Read: Matthew 28: 16 - 20
We are struck by the fact that our Lord commanded that baptism should be done in the name of the blessed Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The only true baptism is the baptism that is performed in the name of the Trinity.
We also read in the Word of God that at times, baptism is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the day of Pentecost, Peter commanded believers to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. See Acts 2: 38. The meaning of “in the name of Jesus Christ” is that baptism must be done by the authority of the Lord Jesus. Our baptism means that we become members of Christ and receive all spiritual blessings from Him.
In time however, the formula that has commonly been used for baptism was the one Jesus gave to us in the great commission. Baptism in the name of the triune God puts on the foreground the greatest mystery of the Godhead. The one only true and living God Who is absolutely one in His being, is at the same time three in His persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the beginning, we must know and confess this truth about God’s triune being even though this truth is at once also a mystery far beyond our comprehension. We should not be troubled by this if we know that God in His infinite being is so much greater than we can fully know. If this were not true, we would be equal with God and God would not be God.
It is clear that this three-person God is one God only and not three gods. For this reason, the baptism formula uses the word ‘name’ in the singular.
All three persons are involved in all of God’s works of creation, providence and redemption. Without a God who is the eternal Father, there could never have been the great demonstration of the love of God by which our salvation was accomplished. This love was revealed in the highest sense when God gave us His own dear Son to be the propitiation for our sins. See I John 4: 8 - 10. Jesus, the Son of God, saves us by sending into our hearts the Spirit of God, the third person of the triune God.
Baptism is a sign that we are incorporated into the covenant fellowship of the blessed triune God.
The liturgy commonly used for baptism in Reformed Churches has a beautiful statement regarding the trinity in connection with our baptism. Let me quote this in the conclusion of today’s meditation:
When we are baptized in the name of the Father, God the Father witnesseth and sealeth unto us, , that He doth make an eternal covenant of grace with us, and adopts us for His children and heirs, and therefore will provide us with every good thing, and avert all evil or turn it to our profit. And when we are baptized in the name of the Son, the Son sealeth unto us that He doth wash us in His blood from all our sins, incorporating us into the fellowship of His death and resurrection, so that we are freed from all our sins and counted righteous before God. In like manner, when we are baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost assures us, by this holy sacrament, that He will dwell in us and sanctify us to be members of Christ, applying unto us that which we have in Christ, namely, the washing away of our sins and the daily renewing of our lives…
The reader of this meditation is encouraged to look up several passages of scripture which are the basis of the truth of this statement in the liturgy, such as Romans 6: 1 - 11 and Colossians 2: 10 - 13.