Baptism is the outward testimony of the believer’s inward faith. A sinner is saved the moment he places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is a visible testimony to that faith. Water baptism is the ordinance representing the identification of the Christian with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are “crucified” (standing in water), you are “buried” (immersed into the water), and you are “resurrected into life” (raised out of the water) Rom. 6:3-5. We are not saved by baptism, but by faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7) (Col 1:14). Jesus did not die for his own sins; he had none. Instead, by a transaction that we may never fully understand, he died for the sins of the world. When we commit our lives to Christ and thus identify ourselves with him, his death becomes ours. He has paid the penalty for our sins, and his blood has purified us.
- Baptism is established by God (John 1:33).
- It is an example shown by our Lord (Mathew 3:16).
- It is the last commandment (Mathew 28:18-20).
- It is the decision by God (Luke 7:30).
- It is a doctrine (Acts 2:38).
- It is good conscious to the Lord (1Pet 3:21).
- It is the righteousness of God (Mathew 3:15)
Christian water baptism pictures at least four important things:
1. Baptism pictures and declares the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
2. Baptism pictures and declares the death of our old life to sin, and our resurrection to walk in newness of life. “As Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
3. Baptism pictures and declares our faith in the Trinity of the Godhead. “Baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19
4. Baptism pictures and declares our “putting on” of Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26,27
So then, water baptism is a picture of what transpired when you placed your faith and trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save you from your sins (Romans 6:3-5).
Who should be baptized?
1. Those who repented their sins (Acts 2:38).
2. Those who received the word (Acts 2:41).
3. Those who believed (Acts 8:12, 36-37).
When the Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved….” (Acts 16:30-34). His baptism came after his believing. Who then should be baptized? Only those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
When should we be baptized?
The Bible teaches that water baptism follows after the new birth. Read the example of Paul (Acts 9:18), Cornelius (Acts 10:43-48), the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:33) and a man of Ethiopia Acts 8:35-37).
How should we be baptized?
The word baptizes means to immerse, to engulf or to dip. How is a believer to be baptized? by Immersion in water, in Matthew 3:16 and in Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23 we find that John the Baptist needed “much water” for baptism. In Acts 8:38-39 we are taught baptism by immersion. In Romans 6:3-6 we see that baptism must fulfill three types: death, burial and resurrection. It is not difficult to see that the only mode of baptism which fulfills all these pictures is the immersion of the believer in water. Furthermore, scriptural expressions such as “much water” (John 3:23), and “down both into the water” (Acts 8:38) are very conclusive evidence that water baptism is by immersion. Baptism was a sign of identification with Christ and with the Christian community. Although there were no witnesses besides Philip, it was still important for the eunuch to take this step. Jesus commanded us to baptize (Mathew 28:18-19) in the the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e. the authority of). The word Trinity does not occur in Scripture, but it well describes the three-in-one nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The disciples were to baptize people because baptism unites a believer with Jesus Christ in his or her death to sin and resurrection to new life. Baptism symbolizes submission to Christ, a willingness to live God’s way, and identification with God’s covenant people.
Why should we be baptized?
Water baptism is the Christian’s identification with Christ (Colossians 2:12). When Jesus was baptized, God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When we follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ we certainly please the Father. Baptism parallels the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and it also portrays the death and burial of our sinful old way of life followed by resurrection to new life in Christ. Remembering that our old sinful life is dead and buried with Christ gives us a powerful motive to resist sin.
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