Metaphysical meaning of baptism (mbd)
Meta. The "baptism of repentance unto remission of sins" (Luke 3:3), which the church has made an outward form, is in fact a simple matter of thought training. The Greek word metanoia is translated "repentance," and repentance has been interpreted to mean an admission to God of sorrow for past sin and a resolve to be good in the future. It has been supposed that the field of action for that which is goodness in the sight of God is in conduct. Virtually the whole Christian world has in a measure failed to discern the teaching of the New Testament about mental laws. A proper translation of the mission of John the Baptist is, "He came into all the region round about Jordan preaching immersion in mentation for the doing away with shortcoming." W. Lyman Abbott says that it is plain that the mission of John was to bring about a change of mind. The fundamental idea taught by the Scriptures is not that man must know sorrow, but rather that he must undergo a change, a change not merely of conduct but of the thinking and immortal part of him.
So water baptism symbolizes a cleansing process, the letting go of error. It is the first step in the realization of Truth. It is the process of pouring into consciousness the dissolving power of the Word, which breaks up and washes away all thoughts of materiality. This is the Word in the form of denial. Water baptism indicates a letting-go attitude of thought, denial. Spiritual baptism is positive, a taking on, an affirmation. All growth takes place through these two attitudes--a letting go and a taking hold, or denial and affirmation. First we let go of old material concepts; we cannot get into a new consciousness until we let go of the old.
The Holy Ghost is the same as the Holy Spirit or Spirit of truth. When we have received a concept of the relation that we as spiritual beings have to God, the old state of thought is easily dissolved and washed away by that of which water baptism is symbolical--denial. Then there come into our mind ideas direct from the Fountainhead, and we see everything in a new light. This baptism of the Holy Spirit quickens the whole man. When the mind has received words of Truth the way is open for the healing power, which is called the Holy pirit, or the Spirit of wholeness, to descend further into the body consciousness. This outpouring, or inpouring, of the Holy Spirit is the second baptism.