“…we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body…”
(1 Corinthians 12:13)
The only entrance into the body of Christ is through His Spirit’s baptism. This is the life-changing experience of one’s eternal spiritual rebirth!
The Messiah explained this life-giving blessing to Nicodemus (see John 3:1-21) as they discussed God’s kingdom. Conversion and the Holy Spirit’s Baptism have been synonymous at the moment of one’s spiritual rebirth from the first century until this very hour. This is why the Bible says, “…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9b) The Bible also explains, “The Spirit gives life…” (John 6:63a) so the Holy Spirit’s Baptism initiates the Christian life!
This experience was only a second blessing to those who were already redeemed through their Hebrew faith. Countless Hebrew believers in numerous countries were alive when the Christ child was born. They were already saved because of their faith in God’s first covenant made with Abraham. This mixed faith transition period lasted for several decades as the gospel’s message about the new covenant of grace steadily spread through the witness of the early church.
Water baptism symbolized spiritual repentance in the Old Testament, and it symbolizes spiritual rebirth in the New Testament. John the Baptizer prepared the way for our Lord and the Father revealed the Trinity to us as he baptized Jesus in the river Jordan. However, it was on the day of Pentecost that God’s displeasure with man at the Tower of Babel (See Genesis 11:1-9) was finally reversed. Now, God’s Holy Spirit would begin being poured out on all believing humanity (See Joel 2:28). This baptism became each new Christian’s entrance into the joy of their salvation!
Paul explains that all new believers, both Jew and Gentile, were baptized into the body of Christ in the exact same way – not by water but by the Holy Spirit. Contemplate this searching question: Why was no one in history, except John the Baptist, filled with God’s Spirit as an infant? The Bible says this about John, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” (Luke 1:15)
According to the Scriptures, we cannot under any circumstance, be authentic Christians without the Holy Spirit living in us. The Bible explains, “…And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9) This is why it is necessary for every person, worldwide, to hear the Good News about salvation and understand it. Only then can they place their faith in heaven’s Savior. Mere water has no life changing power, and it cannot determine anyone’s eternal future!
In summary, water baptism is symbolic and therefore saves no one. No infants were ever baptized in the Bible and what really matters is, “…being baptized by one [the Holy] Spirit into the body of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)
By Billie Hanks Jr.