Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1, 2 NKJV)
The doctrine of baptisms, which here is mentioned as one of the elementary principles of Christ is not the same thing as water baptism. I’ll give you two reasons why. First of all, notice the ‘s’ in the doctrine of baptism(s), there are more than one of them, so it is not talking about the ‘one’ time water baptism that we know. Secondly, water baptism is a sacrament, not a doctrine. A sacrament is a visible sign of an inward grace, while doctrine is a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject. In other words, sacraments are things you can see, a picture of what is actually happening on the inside. Sacraments always point to what a doctrine teaches. Holy communion points to the sacrifice of Christ, marriage points to our union with Christ, and water baptism points to the doctrine of baptisms, which is the conversation we want to start from here.
The doctrine of baptisms actually point to our participation in the death, burial and ressurection of Christ. Let’s remind ourselves once again, of what happened. Jesus died, because our sins came on Him. His death was a full and complete punishment for our sins. Then He was buried in the tomb, and after three days He was raised from death by the Holy Spirit. The tombstone was rolled away and He came out a new man, in His true self, no longer with any human limitation.
Now, through these baptisms we are able to spiritually participate in this transformational mystery of God, and experiencially live in the reality of it. Water baptism gives us a picture of the principles involved: the new convert is immersed in water, a sign of his burial just like Christ, and then brought out of the water again by the minister, a sign of his resurrection just like Christ, and the minister a sign of the Holy Spirit raising Jesus from death.
However, water baptism only gives us a picture of something happening on the inside, something that happens without our effort when we get born again, but something we have to continue recreating for the rest of our walk with God, in order to enforce the victory of Christ in our lives and on the earth. We will continue tomorrow.
YOU ARE CHRIST.