By: Martin Cisneros
Although it was a 1st century preference for Christians to be water baptized before receiving communion, or what some would call the eucharist, there's nothing in Scripture to say that you don't have the Holy Spirit until your water baptism. I've known of many hundreds who've received the baptism with the Holy Spirit with speaking in other tongues and other New Testament signs of the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit coming upon a life. But it was more a matter of the act of faith and personal dedication to God from a hungry heart for God that produced a receptivity within the person to receive what God had for them in that regard. The water baptism wasn't a prerequisite. It was a testimony of the grace and faith of Jesus Christ being received within an individual life.
Because of the possibility of entering into a deeper experience with the Lord through an act of water baptism from a pure heart, that had been purified by faith and God's grace alone, fasting was often encouraged in the day or two leading up to someone's water baptism. From an early Christian document that's not in our Bibles it says:
7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;
7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;
7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
7:4 But before the baptism, let him who baptizeth and him who is baptized fast previously, and any others who may be able. And thou shalt command him who is baptized to fast one or two days before.
There's nothing in this that's in violation of Scripture, except for, for the people who want to argue about whether it's in the Name of Jesus as they practiced it in the book of Acts or whether it's as Matthew's Gospel says to do it in a similar manner to what's written above. It says in 1Peter 3:21:
21 Corresponding to that, baptism now delivers you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
And it says in Romans 6:3-14:
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
7for he who has died is freed from sin.
8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
So, according to the above, it's a public testimony that you've put off the old man and have put on the new, that as you're buried (symbolically) with Christ in your water baptism that you believe that you'll also, bodily, share His resurrection life someday. It's a declaration to the world around you that sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. It's a beautiful public testimony to your belief in the destruction of sin and death through Jesus Christ. In the first century, it very likely stood for what's done these days in many revival meetings with "a sinner's prayer" where they have you to publicly affirm your faith in Christ as the ransom for your life, and in His having been raised from the dead for your justification, and that now you're embracing His Lordship over your life and your deliverance by His life, believing that His Blood washes away your sin, and now you're committing yourself to follow His Scriptures and the Holy Spirit that He gives to those who obey Him to the absolute best of your ability that He provides, as you grow in the understanding of all that He's saying to you.
I personally encourage everyone to be water baptized when you feel you've got a good understanding of Romans 6 and 1Peter 3 and you've got a deep desire to take your relationship with the Lord to the next level. In Matthew 28 Jesus told His disciples to baptize, which would evidently imply that new disciples should be baptized. But you're not doing it to be forgiven, but with an understanding that you have been forgiven and you're presenting your body to God as one who is alive from the dead in Christ Jesus, fully believing and expecting that with this act that sin shall not have any more dominion over you because you're under the jurisdiction of the grace of God. It can be one of the holiest moments of your life when pursued for the right reasons. It's a public testimony to your confession that Lord Jesus has been raised from the dead, and in the hour that His Father has appointed you'll also put away mortality and enter into immortality with Him because His Crucifixion, Resurrection, and the Application of His Blood to your life that Jesus has done the moment that you believed the Gospel have been more than enough to reclaim your life from the destruction that was brought upon it by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It's a way of telling both the religious and the secular world "THANK GOD, I'M FREE!!"
In closing, I had posted this to an online discussion board, and someone decided to throw Galatians 3 at me and say that what I'd said was spoken like a true Galatian, thinking that I needed something in the flesh to be completed in the spirit. (Keep in mind that what I'd posted above was in response to someone else's question about water baptism and the Holy Spirit, as to whether the water was a prerequisite to having the Spirit.) This was my reply, minus their name to protect the guilty:
There is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with using the things that the New Testament prescribes for retraining the flesh and the mind regarding the finished work of Christ, whether it's the marriage ritual with the Lord of water baptism, or whether it's partaking of the Bread and Cup to declare and demonstrate His death until He comes, or whether it's the anointing with oil in James chapter 5 for the sick that have not yet learned how to believe God for their healing and forgiveness without feeling something with their flesh, or whether it's the prayer cloths of St. Paul in Acts 19:11-12 when people obviously felt like they needed something from St. Paul to receive the finished work of the Cross for their healing and deliverance from demonic ailments.
I suppose Jesus Christ in your estimation, didn't have enough faith because He used spit to reclaim the eyes of the blind sometimes and at other times told them which body of water to go and wash in so that their healing would be completed. And at other times, He had to completely run the unbelief out of the room before He could raise someone from the dead. And He told some lepers to go and show themselves to the priests for the proper Mosaic Law offering to be offered for their cleansing. I won't argue with you over different dispensations because my argument isn't the least bit hampered by a different dispensation that God does use things to meet each of us at our individual level of faith, as He's used the writings of K---- in your own life. It's the same thing, since our sufficiency is Christ Jesus. You're doing the exact same thing you're accusing me of doing when you quote extensively from K---- on these boards. It's the same thing. It's a point of contact for releasing faith. God's given to each of us what we need to get us past the level of relying on the 5 physical senses.
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers are no different from water baptism, the Bread and Cup, the anointing with oil, Christ's spit, specially zapped cloths with the anointing, etc. And rather than to rebuke what God uses with those that aren't as spiritually advanced as you are, you should rather be rejoicing with all of your heart that God works with each and every single one of us on the level that'll draw each of us the closest to Himself. All of us have had some form of training wheels that God has brought into our lives at different stages of our lives to bring us to where we're at.