There Is One Baptism (Ephesians 4:5)

All true believers in Jesus Christ are part of the universal church, the one body. All true believers share one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, and one faith. Those in Christ also share one baptism.

This is not speaking of water baptism. There are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who have major theological confusion and differences regarding water baptism. Many who have trusted in Christ throughout church history have not been immersed in water. However, everyone who is in Christ shares the same baptism.

This one baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit shared by all who trust in Jesus Christ, whether they have been baptized with water or not (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Please understand, I believe that water baptism is a big deal. It is very important. It is a matter of obedience. All believers in Jesus should be immersed in water (Matthew 28:19-20). It is not necessary for salvation from sins. It is also not the topic of this passage. All true believers in Jesus Christ share one baptism, whether immersed in water or not.

This baptism is not a second experience after salvation. It is not evidenced by “tongues” or “prophecy.” This baptism is the experience of all who have trusted in Jesus Christ. It is simultaneous to being justified (declared right with God). Believers are not commanded to seek after it. They already have it.

1 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” Paul says we were all baptized in one Spirit. He does not make any distinction. He actually says all believers have been baptized without distinction in the one Spirit. All believers were also made to drink of one Spirit.

This is similar to Paul’s statement in Ephesians 1:13, “In him 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.” When believers heard the word of truth, the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, they believed. They were in that same moment sealed by the Holy Spirit. When individuals hear that Jesus Christ has died for sinners and believe in Him through that word, they are sealed with and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches that every believer has been baptized by the Holy Spirit, not in water but into Christ. All believers have been baptized by the Spirit, whether first trusting in Christ two seconds ago or one hundred years ago. There is one baptism.

Praising God to be in Christ,

Bill Whittington

Notice: Unless otherwise noted: “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”