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Water Baptism: What Is It For?

Text:  Acts 8:26-40

Phillip and the Ethiopian (Podcast) 




Following is an account of the Holiness belief in water baptism found in the Decree Book of The Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Inc.: 

We believe in the baptism of water by immersion: being carried under the water conceived and brought forth which is the token of the real baptism of the Holy Spirit of God. We believe that water is a type of good conscience which is the Holy Ghost and Fire. We believe water points to salvation but it is not in itself salvation nor can it wash away our sins. — We believe that it is a necessary ordinance to be observed with all and yet we know it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit of God, which puts us into the name of Jesus and into Jesus of the Holy Spirit of God, which puts us into the name of Jesus and into Jesus Himself.

Matthew 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Matthew 3:13 - Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. Matthew 3:14 - But John forbad him, saying, I have to need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? John 3:22 After these things came to Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized


John 20:1-7 1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, 2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? 3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: 4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? 5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? 6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. 7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. 8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.


Acts 13:24 - When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.


Romans 6:4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


Luke 12:50 - But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!


John 3:1 - 1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…


Acts 12:2 - And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Ephesians 4:5 - One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

Matthew 28:19 The rite of water baptism in Holiness symbolizes and establishes one's "rebirth" in Christ Jesus. It is a ceremony which we teach as necessary according to the example which Jesus left us and the instructions He gave His disciples (Read Matt. 28:19 and St. John 3:1-23; and Luke 3:21, 22). This rebirth by water symbolizes the spiritual "rebirth" necessary as a preparatory step into fellowship with the God-Head. In the third chapter of St. John, Nicodemus was confused about what rebirth was and how it could be accomplished. As was the example when Christ went down into the river Jordan, we believe that all who desire fellowship into Holiness must be carried under the water and emerge "born again" of the water (the symbolic emblem of Christ's blood) as a part of the total rebirth which the Holy Ghost — the Holy Spirit — completes (read St. John 3:1-8).


From the Beauty of Holiness: A Small Catechism of the Holiness Faith and Doctrine (Lewis, H.M and M.H. 1990). Page 55 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. —


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