Colossians 2:12 - Literal Water Baptism or Holy Spirit Baptism

Claim: Baptism is not in WATER but in Christ. Question: What word would the Holy Spirit of Christ have used if He really meant water?

Dear Ken,

Here's a good new idea I've gotten on Colossians 2:11-12 which talk about baptism. Let me paste it for you, comment back to me on it if you have time. Thanks


RE--Col 2:11,12

(The essentials of the mail will be shown below in red)

WELL KEN, interesting isn't it? Tell me what you think :)


Not much, Tilley

This one is a bit more scrambled than some of your friend's e-mails. Therefore I will have to take the bits and pieces and try to fit them to the context of Colossians.

We should begin by quoting the first part of Colossians 2 because Paul knows that people regularly distort his letters for their own purposes:

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. Colossians 2:4

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2: 5

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Colossians 2: 6

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2: 7

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2: 8

We should dispose of the Romans reference next:

E-Mail: Rom. 6:3, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" Two baptisms in this verse. INTO CHRIST and INTO HIS DEATH. Neither of these speak of water.

I have discussed Romans 6 at some link. Click Here

Now "baptized" really should mean baptized. The Greek Paul used meant: " to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet)." Baptism is something applied to the human body on the outside. Jesus Christ is full Deity and we cannot get inside Deity and still have Deity inside of us. Therefore, to be baptized into Christ is to be baptized in water for the purpose of identifying with His death. God doesn't hang us on the cross or allow us to be crucified because we are not God Incarnate. Therefore, our baptism is a form or a likeness of that death, burial and resurrection.

If God has to hang us on the cross with Christ then the blood of Christ has no "cashable" or substitionary benefit -- we paid the price:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

Baptism is for the human being. It is a likeness of the Spiritual sacrifice. Like as in Greek is:

Osper (g5618) hoce'-per; from 5613 and 4007; just as, i.e. exactly like: - (even, like) as.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

As in Colossians 2, Paul always speaks of the literal or external act of baptism and then the spiritual or internal. He uses a form of parallelism. Notice that the external, literal terms are matched by the internal Spiritual terms although they often overlap and get reversed:

Literal: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into (eis) Jesus Christ

Symbolic: were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3
Symbolic: Therefore we are buried with him

Literal: by baptism into (in connection with his) death:

Next, Paul reverses the parallelism to put the symbolic or parabolic on the outside to make the connection clear:

Symbolic: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,

Literal: even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Literal: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,

Symbolic: we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Romans 6:5

Our friends don't like Jesus and Peter for connecting faith, repentance and baptism. Therefore, to them baptism is a mystical thing which happens somewhere in space as God baptizes us as the result of simple belief. However, we are discussing Paul's letter to the Romans and Colossians. In Corinth, Paul baptized a few but others did the rest of the baptizing. You see, baptizing was not Paul's job description. Nevertheless, when people were baptized it was by a human administrator and into water.

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Acts 18:8

Yet, Paul said that HE, not the Spirit God, baptized these men because Spirit hath not flesh and bones:

I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Corinthians 1:14

In verse 13 Paul asked:

Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:13

Therefore, to be baptized in the name of Christ is to be baptized in or in connection with Christ's crucifixion by a human administrator.

Oh, yes. I know what Paul said later in this letter as he was speaking of the division which existed about the spiritual gifts which Corinth did not have that

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13

Remember, that spirit or the Greek pneuma means, in its primary sense applied to man or God, the rational, soul, vital principle, mental disposition. Pneuma or wind is used because of its invisible but vital nature. As baptism means into water, spirit means the mental disposition of an alive being unless it is otherwise noted. The capital "S" in "Spirit" added by translators means absolutely nothing but is an addition to the inspired Word of God.

Remember also that Paul began this letter by showing that they had not been baptized by one spirit or mental disposition. In 12:13 Paul means that both Jews and Gentiles are united in their baptism and able to drink into the spirit of oneness.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephesians 2:18

The context of being baptized by one "spirit" is that human administraters such as Paul actually and physically baptized them in water (H2O). Both Jew and Gentile are overwhelmed by a spirit of unity as they both get into the same "grave" with Lord Jesus Christ in a likeness of His death for all races.

John said that only Christ baptizes in the Spirit but John, Peter, Philip and Paul baptized in water (H2O).

What: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

How: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

To be baptized in literal water allows Christ to enfold you into Himself as "sinking into a garment or clothing."

Now, baptism means water baptism unless it is clearly used as a metaphor. The only thing which is a form or a likeness of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is water baptism. In simple belief there is no likeness of death (the demons believe and quake), there is no symbol or likeness of burial and there is no form of resurrection.

E-Mail: So, Vs 10,11 simply says that we are complete in Him because we were "cut off from our sinful life by our identification with Him on the cross. This is why Paul could say, Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Again: 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.<

V.11, is speaking about our "circumcision" with Christ. The word circumcision is used here of Him being "cut off on the cross." The verse is saying that the believers at Colosse were "cut off" from the body of sins of the old life in Adam, by their union with Christ on the cross. This is what Rom. 6:6 is saying. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." These two verses are using different words to say the same thing.

The Jews believed that physical circumcision made them the only sons of God. That excluded women, by the way. If you wanted to be accepted in the group you had better be ready to show the sign or seal of your literal foreskin being cut off. However, Paul denounced circumcision and simply showed that children of God have been baptized and therefore cut off from sin and sinners by the operation of faith in the literal act of Christ. Paul was not saying that baptism was spiritual circumcision.

Literal circumcision is:

Peritemno (g4059) per-ee-tem'-no; from 4012 and the base of 5114; to cut around, i.e. (spec.) to circumcise: - circumcise.

Paul denounced literal circumcision:

Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: Ac.15:24

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. Ga.5:2

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Ga.5:3

Therefore, it is too much to believe that Paul would defend spiritual circumcision:

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2: 9

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:10

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,

When?: in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh

How?: by the circumcision of Christ: Colossians 2:11

In Galatians, we noted that Paul uses the symbolic language of taking off our old rags and "putting on" Christ as a garment. Candidates for baptism usually remove all of their clothing before going into the waters.

And that repentance and remission (removing) of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

Then Peter said unto them,

What they must do:


and be baptized every one of you

How: in the name (authority) of Jesus Christ

For what purpose:

for the remission of sins, and

ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

It is much too late to be literally circumcised and keep the law; it is much too late to be literally crucified AS Christ and be buried AS Christ and be resurrected AS Christ. What is the next best thing? It is to obey Jesus (God or full Deity) in a literaly TYPE of that death, burial and resurrection as the natural action of our inward faith in the literal event as having the purchasing, earning merit of our salvation. Remember that a check for a million dollars is a symbol. I hope you are not living in poverty thinking that the symbol of the literal cash has no power.

The water (H2O) of John's baptism looked forward to the payment of the remission of sins by the death of Jesus Christ. It was in water (H2O) because the Jews could not, contrary to their opinion, earn the million dollars or "wash away their sins." However, hear what Luke said about the word merchants who are not as wise as publicans and harlots:

And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water (H2O) there: and they came, and were baptized. John 3:23

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God (for) themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

Now the only difference in Christian baptism is that it looks backward to the finished work of Jesus Christ. People had to acknowledge that the ONE NAME of Father, Son and Spirit or Full Deity was Jesus Christ. Therefore, to reject the value of baptism is not to reject water or to reject legalism: it is to reject the counsel of God (Christ) for yourself. Now, how can one reject the God of pre-Pentecost by rejecting water baptism and not reject Lord Jesus Christ in whom is full Deity without rejecting the counsel of Christ for your life.

Pre-Plan for Salvation

He that believeth

and is baptized

shall be saved

Pre-Plan for Damnation

he that believeth not


shall be damned


Pre-Plan for Cleanliness

He that gets into the water

and takes a bath

shall be clean

Pre-Plan for Dirtiness

he that gets not into the water


shall remain dirty

People who get into water are not condemned because they get into the water to get clean. However, People who don't get into water are condemned already because they have no intention of completing the process.

John explained this chart beautifully after many years of misunderstanding by some. John wrote the message of Jesus Who said:

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,

because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:20

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:21

After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. John 3:22

All of the disciples of Jesus were baptizing under His direct orders. Therefore, He endorsed the statement:

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God (for) themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

Therefore, the faith which saves is the justification of God by acknowledging that Jesus is full Deity and by obeying whatever that faith demands of them. By refusing to believe they were condemned already. However, those who believed had to be baptized to "come to the light" as an automatic reaction to accepting the counsel of God for themselves by being baptized.

Jesus didn't need to say: "He that is not baptized will be damned." The completion of faith in accepting the will of Christ for our lives is to believe and be baptized. If you do not believe it would be impossible to undergo effective baptism. So why reject the counsel of Christ by demanding that he fills in the obvious blank.

E-Mail: This part of V. 12, says we didn't stay dead with Him but were raised up with Him in His resurrection." How? all this by believing that God not only laid all our sins upon Him, but cut us off in Him and raised us up new creatures in Christ. This, like all else from God, only operates when we believe it. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

We retrospectively get into the body of Christ to be buried and raised a new person in the "form" of that act.

Buried with him in baptism, wherein

also ye are risen with him

By accepting the counsel of God for our lives we declare God righteous and Jesus Christ as God. The check, however, has cash behind it only in faith that God resurrected Jesus and will raise us spiritually.

through the faith of the operation of God,

who hath raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12

Look at the first definition your correspondent makes. He says that it is death. I don't think so. Anyone can die and anyone can die on a cross.

E-Mail: V12--"12 Buried with him in baptism, (this is our baptism , not in water, but in Christ. It is simply saying that we are cut off from the world and sin by our burial into His dead and grave. Jesus spoke of His death as a "baptism." He told two believers that they would be baptized with His baptism. Here it is: Matt. 20: 22. 23 "But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not that ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."

This writer takes figurative baptism in the sense of being overwhelmed or buried in grief and suffering and uses it to repudiate the primary literal of water baptism.

The most only way to understand anything is to agree on the definition of words. The Holy Spirit did not invent a new language for the Bible but used words which had specific meaning to the people of the day.

Baptism meant to dip in water and only in an accomodative sense Vine says that it meant:

"Of the overwhelming afflictions and judgments to which the Lord voluntarily submitted on the cross" (Luke 12:50)

"The suffering His followers would experience, not of a vicarious character, but in fellowship with the suffering of their Master (Mark 10:38-39)

People were not automatically exposed to this suffering by believing in Jesus. You can believe and no one will know about it. Therefore, You could believe in Jesus and still be the leading doctor of the law and no one would murder you.

However, by being literally baptized to take on the name of Jesus you deserted other "masters" and exposed yourself to suffering and death. All of the apostles but John suffered and died for their faith.

Baptism literally means to be overwhelmed or buried in water (H2O). Taking a bath means cleaning with water. However, we say: "I really took a bath on that deal." Only in a figurative sense, which must be defined, does baptism mean anything other than is wather.

Only Jesus as Spirit could baptize in the Spirit while John and others could baptize in water.

John's forward-looking baptism was in water (H2O).

From the backward-looking Christian baptism by Philip we know that the outward or literal Christian baptism was still in water (H2O).

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Acts 8:36

Now the Eunuch didn't see "Jesus" and say, "Here is Jesus." No. Because of Philip's preaching the Eunuch understood that to identify with Christ's literal death, burial and resurrection he needed to be baptized in water.

Only after the Eunuch came up from in the water could he go on his way rejoicing because he had accepted the counsel of God for himself. He had been buried with Christ in water baptism and gained the merit of Christ's literal cutting off of sin through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised him from the dead.

When Cornelius believed in Jesus and praised Him Peter asked:

Can any man forbid water (H2O), that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Acts 10:47

I don't remember Adam being mentioned in this discussion. People died spiritually before Christ because they personally sinned. They did not, could not, repeat the sin of Adam who simply exposed all people to Satan's attack.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12

E-Mail: Every true born again believer, since the cross, was foreseen by God as being put on the cross and crucified with Christ (that is, the old man) When He died for us, it was as our Substitute for what we had done and the Representative of what we were. This is "being made sin for us." 2 Cor 5:21.

In a Federal sense, God purged all sin by His own volition and in His Mind (Spirit) as a predestinated fact before anyone sinned. By analogy, our founding fathers suffered and died to purchase freedom for all Americans. However, I can obey the plan which goes with the freedom and personally be free or I can violate the plan and totally lose my freedom

There, this purging was based upon people accepting His pre-plan or counsel for their lives. It was literally applied or rejected on an individual basis. For instance,

"In thy filthiness is lewdness: because

I have purged thee, and

thou wast not purged,

thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. Ezekiel 24:13

In the same way, Christ died to purge our sins before we were born. It was preplanned that those who "take" the purging are purged.

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Hebrews 1:3

In a Federal sense, Jesus Christ purged us from sin at one point in time. However, the purging must be accepted on an individual basis by being "born" into the new Kingdom where the purging exists.

Jesus again said of even unbelievers: "I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged."

No. It is not Adam's sin we are purged from because we cooul not commit his sin. even if we wanted to. Rather, it was our own personal sin. Nevertheless, He has purged thee but if thee will not be purged on a personal basis then you will die in your sins:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Colossians 2:13

God predestinated that all who obey Him will be saved.

Those who obey God hear the gospel

Those who obey are saved

They were predestinated to be saved because they remained in the saved "path" God laid out

God predestinated that all who do not obey Him will be lost.

Those who disobey God hear the gospel

Those who disobey will be lost

They were predestinated to be lost because they refused to get off the lost "path" God laid out

If baptism doesn't mean dipping in water as the Greek demands; if Paul was saying that he baptized means that the Sprit baptized; if water doesn't mean water then you may be fighting a hopeless battle.

Calvinism (via Zwingli) is the foundation upon which the fairly modern rejection of the common view of baptism is built. This means that a few good people are chosen as the "pick of the litter" by God. Then God sends a sign or experience which proves that He has predestinated you. As a result, whatever view of Scripture you hold at that time is proven valid by God's "Stamp of Approval." This makes it virtually impossible to accept the clear statement of Scripture or change your mind.

Zwingli was born 1 January, 1484; died 11 October, 1531. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and the puritans were forced to flee England. The Brownists, or Separatists Puritans from Gainsborough led by John Smyth, an ex-Anglican clergyman, evolved into many forms of Baptists. Their views of baptism, therefore, are no older than in the 1500s.

Calvinism and probably most forms of religion is based upon Old Testament (Law) and practice. Paul understood that many Jews could not grasp New Covenant theology because they could never grasp that the Law was added because of transgression and not as a system of worship rituals for us to grab and use. Therefore, Paul got to the bottom of the dilema:

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 2 Corinthians 3:12

And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 2 Corinthians 3:13

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:14

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 2 Corinthians 3:15

Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:16

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Being baptized into Christ is being baptized into His Spirit body. Baptism marks the transition from the literal world to the spiritual kingdom by shedding the old "skin" of sin so that we can put on Christ in baptism. As a result, He enfolds us into His kingdom which is in heavely places or is "within you." People who cut God up like a Pecan pie do not, cannot, recognize the meaning of the Law or the grace Christ (the Spirit) offered in the example of the "Red Sea Baptism."

This is the only way I can begin to comprehend the highly-mystical rejection of every statement about baptism as it is translated by most if not all of the versions of the Bible. If water doesn't mean water unless used in a defined, figurative sense then I believe that people have not turned to Christ and are, therefore, rejecting the counsel of God for their lives. Perhaps this is predestinated?

Well, Tilley, this is it for the moment. I will continue to look at this and be happy to answer any questions. I honestly feel that my answers are based upon what Scripture and most theologians believed until the Reformation with predestination and Zwingl's rejection of baptism as it had been understood to that time in the 1500's

Ken Sublett

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