In Eph 4:5, the “one baptism” is the baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.
In the Bible there are actually seven (7) different baptisms. And the only one that can save you is the spiritual baptism that you undergo when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Not surprisingly, most religions teach some form of water baptism for salvation, thinking that all references to baptism have something to do with water and salvation.
So, we will examine the scriptures to see that there are several baptisms that don’t involve water, at all. The reason for doing this is so that you don’t mistake your water baptism for salvation and wind up in hell trusting the wrong thing. Only Jesus Christ can save you (Jn. 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 4:12). And when you trust His finished work for you on Calvary, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into His death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6: 3-6) and seals you in Him (Eph. 1:13, 4:30).
Here are the different baptisms:
- Moses’ Baptism by Aspersion under the cloud – 1 Cor. 10:2 – When the Jews came out of Egypt.
- John’s Baptism by Immersion in water – Matt. 3:11 – To manifest Jesus to Israel (Jn. 1:31).
- Jesus’ Baptism of Suffering (no water) – Matt. 20:22; Lk. 12:50 – When Jesus died on the cross.
- Peter’s Baptism by Immersion in water – Acts 2:38 – A baptism just for Israel because of the crucifixion (Acts 2:36-37).
- Holy Spirit’s Baptism (no water) – 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:11-13; Matt. 3:11 – Baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ at salvation.
- Believer’s Baptism by Immersion in water – Acts 8:36-39; 10:47-48; 16:30-33 – A baptism for saved people only to fulfill Christ’s command (Matt. 28:19-20).
- Baptism of the Lost in Hell (no water) – Matt. 3:11-12 – Baptism with unquenchable fire for rejecting Jesus Christ and His word (Jn. 12:48).
There are clearly seven (7) different baptisms and yet only “one” when you “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” (Eph. 4:3-5). That’s because only one of these is connected to your salvation. You can go to heaven by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ whether you get baptized in water or not, because the Holy Spirit will have baptized you into the body of Christ. But you can’t go to heaven by being baptized in water and counting on that for your salvation. The Holy Spirit will not baptize you into Christ’s body for merely getting dunked in a pool of water or sprinkled by a priest or pastor.
Hope this helps,