Baptism is a unique act. Paul said “there is one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). There had been other baptisms: the baptism of John prepared the way for Christ and ceased, the baptism of the Holy Spirit served its purposes and ceased by the time Paul wrote Ephesians (c. 64 A.D.). There will be another baptism when Jesus comes again—the baptism of fire administered to the chaff (Mt. 3:11,12). The one baptism that Paul mentioned is the one that Christ authorized in order to save men and add them to His kingdom (Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38-47).
The Bible teaches that we are “baptized into Christ” and “into His death” (Rom. 6:3). Those who are baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) are added together by the Lord (Acts 2:41,47). Those who were baptized into Christ “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers”
(Acts 2:42). There are two obvious lessons in these verses. First, those who were baptized did not say “we have been baptized, so we can stay home and worship God as we please.” Second, they did not say “it makes no difference with whom we worship, because we have been baptized.” They worshipped God according to the apostles’ doctrine and they did it with others who had obeyed the same gospel. How could they have “broken bread” with Jews who had not been baptized into Christ? If they had continued to worship with the Jews, they would have kept the Sabbath day, rather than breaking bread with other believers on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Since the Lord’s table is in the Lord’s kingdom (Lk. 22:29,30), those who have not been born of water and the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-5) have no right to partake of the supper.
Baptism is followed by a new life. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). The “old man of sin” has been done away (v. 6), and having died with Christ (when we were buried into His death), we are “freed from sin” (v. 7). What would you expect a man to do who had been resurrected from the dead? Would you expect any changes? How much? What should we expect from one who has been spiritually resurrected from death? One who continues to live the way he did before baptism has misunderstood the implications of resurrection! When we repent, we turn away from sin and when we are baptized “for the remission of sins” we have a responsibility to live a new life (Col. 3:5-10).
Baptism should be followed by a commitment to truth—to support and defend it. It should be followed by a commitment to worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24). It should be followed by the commitment to glorify God in the name that we wear—Christian (1 Pet. 4:16). Baptism is important, but is useless unless it is followed by proper actions.