What is the one baptism of Eph. 4:5, a baptism into Christ’s death?
The “one” baptism, is a spiritual baptism, not to be confused with literal baptism in water. [Romans 6:3-4; Col. 2:12-13, 1 Peter 3:21 are all excellent examples of the “one” spiritual baptism.] Of the two, the “one” baptism ranked highest in Paul’s scale of values. In Romans, Paul explains what he means by this “one” baptism:
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” —Rom. 6:4
To be baptized into Christ’s death means we are to live by the principles of Jesus Christ, by the words which He taught. It means a death to sin, crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). Baptism into Christ’s death demands a new life according to Christ’s principles, in contrast to the ritual of being immersed in literal water, which could not bring eternal salvation, but was only an outward form.
Literal baptism by water was dispensational and is no longer required. However, baptism into Christ’s death, this spiritual cleansing, has been and is required of all God’s servants in all ages. This baptism and not literal baptism is the means to a standing with “no condemnation” in the sight of God (Rom. 8:1).
If baptized into Christ’s death, like Christ we will be resurrected and experience eternal salvation; and so, “having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor 7:1).