Water baptism was instituted by God to be an essential part of a Christian's foundation.
If you have not been baptized, then you need to be!
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Acts 22:16 (NKJV)
HOW TO BE A STRONG CHRISTIAN
God has provided everything necessary for his children to become all that He intended them to be. If we follow his plan for our lives, then we are guaranteed to become strong Christians
(2 Pet. 1:1-4).
A FIRST STEP
One of the first steps a new Christian should take is to be baptized in water. The eternal significance of Water Baptism can be clearly seen when we examine what the Bible teaches. In the following paragraphs we will present a brief, yet concise, study of this essential doctrine.
WHAT IS IT?
Jesus stressed the vital importance of Water Baptism when He commissioned His followers to baptize all those who became Christians, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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." Matt. 28:18-19
Water Baptism is far more than ritual or a religious exercise. It is intended to be an essential part of the spiritual foundation of all new Christians. At the time of a believer's baptism in water, he/she outwardly affirms the inward commitment he has made to Jesus Christ as the Lord of his life.
In order to understand the reason for being water baptized we must carefully consider what the Bible says about it.
Q: Who should be Water Baptized?
A: All Christians are admonished to be Water Baptized. Jesus stressed its importance when He said: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." Mk. 16:16 (NIV) Peter, fulfilling Christ's command, preached: "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins." Acts 2:38 (RSV) And Peter also commanded it: “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Acts 10:48a (KJV)
DO YOU HAVE TO?
Q: Is it necessary for you to be water baptized in order for you to be a Christian?
A: NO. The Bible says: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.“ Eph. 2:8a
OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED
Water Baptism confirms the fact that our old man (or old nature) has been crucified so that the sinful body might be destroyed. Thus we have received a new godly nature. The Word of God says concerning Water Baptism: "We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin." Rom. 6:6-7 (RSV)
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Gal. 2:20a (NIV)
"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." Rom. 6:11 (RSV)
A CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART
In the Old Testament, God established circumcision to be an outward work, which signified a change of heart and new covenant relationship between the Jewish people and Himself.
In the New Testament, Water Baptism parallels this and is required for all of God's people. The Bible teaches: "In him (Christ) you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when your were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (sinful nature), God made you alive with Christ.” Col.2:11 - 13 (NIV) Parenthesis added.
WATER BAPTISM AND THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
What is the difference between the Water Baptism and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
WATER BAPTISM: In obedience to Christ's command (Mark 16:15-16), a new Christian is immersed in water in the name of the Lord. He is thus separated from his old sinful life, and makes a commitment to serve Jesus.
BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT: This occurs when someone is immersed or filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
See Acts 2:1-21, 38-39; 8:14-17; 10:44-48; 11:15-18; 19:1-7.
Who does the baptizing?
WATER BAPTISM: Though it is permissible for any Christian to baptize another Christian in water (Matt. 28:19), the common practice is for the leadership of a local church to conduct a water baptism service. A baptism service allows other members of the new Christian's spiritual family to be present for this exciting milestone in his life.
BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT: Jesus Christ is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Spirit-baptized Christians may encourage and pray with Christians desiring to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17; 19:6) BEFORE, DURING or AFTER. A Christian may be baptized in the Holy Spirit before, during or after he is baptized in water. (BEFORE - Acts 10:47 - 48; DURING - Acts 19:5 – 6; AFTER - Acts 8:12, 17).
How should I be baptized?
Jesus told His disciples to baptize in water, “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matt. 28:19 (KJV).
In the Book of Acts, Christians were water baptized in:
Being baptized in the name of our Lord is an essential part of our baptism in water.
- "the name of Jesus Christ" Acts 2:38
- "the name of the Lord Jesus" Acts 8:16; 19:5
- "the name of the Lord" Acts 10:48
As in an early marriage, when a bride takes the name of her groom, so also Christians are baptized in the name of their heavenly bridegroom in water baptism (2 Cor. 11:2). Scriptures teach, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8 – 9 (NKJV).
But though you are not saved by water baptism, you are still commanded by Scripture to partake of this holy act. God promises to do a great work in your life if you are obedient to His commands. "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land." Isa. 1:19 (RSV). "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands." 1 John 2:3 (NIV).
When should you be Water Baptized?
A. After you: 1. REPENT - turn away from sin to follow Jesus 2. BELIEVE - completely trust in Christ's death and resurrection for your salvation.
REPENT - The apostle Peter said: "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized." Acts 2:38a (KJV).
BELIEVE - Jesus said: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.“ Mark 16:16
Acts 8:12 says: "But when they believed Phillip as he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”
Q. If you were baptized as a baby, is that enough?
A. No. Infant baptism is not taught anywhere in the Bible.
On the other hand, a child who is mature enough to make the decision of allowing Jesus Christ to be the Lord of his life can and should be water baptized. This is called “believer’s baptism”.
The Bible teaches that every Christian should be water baptized. In order to do so, we must repent and believe on Jesus Christ. Obviously, water baptism has an important spiritual significance in that we outwardly identify with Jesus Christ and affirm our commitment to live for Him. In the next paragraph we will discuss the spiritual effect of repenting, believing and being baptized in water.
1. We die to our old sinful nature and are resurrected in newness of life.
2. We are forgiven of our sins.
3. Our old man is crucified.
4. We experience a circumcision of the heart.
DEATH, BURIAL, RESURRECTION
Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ's death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.
As Jesus freely chose to die in our place, so we must willingly enter into the waters of baptism to rise in newness of life. The Bible says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Rom. 6:3-5(NKJV).
WE ARE FORGIVEN OF OUR SINS
Because Jesus shed His blood on the cross, we are forgiven of our sins. Jesus said: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission (forgive-ness)of sins." Matt. 26:28 (NKJV). “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Heb. 9:22 (NKJV)
When someone repents, believes, and is baptized, they are forgiven and remitted (separated) from their sins. "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 (NKJV).
Not only should we experience this, but Jesus also exhorts us to share this saving truth with others: "That repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations." Luke 24:47 (RSV)
IMMERSION OR SPRINKLING?
The word baptism comes from a root word which means “the process of immersion, submersion, or to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet) straightway out of the water." “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” Matt. 3:16 (NKJV)
The Ethiopian eunuch was immersed by Phillip. “…Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away.” Acts 8:38-39a
1. All Christians should be baptized in water.
2. Though we are not saved by being baptized in water, God commands us to do so.
3. Someone may be baptized in water after he has repented and believed in Jesus.
4. Infant baptism is not Scriptural, but older children who have made a commitment to Christ should be baptized.
5. What happens when we repent, believe and are water baptized?
6. In water baptism, we are immersed in water; in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are immersed in the Spirit.
- a) We identify with Christ's death, burial & resurrection.
- b) We are forgiven of our sins.
- c) Our old man is crucified.
- d) We experience a circumcision of the heart.
7. Any Christian may baptize another Christian in water, but it is the common practice for the leadership (i.e. pastor) of a local church to conduct the Baptismal service. Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
8. We should be baptized in the name of the Lord.
9. Immersion is the scriptural pattern for water baptism.
10. We should share this saving knowledge of Jesus Christ with others.