritual identification, Mt 3:7, 21:25; Rom 6:4.
8. The Greek noun BAPTISMOS means “cleaning, washing dishes”; in Heb 6:2 it means “baptisms.”
9. The Greek word BAPTISES refers to one who performs the ritual of baptism, Mt 3:1; 11:11; Mk 6:25.

B. There are Two Categories of Identification in Scripture:
1. An actual identification is called a real baptism.
2. A representative identification is called a ritual baptism. It uses water.

C. There are four real baptisms in the Bible, meaning there is an actual identification with something that has significance.
1. 1 Cor 10:1-2 presents the baptism of Moses, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” This was a real identification in which Moses was identified with the open path through the Red Sea and the Jews were identified with Moses. Water was not involved here. Only Egyptian unbelievers were immersed in the water as a means of death. Identification with the mandates of true leadership is the concept here. Moses was identified with the cloud or Jesus Christ, and the people were identified with Moses.
2. The baptism of the Cross is found in Mt 20:22; Mk 10:3839; Lk 12:50. This baptism is our Lord Jesus Christ being identified with our sins. This refers to the judicial imputation of personal sins to Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ was identified with our personal sins and judged for them, so that Christ became our Savior. As sinners, none of those to whom Christ spoke were qualified to be baptized with sin on the cross.
3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at salvation for Church Age believers only, 1 Cor 12:13, “For by means of one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
a. This baptism is God the Holy Spirit identifying us with the Lord Jesus Christ forever. It is the means of forming the royal family and of breaking the back of the old sin nature as the ruler of human life. We are positionally changed. No water is involved in this baptism. We are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, Eph 4:5; Acts 1:5. The Holy Spirit enters us into union with Christ at the right hand of the Father, making us positionally higher than angels.
b. Rom 6:3-5, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death [positional sanctification]? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into [His] death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life [experiential sanctification]. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, and not only this we shall also be [united with Him] in the likeness of His resurrection [ultimate sanctification].”
c. Gal 3:26-28.
d. The Greek prepositional phrase EN plus the locative of place of CHRISTOS meaning “in Christ” and the prepositional phrase EIS plus the accusative of CHRISTOS meaning “into Christ” both indicate positional sanctification.
e. Characteristics of the baptism of the Spirit.
(1) The baptism of the Spirit is not an experience.
(2) The baptism of the Spirit is not emotional activity or ecstatics.
(3) It is not speaking in tongues.
(4) It is not related to human feeling.
(5) It is not progressive, therefore, it cannot be improved.
(6) It is not related to human merit or works.
(7) It is obtained en toto at the moment of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
(8) The baptism of the Spirit is eternal in nature and cannot be cancelled.
(9) The baptism of the Spirit is known through perception of the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. Therefore, it cannot be applied in a state of ignorance. No one can sin in the sphere of positional truth.
(10) The baptism of the Spirit is not a matter of the believer’s volition.
4. The baptism of fire is the real identification of unbelieving Jews and Gentiles at the end of the Tribulation with fire in Hades, taught in Mt 3:11, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Lk 3:16. The unbeliever is identified with fire forever. The Tribulational unbeliever is identified with the defeat of Satan. All unbelievers are removed from the earth for the start of the Millennium.

D. There are Three Ritual Baptisms. None are extant at the present time. They are representative identifications in which water is used as a training aid to represent some principle of doctrine. Water represents something else in a ritual baptism. The person going into the water must have knowledge of the meaning of the ritual.
1. The baptism of John is found in Mt 3:110; Jn 1:2533. John lived in the ritual age of Israel. The water represented the kingdom of God.
a. There had to be a ceremony never used before to identify a person with the kingdom of God because the King was present. The water represented the kingdom of God as John was preaching it. Putting a person in the water showed that he was identified with the Messiah and His kingdom. It was an encouragement and means of relating doctrine to the fact that the kingdom was being offered during the first Advent. The kingdom was postponed, but this did not change the significance of John’s baptism.
b. There was no spiritual advance in this baptism; only doctrine advances the believer.
c. This baptism was never practiced after John’s death. John, his ministry, and his baptism were unique.
d. In the water, the person testified to his belief that the Messiah would go to the cross to die for his sins, recognizing that because he accepted Christ as Savior before He died and accepted Him as King, he was saved and identified in the Jewish kingdom forever.
2. The baptism of Jesus Christ was unique. John recognized Jesus Christ’s impeccability and refused to baptize Him. Jesus told him the water represented something new, i.e., the Father’s plan and will for the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union–to begin His public ministry and to go to the cross and receive the personal sins of mankind and be judged. So at the beginning of His earthly ministry, Christ identified Himself with the Father’s will.
a. In the water, Jesus was saying He would fulfill God’s plan and live a perfect life under the greatest testing and then go to the Cross as a perfect person and receive the imputation of all personal sins, Mt 3:1317.
b. As He came out of the water, Jesus recognized that when He completed the plan of the Father by being judged for our sins and then dying physically, He would be resurrected, followed by His ascension and session. Coming up out of the water was a picture of His resurrection.
3. Christian water baptism is the ritual testimony of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There had to be a testimony before the Canon was written to explain the baptism of the Spirit. From the beginning of the Church Age until the completion of the Canon, this baptism was necessary to teach the principle of the baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation. But once the Canon was completed this ritual was no longer necessary since the explanation for the baptism of the Spirit is now in writing.
a. The purpose of Jesus Christ on the cross, His resurrection, ascension, session, and the beginning of a new Church Age had to be portrayed with ritual until the Canon was completed.
b. Water baptism was used as a training aid for new, weak believers just as certain temporary spiritual gifts were used to teach until the Canon was completed.
c. In the water, the believer recognized that he was identified with Jesus Christ in His spiritual death, physical death, and burial, i.e., retroactive positional truth. Identification with His spiritual death meant rejection of good and evil. Identification with His physical death and burial meant separation from good and evil.
d. Coming out of the water was recognition of being identified with Christ as He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, i.e., current positional truth.
e. Paul tells the Corinthians he stopped using water baptism because it was a means of dividing believers, compare Acts 2:38, 8:3638, 16:15,33; with 1 Cor 1:11-17. So before Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Cor 12 were written to explain the baptism of the Spirit and identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, water baptism was used to represent what happened at salvation to those who did not yet have the completed Canon.