“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.”
John 3:5 KJV

Today, we will focus on the distinction between baptism by water and baptism by the Spirit. By the end of this article, you will be able to tell what water baptism stands for and if it is a necessary ordinance for the man in Christ.

In the Bible, Jesus often used water as a metaphor for the Spirit and if you are not a good student of the word, you may think He was talking about actual water. For instance, in John 7:37-39, Jesus used water to illustrate the reception of the Holy Ghost for everyone who believes.

In this light, we see that in John 3:5 to “be born of water and of the Spirit” was not talking about two different things as many wrongly interpret it, it was referring to just one thing, which is, to be born of the Spirit. To understand this text better, let’s examine what true Baptism means.

Baptism is the Greek word ‘Baptizo’, which means “to immerse”. It is a supernatural operation by which we all became beneficiaries of Christ’s redemptive work by being immersed into one body through the Spirit (Col 2:11).

This definition already tells us that baptism is a supernatural operation, meaning that it is not done by human ability. Right? Now if this is the case, why did John baptize with water and what was the significance of John’s baptism?

John’s baptism was to announce and identify the messiah (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16). Just like the rod of Moses in the wilderness symbolized the death of Jesus on the cross, John’s baptism was a symbol of the believer’s identification in the redemptive work of Christ – His death, burial and resurrection. Simply put, water baptism was a symbol and not the real deal.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Matthew 3:11 NKJV

John himself knew that his baptism was for a purpose but not the purpose itself. The real deal is the Holy Ghost (John 1:33) and everyone, who believes in Jesus Christ receives the Holy Ghost at that instant (Ephesians 1:13, Mark 16:17).

Thus, we don’t need water baptism to receive the Spirit. We were baptized into the Spirit immediately after we believed (Acts 10:44-48). The Holy Ghost in us is our baptism.

Bible Reading Plan:
Mark 1:9-20, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Psalms 73, Joshua 3-5.