Let us begin by immersing ourselves into a definition or description of baptism (baptizo) as given by Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar.  He states that baptism is “the introduction or placing of a person into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or relationship to its previous environment or condition.”  When man does the baptizing, we experience a ceremony.  When God baptizes, we receive an exertion of His power via the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 3: 11 gives us an example of both, as John the Baptist proclaims “I baptize you with water for repentance (ceremony), but after me will come one who is more powerful than me.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

As a ceremony, baptism is an outward display of the inward and supernatural act of salvation. It is not a prerequisite for salvation.  It also pictures or symbolizes the believing sinner’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

As an exertion of God’s power, the Holy Spirit places or introduces the believing sinner into the mysterious Body of Christ of which the Lord Jesus is the living Head. It is a once-for-all action taking place at salvation, and not subsequent to it as some “second work of grace.”  The entire context is supernatural.  We are immersed into an environment of life with God.