Spiritual Growth (03) - Baptism and Identity (1 Corinthians 12:13)
A. Baptism in the Bible
Three Passages in the NT make explicit that some events and rites in the OT are “Baptisms.”
1 Corinthians 10:1–2 crossing of the Red Sea is a baptism (ie, crossing the Jordan).
Hebrews 9:8–10 the washing rituals in the tabernacle/temple are baptisms.
1 Peter 3:20–21 baptism is the antitype of salvation through Noah’s flood
The renewal of Israel in crossing the Jordan is the first NT baptism (John).
The ritual cleansings usually at the temple (i.e., of lepers) were performed by Jesus’ cleansing touch (Mt. 8:2).
The flood of judgment fell on Jesus on the cross (called baptism Mk. 10:38; Lk. 12:50)
Baptismal imagery is plain in many more OT passages.
Genesis 1:6–8 speaks of the waters above and below the firmament.
Genesis 2:10 speaks of rivers flowing from Mt. Eden (Eze. 28:14).
The tabernacles laver (water above) and the “oceans” and water chariots of Solomon’s temple provide an architectural image of a river.
Ezekiel 36:24 the renewal of Israel with the sprinkling of clean water.
Ezekiel 47:1ff the new covenant temple has water flowing out to make living the dead sea.
Summary - From Eden flowed rivers. Noah’s household was saved through the flood. Israel (including children) passes through the Red Sea. A laver of water lifted up is at the entrance of the tabernacle for priestly cleansing. Joshua leads Israel across the Jordan into the Land. In the temple of Solomon an ocean and basins of water on chariots create a stylized river flowing out to cleanse the nations. Ezekiel and Zechariah see visions of rivers flowing out in the new covenant (Zec. 14:8). There are many references to baptism(s) in the Old Testament. Messiah would come to baptize Israel and the world (Is. 52; Eze. 36).
B. Baptism into the Body
John said Jesus would baptize “in” (Greek en) or “with” the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 1:5).
Baptisms in the historical growth of the Church in Acts show the Spirit’s reception: Pentecost (1:5/8; 2:38), Samaritans (8:12-18), Eunuch (8:38ff Spirit suddenly took Philipp), Saul (9:17-18), Cornelius household (10:47/11:16), Lydia household (16:14-15 “opened heart”), Jailer household (16:26/33 earthquake), Crispus household/Corinthians (18:8; 1Co. 1:14ff/chs. 12:13 baptized in Spirit), Ephesian men (19:3-5; Eph. 1:13).
Baptism in the Spirit imparts gift(s) (1Co. 12:8-11)
What baptism does:
Jesus baptizes His people in the Holy Spirit, placing them in His body, so that they drink of one Spirit (Mt. 3:11; 1Co. 12:13).
Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and is a washing away of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16).
The baptized have been united with Him in death, burial, and resurrection and raised up to walk in newness of life; they have clothed themselves with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27).
Baptism saves you - an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Pe. 3:21).
Baptism is washing away of sin and the “washing of regeneration” as well as the “sealing” of the Holy Spirit (Ti. 3:5; Eph. 1:13).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more