Only One Baptism is Essential to Salvation

Various churches claim Christ show that most members do not agree many times with their party’s beliefs. That is why I find it is so important to ask everyone how they were saved and how they went from lost to saved, because the answer differs between members of the same churches. In the Christian Scriptures, salvation is always the same.

Of these groups, most believe that baptism is essential to be save, because it is a command and example of Jesus Christ. Many of these members also believe that the exact moment of salvation is at some kind of baptism.

What does the Bible have to say? Some profess that they are saved by a spiritual baptism like “accepting Jesus into one’s heart” or saying “the sinner’s prayer.” However, these are not found in the New Testament. There are those of the charismatic groups that believe that salvation is by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and these believe that there are at least two baptisms needed for salvation rather than one. Most Bible-believers find that baptism is essential and the exact point of salvation. What does the Bible show is the exact moment of salvation?

According to the Scriptures, there is “one baptism” (Eph 4:5). Only one baptism is essential though there are more than one baptism in the Bible. The idea of needing Holy Spirit baptism for salvation is not in the Scriptures. The simplest refutation of this misunderstanding is that the church at Rome did not all have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and yet they had the Spirit and they were saved (Rom 1:11; 8:9, 24). This is simply an undeniable fact. However, they had Christ within them. There is only one baptism that is essential to salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not that baptism. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was essential to the establishment of the church, the revelation of Scriptures, and helping Christians to understand the one baptism (Eph 3:3–5).

Which baptism is essential? Ephesians 4:5 specifies that there is one baptism and Christ’s Spirit referred to this one baptism in Ephesians,

Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for it; that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that He may present the church to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25–27)

What is the one baptism in water? In Ephesians, the Spirit revealed through Paul that there is one baptism — “the washing of water with the word.” The one baptism is water baptism. This passage also shows that this is how Christ cleansed, sanctified, and made the Church to not have spot or wrinkle and to be without blemish. Christ washes the believers with water. The work is not of the believer. No one baptizes oneself.

Which water baptism is essential? There are two baptisms in water in the New Testament Scriptures. There is only one essential baptism in water. Acts 22:16 says, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” “Baptism now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21). This is the one baptism that washes away sins. Acts 2:38 states, “be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the forgiveness of your sins.” This is the one baptism of water. Baptism in the name of the Lord is in water. Peter proclaimed in Acts 10:47–48, “Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Why would no one forbid? Why was this baptism immediate? Because “forgiveness of sins is to be received through His name” (Acts 10:43; cf. 1 Cor 6:11).

This one baptism is the baptism of the Great Commission to all the world. Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt 28:19). Clearly, this is the one water baptism unto the remission of sins. According to Mark, Jesus instructed, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15–16). Lastly, this baptism is always for believers and not infants who are safe being of the kingdom of heaven. This baptism is a burial in water and not a pouring or sprinkling (Acts 8:38–39; Rom 6:4–6; Col 2:12–13). Baptism means immersion or dunking from the New Testament Greek word baptizo as the Greek churches know this well. There is the only baptism that the believer needs be buried with Christ and rise to salvation. Baptism is how believer enter into Christ’s church (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13). Baptism in Jesus’s name is the one baptism.

About Scott J. Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Baptism, Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Only One Baptism is Essential to Salvation

  1. Phil says:

    Scott, you said, “Christians imitate character and virtue. Every New Testament command has a virtuous principle behind it. Therefore, we define virtues, which are principles, by God’s commands and examples defining these commands. Defining examples need no specific citations, because the New Testament is filled with these.” Here is the article, “The Truth about Pattern Theology“.

    There is a place for imitation in the life of the new Christian, but our higher quest is to be made “new.” An imitation is not new, it’s…well, an imitation. At some point in our Christian walk we are to become a new creation and not an imitation. An imitation is not new even though it looks new on the surface. Well, the superficial is not a place that a NT Christian ends his journey towards renewal.

    Matthew 9:17
    Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

    Galatians 6:15
    Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

    Ephesians 4:23-24
    23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

    Colossians 3:10
    and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

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  2. Phil says:

    Scott, I honestly don’t know what to say to you. You deny anything except your intellectual understanding of the text. You approach a Spiritual process from an intellectual mindset and it leads you astray, and leaves you scratching your head about what others say they understand. It’s really not my problem. If you don’t find my belief in Christ, His life or His words then that is your problem. I find your system of Bible study flawed from the beginning. You approach the NT like a lawyer would approach the Constitution, and it leaves you spiritually asleep. You approach the NT conceptually and then it reveals Christ as nothing more than a concept, and not The Living Christ. Your methodology addresses the “form” of the NT Christian when the NT teaches that “content” is that which is paramount. Personal obedience and water baptism are works that are done in form but do not reveal content.

    You conceptualize the salvation process by promoting a 5 step plan, a process that make one a Christian about as much as numbers painting makes one an artist. I just disagree with your whole attitude toward salvation and relationship with Christ. It’s all pro-action based, mechanical, conceptual and lacks the spiritual surrender that is the essence of NT Christianity. It’s all about your competency to obey the letter of the NT and little about the competency of God’s Spirit within you.

    2 Corinthians 3:
    4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    Out job is to “die.” God’s Job is to “do.” He does it by means of His Spirit in us. How many scriptures can I quote that endorse this? many, many! Just ask and I’ll prove it.

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    • Phil,

      You slander. Bear false witness. Claim I speak of a 5 step plan? You haven’t given one word from Christ to support your invented theology.

      Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).

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      • Phil says:

        You don’t speak a five step plan of salvation??? Are you backing off on that?

        I’ve given plenty of evidence of the fact that the way of salvation is through dying to self. Everything else I speak of is a result of this. Does the bible have to spell everything out in order for it to be true? If so please show me where.

        What part don’t you understand and I’ll be glad to walk you through it. Your lack of spiritual understanding is concerning. Do you not see anything but commands?

        Please point out my slander. I need specific examples. If you don’t point them out then I will assume that you pulled this accusation from something other than truth. Please point out my slander or please retract this accusation.

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        • Another loaded and slanderous question, “Do you not see anything but commands?” You haven’t read my writings. I believe that principles and virtues are defined by commands, which commands are defined by examples.

          October 11, 20011, I wrote, “Christians imitate character and virtue. Every New Testament command has a virtuous principle behind it. Therefore, we define virtues, which are principles, by God’s commands and examples defining these commands. Defining examples need no specific citations, because the New Testament is filled with these.” Here is the article, “The Truth about Pattern Theology“.

          You should read this article too: “Pattern Theology: When Christians Must Observe Biblical Examples

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  3. Marc Taylor says:

    Interesting you cite 1 John 3:24. One can know that God dwells in them and they in God. Why? Because He has given us of His Spirit. The Greek word for “given” here is didwmi. In Acts 15:8 the same Greek word is used (didwmi) when Peter describes that the Gentiles were “given” the Holy Spirit before they were water baptized. Thus God dwelt in them and they in God before their water baptism.

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    • Again, you are making the general giving of the Spirit to fit into your specific interpretation of giving the Spirit and pouring the Spirit to mean the baptism of the Spirit.

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      • Phil says:

        Anyone who has received the Spirit knows that they have. It is a new level of consciousness that is hard to explain. The bible does not have to be the means by which this is proved. The Spirit moves a person toward understanding that is beyond the intellectual process that we tend to use while processing words of scripture. Life is bigger than the words that describe it. Likewise, the Spiritual Truth is beyond any words that can describe it’s presence.

        Don’t underestimate the power of the Spirit moving the person beyond what they intellectually know.

        1 Corinthians 2:9
        However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—

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        • Marc Taylor says:

          So true Phil. The Spirit is the power of a new life.
          1 John 3:24 was cited by Scott. It teaches that we can know that He abides in us because the Spirit was “given” to us (cf. 1 John 4:13). The Greek word is didwmi. Well that is the same word Peter uses in Acts 15:8 (cf. Acts 11:17) in describing how the Gentiles were “given” (didwmi) the Holy Spirit before they were water baptized.
          Thus they were abiding in God before they were water baptized.
          It’s so simple. To deny this is really resisting what is being taught.

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        • Phil, I don’t find your belief in Christ, His life or His words. I do not find this in the life and the words of the Apostles and prophets. Do you not have one thought from Christ to prove your these ideas you promote or are you simply speculating errors?

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    • Saying that everyone is to be baptized by the Spirit is to say that everyone must be baptized by fire in Hell. We can be filled with the Spirit without being baptized by the Spirit.

      “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:10-12).

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      • Marc Taylor says:

        Everyone is either baptized with the Holy Spirit or baptized with fire.
        If a person has been baptized with the Holy Spirit they are saved.
        If a person has not been baptized with the Holy Spirit this proves that they are unsaved and will one day experience the baptism with fire.

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        • Scott says:

          You understand well. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” How do you know that the baptism of the Spirit is for all? Are there other scriptures that you would refer? Titus 3:6 is much noted and I will keep that in mind.

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          • Marc Taylor says:

            I posted this on May 30th.
            The following terms synonymously describe what the Holy Spirit does only once to a person upon being saved/entering the NT Church (the filling of the Holy Spirit can occur again, Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9). Those in Acts 2:4 were already saved but it was this event that placed them into the NT Church.
            a. Fell (Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15)
            b. Poured (Acts 10:45; Titus 3:6)
            c. Received (Acts 2:38; 8:17; 10:47)
            d. Baptized (Acts 1:5; 11:16)
            e. Filled (11:17; 15:8 cf. Acts 2:4)
            f. Given (Acts 8:18; 11:17; 15:8)
            g. Came (Acts 19:6)
            h. Sealed (Ephesians 1:13)
            Acts 2:4; 2:38; 8:16-18; 11:16; 19:6 all refer to being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Where one of the above in the list occurs all others can be said to happen as well (see the exception though for filling which can occur again).
            1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27 and Colossians 2:12 all refer to being baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5.

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  4. To see how the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not permanent and necessary for salvation, read the article, “The Gift of the Holy Spirit“.

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    • Marc Taylor says:

      A ton of verbiage but once again Titus 3:6 is ignored. I’m not surprised.

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      • Titus 3:6 is addressed. You claim that the Gift of the Spirit is only poured out in the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45, 11:15-16). Yet, Acts 8 shows that those men and women who were baptized in Jesus’ name (Acts 8:12, 16) had not received the Holy Spirit, who had not yet fallen on them (Acts 8:15-16) until the Apostles laid hands on them. Therefore, instead of the baptism of the Spirit, the Apostles came, prayed, and laid hands on them to give the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-20).

        Yet, the Spirit was poured out in Acts 2:17-18 for which the multitude heard (Acts 2:33), and Peter said, “Repent, and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the release of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). What gift of the Holy Spirit came after the baptism in Jesus’ name? This is the same as in Acts 10:45, “the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the nations also”, which was before baptism in Jesus’ name (10:47-48).

        Acts 8 shows the Gift of the Spirit being given after baptism in Jesus’ name without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Would this had also have happened in Acts 2:38ff? Acts 10 shows the baptism of the Holy Spirit had not occurred since the Apostles when Acts 11:15 states, “the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning”.

        The baptism of the Spirit was not for everyone. Baptism in Jesus’ name is for everyone being embedded in the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). “[E]very one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the release of sins” (Acts 2:38). This baptism was established in the resurrection of Christ. This baptism is the one baptism (Eph. 4:5). This includes the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit poured out on us (Titus 3:5).

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        • Marc Taylor says:

          The following terms synonymously describe what the Holy Spirit does only once to a person upon being saved/entering the NT Church (the filling of the Holy Spirit can occur again, Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9). Those in Acts 2:4 were already saved but it was this event that placed them into the NT Church.
          a. Fell (Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15)
          b. Poured (Acts 10:45; Titus 3:6)
          c. Received (Acts 2:38; 8:17; 10:47)
          d. Baptized (Acts 1:5; 11:16)
          e. Filled (11:17; 15:8 cf. Acts 2:4)
          f. Given (Acts 8:18; 11:17; 15:8)
          g. Came (Acts 19:6)
          h. Sealed (Ephesians 1:13)

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          • Not everyone was baptized by the Spirit in the New Testament, and we are certainly not today. The Spirit sanctifies and justifies, and so much more than giving spiritual gifts by Spirit baptism to reveal the Word of God. The faith was once for all delivered (Jude 3) by the Spirit through the Apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20, 3:3-5).

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            • Marc Taylor says:

              Again Titus 3:6 proves you wrong.

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            • Actually, “He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:6).

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            • Marc Taylor says:

              Yes and to have the Holy Spirit poured out is the SAME THING as being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45 and 11:16).

              You won’t admit to that even though it’s been demonstrated several times.
              Through here. You are simply resisting the Holy Spirit.

              bye

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