There seems to be quite a bit of confusion around baptism, so let’s talk for a few minutes about baptism, what it is and what it is not. I have noticed over the years that depending on which background you are part of you may be under a different misconception of baptism. For example; Catholics are always baptizing specifically with the formula: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” But there are some specific Pentecostal groups that only baptize in the name of Jesus. So, then they make this WAR between, “Do you baptized in NAMES or do you baptized in the name of Jesus?” One group finds their proof text in Matthew chapter 28 when Jesus says; “Go therefore and make Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.” And the other proof text is found in Acts chapter 2 verse 38; “Then Peter said to them repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
So, then people say, “Which is it? Do we baptize in names, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? or do we baptized like Peter said, just in the name of Jesus Christ?” And they get all bent out of shape if you’re baptized one way or the other, and they think that your baptism is invalid if it’s one way or the other. The truth be told hear, it depends on your HEART. Remember that Jesus is not looking at your (religious) background (to validate you), but He is looking at your heart condition, and when you have become baptized in water, He is looking to see if that was true repentance, or if you were just doing it for people. It literally does not matter if you are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit or if the person baptizing you just said “I baptize you in the name of Jesus.”
We have to get away from these doctrines that are made up by men, either if it’s by Oneness Pentecostals or it’s by a Catholic priest. We need to get away from these things because Jesus is looking at our HEART not these specific doctrines and Creeds and whatever they are that men have made up. So, one of these deceptions around baptism is that you have to be baptized with the right formula. There is no such formula. It has to do with your heart condition and if you’re really sincere to repent and turn from your sins when you are baptized when you are baptized in that water. There is nothing special about the water itself, where you need to go, but that your heart is in the right condition before God, and that you are really ready to turn away from your sins to follow the Lord.
Another deception is that the person who is baptizing you really has to be a solid man of God. Now of course you want to find someone who is a solid man of God, but not man of God who baptizes you does not invalidate or discredit your baptism. In other words, if that person you found to baptize you, in a year or 20 years falls away from the Lord, you suddenly do not just lose yourself salvation or fall away from God simply because the person walked away from the Lord, or they come out that they are not a true believer. It has nothing to do with that person who is baptizing you. It is good idea of course to find someone that you do trust as a true believer, but it is not critical to your walked with Jesus if the person that baptizes you ends up being a false believer or a true believer the rest of their life.
If that were true, any pastor who baptizes someone, that ends up later backsliding and falling away, all the people he baptized would be false believers, and that’s just not true. The Lord judges us on if our heart is right before Him, not if the person who baptized us, or originally brought us to the Lord continues in THEIR faith. Each person will be judged according to THEIR WORDS and THEIR FAITH, their actions. So all these other ideas about baptism we need to just throw away, not worried about the lies that come from Satan, about the name game, the specific water, a specific area, the specific person…
If you’re not sure about something through, pray and ask Jesus to guide you, and even if you have not been baptized yet, even if you have not received the Holy Spirit yet, the Holy Spirit will guide you even in baptism. There is no formula where this has to happen first, then this happens… then this happens… It happens however the Holy Spirit happens. You are unique and special, no one else is like you, no one else is in your specific situation, and because Jesus is alive and created you, He will work with you in your specific situation. So, don’t think it’s some cookie-cutter formula where you have to find specific water, and it has to be these specific words. You just have to follow the Holy Spirit and His direction.
We need to get away from the doctrines and the understandings of men, and start really being led by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote. As many as are led by the Spirit of God THEY are the sons of God. We need to become Sons and Daughters of God who are led by the Holy Spirit not by our interpretation of the scriptures, not buy some doctrines or some decrees of men, but who are really led by the Holy Spirit of God.
People will say; “How do you know? There are many different versions of the Bible and many different interpretations of the Bible, how would you know?” We’ll the way that we test the spirits is not by an interpretation of the Bible, but it is by the Holy Spirit, and the way that you will know is it when you continue to pray and you pray through to Jesus and you really get to know Him for yourself. There is no other way to test the spirits, to know, other than you truly receiving the Holy Spirit.
I know some people will say, “But many people have different versions of the Holy Spirit…” Well, that is actually true, people have all different opinions of the Holy Spirit, there are different brothers, so-called brothers and sisters in the Lord, that said, “I heard this from the Holy Spirit”, and it directly conflicts with what you heard from the Holy Spirit! So, how are there so many different Holy Spirits? There are not many different Holy Spirits, but people are making their own interpretations of what the Holy Spirit is saying, and that is why it is very dangerous to listen to people. But if you want to know the truth it starts with your own heart condition before your Creator. There is only one Christ, one Jesus Christ who made you, one Creator, there is only one God and one true Holy Spirit that created all of us. The same Holy Spirit who resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead will also teach you and lead you if you make Him your only Teacher.
People get so many different interpretations and understanding supposedly coming from the Holy Spirit because they listen to men and doctrines of men and they are slanted and persuaded by people’s opinions, rather than going to Jesus as the mark and as the true level of who they should be going to. Instead they bring down the level and they start looking to men and their opinions, and then they critique themselves and others against a certain doctrine that men have made up, their churches, their Bible study’s interpretations…
We need to be going to Jesus because He Himself is the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to God the Father except through Him. So, let us not get wrapped up in doctrines and opinions of men, decrees that churches have made in the past. But let us put all of that stuff off, that we may make Jesus Christ our one and only Teacher, that He may lead us in all things and baptized us in His Holy Spirit, that we may truly know our Father in Heaven.
Go with Jesus and let no one slow you down from being baptized in water if you have not yet been, and then receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit of God will truly be your Teacher, that He will lead you in all things, and that Jesus Christ will guide you, that your eyes will be fixed on Him, that you may ENDURE with Him into everlasting life. Let nothing stop you. May the grace of Jesus be with you.