Water Baptism (Immersion) Saves

1 Peter 3:20-21
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 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:

Romans 6:3-7; 16-18
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
...
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.


Ephesians 5:26
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word,

Acts 22:16
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

John 3:3,5
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

1 John 5:6,8
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth...8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Eph 4:5
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

From the above verses we see that by the time Paul writes to Ephesus only one NT immersion remains. We see that it is water immersion from several of the passages including Ephesians 5:26 (the same letter that says there is only one immersion now). We understand that NT immersion is:
  • in water (the element)
  • by the Holy Spirit (the authority)
  • by the inspired word (the authority)
  • into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, into Christ's body, to bring us into contact with Christ's cleansing blood (the effect)
  • to remit sins, wash away sins, save us from sins, etc. (the purpose)
In Romans 6, Paul speaks of our immersion into Christ as obeying from the heart the pattern of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection and then being made free from sin. Immersion in the Holy Spirit (as the element) is not a command that can be obeyed. It is something that is purely passive and a choice by God alone. Water immersion, on the other hand, can be obeyed. Thus, Romans 6 must be talking about immersion in water, not in the Holy Spirit as happened to the Apostles and Cornelius.

In Truth and Love.
 
Eph 4:5
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

From the above verses we see that by the time Paul writes to Ephesus only one NT immersion remains. We see that it is water immersion from several of the passages including Ephesians 5:26 (the same letter that says there is only one immersion now). We understand that NT immersion is:
  • in water (the element)
  • by the Holy Spirit (the authority)
  • by the inspired word (the authority)
  • into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, into Christ's body, to bring us into contact with Christ's cleansing blood (the effect)
  • to remit sins, wash away sins, save us from sins, etc. (the purpose)
In Romans 6, Paul speaks of our immersion into Christ as obeying from the heart the pattern of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection and then being made free from sin. Immersion in the Holy Spirit (as the element) is not a command that can be obeyed. It is something that is purely passive and a choice by God alone. Water immersion, on the other hand, can be obeyed. Thus, Romans 6 must be talking about immersion in water, not in the Holy Spirit as happened to the Apostles and Cornelius.

In Truth and Love.
What if the "one baptism" in Eph. 4:5 isn't about the mode of baptism, but the meaning of baptism?

In Acts 19:1-6 we see that there's the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus Christ. They both involve immersion in water, but the baptism of Jesus Christ was to "fulfill all righteousness", i.e. to receive the Holy Spirit. The baptism of John was for the forgiveness of sins. The disciples at Ephesus had known only the baptism of John when Paul finds them in Acts 19:1...Paul puts his finger on this as the reason why they had not received the Holy Spirit yet. After rebaptizing them in the name of Jesus Christ, he "had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." (19:6)

If you are baptized for the forgiveness of sins, you have only known the baptism of John and thus, per Paul's admonition in Acts 19:1-6, you probably don't have the Holy Spirit. You need to be rebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ to fulfill all righteousness, just as Christ Himself was.

Now, a lot of churches that teach water baptism is connected to the forgiveness of sins will nevertheless say "In the name of Jesus Christ," or "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" over the person being baptized. I believe this makes their baptism functionally the baptism of Jesus Christ, even if they aren't properly instructed on its meaning beforehand.
 
What if the "one baptism" in Eph. 4:5 isn't about the mode of baptism, but the meaning of baptism?
If we are talking about the meaning of immersion then we have to discuss what immersion in the Holy Spirit meant vs. what immersion in water meant as they meant two completely different things. Then we have to decide which is the one immersion and let go of the other as its no longer valid today. I see nothing to suggest a dichotomy between mode and meaning here. I think in discussing one, we discuss the other because of this.
In Acts 19:1-6 we see that there's the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus Christ. They both involve immersion in water, but the baptism of Jesus Christ was to "fulfill all righteousness", i.e. to receive the Holy Spirit. The baptism of John was for the forgiveness of sins. The disciples at Ephesus had known only the baptism of John when Paul finds them in Acts 19:1...Paul puts his finger on this as the reason why they had not received the Holy Spirit yet. After rebaptizing them in the name of Jesus Christ, he "had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." (19:6)
I think you are running a couple of contexts together here. The immersion by John was to get Israel to repent and understand the coming Messiah. When John immersed Jesus, it was to fulfill all righteousness, but Jesus was not immersed with the NT immersion. Neither do we see that water immersion is directly connected with the receiving of the Holy Spirit in a personal, supernatural manner. In Acts 8, they believed and were immersed in water, but had to wait for Peter and John to lay hands on them before they received the Holy Spirit.

When we get to Acts 19 and we see the same pattern of Acts 8, they were immersed by John's immersion, not the NT immersion into Christ, so they were immersed into Christ and then the Apostle laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. In fact, neither in Acts 8 or in Acts 19 were they immersed in the Holy Spirit. That event was a special event with a specific purpose all three times it happened.
If you are baptized for the forgiveness of sins, you have only known the baptism of John and thus, per Paul's admonition in Acts 19:1-6, you probably don't have the Holy Spirit. You need to be rebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ to fulfill all righteousness, just as Christ Himself was.
I was immersed in the name of Jesus Christ over 30 years ago. I do not have a personal, supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit within me. The Father, Son, and Spirit all dwell in me through the Word, but in no other manner.

Furthermore, John's immersion in water for the remission of sins was as a pointer to Christ looking forward. They did not receive remission of sins being immersed by John or according to John. It was the repentance and looking for Christ, the last type of the OT pointing to the NT antitype.

I ask that you deal with all of the passages I presented to show that water immersion is the one remaining NT immersion, the immersion that puts us into Christ and washes away our sins. You have not touched any of them save Eph. 4:5.
Now, a lot of churches that teach water baptism is connected to the forgiveness of sins will nevertheless say "In the name of Jesus Christ," or "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" over the person being baptized. I believe this makes their baptism functionally the baptism of Jesus Christ, even if they aren't properly instructed on its meaning beforehand.
Nowhere does the Bible command us what to say, or to say anything at all before immersing someone. What the person doing the immersion says, who they are even, is completely irrelevant. Immersing someone in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or in the name of Jesus Christ means to immerse them by their authority (see. Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 1). You can immerse someone into Christ without saying anything at all and it still put you into the body of the saved.

There is no Holy Spirit immersion today. The reason for it was fulfilled in the 1st Century AD.

In Truth and Love.
 
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