The Teaching of Immersions
"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 teaching of immersions,
of laying on of hands,
of resurrection of the dead and
of eternal judgment ...," Hebrews 6'1-3.
No doubt you have noticed that the title above differs from the title on the Menu List: "Baptism" has become "Immersion".
That's because, as a title, "baptism" communicates the focus of these studies more readily that "immersion".
And this introduction to "The Teaching of Immersions" aims to point out that the Biblical word is not "baptism" but "immersion".
Also, before explaining the differences of meaning there is an important fact to note, and that is, there is more than one immersion.
The inspired write of the Letter to the Hebrews is careful to say that, in the make up of the foundation of the elementary principles of Christ, there is more than one.
This shows that all of them are important. (You can catch up with them on the Menu.)
There are four, and they are powerful, critical and crucial:
1. Immersion into the Body of Christ. This is unique. It is strictly the work of the Holy Spirit.
2. Immersion in Water. This is for the person who has received Christ who understands the salvation truths of His death and resurrection on their behalf.
3. Immersion in the Holy Spirit. This immersion occurs when God gives the Holy Spirit to a Believer, in Jesus' name. Jesus said that the giving of the Spirit is the promise of the Father.
4. "His" Immersion. Jesus referred to "the immersion I am immersed with" as a very real experience.
As God says through the writer to the Hebrews, these elementary principles of immersion are intended to be the basic understandings of followers of Jesus to possess and experience.
The New Covenant Kingdom scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22 show this.
(Immersions are also referred to in the earlier scriptures of Matthew 1'1 to John 21'25. But being performed before the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost they are not included in these studies.
Now, back to the use of the word "immersions". Firstly, they are critical to a Believer's spiritual growth and they are crucial to being an effective member of the Body of Christ.
The importance of distinguishing between the meaning "baptisms" as against "immersions" is because the word "baptism" means different things to different people - professing Christians. They interpret it according to an experience they had that was called "baptism".
It is well known that it is used to describe the ceremony of sprinkling water on babies. Also called "christening" it is primarily performed in historical denominations.
Nevertheless, although it is common, "baptism" is not a proper translation of the Greek New Testament.
The truth is, the New Testament Greek word is baptisma. It simply means submersion or immersion. Therefore "immersion", not "baptism", is the straight translation into English.
Also, the verb is baptizo (bap-tid-zo). It means to immerse or to submerge (Strong's concordance).
From that it is easy to understand that immersing someone in water requires sufficient depth to cover a person completely.
Clearly, "baptism" is not immersion - and immersion is not "baptism"!
Most importantly, only the act of the believing person going underneath the water harmonises with the plain scriptural understanding and symbolism of dying and rising with Christ.
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for the grace and power of the Holy Spirit that abound in the experiences of these immersions.
In Jesus' name. Amen.