How to Be Baptized Without Getting Wet
When most people think of baptism they think of water. Whether it be immersion, sprinkled, splashed, or sprayed, they think water has something to do with it.
Did you know the Bible teaches it is possible to be baptized without getting wet?
Consider John the Baptist. That he baptized with water is clear (John 1:31; Mark 1:5). Everyone John baptized got wet.
However, in Matthew 3:11 the only man to be called Baptist in the Bible identifies two other baptisms that do not include water.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” – Matthew 3:11
The Holy Ghost is spiritual and so is not made of water, and I’m pretty sure the baptism with fire would evaporate any moisture left on anyone who participates in that fiery furnace (Isa 4:4: Mal 3:2).
Then there is the baptism of the nation Israel ‘unto Moses in the cloud’ in 1 Corinthians 10:2. They walked across the sea on dry ground and the Egyptians who were dunked in the water drowned.
After Jesus was baptized with water by John, He spoke of another baptism for Himself which would end in His death. The only water involved in the death of Jesus was that which flowed out of His side (John 19:34).
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” – Luke 12:50
Many Baptisms: Some Dry, Some Wet
There are many different baptisms in the Bible and most of them are dry.
- Noah’s type baptism
Peter mentions that eight people were saved by water in an ark as a type of a future baptism. Water is present, but the people are dry.(Gen 6:13; 1 Peter 3:20-21)
- Baptism unto Moses
Paul presents Israel’s baptism unto Moses “in the cloud and in the sea”. Water is present, but the people are dry. (1 Cor 10:1-2; Exo 14:29)
- Israel’s ceremonial cleansings
These cleansing rituals were required under the Mosaic Law for the cleansing of the people. (Num 19:13; Lev 11:25; Exo 19:14; Exo 30:17-21; Heb 9:10)
- Levitical priesthood baptisms
These washings were required in order to become a priest under the Law of Moses.
(Exo 29:4; Lev 8:6; Num 8:7)
- Traditional Jewish baptisms
These baptisms were not mandated under the Law but were part of Jewish tradition.
(Mt 15:1-2; Mk 7:1-9; Lk 11:38)
- John’s baptism
John came to Israel baptizing with water for the remission of sins so that they could enter the promised kingdom to Israel and identify their Messiah. (Mt 3:5-6; Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3; Jn 1:31; Lk 7:29; Acts 10:37)
- Jesus’ baptism by John
Jesus, who knew no sin, was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness under the law. (Mat 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-10)
- Baptism with fire
Jesus would baptize the nation with fire as they went through the tribulation. This trial baptism would damn the unfaithful to hell. (Isa 4:4; Mal 3:2-3; Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16)
- Jesus’ baptism unto death
Jesus’ second baptism which he accomplished at the cross where he was identified with the sins of Israel and the world. (Mt 20:22-23; Mk 10:38-39; Luke 12:50)
- Pentecostal water baptism
Peter’s presentation of water baptism for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus. This was John’s baptism plus the name of Jesus.(Acts 2:38; Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19; Acts 22:16; Eze 36:25)
- Pentecostal Spirit baptism
This is the baptism with the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ from heaven poured out upon the believing remnant of Israel with signs and powers following. (Isa 44:3; Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 24:49; Acts 2:17-18, 38; Acts 8:15-17; Acts 11:16)
- Gentile baptism of Cornelius
Cornelius was baptized with the Holy Spirit as a sign to Peter. Peter subsequently baptizes Cornelius and the other Spirit-filled Gentiles with water in a different order but for the same reason as Pentecost. (Acts 10:45-48)
- Baptism for the dead
This baptism is debated heavily and is most likely synonymous with one of the other baptisms. If this is true, “for the dead” would signify the circumstance under which those believers were baptized. (1 Cor 15:29)
- Baptism into Christ
The only baptism taught by Paul which identifies the believer with Christ, his death, and resurrection. This baptism is performed by the Spirit and does not include water.
(1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:5; Col 2:12; Gal 3:27; Rom 6:3-4)
Baptism has become synonymous with water baptism, but baptism does not mean water. A better definition would be how someone is identified with something.
This is why Paul describes a baptism into the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Everyone who is saved by the gospel of Christ today is identified with the Lord in his second baptism unto death.
“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
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” – Romans 6:3
Baptism into Christ is identification with Christ. We become crucified with Christ without ever touching water (Gal 2:20).
Baptism with water never symbolized death, but cleansing, as in the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). During today’s present “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) our sins are forgiven through faith in the shed blood of Christ, through his death.
There is only “one baptism” Paul says is necessary in the church, and it does not include water or a priest to perform it. It is performed by the operation of God when we believe the gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ.
“[for there is] One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” - Ephesians 4:5 (KJV)
“[Believers are] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” – Col 2:12
If you think baptism must always include water, then you are a little wet behind the ears.
Baptism does not require water and there are many examples in the Bible, and the “one baptism” we all need does not require a single drop.