What is baptism?  Who should be baptized?  What is the purpose of baptism?  Man has argued over these questions for many years.  Is there an answer that we can all understand and agree on?  Yes there is.  God has given the answer.  The answer is found in His Word, the Bible.


What is Baptism?


There are three ways by which denominations baptize people today-- sprinkling, pouring and immersion.  (Immersion means to put a person completely under water for a short time).  Which one is correct baptism?

In the Bible, baptism is called a burial.  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” (Romans 6:4).  If we want to bury a dead body, we will not sprinkle a little dirt on the head.  We will cover the body completely with dirt.  Baptism is like that.  Baptism is a burial in water.  Sprinkling water on the head of a person does not baptize him.  He must be completely buried under the water.

Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there.  And they came and were baptized” (John 3:23).  John chose a place to baptize where there was much water.  Sprinkling requires only a little water.  A burial in water requires much water.  John did not baptize by sprinkling.  He baptized by burying in water.

So he commanded the chariot to stand still.  And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing”(Acts 8:38, 39).

When Philip baptized the eunuch, both of them went down info the water. After the baptism, both of them came up out of the water.  To sprinkle a person, it is not necessary to go down into the water.  To baptize a person by burying him in the water, it is necessary to go down into the water.  Therefore, Philip baptized the eunuch by a burial, not by sprinkling.

What is the proper way to baptize?  The Bible teaches it is by a burial in water.  Therefore sprinkling is not true baptism.  Anyone who has been sprinkled, or had water poured on his head, has not been truly baptized.


Who Should Be Baptized?


The Bible says there are certain things a person must DO BEFORE he can be baptized.  A person MUST BELIEVE in Jesus Christ before he can be baptized.  Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  To believe means to have faith.  How do we come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God?  It is by hearing the Word of God. So then faith (belief) comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).  We see therefore that a person MUST have faith in Christ BEFORE he can be baptized?  To be baptized before a person believes is to do things in a way that God did not say.  It is wrong.  That baptism is no good.  Now let’s ask a question, can a baby believe in Jesus as the Son of God?  We all know the answer is no!  Then, babies are NOT to be baptized.

Before a person can be baptized, he MUST CONFESS his faith in Christ. “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10).  A good example of this is in Acts 8.  The man from Ethiopia was being taught by Philip.  They came to some water (v.36).  The man from Ethiopia wanted to be baptized (v.36).  Before Philip baptized him, he confessed that he believed that Jesus Christ was the “Son of God” (v.37).  After he confessed his faith in Christ, he was baptized.  The baptism came AFTER the confession, not before it.  Again we ask, “Can a baby confess his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God?”  The answer is a definite “no.”  Therefore, a baby is not ready for baptism.  To confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God must be done before baptism, not after it.

A person also MUST REPENT of his sins before he can be baptized.  The Bible says, “…Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized In the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall received the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  One must repent before he can be baptized.  To repent means to change one’s life from bad to good.  To repent means to have a change of heart.  A person no longer wants to do things his way, but now he wants to do what the Lord says.  Can a baby repent?  Can he change his heart and way of life?  In no way!  Therefore a baby is not to be baptized.  Again, we notice that a person must repent BEFORE baptism, not after.

What we have learned so far?  A person must hear the Word of God.  He must believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  After that, he must confess his faith in Christ as the Son of God.  Then he must repent of his sins.  All of this must be done BEFORE a person can be baptized.  A person cannot be baptized and then believe, repent and confess.  The Bible doesn’t teach it that way.  That is why a baby is not to be baptized.  A baby CANNOT have faith in Christ.  A baby CANNOT confess his faith in Christ.  A baby CANNOT repent of his sins for two reasons.  First, he has no sins.  Second, he couldn’t repent of them if he did have them.  Let’s follow what the Bible teaches and then we can all agree.  We can, if we put the Lord’s teachings before man’s teachings.  The Bible says, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12).


Why Be Baptized?


There are several things mentioned in the Bible as to why we must be baptized.  First, we must be baptized if we want to be saved.  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).  The apostle Peter said, “There Is also an antitype which now saves us-baptism.. .“ (1 Peter 3:21).  To be saved and to have our sins forgiven are the same thing.  If a person wants to be saved, then he must be baptized in order to be saved.  If a person wants to have his sins forgiven, then he must be baptized.  Peter told the people on the day of Pentecost to “.repent and let everyone of you be baptized In the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. . . .“ (Acts 2:38).  There is no way a person can be saved, or have his sins forgiven, without being baptized (buried in water).

Another reason for baptism is to put a person “into Christ.” To be “in Christ” means “to be a Christian.”  You are not a Christian if you are not “in Christ.”  How does a person get “into Christ?”  Listen to the Apostle Paul as he writes to the churches of Galatia: “For as many of you as were baptized Into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).  You get “into Christ” through baptism.  That makes you a Christian.  That baptism is a burial in water.  It also saves you and forgives you of your sins.

Baptism also puts us into the body of Christ.  The body of Christ is Christ’s church. “...and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body...” (Eph; 1: 22, 23).  Christ built only one church (Matt. 16:18).  That church is His body.  The church is the saved.  Christ is the Savior of the church.  If one wants Christ as His Savior, then he must be in Christ’s church.  The only way one can get in Christ’s church is through baptism (a burial in water).

WHAT does the Bible say about WHAT baptism is?  The Bible teaches that baptism is putting a person completely under water for a short time.  This is called a burial or immersion.

WHY should a person be baptized?  So that he can be saved and have his sins forgiven.  This baptism makes him a part of Christ and His church.

WHO should be baptized?  The Bible says that the one who is to be baptized MUST believe, repent and confess his faith BEFORE he is baptized.  If he is baptized before he does these things his baptism is no good.

Have YOU been baptized the Bible way?  Did you believe, repent and confess your faith BEFORE you were baptized?  Were you buried in water for your baptism?  Were you baptized FOR the forgiveness of your sins?  If you cannot answer YES to ALL of these questions, then your baptism is no good.

If you have more questions about baptism or you wish to be baptized right, let us know.  We will be glad to be of help to you.




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