Actually, there are six baptisms mentioned in the New Testament: John’s baptism (in water, Luke 3:16), the baptism of suffering (human suffering, Mark 10:39), baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16), baptism of fire (hell fire, Matthew 3:11), baptism of Moses (1 Corinthians 10:1-3), and the baptism of the great commission (in water, Acts 8:36-39). But, Ephesians 4:5 says there is “ONE” baptism. How are these reconciled? the answer is to look at each of the five baptisms and see their design.
(1) “John’s baptism” was an immersion in water at the hands of John the baptist in preparation for the Messiah. It was limited and temporary in that it only lasted until Christ died on the cross (Mark 1:4; Acts 19:3-5).
(2) “The baptism of suffering” consisted of personal affliction brought about by wicked men. The disciples of Jesus would experience much the same “suffering” as did Jesus which would result in their ultimate glory (Mark 10:39).
(3) “Holy Spirit baptism” was promised by Jesus to the apostles and not to every Christian (John 16:13; Acts 2:1-4). The Spirit guided them into all truth. There’s no record of it being received by members of the church in general, though a “special occasion” at the house of Cornelius occurred which was to convince the Jews that God also accepted the Gentiles (Acts 10)
(4) “The baptism of fire” will be administered by Jesus and is designed to punish the wicked in hell at the end of time (Matthew 3:11-12; Revelation 20:11-15). No one wants this baptism!
(5) “The baptism of Moses” the children of Israel went through this baptism when they crossed the Red Sea and were under the cloud. (1 Corinthians 10:1-3).
(6) “The baptism of the Great Commission” (Christ’s baptism) was to be administered by the disciples upon all believers who had repented of their sins (Acts 2:38). It was commanded to be done as long as the world stands (Mark 16:15-16). The purpose of it is for the forgiveness of sins and salvation of the soul (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
Out of these six, which baptism is the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5? This “one baptism” is not “John’s baptism” for it was superseded by Christ’s baptism. It is not the “baptism of suffering” because it is inflicted by wicked men. It is not “Holy Spirit baptism” for it was not promised to everyone and was only received by the twelve to reveal all truth unto them. It is not “baptism of fire” because it is reserved for the wicked after this life is over. It is not “the baptism of Moses” because it only happened to the Israelites as they crossed the Red Sea. “The baptism of the Great Commission” is the only one of the six that was to be practiced thought the remaining age to the end of the world. Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Those who believed and repented of their sins were then to be baptized in water for the forgiveness of their sins (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). It’s in “water baptism” that we reenact the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-6).
By the time the book of Ephesians was written in 63 AD, only ONE baptism was known, NOT, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE or SIX! The “one baptism” is to be administered to every sinner who repents and wants his sins washed away in the precious blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5; Acts 16:22). Learn what the Bible has to say on the subject of baptism and then respect it enough to obey it!
The ONE BAPTISM of Ephesians 4:5 then is WATER BAPTISM which was commanded by Jesus to be administered to all who believe in Christ and repent of their sins as stated in the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16). Will you be baptized today?!