It is widely believed and specifically stated by some that there are three baptisms, one in water and two in the Spirit. One of these is said to be a baptism into the body of Christ and the other the baptism which is an empowering for service. Still others think that there is a baptism of fire extra to the Baptism in the Spirit; while some speak of a baptism of love beyond the Baptism in the Spirit. Adding up the possibilities mentioned, it would seem that if all this is true, there may be five baptisms. Now if that is what God means by the phrase 'one baptism', it is not what He says, which is an alarming thing. If indeed it is true, He is acting completely out of character. Worse still, He is forcing His apostle to do the same. Since such a possibility borders on blasphemy, we must reject it out of hand.
When writing to these Ephesians, of all people on the subject of baptism, Paul had for many reasons to be most meticulously careful. He had administered water baptism to the foundation members of the church there, but before that they had also been immersed in water by Apollos, a minister of the Old Covenant. It is therefore of major significance, as well as being singularly opportune, that it was to them he should speak of there being only one baptism. It is as though he is saying that he considers water baptism not to be worthy of mention, and by comparison neither is it; they knew exactly what he meant. When speaking of one baptism, Paul was not referring directly to either of the occasions when they were dipped in water. The first occasion, although it had been administered and received in all sincerity, had been a total mistake. The second was only valid because by water baptism a visual enactment of the One Baptism is presented to the senses.
In these verses Paul is setting forth seven statements, which find place in this list solely by virtue of the fact that there is only one of each. Therefore to single out one of them and pluralize it is at least an arbitary practice; especially is this so if it be allowed or argued that each of the other six must retain singularity. To do this sort of thing would be confusing and dishonest. The whole point of the matter is that none of the things or persons mentioned in this list would have been included in it had there been more than one of any of them. Each of them is not just one, but the only one. Had the possibility existed that there could have been more than one of any of them, it would not have been included. Each thing or person mentioned in it is exclusively one. Upon reflection, we must surely conclude that God has compiled this list quite purposely. The implicit reason for including the phrase 'One Baptism' in this section is that we should plainly infer and wholeheartedly believe that there is only One Baptism. There it stands, an integral part of a sevenfold body of truth which stands or falls together. If we attempt to qualify one part of it, we must in all honesty qualify all.