These are the two ordinances of the Christian Church.
They were instituted in the Gospels (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19-20).
The were practiced in the Acts 10:47, 48; 20:7.
They are expounded in the Epistles (Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Cor. 11:23-32).
There are three forms of baptism in the NT:
1. John’s Baptism—Mark 1:4
2. Spirit Baptism—1 Cor. 12:13
3. Believer’s Baptism—Rom. 6:3-10
These three forms of baptism should not be confused.
After the day of Pentecost there is no mention of any persons being baptized except those who were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. “They that gladly received his word were baptized”—Acts 2:41.
2. “When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women”—Acts 8:12.
3. Acts 10:47-48—In the house of Cornelius. Households are mentioned as being baptized (Acts 16:15; 1 Cor. 1:16) but there is no evidence to suppose that these households included children who had never trusted the Lord Jesus.
Once the believer was dead “in” sin—now he is dead “to” sin.
Believers’ baptism is expounded in detail in Romans 6:1-10. The question of being saved and living in sin is unthinkable. See verses 1-2.
v. 3—When we as believers were baptized we were actually baptized into His death. The world never saw him again after His death.
We profess in our baptism to having died to the whole question of sin, world, flesh, devil. Sin, so to speak, has no claim and certainly should have no dominion over us. Verse 14.
God sees every believer as having been crucified with Christ. All that we were as sinners has been nailed to the cross. “God forbid that I should glory,” etc. Old man—Eph. 4:22. I am crucified with Christ—Galatians 2:20; Col. 3:5.
The old nature in Ephesians 4 is corrupt and comprises of deceitful lusts. Lying, anger, submitting to the devil, stealing, corrupt communication, bitterness, clamor, slander, malice. See Col. 3. Death to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness which is idolatry. Put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, foul talk, lying. Verse 8.
The new nature (later). Baptism is the outward expression of an inward condition. All this does not take place at baptism, but in baptism the believer publicly declares what has already taken place.
If baptism is understood correctly the individual concerned is literally saying:
1. When Christ was crucified, the flesh within me, the old nature, the old self was crucified, too.
2. When my Lord died to the world, I died also “to the world.”
3. When Jesus was buried I also was buried. Everything fleshly, carnal, everything of self is dead and buried, put out of sight.
We have considered the teaching of baptism relative to Christ’s death and burial. But there is the teaching related to His resurrection. The Lord Jesus was raised from the dead; correspondingly, believers are raised from the waters of baptism. In being raised from the waters he declares his determination to walk in newness of life, to walk in the Spirit, to produce the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5. See also 1 Cor. 3:12-17.
Deeds of the New Nature: compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearing with one another, forgiving one another, put on love, let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, admonishing one another, teaching one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with all our hearts to the Lord, whatever we do in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Him.
The baptized believer also proclaims that his life will be selfless, that it will be for the use and the glory of God. That from henceforth Christ shall reign supreme and unchallenged in his heart. The Lordship of Christ. So then baptism is an act of obedience. Matthew 28:19-20. It is a public act of confession and identification.
Note the picture of baptism in type in the OT:
1. Israel crossing the Red Sea. (a) Severing their connections with Egypt (world); (b) The opening of a new life with/in Christ.
2. Peter says that the flood is a like figure to baptism. 1 Peter 3:21. Its meaning. (a) Noah by the flood was separated from the ungodly generation in which he lived; (b) from its associations; (c) from its evils; (d) and also its doom.
Finally Peter says it is the answer of a good conscience before God.