Why Be Baptized?
The subject of baptism is very important. It constitutes one of the primary and fundamental discussions between Baptists and other Christian denominations and has reference to the form and use of that ordinance. The goal of this article is to help you to understand the meaning of baptism by answering this question:
“What Does the Bible Say About Baptism?”
The Bible teaches that baptism is the immersion or dipping of a Christ follower in water, identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is administered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In this brief article, we hope to help answer a few questions you may have:
• What is the significance of baptism?
• Who should be baptized?
• Why should you be baptized?
• How should you be baptized?
For an in-depth look at baptism, the following passages will be helpful as you study this important step of faith:
• Matthew 28:19-20
• Acts 2:38, 41
• Acts 8:12, 36-38
• Acts 10:47-48
• Romans 6:1-11
What’s the Significance of Baptism?
We believe baptism is an outward, physical demonstration of an inward spiritual baptism (or change) by the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is not a means of salvation nor is it a necessity for salvation; it is simply a testimony of salvation.
Baptism can be viewed significantly in two ways. The first is a “Pledge of Allegiance” to God. It is a believer obeying God’s command to be baptized following salvation (Acts 2:41). Baptism identifies yourself to the church and is a public proclamation to the world that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
The second, and more important implication of baptism, is as a picture or symbol of what occurs at the moment of salvation. It is the way that we identify with what Jesus accomplished on the cross. It is an outward picture of an inward reality.
Romans 6:1-11 vividly explains the process and significance of our spiritual baptism. The physical act of baptism represents that spiritual reality.
Romans 6 The spiritual act The physical act
Verse 3 died with Him put under the water
Verse 4 buried with Him under the water
Verses 4-5 raised with Him taken out of the water
Who Should Be Baptized?
The New Testament teaches that baptism is for believers. Baptism is to follow salvation, not precede it. Notice, in each of the following passages, baptism clearly occurs after salvation:
• Acts 2:41-42
• Acts 8:12
• Acts 8:36-37
• Acts 10:48
Therefore, we believe that every follower of Christ is to be baptized following their salvation.
Why Should You Be Baptized?
The Bible provides two definitive reasons why followers of Jesus Christ should be baptized:
1. Jesus Commanded It
2. The Early Church Practiced It
Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48
The importance of baptism in the Bible is unquestioned. Christ began his earthly ministry by being baptized by John the Baptist, and an important part of the Great Commission is the baptism of believers.
How should you be baptized?
We believe baptism is to be done by dipping or immersion into water. There are four main reasons for this position:
1. The Greek term for baptize (baptizo) literally means to submerge or immerse. There are at least six other words that could have been used to indicate one’s relation to the water, but in each instance, the term for submerging or immersing is always used, without exception.
2. This form of baptism (immersion) was used by the Apostles and disciples of Christ and by the primitive churches, without any known exception, for more than 200 years (Hiscox, p. 386). And for more than 1300 years immersion was the prevailing practice of Christian churches throughout the world (Hiscox, p.387). This information provides us important historical support.
3. Immersion is the best picture of the spiritual reality of baptism (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Sprinkling, pouring, or any other method of baptism does not carry the distinctive picture of being buried with Christ.
The Scriptures very clearly express immersion.
Mark 1:9-10—Notice the phrase “coming up out of the water.”
Matthew 3:6—”in the Jordan River” indicates immersion.
John 3:23—Notice the need for “plenty of water.”
Acts 8:36-39—Notice they “came to some water” instead of water coming to them. Also, notice the phrases, “down into the water,” and “came up out of the water.”
What Is the Significance of Baptism?
• It is an outward sign of the inward reality
• It is a picture of what happened at our salvation
• It is a public display of our allegiance to Christ
Who Should Be Baptized?
• Only those who have been born again
• All those who have been born again
• Never in the New Testament is an infant or an unbeliever baptized—we should follow that same pattern today.
Why Should You Be Baptized?
• Jesus Himself commanded it
• The early church confirms that they understood Christ’s command to be binding upon them, and therefore, upon us
How Should You Be Baptized?
• The Greek term baptize means to immerse or submerge
• Church history supports immersion
• Baptism by immersion is the best picture of Romans 6
• The language of Scripture clearly expresses immersion