It astounds me how often people seeing the word ‘baptize‘ automatically think of water. When in a clear example like Mark 1:8 it says,

“I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”

This mentions water baptism in the first half then goes on to say in the same verse the Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. There is no mention that this second Spirit Baptize will be through water. What it does say in 1 Peter 3:21

…not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.

Note the difference between the physical (dirt) and spiritual (conscience). Similarly in John 3 when Jesus speaks to Nicodemus.

5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Irrelative of how you interpretate “water” here the distinction can still be made that water is physical and Spirit is spiritual (stating the obvious). My view here is that water refers to physical birth (or waterbirth) but I’d like to do more study on this.

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edit: 12/06/09

4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:4-6

“One baptism” mentioned here is talking about Christ’s baptism. Then in Romans 6:3 we were baptized into his death.

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