Link to video teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avZJHgjJKts
The Lord has been dealing with me on the subject of “restoring the foundations” for a few years now. I have had many dreams about this and I believe the Lord has given me understanding and wisdom about His move to restore foundational truths. Water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism are just two areas I have been led to study and understand fully. I had a lot of questions, such as who is qualified to baptize a believer, and can we baptize ourselves? Scripture teaches that we are priests unto God, and I feel very strongly that any born again Christian can water baptize another, not just pastors. I also learned we can absolutely baptize ourselves when Jesus told me to do just that in 2018, even though I had been baptized by a pastor in 2009.
Hopefully what I am presenting here will help bring understanding to the importance of biblical New Testament water baptism and why it is crucial for believers to realize it was a decree made by Jesus Himself (Mat 28:19), as well as see its spiritual significance and that it’s not just a ritual.
In this article I will attempt to accomplish three things:
- I will show you in scripture that God is doing something spiritual in water baptism and it is not just a ritual of identifying with Christ. (Heb 6:1-2, Col 2:11-12, 1 Pet 3:21)
- There is only ONE type of water baptism taught in scripture (Eph 4:5) and repentant believers should seek the scriptural water baptism immediately when they believe and repent (new birth) to gain the utmost benefit of what God does in baptism. (Acts 2:38-41, 8:36, 22:16.)
- I believe the Lord Jesus desires us to understand the foundational truth of the importance of water and Spirit baptism and that these are connected to the whole salvation experience according to scripture. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Rom 6:4, Rom 10:9-10)
Biblical New Testament Water Baptism
Scripture teaches us these things about water baptism:
- It is for those who believe in Jesus and trust and confess in Jesus as their Savior (born again) (Mark 16:15-16, Rom 10:8-10)
- It is for those who repent and turn away from their sins (Acts 2:38-41)
- It is for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38)
- It is for the cleansing of our conscience toward God (1 Pet 3:21)
- It is for baptism “into Christ”; we died with Christ, buried our old man, and resurrected to new life by putting on Christ ((Rom 6:3-7, Rom 8:29, Rom 13:14, 2 Cor 3:18, Col 2:11-14, Gal 3:27)
- It is for deliverance from evil (demons) (Acts 8:6-8, 12, 1 Pet 3:21)
- It is for receiving the Holy Spirit baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues (John 1:33, Acts 2;38, Gal 3:27, 1 Cor 12:13)
- It is part of the whole salvation experience and scripture taken in context absolutely teaches this
For the most part, churches today that do immersion water baptism treat it as a symbol and a ritual of identifying with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to new life. And this is a very important aspect of water baptism. But what I have observed is there are several other facets to water baptism that are overlooked and misunderstood. Namely, that water baptism is for the “forgiveness of sin” (Acts 2:38), it is to cleanse us from the effects of sin on our mind and conscience, for deliverance from evil (demons) (Acts 8:5-8, 12, 1 Peter 3:21), for obtaining power over sin (Rom 6), and for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Although there are examples in scripture where believers received the Holy Spirit first and then were water baptized, (Acts 10:43-48, Acts 9:17-18) and vice versa, the important thing to understand is that the early church performed water baptism on new believers immediately when they believed and repented.
You can read about the various baptisms in these scriptures:
Matthew 3:13-17, the baptism of Jesus.
Acts 2:37-42, the upper room, the Apostles and the 3000 souls added to the church.
Acts 8:5-17, the baptism of the Samaritans.
Acts 8:27-40, the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.
Acts 10, Cornelius and his family.
Acts 16:25-40, the jailer and his family.
Acts 18 and 19 Apollos and the Ephesian disciples.
Acts 22:16, the baptism of Paul.
I believe the Lord is showing me the importance of new believers receiving water baptism immediately following their confession of faith in Christ and repentance of sin, (new birth). This is especially important in our present time because a great harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God is coming, and has already started, and it is expedient that they be water baptized immediately and set on a solid foundation.
The Romans Six Effect
The Apostle Paul told the Romans that water baptism and dying with Christ gives us power over sin. When you read these scriptures in context and meditate on what is really being said in Romans chapter 6, clearly the Holy Spirit was showing us the connection between water baptism and breaking the power of sin over our lives. I have heard Romans chapter 6 preached by various pastors and not once did I ever hear them drive home the connection between water baptism and the power over sin, which is clearly stated in verses 3-7. When I have read Romans 6 in the past, I completely missed the point and I always wondered, how do I really have power over sin? My prayer is that those of you who have been water baptized but never received this revelation, will get this down in your spirit man. My prayer is that those of you who still struggle with bondage to sin will finally be set free from the power of sin over your life by realizing what really took place when you were “baptized into Christ.” You have died, and now it is Christ who lives in you! It was not an act of the flesh, God did something supernatural!
Romans 6:1-11 NLT
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ [in water baptism] so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
What about Baptism by Sprinkling and Pouring of Water?
There are many denominations that baptize by sprinkling or pouring water on the head of a believer, as well as baptize infants and children. I was baptized by sprinkling of water in the Methodist church when I was a child. As a matter of fact my whole family was baptized together by sprinkling of water to signify our membership to the church we were attending. The issue is, I can find nowhere in scripture that signifies baptism is about church membership. Since I was just a child when this occurred, I have no recollection of my baptism, and certainly it was not connected to repentance and belief in Jesus. How can infants and children make a determination about their spiritual condition before God? I have since been baptized by full immersion, although at the time I still did not have the full understanding I do now concerning the importance of water baptism.
Baptism by sprinkling water was a departure from the apostolic and early church method of immersion and became a common practice in the western church around the 12th – 13th century. Below are some quotes I found about sprinkle baptism that are pulled from various encyclopedias and resource materials.
“In the time of the apostles, the form of baptism was very simple. The person to be baptized was dipped in a river or a vessel, with the words which Christ had ordered, and to express more fully his change of character, generally adopted a new name. The Greek Church retained this custom; but the Western Church adopted in the 13th century the mode of baptism by sprinkling, which has been continued by the Protestants, the Baptists only excepted. The introduction of this mode of baptism was owing to the great inconvenience which arose from the immersion of the whole body in the northern climates of Europe. (Zell’s Encyclopedia, Art. Baptism, Vol. I, p. 236).
“Sprinkling as a form of baptism took the place of immersion after a few centuries in the early Church, not from any established rule, but by common consent, and it has since been very generally practiced in all but the Greek and Baptist churches, which insist upon immersion.” (McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia, Art. Sprinkling, Vol. IX, p. 968).
“Sprinkling was still (in the period of 323 – 692) confined to Baptismus Clinicorum (clinical baptism) and was first generally used in the West in infant baptism in the 12th century, while the East still retained the custom of immersion.” (Kurts, a German Lutheran Historian, in Church History, Vol. I, p. 367).
”For several centuries after the establishment of Christianity, Baptism was usually conferred by immersion, but since the twelfth century, the practice of baptizing by infusion has prevailed in the Catholic Church, as this manner is attended with less inconvenience than Baptism by immersion.” (Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, p. 318).
As you just read, sprinkle baptism was adopted as a matter of convenience. The problem is sprinkling has no biblical basis in New Testament scripture. The word “baptize” in every sense of the word in the Greek language of the text clearly means “to immerse or submerge in water.”
- Baptize / Baptized / Baptizing – G907 baptizō: to immerse, to submerge
- Baptism – G908 baptisma: immersion, submersion
I believe the Lord desires to restore the proper understanding and practice of water baptism. May the Lord’s shepherds open their eyes and ears and hear what the Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. For those who have been sprinkle water baptized, I would seek the Lord about re-baptism. Scripture says in Ephesians 4:5 there is ONE baptism. The word “one” in Greek G3391 means; “only one, a certain one.” And that ONE certain baptism is the New Testament full immersion baptism as found in scripture.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Eph 4:5
Water Baptism, Repentance and Forgiveness of Sin
The baptism of John the Baptist was for repentance and forgiveness of sin. (Mat 3:1-6, Luke 3:3, Acts 13:24, Acts 18:25 etc.) John told those he baptized that they were to believe in the One coming after him, and He (Christ) would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of John was a sort of transitional bridge between the dispensation of the Law of Moses and the dispensation of Christ.
“John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. Mark 1:4-5
“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,” Luke 3:3
Water baptism in connection to repentance and forgiveness of sin did not change after the Lord’s resurrection and ascension. However, the baptism of John was not complete because it did not constitute baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfills water baptism.
Scripture teaches us that when the church was born and began to grow, they understood that water baptism involved repentance and forgiveness of sin. What was added to John’s baptism was the baptism into Christ and the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Peter instructs the church about water baptism related to repentance and forgiveness of sin when he spoke these words as recorded in the book of Acts. He is clarifying that even though many had been baptized by John, they must now be baptized into Christ.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 NLT
Acts chapter 22 records a scene that took place in Damascus after the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Ananias speaking to Paul:
‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 22:16
I believe emphatically there is something deeply spiritual God is doing in water baptism. If we worship God in “Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:24), then why wouldn’t baptism also encompass this reality?
Water Baptism and the Flood of Noah
In 1 Peter chapter 3, Peter is teaching the church about water baptism when he points out that the flood in Noah’s day is foreshadow of water baptism for Christians.
Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. 19 In it he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. 21 And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him. 1 Peter 3:18-22 NKJV
If you read that scripture in the Amplified version below, Peter says we are saved by baptism in that our minds are set free from inward fear and questioning by cleansing our guilty conscience.
I think it’s worth mentioning here the importance of understanding the distinction between the blood of Jesus that “cleanses us of our sin” by atoning for our sin (1 John 1:7, 1 John 2:2), and water baptism that “washes away our sins” through our repentance and God’s forgiveness, therefore we receive a clean conscience toward God. (1 Pet 3:21.) Peter also says the water is not washing physical dirt from the flesh. In other words, the act of baptism is not an act of the flesh. But rather, the water is washing away the sin that polluted our minds and is spiritually washing our conscience toward God, when we repent and put on Christ. Peter also says that water baptism delivers us from evil!
Let’s look at 1 Peter 3:20-21 in the Amplified version:
20 [The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people], actually eight in number, were saved through water. And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:20-21
I see deliverance from evil in the symbolism and foreshadow of baptism in the flood. Noah and his family were not just saved by the ark from the flood, which is a type of Christ saving us from God’s wrath because of our sin. But Noah was also delivered from wickedness and evil when they entered the ark. And the water of the flood destroyed the evil, ungodly and wicked people by literally washing them away. I believe this is showing us that deliverance from demons is also taking place in water baptism.
The pre-figure of the flood of Noah teaches us that God sent the flood, and the flood was the end of evil and the beginning of a new life. Take note that it was God who sent the flood to cleanse the evil, that’s because God is doing something is water baptism!
Water Baptism and the Name of Jesus
It’s important to understand the disciples of Jesus baptized believers in the name of Jesus Christ. Were they disobeying the commandment of the Lord to baptize in the “name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?” Of course not! Obviously, they received a revelation about Jesus, because we read in the book of Acts they always baptized in the name of Jesus. (Read Acts 2:38, 8:12-16, 10:45-48, 19:1-7.) You will not find one scripture where the disciples baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus, we heal and cast out demons in the name of Jesus, why wouldn’t we also water baptize in the name of Jesus? Whose death and life are we joining in baptism? Of course it’s Jesus, the name above all names (Phl 2:9)!
Scripture is showing us there is something powerful and spiritually supernatural that occurs in water baptism. There is inward cleanness and peace toward God, as well as power over sin. This is not a ritualistic experience, it is a spiritual experience and God is definitely doing something in water baptism. If we examine baptism closely, and break it down, there is a string of events occurring that we should be aware of. Some of these things we do, and some are what God does.
- We believe by faith and call upon the name of Jesus and put our trust in Him as our Savior (We do this)
- We repent and change our mind about our behavior, recognizing we have sinned and accept God’s will (We do this)
- Our sins are forgiven and washed away and we receive power over sin (God does this)
- Our conscience is cleansed and we now have inward peace toward God (God does this)
- We are delivered of evil, demons actually leave the body (God does this)
- The Holy Spirit “baptizes” the believer and there is often, but not always, the evidence of speaking in tongues (this is the sign given to know a person has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, otherwise how would you know?), and now the believer is empowered to operate in the gifts of the Spirit (God does this)
Clearly God is performing a string of very spiritual events in water baptism, and it is much more than a ritual. It is an essential component to the whole salvation experience. Although, I want to be clear that nowhere in scripture does it state you are not saved unless you are baptized. But, let us grasp the truth of it, the result of the events God set forth for believers is a strong Christian who has been set on a solid foundation that was established by Christ (Mat 28:18-20). You have truly been born of water and of Spirit.
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5
You have repented, been cleansed of guilt, been delivered from evil, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, made into a new creation, and now have everything needed to overcome sin, operate in the gifts of the Spirit, produce fruit of the Spirit and start a new life as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The Lord has stressed to me that we are not to compare ourselves and our experiences to each other, but we are to measure ourselves and experiences according to the word of God. Again, I want to emphasize the most important thing is to understand what the Bible teaches about water and Spirit baptism and not to use experience to validate truth. If Jesus is “restoring the foundations”, then obviously He does not want us to compare our experiences to each other but to measure all things according to the word of God. If anyone has uncertainty about anything, the best action to take is to pray and ask the Lord to guide you, and of course study this yourself as we are instructed. (2 Tim 2:15.)
Much love to you all,
In Christ, Sarah Beveridge