1 Corinthians 1:17
ESV - 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
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I would say that Paul was referring to the fact that, even though he (by his own account) had indeed baptized some individuals, his PRIMARY calling from God was not to baptize, but to preach. I would say that this was in view of his extensive prior religious training as a Pharisee, and was further reinforced by the three years of spiritual instruction that Paul received directly from the Holy Spirit in the desert after his conversion, before going to Jerusalem and meeting with the apostles (Galatians 1:15-18). The glorified Christ Himself confirmed this in His calling of Ananias of Damascus to go and baptize Paul (after Paul's encounter with Christ on the Damascus road) when He said to Ananias, "This man is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel." Even to this day, any Christian can perform a baptism, but Paul's specific qualifications prepared him for a preaching ministry for which he was particularly and uniquely qualified.
The second we trust Jesus as the only way of salvation apart from any works, Romans 4:5, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 Our guarantee of eternal life Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. The rapture of the church. John 3:18. First John 5:13 John 10:28-29. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, physical death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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