Salvation consists of deliverance from all sin and unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ. The New Testament experience of salvation consists of repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, after which the Christian is to live a godly life (Acts 2:36-41).
Water baptism is an essential part of New Testament salvation and not merely a symbolic ritual. It is part of entering into the Kingdom of God (God’s church, the bride of Christ), and therefore, it is not merely a part of local church membership. (See John 3:5; Galatians 3:27).
Mode of Baptism
Water baptism is to be administered only by immersion. Paul said, “We are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism” (Romans 6:4; see Colossians 2:12), Jesus came up “out of the water” (Mark 1:10), and Philip and the eunuch went down “into the water” and came up “out of the water” (Acts 8:38-39). When we experience New Testament salvation, it applies Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to our lives: “Repent [death to sin], and be baptized [burial] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [resurrection].” (See Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; 8:2). The Word of God does not substantiate sprinkling, pouring, or infant baptism of any kind. Instead, these methods are only human traditions.
Formula for Baptism
The name in which we administer baptism is vitally important, and this name is Jesus. Jesus’ last command to His disciples was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). We should notice that He said “name” (singular) and not “names.” As this explains, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names of separate persons but titles of positions God holds. An angelic announcement revealed God’s saving name in the New Testament: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The apostles understood that Jesus was the name they should use at baptism, and from the day that they established the church of God (the Day of Pentecost) until the end of their ministry, they baptized all nations (Jews–Acts 8:16; Gentiles–Acts 19:5) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Baptism of the Holy Ghost
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the Spirit (John 3:5). This spiritual baptism is necessary to put someone into the Kingdom of God (God’s church, the bride of Christ) and is evidenced by speaking in other tongues (other languages) as the Spirit of God gives utterance. Joel and Isaiah prophesied it (Joel 2:28-29; Isaiah 28:11), John the Baptist foretold it (Matthew 3:11), and Jesus purchased it with His Blood and promised it to His disciples (John 14:26; 15:16). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost upon the Jews (Acts 2:1-4), then upon the Samaritans (Acts 8:17), and later upon the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6). “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
1. Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6). The prophet Isaiah prophesied it as the “rest” and the “refreshing” (Isaiah 28:11-12), Jesus foretold it as a sign that would follow believers of the Gospel (Mark 16:17), and Jews and Gentiles alike experienced it.
2. The gift of “divers kinds of tongues,” which Paul mentioned in I Corinthians 12:1-12 and concerning regulations he gave in I Corinthians 14:1-40, is given both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28). In church meetings, the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, and it is to be interpreted. Since people can misuse this gift, it needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers exercise the gift of tongues, which is different in function from tongues given by God as the initial witness of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues,” (I Corinthians 14:39) and, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (I Corinthians 14:8). Who dares to teach or preach to the contrary?
Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker as the Spirit gives the utterance. We can classify tongues in two ways according to function: (1) speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and (2) the gift of tongues, which I Corinthians mentions.
After we are saved from sin, we are commanded, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). We are commanded to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12) and warned that without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We must present ourselves as holy unto God (Romans 12:1), cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1), and separate ourselves from all worldliness (James 4:4). If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18). No one can live a holy life by his own power but only through the Holy Spirit. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).