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Articles

Principles of the Doctrine of Christ - Baptism

Principles of the Doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)

i) Repentance from dead works, ii) Faith toward God, iii) The doctrine of baptisms,

iv) The laying on of hands, v) The resurrection of the dead vi) And eternal judgment

 

In recent articles we are looking at principles of the doctrine of Christ. We will now look at the Doctrine of Baptisms. Some translations render this the doctrine of washings. It comes from the word baptismos. That exact word is only used in three other verses in the New Testament (Mk 7:4,8;Hb 9:10). In all those verses it is addressing ceremional washings of pots that the Pharisees had contrived.

 

It's interesting that something considered to be a principle can be “difficult” and divisive. Some cannot agree upon what this doctrine of washings means. It means one of two things. It either refers to the washings of pots that Pharisees had contrived or it refers to baptism. Most commentators and Bible scholars have concluded that it does pertain to baptism and not ceremonial washings.

 

If it referred to the washings of pots, there's not much to say about it. Jesus continued on in Matthew 7:6-8 to refer to such things as the doctrines of men and following them was worshipping in vain.

 

If the doctrine of washings refers to baptisms, then there is plenty to say about it. There were several baptisms referred to in the scriptures. When Moses passed through the sea it was called a baptism. John baptized. Jesus baptized. Sufferings were considered a baptism. Jesus said to some “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” He was asking, “Are you willing to suffer like I will suffer?” There is also Holy Spirit baptism.

 

Ephesians 4:5 says there is one baptism. This is the one we should be concerned about. It is considered to be the one we need to know about to have unity in God along with all the other “ones” we need for unity. Some would argue the “one baptism” is “Holy Spirit baptism”, but this is not correct. Holy Spirit baptism was a very scecial thing. It only happened two times. It occurred once when the apostles were tarrying in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Recall in Acts 2 cloven tongues as of fire came upon them (the apostles) and they began to speak in tongues. We KNOW this was Holy Spirit baptism because Jesus defined it as such. In Acts 1:5 Jesus said “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” This was Holy Spirit baptism “for the first Jewish converts”.

 

It happened again when the gospel was first taken to the Gentiles. In Acts 11:5 Peter is retelling what happened at the house of Cornelius (the first gentile converts recorded in Acts 10). As Peter began to speak the Holy Spirit fell on them (the Gentiles) as it had the apostles at the beginning (on the day of Pentecost).

 

The one baptism spoken of in Ephesians 4 is the baptism of Jesus. It is a baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). It is a baptism we can have if we believe with all our heart that Jesus is our Savior (Acts 8:37). It is a baptism that washes away sins and it is how one calls on the Lord (Acts 22:16). It is a baptism that saves us and can give us a clear conscience before God (1 Peter 3:21). It is an immersion in water (Acts 8:38). It is a baptism that allows us to be buried with Christ (Rom 6:4). It is a baptism that allows us to put on Christ like a garment (Gal 3:27). It is a baptism the Lord's Church follows. It is a baptism that all Christians have been baptized with. It is a baptism that is one of the principles of the doctrine of Christ that you need to understand as you begin your journey toward God.