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November 06, 2023

Ep.1306: Are Christians Really Baptized Into Christ?

Comparing several biblical baptisms with baptism into Christ

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What kind of baptism did John the Baptist perform?

Why was Jesus baptized if he never committed a sin?

Are Christians baptized into the holy spirit or into Christ?

Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:4-5

Arise and be baptized! This and many other similar scriptural statements have in many ways defined Christianity. Unfortunately, because Christianity is so splintered it applies these very important words and instructions in a wide variety of ways. Some say baptism changes you, others say it is a symbol, and others say it is necessary for heaven. Some baptize infants, others baptize children and others, adults only. Others baptize into a church or denomination, while some "baptize into Christ." Some see baptism as a necessary beginning to walk towards Christ, while others see it as a symbol of having decided to sacrificially follow Christ. How can all of this be one baptism? It can’t! What do we do with all of this? We search the Scriptures and look for the originally intended message behind Christian baptism.

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What's the purpose?

When you think about it, baptism is a strange ritual. What would be the purpose of dunking people in water anyway? Do they need a bath? Actually, the whole concept of Christian baptism began with this general objective. Way back in the days of Moses when God gave them His Law, the people of Israel were meticulously instructed about cleanliness. Not only were they told to wash in water after being sick or in contact with a dead body, but they also had to become ceremonially clean by offering a sacrifice before the priesthood. Washing for Israel was an important act of physical cleansing that was tied to their spiritual cleansing as well.

Is this what Christian baptism is all about?

John the Baptist arrives on the scene with a very specific mission regarding the whole nation of Israel. He announces the coming of their Messiah and tells the people to repent and be baptized. His message to Israel is to recognize their sins and demonstrate their repentance with a physical washing - just as the Law had prescribed centuries before. So, is this what Christian baptism is all about?

No. While repentance is a critical part of Christian baptism, it is only a beginning element and in no way represents the whole picture. "Baptism into Christ" has many other elements tied to it. It is important we don't confuse the two. Christians often seem to focus on the repentance part of this picture, and therefore focus on the baptism of John. While important, it does not reflect true Christian baptism.

Check out our November 6, 2023 podcast, “Are Christians Really Baptized Into Christ?” for more. We put John’s baptism and baptism into Christ side-by-side. We also examine several other New Testament baptisms as well. John spoke of a "baptism of the holy spirit and of fire." Jesus spoke of his followers being baptized with the "baptism of his own suffering." The Apostle Paul spoke about being "baptized into Christ's death." How do all these differing baptisms fit together? Join us as we sort out these many New Testament references and put them in order. In the end, it all makes perfect sense, and it all teaches us amazing lessons!


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