There are two types of baptism, physical and spiritual.
"Ritual purity could be lost in many ways; the preeminent means of restoring it was through washing. A quick review of Leviticus shows how frequently the matter is mentioned…"
"The root meaning of the word 'baptizo' is 'dip, soak, immerse' into a liquid so that what is dipped takes on qualities of what it has been dipped in - for example, cloth in dye or leather in tanning solution. A person who immerses himself participates in an obvious yet living metaphor of purification, with water, as it were, washing away the impurity."
Ritual purity, while commanded of God, is an external, religious practice, which - as noted in Colossians 2:17 and Hebrews 10:1 - were a shadow of things to come. They could never bring into perfection, the person who practiced them. Thus, the rituals were repeated endlessly.
"The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV)
"These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Colossians 2:17 (NIV)
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, O God.'" Psalm 40:6-8 (See Septuagint)
"First he said, 'Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them' (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, 'Here I am, I have come to do your will.' He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:5-10 (NIV)
"Immediately upon coming up out of the water, he saw heaven torn open and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove" (Mark 1:10, Jewish New Testament).
"The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit." John 3:5 (NLT)
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6 (RSV)
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:7-14 (RSV)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35 (RSV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39 (RSV)
"But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water." John 19:34 (RSV)
"Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, 'Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?' I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' And he said to me, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'" Revelation 7:13-17 (RSV)From these and many other passages, we begin to understand that we are to be baptized (immersed) into God.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing [immersing] them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (RSV)
From these and many other passages, we begin to understand that we are to be baptized (immersed) into God.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing [immersing] them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." --Matthew 28:19-20 RSV
Christ commanded his disciples to baptize and to teach others to do the same. Christ never rebuked his disciples for baptizing with water and Christ never rescinded his command to baptize and teach others to do likewise. So while water baptism is of no eternal value, Christ set the example for us to follow, by being baptized, denying himself, taking up his cross and sacrificing himself to the glory of God the Father. Disciples of Christ do not chart their own course, they walk as Jesus walked (see 1 John 2:6; 2 John 1:6).
I hope this look at baptism has been helpful in clearing up any confusion you might have had as regards Christian baptism. If you continue to struggle with this topic, I encourage you to pray earnestly in the Spirit, asking God for clarification. Please keep in mind that no one has a perfect understanding of Scripture. Even the apostle Paul wrote;
- Two Kinds of Baptisms (families.com)