Baptized Into One Body
“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
There is much controversy surrounding both the work of the Holy Spirit and the subject of water baptism. A study of this verse is, therefore, helpful to us in understanding both.
By One Spirit
The phrase “by one Spirit” is used in 1 Corinthians 12 to mean “by the influence or direction of the Spirit.” The one who speaks “by the Spirit of God” says “Jesus is the Lord” (12:3). The word of wisdom and word of knowledge (two of the nine spiritual gifts under discussion in this chapter) were given “by the Spirit” (12:8). Consequently, when Paul mentions that “by the Spirit” we are all baptized, he is using a phrase introduced several times before to speak of being directed by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit directs men through the word of God. The modern concept of how the Holy Spirit leads men identifies any strong, subjective feeling with the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit guides and directs us through the revealed word of God. He “guided” the apostles into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13). We read the truth into which he guided them by reading what they wrote.
When men begin following their subjective feelings, rather than the word of God, we have incidences such as the one which happened in Texas with David Koresh, when men starting following a self-proclaimed Christ to kill officers of the state. This is what happened several years ago when over a thousand obeyed the voice of Jim Jones to commit murder and suicide. God leads and guides us through the word of God. The psalmist wrote, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me” (Psalm 43:3).
The one Holy Spirit has given the same instructions to all men. He has not prepared one set of instructions for one group and another to others. The guidance which he has given is found in the New Testament.
The word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo which is defined as ““to immerse.” Baptism is an immersion in water. The modern practice of sprinkling or pouring a small amount of water on a person and calling that “baptism” is not revealed in the word of God. Therefore, when Paul states that the Corinthians were baptized, he means that they were immersed in water.
Into One Body
Paul also states that “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” The body of which he speaks is the church. Elsewhere he wrote, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). The only way a person can become a member of the Lord’s church is to be baptized into the one body.
What is the church? The church is not a social club. Rather, it is those people who have submitted to Lord Jesus, whose sins have been washed away in the blood of the Lamb. These are the redeemed of all ages, those who are saved from their past sins. Unless a person is a part of the church, he will not be eternally saved. This is not because the church is the dispenser of salvation; rather it is the recipient of salvation.
What this verse is teaching, therefore, is this: Under the teaching and direction of the Holy Spirit of God, men have been baptized into Jesus Christ. As a result of their having been baptized, the blood of Christ has washed away their sins and Jesus has added them to His church.
Are you a member of the body of Christ? If not, you are outside of Christ, in the kingdom of Satan, and lost. We wish for all men to be saved. Life is too short, eternity is too long and hell is too horrible for one to die in a lost condition. If you miss heaven, you will have missed all that there is. To so live before God that we can receive our eternal home with God is man’s eternal purpose. Don’t allow yourself to put off obedience to the gospel until you die outside of Christ!