Paul Wong


What does the apostle Paul mean when he wrote “One Baptism” in his letter to the church in Ephesus? (Eph. 4:5)  Does he imply baptism of water or baptism of the Holy Spirit?  In order to find out what Paul meant by “One Baptism” we must know the background of his relationship with the church in Ephesus.  They were dear to the heart of Paul (Acts 20:17-21,36-38).  He first met them in Ephesus.   They knew only John’s baptism of repentance from sin, but did not know the Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ that became effective after His death and resurrection (Acts. 19:1-4; Heb. 9:15-18; Rom. 6:3-8).  These Ephesian Christians were similar to Apollos who “had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught  accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.” (Acts 18:24-26)  Many people came to be baptized by John “confessing their sins” (Mt. 3:5-6, 11).  Today we can find many good Christians who have similar conditions as Apollos and the Ephesian Christians.  Although they have accepted Jesus as their Messiah and have even been baptized before, yet they have little or no knowledge of the Holy Spirit.  The critical point is their lack of understanding in the relationship between the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and water baptism (Rom. 6:3-8; Col. 2:12).  After Paul explained the water baptism’s relevancy to their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ he rebaptized them.  It is through Paul’s recognition of the Christian’s correct faith, attitude and mode of baptism into Lord Jesus Christ that he considered the necessity for rebaptism.  This is the “One Baptism” that we are going to study.


A good illustration of the “One Baptism” that has all the basic requirements is found in the miracle of the healing of Naaman (2 Kn. 5:1-14).  Leprosy that was considered one of the most feared diseases symbolizes sin in man. The prophet Elisha’s instruction to Naaman to “go and wash in the Jordan seven times” signifies the “One Baptism” that cleanses man from sin. “So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a child, and he was clean.” (2 Kn. 5:14)  There are seven important truths in the Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ.


1.   Believe  in   the  Lord  Jesus  Christ


In His Great Commission the Lord Jesus Christ said: “He who believes and in baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:16)  On the Day of Pentecost Peter urged the people to “be saved”, and they gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:40-41)  The eunuch asked Philip “What hinders me from being baptized?  Then Philip  said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’  And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’  So he commanded the chariot to stand still.  And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts. 8:35-38) 


For a more detailed study on Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ


2.     Baptism in  the  Name  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ



In His Great Commission our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to baptize in the “Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28:19)  The Early Church baptized in the name of the“Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). There are very good reasons why baptism is administered in the Savior's name.


Name of the Father   


The word “Father” is not a name.  What is the Father’s name?  “And God said to Moses,   ‘I AM WHO I AM.’  And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:13-14).  The Name of the Father is “I AM WHO I AM” “YAHWEH” in Hebrew.  When our Lord commanded them to baptize “in the name of the Father” the disciples understood that He meant “YAHWEH”. Due to the Jews' reverence for God's sacred name they call Him “Adonay” which is translated as “LORD” in our English Bibles.


Name of the Son



The word “Son” is not a name either. The divinely given name of the Son of God is “YAHSHUA the Hebrew Name for “JESUS.”  The Name “YAHSHUA” consists of two words.  “YAH” is the shortened name for “YAHWEH”, and “Oshua” means Savior.   “YAHSHUAis God’s name for redemption that “saves His people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21; Acts 4:10-12; 10:43; 2:38; 22:16).


Just before our Lord gave the Great Commission He proclaimed His supreme powers as King of the heaven and the earth.  He said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Mt. 28:18)  The authority is in His name “YAHSHUA”.   It is so powerful that prayers are answered when invoked in this name (Jn. 14:13-14). Miracles, signs and wonders are performed through the name of Jesus (Acts 2:22; 3:6-9; 4:30; 9:34).  Even demons are subjected to the name (Lk. 10:17; Mk. 9:38; 16:17; Acts 16:18).


The most important aspect of the name of YAHSHUA (JESUS) is this:  “. . . . Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43).  How can we receive remission of sins through the name of YAHSHUA (JESUS)?  “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)  This is very clear.  The person who repents and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ will have the remission of sins. The Samaritan Christians were “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 8:16)

Name of the Holy Spirit

The Lord Jesus Christ declared: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (Jn. 14:26)        The word “Christ” is derived from the Greek “Christos” that means “the Anointed One”.  It is translated from the Hebrew word “Messiah” with the meaning “Anointed of YAH”.  Originally the word “Christ” is a title (Lk. 24:46; Mt. 16:16).  Later on this title “Christ” became the personal name of the Savior.


So now we know the baptismal formula “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Sprit”  means “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”.  This is the full and complete name of the Savior.  In the Hebrew language we baptize in the Name of “YAHWEH, YAHSHUA ha MASIACH” .  Apostolic Messianic Jews baptize in the name of “Adonay Y’shua ha Masiach”. The name "Lord Jesus Christ" has now been transliterated into hundreds of languages of the world. to visit this "Transliterated Names" web site: for a more detailed study on Baptism in the name of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit"


3.     Baptism  in  the  Blood  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)  Christians are washed and redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).  How does the blood which was shed nearly two thousand years ago do that in our time?  To understand this truth we must go back to Calvary where our Lord was crucified.


“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (Jn. 19:34)

This is an act of God and the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The blood and water that came out from the Lord’s side is the “fountain for sin and uncleanness” (Zec. 13:1). 


“This is He who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.  For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness on the earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” (1 Jn. 5:6-8) 


Through the witness of the Spirit of truth, the blood of Jesus Christ is also present with the water when the Christian is baptized into Him.  Will you be washed of your sins in the precious blood of Jesus Christ?  


For a more detailed study on Baptism in the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ


4.  Burial  with  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ


The apostle Paul wrote, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:3-4). "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Col. 2:12). Since water baptism is to be a burial with the Lord Jesus Christ the mode is complete immersion. The person who is baptized must believe that he or she is buried with the Lord Jesus Christ.


For a more detailed study on Burial with the Lord Jesus Christ


5.   Baptism  in  the  likeness  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ’s  Death


"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (Jn. 19-.30).



Those words "It is finished" means the work of redemption for mankind was accomplished at that moment. Jesus Christ died for our sins and opened a way for us to identify ourselves with His death. We do that by receiving baptism into His death.


" Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:3-4)


The Christian is identified with the death of Jesus Christ, being “buried with Him through baptism into death.”


"For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection." (Rom. 6:5)


When the Christian is baptized he or she is united with Jesus Christ and buried together with Him. The Old King James Bible reads “planted together in the likeness of His death". In other words, the person is buried in the water in the same mode that Jesus died. How did He die? The Bible states clearly "And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (Jn.19:30). Bowing of the head is the baptismal mode which most resemble the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.


" Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, (baptized into Christ) that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." (Rom.6:6-8)


Baptism into the LORD JESUS CHRIST enables the person to be freed from sin therefore the mode should reflect the attitude. There must be repentance before baptism (Acts 2-38). The person receiving baptism must have confession of sins, therefore as a sinner he or she cannot lift the head or look up (Mk. 1:4-5; Ezra 9:6; Psm. 40-12; Lk. 18-.13). Bowing of the head shows the repentant attitude of the baptized person.


For a more detailed study on Baptism in the Likeness of Jesus Christ’s Death


6.   Baptism  by  Spirit-filled  Baptists  sent  by  Jesus  Christ


Although water baptism is physically performed by baptists but it is the Holy Spirit who is actually baptizing believers. "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (I Cor.12:13).


"Then Jesus said to them again, 'Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' When He said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (Jn.20:21-23)


The authority and power of forgiving and retaining sins is given through the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who had exercised this power during baptism (Acts 2:38). Baptism can only be administered by Spirit-filled baptists who are sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to baptize for the remission of sins.


For a more detailed study on Baptism by Baptists sent by Jesus Christ


7.   Baptism  in  Living  Water  created  by  God


The Lord Jesus Christ is God Who manifested Himself in the flesh (I Tim.3:16). He was not baptized for the remission of sins but did so because He wanted to "fulfill all righteousness" and also to set an example for us (Mt.3:15; Jn.13-15- I Pet.2:21). He could have been baptized in one of the pools in Jerusalem but He preferred the river. There must be a reason for it. He spoke about "rivers of living water" (Jn.7:38). God promised, "Behold, I will extend peace to her (True Believers) like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream" (Isa.66-.12).


Although the river would be the ideal baptismal site but it is not always possible to have it. John the Baptist would normally baptize people in the River Jordan but he also did it 'in "Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there" (Jn.3:23). Aenon is an Aramaic word meaning "springs". The Bible mentions baptism and remission of sins in the sea (I Cor.10:1-2; Mic.7:19). "Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters . . ." (Psm.77:19). God wants His people to be baptized into the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the “Fountain of living waters” and in natural places which are His own creation (Jer.2:13).


For a more detailed study on Baptism in Living Water created by God


8.   Receive  Baptism  into  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ



If you are not a Christian yet and desire to become one, you need to follow the command of the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized into Him as soon as possible. Why? Because you need to have your sins washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. If you are already a Christian but feel that your previous baptism is incorrect then you need to reconsider Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ. The disciples at Ephesus knew only the baptism of repentance but after learning about the Baptism into Christ they were rebaptized (Acts 19:3-5). Does your previous baptism conform to the seven important points in Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are unsure of your baptism, do pray and ask the Lord to guide you. The Bible describes true believers as those "who follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4). You should follow Him and be baptized into the LORD JESUS CHRIST.


Click here for:  Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ


May God bless you

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Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.


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