Many see their salvation as a fixed point in time; saved by a decision made in faith at a certain point in our life. This thinking has rendered the water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit unnecessary for salvation, since salvation is already attained.
The Bible however clearly lays the emphasis on salvation being in the future. Using the clear picture of the exodus of Israel out of Egypt the Bible shows us that even though there was a point of salvation when Israel was taken out of Egypt (the picture of the sinful world), it was not the fulfillment of their salvation which would be the arrival in the promised land (the picture of our eternal salvation). Its only when they went through the red sea they where delivered from the armies of Egypt taking them back to slavery (a picture of the power of sin). And then even after being saved through the red sea (the picture of our water baptism) only a few of the first generation of Israel where allowed to enter the promised land. Only a few lived in obedience to the law given on mount Sinai (the picture of the filling of the Holy Spirit) and the rest never attained their destination.
This shows us that salvation is more then a “one time decision” but that its about the end of your walk, obtaining salvation if we continue in the faith. Living in obedience to the will of God that is now written on our heart by the Holy Spirit, bearing fruit to righteousness (Luke 8:11-15).
In this biblical view of salvation the water baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit both become essential parts to salvation together with repentance and faith to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus says “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8: 34) and Paul says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). So we all are slaves of sin. Furthermore the Bible teaches that living in sin will eventually lead to eternal death and loss of our precious salvation! (2Pet 2:20, Rom 6:16, Matt 7:23, John 15:2, Rom 8:13, Eph 5:5, 1Cor 6:9).
Therefore it is of vital necessity to our salvation that we are set free of this slavery to sin. The good news is that there is freedom! Romans 6 teaches that we die to sin in water baptism “that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin”. Through water baptism we are no longer slaves of sin (slaves of the flesh keeping us bound to sin).
Through baptism the slavery is broken and we are now given the choice to either “obey sin (the flesh), leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness” (Rom 6:16).
Through baptism we are no longer a slave to sin and the temptations of the flesh, however the temptations of the flesh have not disappeared. Only the slavery to the flesh has been broken.
We still live in a sinful world and the body (the flesh) still has its lusts to trying to tempt us to sin. For this reason God has promised us the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that overcoming these temptation and living righteously by your own strength is impossible. This is why the old testament law was given by God to give us the knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7) and to show us the need of a savior (Gal 3:24). The old testament law was given to show us that it is impossible to become righteousness through our own strength and self righteous works. This means that not only our unrighteous deeds fall short but also our self righteous deeds fall short to the righteousness of God, leaving us with empty hands in regard to living righteously. For this very reason God our savior want to give us His ability to begin walking in His righteousness. For God did not leave us empty-handed, but by the filling of Holy Spirit He has written the will of God on our heart, giving us a new nature and new desires to walk on the road of sanctification (Gal 5:16).
This is part of our walk of salvation “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of
God” Rom 8:13-14. It is only by the Spirit that we can overcome the temptations of the world. It is only by the Spirit that we can be sanctified, This is the good news, it is no longer through our own strength or good works that we work for salvation, but by the leading of His Spirit given to us leading us to salvation. So we see that the forgiveness of sin is paid by the Blood of Jesus in repentance through faith. We are set free from sin and the slavery to sin through the water baptism and we can now live a new life continuing towards freedom of sin though the filling of the Holy Spirit, leading to eternal life.