-- Answer: One --

Ephesians 4:5 shows that there is only "one" baptism. "Which baptism is this?," one might wonder. "Is it Holy Spirit baptism?" "How can we know it is pertaining to water baptism?"

These are good questions. Actually, there are only two cases of the Holy Spirit miraculously indwelling others without the laying on of an apostle's hands during the New Testament Age: the first would be that which the apostles themselves received in Acts 2. The only other incident is that which happened about 10 years later at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10,11) as a special sign to the Jews that "...God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life" (Acts 11:18). This outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Cornelius' household took place around A.D. 43.

The writing of the Ephesian letter, in which we read of there being just "one baptism," was written about A.D. 61.

Now what is the "one baptism" we see occuring after A.D. 61? In 1 Peter 3:21, which was written about A.D. 63, Peter states, "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience...." Without question, the baptism that saves, which Peter is speaking of here, is water baptism. This is the one baptism that is to continue as long as time lasts.

Incidentally, no one was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was a promise given to the apostles, and I doubt those at the house of Cornelius had any idea that the Lord would cause His Holy Spirit to fall upon them as He did.

Water baptism, however, is commanded; and it is part of the plan of salvation for any penitent believer who wants to have sins washed away and become a Christian (cf, Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3,4).

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