Matthew 28:19 was spoken after Christ’s resurrection. In other words, Christ spoke this word in His resurrection. While He was speaking this word, He was the resurrected One. As the resurrected One, the life-giving Spirit, He is the ultimate issue of the Triune God. We have seen that God is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—not for doctrine but for dispensing. The Father was in the Son, and the Son became the life-giving Spirit. Whatever the Father is and has is embodied in the Son. The Son is the embodiment of the Father, and this Son through the process of crucifixion and resurrection became the all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit.
If, at the time the Lord spoke this word in His resurrection, He had said to baptize people into the Father, into the Son, and into the Spirit, this would have caused a misunderstanding. This would have caused the disciples to think that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are separate. This is why some Christians argue for three immersions—one immersion in the name of the Father, another in the name of the Son, and the third in the name of the Spirit. They neglect to realize that the Lord never used the plural word names, that is, baptizing them into the names of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. If this were the case, it would be right to immerse people into three names, but the name is singular in number, that is, three with one name. Matthew 28:19 says, “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Is this the Father’s name, the Son’s name, or the Spirit’s name? If the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three distinct Persons, how could three distinct Persons have just one name? The Lord wisely spoke in this way. If He had said, “baptizing them into the Father and the Son and the Spirit,” this would have caused the disciples to understand that these are three separate Beings.
Furthermore, if we had only Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27 telling us to baptize people into Christ, we would think that baptism has nothing to do with the Father. Many Christians think that to baptize people into Christ means only into the Son, that is, into the Lord Jesus, and that it has nothing to do with the Father or with the Spirit. If we did not have the Greek text of Matthew 28:19, we could not understand that our being baptized has very much to do with the Father, as well as with the Son and with the Spirit. The baptism is to put us into the Father, into the Son, and into the Spirit. To be baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit is not a small matter. This means to put us into the Triune God who is from eternity past to eternity future. We have been baptized not only into Christ; we have been baptized into the Triune God. These Three have only one name.
The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit is the Person, and the Person is the reality. To baptize new converts into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit means that we put them into the reality of the Triune God, into the Person of the Triune God. So here we can see the wisdom and the profoundness of the Lord’s word. To baptize people is just to put them into the reality of the Triune God, into whatever the Triune God is. We put people into whatever the Father is as the source, whatever the Son is as the course, and whatever the Spirit is as the flow. This reality is altogether embodied in Christ. Christ is the reality of the Triune God. In other words, to baptize people into the reality of the Triune God is to baptize them into Christ. This is why in Matthew we have the baptizing into the name of the Triune God.
In Romans we have the baptizing into Christ. To baptize people into Christ is equal to baptizing people into the name of the Triune God because Christ is the reality of the Triune God. The Triune God is embodied in Christ. Also, it is equal to being put into His death because His death is one of the elements of His compounding. To baptize people into Christ, and spontaneously into His death, is to terminate their past. Yet this is not the end. To baptize people into the Triune God is not only to baptize them into Christ and into His death negatively, but also, positively, into the Body. Hence, in baptism we all have been put into the reality of the Triune God. We all have been put into Christ. We all have been put into His death to have a thorough termination. On the positive side, we have also been put into His Body. This is altogether a matter of the wonderful Spirit!
(The Two Great Mysteries in God's Economy, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)