What is Baptism?
The Bible teaches that baptism is a symbol-an outward expression of an inward decision. In the life of every Christian, it is an important first step of obedience to God in which I declare, to others, my faith in Christ. As a wedding ring identifies a husband with his wife, so baptism identifies a Christian with Christ. That identity is in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
Romans 6:3-5 says "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
Baptism not only identifies us with Jesus Christ, but it also identifies us with His local church and its doctrine. When you are baptized, you become a member of this local church.
Acts 2:41-42 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were unto them about three thousand souls. And the continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Is Baptism for Me?
The Bible teaches that baptism is for anyone who has personally accepted Christ as Saviour. Baptism does not save or wash away sins. It is simply an outward expression of an inward decision to accept Christ. If you have accepted Christ and never been baptized, you should choose to be baptized as soon as you can.
Acts 8:37 says, "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Acts 2:41 says, Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Why Should I Be Baptized?
There are three biblical reasons to be baptized...
- Christ Commands it: Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
- Christ was our example: Matthew 3:13 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him."
- Believers in the Bible practiced it: Acts 2:41 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized."
How Should I Be Baptized?
The word baptize literally means to plunge or to dunk. The Bible teaches that you should be baptized in water by immersion rather than sprinkling. Because baptism is a picture of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, only immersion correctly pictures this.
John 1:26 says, "John answered them, saying, I baptize with water..."
Mark 1:9-10 "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him."
Acts 8:38 says, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him."
When Should I Be Baptized?
In the Bible, baptism always took place right after salvation. Rather than taking a thirteen week course before you can be baptized, you should choose to be baptized as soon as you can after your salvation decision.
Acts 16:30-33 "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."
Acts 2:41 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
What if I am not Baptized?
While baptism is not required for salvation, it is an important step of obedience to Christ. The Christian who refuses to be baptized could be compared to a wife who refuses to accept her wedding ring. How can my relationship with Christ start of right if I refuse to follow Him and if I am ashamed of Him before others? By not being baptized, I am disobeying Christ and actually telling Him that I am ashamed that He is my Saviour. I am missing the blessing of committing myself to Christ through obedience and losing the testimony I might have through my public identification with Him.
James 4:17 says, "...to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
John 8:31 says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed."
John 15:14 "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."