1 Corinthians 12:13 mentions “by one Spirit” we were all baptized into one body. What does this mean? It means that Christians came to be baptized into Christ BY the influence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, none of us would have been immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ except that we listened to what the Spirit commanded. It was not BY my own wisdom or desire. I never would have been baptized in the name of the Lord except I came under the teaching and directing influence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit tells us the truth about how to come into the body of Christ. The Law of Moses did not tell me to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The faith of Jesus Christ as revealed and directed by the Holy Spirit is the ONLY reason anyone was ever baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The 3,000 Jews that repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-41) would never have done so except that the Spirit through Peter urged them to. The Ethiopian Eunuch would never have been baptized in Acts 8:33f except that the Spirit through Philip had taught and urged him to. Cornelius and his household would never have been baptized in water in the name of the Lord in Acts 10:47-48 except the Spirit through Peter taught and commanded them to. You see it is BY one Spirit, the same Holy Spirit teaching, that we are ALL baptized into one body.
Here is what happens when we are baptized in the name of the Lord. 1) We are immersed in water by the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:33f; Acts 10:47-48). 2) Going into this baptism in water we repent of sins (Acts 2:38) or “die to sin”(Rom.6:3-5). As we are doing this BY the Spirit’s influence, God is also doing the most important part. He is cutting our sins away (Col.2:12), remitting our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and adding us to His church (Acts 2:47) or placing us in the spiritual body of Christ, the church (1 Cor.12:13; Gal.3:26-27). This all happens when we are immersed in water in the name of the Lord. When we are immersed in Jesus’ name, we have “faith in the operation of God”(Col.2:12f) that He will do the work of circumcision without hands. What does He cut away? He cuts away our sins. We do not cut our own sins away. God does this. But, God does this when we are immersed as the Ethiopian Eunuch, as the 3,000 Jews on Pentecost, and as Cornelius. We are ALL baptized into one body, the church of Christ, by the direction of ONE SPIRIT.
This is what Jesus said in the great commission. Go preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15-16). This is carried out by the disciples teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28:19). Remember, this is in the element of WATER (Acts 10:47-48). It is done “in the name of the Lord” and it is done “BY” the influence of One Spirit. This one baptism began to be preached and practiced by direction of the Spirit in Jerusalem, and was to keep going to “all nations”. It did not cease short of “every creature”. It is the one baptism of Eph.4:5. Do you hear what the Spirit says about the baptism Jesus commanded?
—Terry W. Benton