Baptism is a special ceremony that was given by Jesus to the people who place their trust in Christ as their personal Savior. Jesus, Himself, was baptized by John (Matt. 3:13-17) and He commanded His disciples to baptize everyone else who would become His disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). So, we continue this public ceremony that was instituted by Christ.
What Does Baptism Mean?
Our word “Baptism” comes from a Greek word meaning “to dip in or under water.” The person being baptized is dipped under water and brought up again which is a demonstration of our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. Baptism demonstrates physically what took place spiritually when we accepted Christ.
“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…and He rose again.” 1 Cor. 15:3,4
“By our baptism then we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead also we might live a new life!” Rom. 6:4
“For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” Col. 2:12
It is also important to know what Baptism does not mean. Baptism does not make you a believer, it does not save you from the penalty of sin, only your faith in Christ does that. There is no ceremony, ritual or religious activity that can save a person from their sin. Baptism only symbolizes that a person has already been saved. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ, and not by any good works, such as baptism (Eph. 2:8-9).
Why Should I Be Baptized?
Jesus gave an example to be followed. “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river” Mark 1:9
Jesus commanded that we follow this example of baptism. “Jesus said, therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…” Matt.28:19
Baptism gives a picture to others of your salvation. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through burial into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Rom. 6:1-4
Who Should Be Baptized?
Everyone who has trusted Jesus as their Savior should be baptized. Baptism is a picture of a person being connected to Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. If a person has not trusted Jesus, then they are not connected to Him, so the ceremony would not mean anything.
From the following passages, we can also see that it was natural for a person who had trusted Christ to be baptized almost immediately following their decision. This day and age it may not be convenient to do so immediately but there is no reason to delay. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, they can and should be baptized.
“Those who believed and accepted His message were baptized.” Acts 2:41
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News…and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” Acts 8:12