PLACES WHERE SPIRIT AND WATER BAPTISM GET CONFUSED
Christian [water] baptism was not instituted until after the death and resurrection of Christ. The reason lies in the fact that this event signifies the identification of the believer with Christ. Since it is intended to point to the death and resurrection of Christ and the union of the believer with Christ in this amazing work, this experience initiates the believer into salvation where all the other ministries of Christ become effective. Besides symbolizing union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection, it also points to the place of the Godhead in salvation, and the actual experience of baptism by the Spirit into the body of Christ and the communication of a new life by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (Spirit Baptism) in [Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:7; Tit. 3:5].
Rom. 6:3-5 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
1 Cor. 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
Gal. 3:7 "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."
Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
[Water Baptism] In water baptism the believer is reminded of his identification and union with Christ and the entire Godhead [Matt. 28:19].
God is tri-unity. This categorical statement may appear illogical to any reader who is confronted for the first time with this truth. The foregoing discussion makes such an effort to emphasize the unity of God, that the reader is now surprised to discover something about God that seems to be in contradiction. At first glance, the title "tri-unity" may appear to be a mistake, since the more common term is "trinity." But the expression "trinity" lays emphasis upon the three persons in the Godhead to the exclusion of the one essence, whereas the word "tri-unity" includes both ideas, and therefore insists upon a trinity of persons in the one divine essence.
The importance of this divine reality dare not be underestimated. Of all the propositions relating to God, this one is the fundamental of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This differentiates the Christian faith from all other faiths. Without this doctrine there could be no divine Savior and no divine Holy Spirit. Without this truth there could be no incarnation of God in human flesh. There could be no transaction between persons of the Godhead in atonement. And there could be no God of eternal love. It follows that all the distinctive truths of Christianity are wrapped up in this great fact. "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
When Christ became flesh, the tri-unity of God came into full view. In the doctrine of God, tri-unity comes last. This marks progress in revelation. This progress is not from imperfection to perfection, for at every stage in revelation the body of truth was perfect, though at that point it was incomplete. God revealed truth in the same proportion that men were prepared and able to receive it. When at last Christ came, men were then amply prepared and able to receive the crowning truth in the doctrine of God, the tri-unity of God. But this does not mean that there is no revelation concerning the tri-unity of God in the Old Testament. The facts are that this great truth is woven into the very warp and woof of the Old Testament Scriptures, except for the fact that it is not clearly seen because men are not sufficiently prepared to recognize it. The Hebrew word for God in the opening verse of Genesis is plural in number, though it is used with a singular verb. This occurs over and over again in the Old Testament. Notice the use of the word "us" in connection with the creation of man (Gen. 1:26), and his expulsion from the garden (Gen. 3:22). It would appear that the issues were so important that there was need for divine consultation in the Godhead. The answer to the critics of this doctrine is that the complete revelation of the tri-unity of God was given in deeds rather than words. Godly Jews believed in a God who dwelt in heaven. When Christ came, these very Jews recognized Him as God. The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was recognized as something different from the Father or from Christ, and when these men wrote the New Testament there was no conscious effort to formulate a doctrine of the tri-unity of God. All they did was to record what happened. "0 the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out" (Rom. 11:33). To seal this truth to each believer at the outset of his experience of salvation, he is baptized "into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19), a trinity of divine persons all contributing to his salvation.
Matt. 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"