Understanding water baptism As we grow in God’s word we will begin to see how in God’s word there is a literal understanding (outward) and a spiritual understanding (inward). We will also begin to see how God uses created things, things that are seen, to help us understand spiritual truths, things that are not seen. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Before we start this study lets look at the two manifestations of baptisms. The first is the baptism of John which is the literal baptism given to us as a picture to help us understand the spiritual baptism found in Christ. Matthew 21:25 "The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?'' And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, `From heaven,' He will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?' It’s in the baptism of Christ that we find salvation and cleaning from sin, inwardly, dealing with the conscience. Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to them all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. To begin this study lets look at a verse in Ephesians to help us understand the one essential baptism. Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. In this verse God is speaking about one baptism. Do you think He is referring to the water baptism? Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Do you think that being placed under water is the baptism of the Holy Spirit He is referring to here or is it something other than the water baptism? Remember that all throughout God’s word He uses created things to help us understand spiritual truths for example, when we read this in, John 6:54. John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Do you think Jesus was referring to His literal flesh and blood? He tells us a couple of verses later how He was speaking. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. He tells us that He was speaking spiritually when He referred to His flesh and blood. When God’s word speaks of the one baptism He is referring to the cleansing work of the word in the life of the believer. This baptism of the Holy Spirit is found in Luke 3:16. Luke 3:16 John the Baptist answered, saying to them all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This is the one baptism God spoke of in Ephesians 4:4-6. This is the one that is required in order to restore our relationship with God. It’s the baptism that cleans our conscience from the affects and bondage of sin. Prior to the promised Holy Spirit, God used literal water to wash our literal bodies to symbolize how He was going to wash our spiritual bodies (inwardly) with words. 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: This is why Jesus gave Himself. Eph.5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, How He does this is through preaching. Making disciples by (baptizing) teaching them in the name (character) of Jesus and all things pertaining to the coming kingdom. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To be baptized (taught) is to be washed with water (words) for the remission of sin. When cancer goes into remission it stops, sin stops when we are taught the character of Christ and walk in this character, in other words, being conformed to the image of YAHWEH’s Son. Paul spoke about not coming to baptize with water but to preach (teach), to baptize (wash) with words. 1 Cor.1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize (with water), but to preach the gospel (baptize or wash with words):not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. Literal water baptism is a picture given to us to help us understand what God's word will do to us inwardly. When we’re taught the word of God it washes us just as water washes our literal bodies the word washes our spiritual bodies (our minds). God equates water with His word to help us understand what His word will do in our lives. Ephesians 5:26-27 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Matthew 23:25-26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. How do you clean the inside first? With words... The truth of the matter is if you have not been cleansed through the hearing of faith (words) then a literal water baptism ready doesn't mean much for it’s only a shadow of what was to come through Christ. Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.