THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Hebrews 6:1-2 lists “the doctrine of baptisms” as a foundational doctrine of Christ along with “faith toward God,” “repentance,” and “the resurrection.” Just as all true believers must have faith in God and Christ, faith in the resurrection, and repent of their sins, so also must all true believers be baptized in water and Spirit. The Greek text in Hebrews 6:2 uses the Greek word “baptizos” in the plural rather than in the singular. Hence, inspired scripture teaches two baptisms: Water and Spirit. Jesus said in John 3:5 that we must be “born of the WATER and of the SPIRIT.” John the Baptist taught and practiced water baptism “for the remission of sins” in Luke 3:3 and in Mark 1:4. 

 

    John further taught a future Spirit baptism when he said, “I baptize you with water, but he that comes after me shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8).” Jesus also mentioned two baptisms that all true Christian believers must receive (Water - Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19; and Spirit - Acts 1:8). The apostles also taught water and Spirit baptism throughout the New Testament Scriptures (1 Corinthians 10:1-2; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12-16; Acts 10:43-48; Titus 3:5). Therefore, both Water Baptism and Spirit Baptism are necessary foundational requirements for all New Testament believers.

 

Hebrews 6:1-3 


    “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again THE FOUNDATION of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”

 

    Here the Holy Spirit identifies six first principle doctrines of Christ which comprise THE FOUNDATION upon which Christians are to build their lives on. God is not saying that these elementary foundational doctrines are not necessary. What He is saying is that after Christians get their foundational doctrines secure then they need to concentrate on building their lives upon that foundation. 

 

    Ephesians 2:20 proves that we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Notice that the doctrine of faith toward God (which includes faith in the deity of Christ) and the resurrection are listed with the doctrine of baptisms and the laying on of hands! Since faith in Jesus and faith in the resurrection are essential doctrines for all Christians to believe in so is faith in the doctrine of baptisms and the laying on of hands. Likewise, no one can be saved unless they REPENT of their sins so the doctrine of “repentance from dead works” is clearly an essential doctrine that all Christians must believe in and obey. 
            
    Therefore Hebrews chapter six proves that the doctrine of BAPTISMS and the doctrine of LAYING ON OF HANDS are just as essential for Christians to build their lives upon as their faith in God and in their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Note that the scripture says, “the doctrine of BAPTISMS” plurally! 

 

    There are only two baptisms spoken of in scripture that are essential for all Christians to receive: Water Baptism and Spirit Baptism. See John 3:5;Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:20,21; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7.

 

1 Corinthians 10:1,2
    “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all BAPTIZED into Moses in the CLOUD [Spirit Baptism] and in the SEA [Water Baptism].”

 

    Here we have two baptisms spoken of in scripture - Spirit Baptism and Water Baptism.  Since the doctrine of baptisms is categorized along with essential Christian doctrines such as faith toward God, faith in the resurrection of Christ, and repentance from dead works, we need to understand that the doctrine of baptisms is equally essential as a foundational doctrine of our Christian faith. Can any one be saved without faith toward God? Can anyone be saved without faith in the resurrection of Christ? Can anyone be saved without repenting of his or her sins? Likewise, no one can be saved without believing and obeying the doctrine of baptisms; i.e. “Water and Spirit.”

 

Matthew 3:11 NIV
    “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

 

1 Corinthians 12:13
    “For by ONE SPIRIT [Spirit Baptism] are we all baptized into ONE BODY.”

Acts 2:1-4 NIV
    “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them [Spirit Baptism].”

 

Acts 8:12-17
    “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized [Water Baptism], both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit [Spirit Baptism], because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit [Spirit Baptism].” 

 

Acts 19:1-6
    “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [Water Baptism]. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, [Spirit Baptism] and prophesied.”

 

Acts 10:44-47 NIV
    “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God [Spirit Baptism]. Then Peter said, ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water [Water Baptism]. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

 

Galatians 3:26-29 NIV
    “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” 

    How can we truly belong to Christ without being clothed with Christ? This scripture reminds me of the man who tried to enter in as the bride of Christ without having on a wedding garment. 

 

Matthew 22:11-14
    “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.” 

 

    “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” The only way to be clothed with Christ is through being baptized into Christ? Therefore water Baptism into the name of Jesus Christ clearly clothes us with Christ and makes us “Abraham’s seed,” and legal “heirs according to the promise.”

 

    The New Testament Scriptures are replete with examples of the necessity of water and Spirit baptism. Paul asked, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” The apostle Paul himself believed upon the Lord Jesus and repented of his sins when he met the Lord on his way to Damascus but Jesus informed him to “Get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Therefore our belief in Jesus and our repentance is incomplete without the doctrine of baptisms [i.e. water and Spirit Baptism]. 

 

Acts 9:1-17
    “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ ... Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here — has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit [Spirit Baptism].’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized [Water Baptism]...”

 

Acts 22:10-16
    “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me ... A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name [Water Baptism].’”

 

    Jesus Himself told Saul to go into the city of Damascus and “it shall be told what you must do.” Saul obviously believed in Jesus because he said to Jesus, “What shall I do Lord?” Saul was not disobedient to the words of Jesus because he went into the city of Damascus and prayed, waiting for instructions as to what he must do to follow Jesus. Saul’s actions prove that he had to have already believed and repented of his sins before Ananias told him what he must do. The two things that Saul was told to do was 1) “Be filled with the Holy Spirit” [Spirit Baptism]. 2) “Be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name [Water Baptism].” Saul was Paul’s Hebrew name. Paul wrote most of the New Testament Epistles. Are we greater than the apostle Paul? If Paul, a great and holy apostle needed to “be filled with the Holy Spirit” and to “be baptized” to wash away his sins then so must we be filled with the Holy Spirit and get baptized to wash away our sins. Those who reject water and Spirit Baptism are rejecting the clear foundational teaching of the Word of God! 

 

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