Hebrews 6:1-2 – Six Foundations:

  1. Repentance from dead works
  2. Faith toward God
  3. Doctrine of baptisms
  4. Laying on of hands
  5. Resurrection of the dead
  6. Eternal Judgment

“…the doctrine of baptisms” (Hebrews 6:2) – Baptisms

What does baptism mean?

  • Baptism = to dip; immerse
  • Root word – bapto – “to dip” (used in Luke 16:24; John 13:26; Revelation 19:13) (Prince 176-177)                                                               .
  • bapto – “cover wholly with a fluid…dip” (Strong 16)    
  • Matthew 3:16 – “baptized…came up immediately from the water”
  • Acts 8:38-39 – “went down into the water…baptized…came up out of the water” 

Doctrine of Baptisms/Immersions – Singular Doctrine, Plural Baptisms (Hebrews 6:2)

  1. John’s baptism (Mark 1:4; Acts 19:4)
  2. Christian Water baptism (Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:47-48)
  3. Fire baptism (Luke 3:16-17)
  • Baptism of distress/suffering (Luke 12:49-53; Mark 10:38-39) – perhaps describing baptism of fire.
  1. Holy Spirit baptism (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5)

1.  John’s Baptism

  • Luke 3:1-20 – baptism of true repentance

2.  Water Baptism

Note: When baptism is mentioned on its own, it probably refers to water baptism (for instance, see Acts 8:36-39 and 10:47-48)

A new baptism initiated.

  • Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus fulfills all righteousness in being baptized by John
  • John 4:1-2 – Jesus’ disciples baptized followers at the same time John was baptizing.
  • Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus initiated a distinctly Christian water baptism
  • Mark 16:15-16 – this baptism is THE deed that accompanies faith and salvation
  • Acts 2:37-38; 8:12,36-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:11-15,31-33; 18:8; 19:1-5; Hebrews 6:2 – the early church emphasized baptism as a necessary and immediate response to faith in Christ 
  • Acts 19:1-5 – Christian water baptism is distinct and separate from John’s baptism 

What is the meaning of water baptism?

  • 1 Peter 3:21 – NOT outward cleansing, but response of inner conviction
  • Hebrews 9:14; 10:22 – a good/clear conscience that comes through faith in Christ
  • Romans 6:1-6 – baptism = burial of old, dead flesh
  • Colossians 2:11-12 – relates to the cutting off of flesh; which is the killing of our old sin nature.  Circumcision and baptism are closely connected (see chart below).
Is the cutting off of the flesh (Genesis 17:11)Is the cutting off and burial of our fleshly/sinful nature that was crucified upon faith in gospel (Colossians 2:11 and Galatians 2:20)
A sign of one’s covenant with God (Gen. 17:11)A sign of one’s covenant with God (Matt. 28:19)
Done AFTER someone was born an Israelite (Gen. 17:12)Done AFTER someone is born again (John 3:7) into the “Israel of God” – which happens upon believing the gospel (Galatians 3:26,29; 6:16).
Done when an infant is 8 days old (Gen. 17:12)8 is a number that represents a new beginning – there were 8 people who began the new earth after the flood, the priests began their ministry the 8th day (Leviticus 9:1), the 8th day is the beginning of a new week, circumcision was done the 8th day, King David was the 8th son, etc.  Thus, baptism is also done after the “new beginning” that comes with faith in Christ.
Contingent upon obedience (Romans 2:25)Contingent upon faith/obedience in Christ (just as John’s baptism of repentance could not be received by those who didn’t evidence repentance in their life, see Luke 3:8)
Circumcision and Baptism Compared

Old Testament pictures of water baptism.

  • Exodus 14:15-31; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 – Red Sea is a symbol/type for baptism
  • Israel leaving Egypt by blood of Passover Lamb = Christians leaving the oppression of sin by the blood of Christ (Revelation 11:8; 1 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Israel walking under and out of a wall of water = Christian baptism.
  • Egyptians being covered by the water = sins being covered by water
  • Hebrews 11:29 – faith was necessary for their crossing the Red Sea, just as faith is necessary for baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
  • Genesis 6-8; 1 Peter 3:20-21 – Flood of Noah is symbol/type for baptism
  • Ark brought salvation, having only one door = Jesus as the only way to salvation.
  • Sins of world covered by water = our sins covered by water of baptism
  • Ark resting after waters subside on 17th day of 7th month (Gen. 8:4) = the end of death over sin (Jesus was resurrected the exact same day!                                                               ).
  • 8 people on boat = beginning of new life
  • Dove finding olive tree after flood = Holy Spirit initiating our new life (Luke 3:22; Romans 11:17)

What is required to be baptized in water?

5 households baptized in Scriptures, comprised of believers:

  1. Cornelius’s (Acts 10:48) – All of the household is said to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit BEFORE they were baptized (11:14-15)
  2. Lydia’s (Acts 16:15) – We are not told the status of this household when they were baptized.  However, the distance of their journey would seem to suggest that infants could not have been present (Acts 16:12,14).
  3. Philippian jailer’s (Acts 16:33) – All of this household believed the word of the Lord BEFORE they were baptized (Acts 16:31-34)
  4. Stephanas’s (1 Corinthians 1:16) – All of this household is called the “firstfruits,” and those who devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Cor. 16:15).  Thus, they were all believers and ministers of the gospel at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, which makes it highly probable that they were believers before Paul baptized them.
  • Repentance and faith come before baptism in the Scriptures – Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12,37; 10:44-48 (compared with Acts 11:14-15); 16:14-15; 16:31-33; 19:4-5; Hebrews 6:1-2
  • Heb. 11:29 – in the passing of the Red Sea, which is a type for water baptism (see 1 Cor. 10:2), faith was required
  • 1 Peter 3:21 – baptism is defined as “the answer of a good conscience toward God”.  Therefore, it is necessary that those who are baptized have a good conscience toward God.

3.  Fire Baptism

  • Only mentioned twice explicitly in Scriptures (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16)

What is fire baptism? – 3 popular theories:

  1. Baptism of Fire = Baptism of Spirit
    • Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16 – John introduces them together
    • Acts 2:3-4; Revelation 4:5
  2. Baptism of Fire = Condemnation of non-believers
    • Matt. 3:11-12; Luke 3:16-17 – after introducing baptism of fire, John speaks of judgment by fire toward unbelievers
    • 2 Peter 3:10-12 – This earth will be burned up with fire when Jesus returns
    • Isaiah 66:24; Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:14-15 – Those who reject Christ will suffer fire for eternity
  3. Baptism of Fire = trials and tribulations that refine Christians
    • Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:49-53 – Jesus’ disciples will be baptized with suffering, compared to fire
    • Isaiah 48:10; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:2-3; 1 Peter 1:7 – God refines us through fire

What is the nature of fire?

  • Zechariah 13:8; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – Fire refines and reveals
  • Proverbs 25:4-5 (see also Matt. 13:43) – fire destroys the impure so that the pure is refined and revealed, pleasing to God.
  • Happens corporately: non-believers are destroyed by fire and believers are preserved (Matt. 3:12; 13:36-43)
  • Happens individually: personal impurities are destroyed so that believers can be refined for God (e.g. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Conclusion on fire baptism:

  • What we know: Fire baptism is introduced with Holy Spirit baptism.  Both of these baptisms are introduced as the evidence that Christ’s ministry will go beyond John’s ministry, and these baptisms – Holy Spirit and fire – will go beyond John’s baptism of repentance.  Also, when addressing these baptisms of fire and Holy Spirit, John is speaking to those who have received his baptism of repentance, saying, “He will baptize you [that is, you who already went through John’s baptism of repentance] with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16), therefore, it can be assumed that this baptism pertains to all who have repented.
  • Inference: I believe the baptism of fire speaks of the refining and revealing that happens to those who have God’s Holy Spirit (i.e. Christians). 
  • Luke 3:16-17; Matt. 13:24-30,36-43 – Baptism of fire is the immersion of God’s fire that will destroy the unrighteous, but reveal the righteous: “The Son of Man…will gather…all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire…Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:41-43)
  • O.T. Picture      : Daniel 3:26-27 – God’s servants untouched by fire that immerses (“baptizes”) them, revealing them to be of God, while their antagonists were burned by this same fire (3:22).
  • 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – Fire will also refine and reveal the life of Christians, destroying any works that are not eternal.  Perhaps, the baptism of fire would include this aspect.
  • Matthew 13:41-42 – “things that offend” are gathered and burned alongside “those who practice lawlessness” 
  • Analogy: A fire sweeps through a neighborhood.  1 house in the neighborhood is made exclusively of wood (analogous to non-believers).  1 house is built mostly of gold, including its foundation, but has a wood porch (analogous to believers who still practice some non-eternal works).  This fire completely destroys the wood house (the judgment of the unrighteous), but only destroys the porch of the gold house (the judgment of unrighteous works done by those who are under Christ’s righteousness). 

4.  Baptism of Suffering

  • Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:49-53 – Christ’s disciples will be baptized/immersed with suffering, just as Christ endured the cross
  • Note: Some have seen this baptism of suffering as synonymous with the baptism of fire.  Though it is true that suffering is a great refiner of Christians, and is even compared with fire that refines (1 Pet. 1:7), it is problematic to say with certainty that these two baptisms are interchangeable      .  What we can say, however, is that Christians will be immersed with sufferings, just as their Lord was immersed with suffering, whether this be labeled “fire baptism” or a different baptism.
  • Acts 14:22; Romans 8:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:12 – suffering is not a choice for Christians
  • Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29 – it is granted as a gift to Christians
  • John 15:2; 2 Corinthians 4:10 – Suffering is necessary for spiritual life and fruit to grow, the same as pruning is necessary for physical fruit to grow to its fullest potential.
  • Exodus 1:12; Leviticus 24:2; Mark 6:38-44; cf. Mark 14:3 with John 12:3; Acts 9:15-16; 2 Corinthians 13:4 – Pattern: brokenness and hardships precede light, life, and fruitfulness.

5.  Holy Spirit Baptism

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