I Confess One Baptism...
The Nicene Creed states, "I confess one baptism..." as a statement of belief. But, why one baptism? First, there is only one way to be baptized, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Great Commission, Christ says to His followers,
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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." -Matthew 28:19-20 NAB
Christ commanded that we go into the world, baptizing in His name. When we are baptized, it is not in our parents name, the church's name, or our own name for that matter. Instead, we are baptized in the name of the Lord so that His blessings will come upon us. When going through RCIA, some of my classmates had to be baptized, even though they had been in other churches. I had been baptized Lutheran, which the Catholic Church recognizes. Why do they recognize it? Because it was done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Second, baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event. That's it. Our stains are washed away one time only. We cannot be "re-baptized" to continually wash away our sins. Once we are free from the original sin, there is no turning back. From that point on, our sins cannot be washed away by baptism again. To free us from our sin, we must turn to Confession.
Centuries ago, some men chose to wait to be baptized until they were older. Constantine, the man known for bringing Christianity to the Roman Empire, is one example. These men waited so that they could enter into heaven with a life's worth of sin washed away by their baptism. It is a novel idea, but we never know when our time may come. Can you imagine standing at the pearly gates having never been baptized?
For the Forgiveness of Sins
Why are we baptized? There is only one reason, to be forgiven of our sins.
Baptism began with the aptly named St. John the Baptist. This man went out into the desert, baptizing believers in the Jordan River.
"He (St. John the Baptist) went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins..." -Luke 3:3
St. John the Baptist's mission was clear. He instituted the practice of baptism so that our sins would be forgiven. He was sent to pave the way for the coming Messiah. Some thought he was the Messiah, but he explained,
"I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mighter than I... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." -Matthew 3:11 NAB
Through the water of baptism, we can be forgiven of our sins, but that is only the beginning. Through Christ, who brought the Holy Spirit and the fire, we can find everlasting salvation and forgiveness. There is one key to open the gates of heaven, through Christ, our Lord. Have you accepted the key to heaven?