Baptism: Is it important for my salvation?

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Baptism!

Where do we begin?

Well, you might be wondering, “Now that I am saved, do I need to get baptized by water?”

 “I’ve also heard about baptism of or in the Holy Spirit, do I need these baptisms and how do I get these baptisms?”

“Is my salvation not complete until I get baptized?”

You might have some of these questions on your mind, so let’s talk about baptism.

There are three baptisms that are mentioned in the Bible and it is pertinent that you are aware of them.

  • The Baptism of/by the Holy Spirit
  • The Water Baptism
  • The Baptism in/with the Holy Spirit.

Let’s dive into each of them. Roll with me. Sit tight.

The Baptism of/by the Holy Spirit

This baptism occurs at salvation. The moment you believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (the gospel), the Holy Spirit baptized you into the body of Jesus Christ and sealed you

In order words, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as Salvation.

The Holy Spirit is the subject here. He does the baptism and sealing immediately at salvation (when you hear and believe the gospel) not minutes, days, months or years after.

1 Corinthians 12:13  (AMP)

“For by one [Holy] Spirit we were all baptized into one body, [spiritually transformed—united together] whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit [since the same Holy Spirit fills each life].”

Ephesians 1:13-14  (ESV)

“13 In him (Jesus Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

We know that to be saved is to be born again, right?

But born again of who? What?

John 3:5-8

“5 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

So, at our first birth, we were born of the flesh and at salvation, we are born of the Holy Spirit into union with Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit till the day of redemption.

This is the baptism of/by the Holy Spirit. Here, the Holy Spirit baptizes us and seals us into the body of Christ at salvation.

So, if you are a believer of Jesus Christ, (AKA someone who has believed in the gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ), then you have already experienced the baptism of/by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.

Now, let’s talk about the next baptism.

The Water Baptism

Now, this is the baptism that we are all familiar with and it commonly occurs at church whereby the pastor (or a fellow believer) baptizes the new believer by saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and the believer is immersed into water and raise back up again.

Such as phenomenal, beautiful and representational experience. You should definitely get baptized in water. Why not?

However, I want you to be aware that your salvation is not incomplete or half-way done if you do not get baptized in water.

We must always remember that only FAITH in Christ Jesus saves.

And it saves completely.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.

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Water baptism is often referred to as John’s baptism in the new testament because he came baptizing the people with water for repentance and remission of sin. But John’s baptism or water baptism is a shadow of the reality of Holy Spirit baptism (salvation) which we mentioned earlier.

It is a physical representation of what ought to have happened spiritually at salvation.

Water baptism is very symbolic and it is a shadow of the reality that happens in the first type of baptism that we just discussed, the baptism of/by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:1-4

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Colossians 2:11-12

“11 In him (Christ) you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self-ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

So you can see that spiritually, the same process that happens with the immersion in water PHYSICALLY, happens SPIRITUALLY with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We were buried into Christ’s death (immersed in water) and raised with him through faith (raised from the water).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the reality and the water baptism is the shadow/symbol.

So, why are we still baptizing people with water if it’s just as shadow/symbol?

Because why not? It does no harm.

After all, Jesus got water baptized. A lot of believers in the Bible got water baptized.

It is, however, important to know that it is a shadow of a reality that we already have has believers of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Now, the final baptism.

The Baptism in/with the Holy Spirit.

This baptism is very controversial and a lot of people have argued that is it simply the same as the first baptism we already talked about above: Baptism of/by the Holy Spirit.

But it is not the same.

In the first baptism that occurs at salvation, the Holy Spirit is the subject and he does this baptism. So we are baptized of/by him. But in baptism in/with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the subject and he does this baptism and it occurs after salvation.

Mark 1: 4-8

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins… And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

There’s this conversation in the bible that Paul had with some disciples in Corinth that lets us know that baptism of/by the Holy Spirit (Salvation) is different from the baptism in/with the Holy Spirit (after salvation).

Read with me.

Acts 19:1-7

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Now let’s break down this conversation.

The bible called these men, disciples. Paul took it a step further and asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit WHEN you believed.” This tells us that they are already believers. They are already saved and born again of the Spirit.  And based on what we’ve discussed so far, this means that they have been baptized by/of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. So they’ve already undergone the first baptism.

But they replied to Paul saying that they have not even heard that there’s a Holy Spirit. Interesting!

Though they have been baptized of and by him into the body of Christ and sealed by him when they believed, their knowledge of him is still limited.

“Then what baptism did you receive?” asked Paul.

They replied, “John’s Baptism.”

Amazing!

As aforementioned, John’s Baptism is water baptism. A baptism of repentance, a physical representation, and a symbol of the spiritual baptism of/by the Holy Spirit.

So, these disciples, have successfully undergone the two baptisms.

So what other baptism must Paul be talking about?

Luke 24:45-49

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

“Power from on high”

What does Jesus mean from this?

You mean there’s still a promised power to be received after salvation?

Acts 1: 1-6

In my former book (the book of Luke), Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak aboutFor John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Hmmm!

So it is finally clear that the promised power from the Father is the baptism with(in) the Holy Spirit.

It’s a gift. A gift to all believers. It’s a gift that is received after salvation.

Baptism of/by the Holy Spirit (Salvation) on the other hand is a gift to unbelievers.

Acts 2: 1-4

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.

You must realize that at this point these apostles were already believers in Christ Jesus. Jesus personally preached the gospel to them and gave them many convincing proofs of his resurrection and spent forty days with them telling them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). They were saved. They were believers. They had been baptized by/of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ but they had to wait for another baptism.

They had to wait for:

The promise.

The gift of their Salvation.

The gift of the Holy Spirit.

The indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit.

Power from Above.

The baptism with/in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1: 38 – 39

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

How to be Baptized in/with the Holy Spirit

“So, how do I get baptized with/in the Holy Spirit?” You may ask.

The Holy Spirit is a promise for us. And for us believers he is our power, our enabler, he empowers and emboldens us.

Without him, we can’t function optimally to our greatest potential. Simply being baptized of/by the Holy Spirit (Salvation) seals us for heaven but if we want to live life on earth to the maximum we need power from above just like Jesus while he was on the earth and the apostles.

You could tell the difference between the Peter who betrayed Jesus and the Peter who was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.

When he was told to stop preaching and teaching in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, he and John could make bold statements such as,

“Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to God? You be the judges!” Acts 4:19

They could speak the word of God and preach the gospel boldly and rejoiced at every suffering for Christ’s name.

Salvation (Baptism by/of the Holy Spirit) is a start not an end of the Christian walk.

So again you may ask, how do I get baptized with/in the Holy Spirit?”

1. Laying of hands and Prayer

In Acts 19: 5-7 we see how.

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesiedThere were about twelve men in all.

Acts 9:17-18

17 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.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

So, a simple laying of hands and prayer is how you can get baptized with/in the Holy Spirit.

P.S. Did you notice something? “He got up and was baptized”

Paul after salvation (baptism of/by the Holy Spirit), got baptized with/in the Holy Spirit by laying of hands and then he got water baptized.

What am I trying to say?

Water baptism is not a precursor for baptism with/in the Holy Spirit (the filling of the Holy Spirit). However, salvation (Baptism by/of the Holy Spirit) is a precursor.

You must be saved to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

But you don’t have to be water baptized first, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

So, find someone who has received the Holy Spirit to pray for you.

I live in the U.S and a  friend all the way from Nigeria prayed for me on the phone when I received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Baptism with/in the Holy Spirit) and speaking in tongues was immediate evidence. And with time I saw other evidence such as prophecy, faith, word of wisdom and knowledge, and healing.

For you prophesy may be immediate evidence and other evidence should follow.

2. Hearing the Gospel Message

Another way someone can get baptized in/with the Holy Spirit is by hearing and believing the gospel message of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection.

An example of this is seen in Acts 10:44-48

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

It is, therefore, possible to be saved by believing the gospel message (baptism by/of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ) and also to be filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit (baptism in/with the Holy Spirit) on the same day.

But the latter cannot occur without the former.

Baptism by water can come way after. The other two baptisms are way more significant.

Baptism in/with the Holy Spirit is a promise to all believers.

The Holy Spirit is our power as believers.

If you did not receive this baptism after salvation, it is not too late.

Get someone to pray for you (You can contact me, I’ll be glad to pray for and with you.)

Remember, this gift is for you, your children and so many more that the lord will call (Acts 1:39).

During my study on this important topic (baptism), I listened to Robert Morris’s sermon on baptism and I strongly recommend you check it out too. He breaks down and talks about each baptism in detail. Click here to watch.

In the next part, we will talk about “How do I know certainly that I am saved?”

God bless you.

You are Eternally Loved.

Author: Esther Ademiju

Esther Ademiju is founder and teacher of Growing God's Eternal Family. She is a growing student of the Bible under the teachings of the Holy Spirit and yearns to share what she learns with simplicity yet undiluted to all people. “God’s love is dynamic in dealing and one of the ways it can be shown through us to one another is by sharing, teaching & preaching His Word & Truth.”

3 thoughts

  1. Thank you so much for this teachings. This has gone a long way to simplify my understanding of ministering the understanding of this subject to the simple. I’m edified and instructed. God is Glorified!

    Liked by 1 person

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