Why be baptized in water?
Mark 16:16..."He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (logically, whoever does not believe is not baptized)
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-4...Or do you not know that as many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ 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.
According to Jesus, how important is baptism?
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". John 3:5
In water baptism we are identifying ourselves with Christ, His death and Resurrection. Water baptism by immersion is the most symbolic way in which to portray our identification: As Jesus died, was burried and arose, so we die to the old nature/sinful flesh, be burried; old flesh completely gone, down and under; as nothing of our old flesh will be visible. We arise in the fullness of life; as visible to the world through being His witness in word and deed.
Colossians 2:12...Buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
1Peter 3:21...There is also an anti-type which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Salvation to a sinner does not only come by the hearing of the Word, BUT through an individual's repentance and acceptance of and faith in Jesus' Sacrifice and Resurrection. After which ANY believer should obey the Lord's command, and be baptized.
Acts 2:38...Then Peter said to them, "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.
In the name of Jesus Christ means here " in the His authority."
verse 41a...Then those who gladly received his word were baptized.......
Wherever the apostles write "to be baptized in the name of Jesus" this refers to baptism in the authority of Jesus Christ or on His command, according to Matthew 28:19, which reads in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Although there is only ONE name by whom we get saved, the name of Jesus, if it wasn't for the Father we wouldn't have had a Jesus to save us. And if it was not for the Holy Ghost we would never be able to walk in obedience unto God's word. The Holy Spirit is the power by which an individual comes to Christ.
GOD, the Father and the SON and the HOLY GHOST are INSEPARABLE. Therefore the Godhead takes Three.
This is why Jesus Christ gave this command in Matthew 28:19, to baptize in the name of the Father, Yahweh, and of the Son, Yeshua, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, Comforter. The Three in One.
When it comes to water baptism, believers ought to realize the stand they are taking, the testimony they are projecting, and the confession they are making. Believers confess Christ as Lord of their lives and take their stand with Him and for Him in all that it involves and implies.
Acts 22:16...And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Although, water baptism does not save you,...disobedience to the Word definitely puts your salvation at risk. Continuing in disobedience means loss of the state of being saved.
As in Acts: NOW WHY ARE YOU WAITING? To tarry in this step of obedience could be tragic. Really to tarry in any of the demands of the gospel has the effect of impeding your progress in the things of God. TO TARRY is to tamper with TRUTH.
Acts 5:29...But Peter.......said: We ought to obey God rather than men.
John 8:51...Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.
John 15: 14...You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.
James 1:22...But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Matt 7 :21...Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
ALL boils down to this:
Our salvation through the acceptance of and faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His Resurrecton is not the end, but the beginning of our walk with the Lord. Water Baptism follows repentance. Really, salvation is the means for a deeper relationship with Him, which includes obedience to His Word.
We have to work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling; by the means of obedience, allowing the working of the Holy Spirit and the development of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
You may never have heard of Water Baptism as a necessity or realized what a blessing is attached to this act of commitment and obedience.
I admonish you to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Do as the Ephesians did, "When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Of course, there are exceptions as the robber on the cross, a person on a death bed, death row, fatal accident etc., when there is no opportunity for baptism.
Anyone who repents of his sins, has a good conscience toward God, has a desire to follow His command in baptism, shows obedience to the Word of God, at least in this respect.
by Mark A. Copeland, 1997
1. Knowing now that baptism is essential :
a. SALVATION - Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
b. BECOMING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST - Mt 28:19-20; Ga 3:27
2. But even when the essentiality of baptism has been established, the question remain:
a. Is baptism to be immersion, pouring, or sprinkling? Does it make any difference?
I. CONSIDER THE FIGURES OF SPEECH USED TO DESCRIBE BAPTISM
A. ROMANS 6:3-5
1. In baptism, we are "buried with Him...into death"
2. Baptism is a "likeness of his death"
B. COLOSSIANS 2:12
1. In baptism, we are "buried with Him"
2. "in which, you were also raised with Him"
C. WHICH OF THE THREE ACTIONS (IMMERSION, POURING, SPRINKLING) IS:
1. A "burial?" (only immersion)
2. A "likeness of His death?" (only immersion)
3. A "likeness of His resurrection?" (only immersion)
II. CONSIDER THE GREEK WORDS FOR "BAPTIZE" AND "BAPTISM"
A. THE WORDS ARE "BAPTIZO" AND "BAPTISMA"
1. Notice that the words "baptize" and "baptism" are not actually TRANSLATIONS of the Greek words
2. They are TRANSLITERATIONS (where Greek letters in a word are simply given their English equivalents)
3. To determine the actual meaning of the words, we must go to authorities on the Greek language
B. ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING GREEK LEXICONS, "BAPTIZE" MEANS "TO IMMERSE, TO PLUNGE, TO DIP":
1. Greek-English Lexicon Of The N.T. (THAYER)
2. Greek-English Lexicon, 7th Edition (LIDDEL & SCOTT)
3. Greek Lexicon Of The Roman And Byzantine Periods (SOPHOCLES)
4. Biblio-Theological Lexicon Of N.T. Words (CREMER)
5. To quote VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF N.T. WORDS: "baptism, consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence"
C. NOT ONE STANDARD GREEK LEXICON DEFINES "BAPTIZO" AS "SPRINKLE" OR "POUR".
1. In fact, there are completely different words in Greek for "pouring" (CHENO) and "sprinkling" (RAINO)
2. It is important to keep in mind concerning "baptize" and "baptism":
a. That they are simply "transliterations"
b. That they were transliterated instead of translated in our Bibles to avoid offending those who practice pouring or sprinkling
c. But when translated into English, they can only mean "to immerse" and "immersion"!
D. WHAT ABOUT MODERN ENGLISH DICTIONARIES?
1. It is true that they define baptism as sprinkling, pouring, or immersion
2. But their definitions reflect common usage of words by people TODAY
3. To know exactly what was meant by Jesus and His apostles, we must consult authorities who define how words were used in BIBLICAL TIMES!
III. CONSIDER WHAT VARIOUS SCHOLARS SAY
A. THESE SCHOLARS WERE MEMBERS OF DENOMINATIONS WHICH PRACTICE POURING OR SPRINKLING.
a. "This passage (Ro 6:4) cannot be understood unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion" CONYBEARE & HOWSON (Life And Epistles Of St. Paul)
b. "Baptism means immersion; and it was immersion...Unless it had been so, Paul's analogical argument about our being buried with Christ in baptism would have had no meaning. Nothing could have been simpler than baptism in its first form. When a convert declared his faith in Christ, he was taken at once to the nearest pool or stream of water and plunged into it, and henceforward he was recognized as one of the Christian community." - CUNNINGHAM (The Growth Of The Church)
c. "Baptism is the grave of the old man and the birth of the new.
As he sinks beneath the baptismal waters, the believer buries there
all his corrupt affections and past sins; as he emerges thence he rises regenerate, quickened to new hopes and a new life. This baptism is an image of his participation both in the death and resurrection of Christ." - BISHOP LIGHTFOOT (Commentary)
a. "Alluding to the 'immersion' practiced in the case of 'adults,' wherein the person appeared to be buried under the water, as Christ was buried in the heart of the earth; His rising again the third day, and their emerging from the water, was an emblem of the resurrection of the body." - ADAM CLARKE (Commentary on Col 2:12)
b. "'We are buried with him.' Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." - JOHN WESLEY (Notes)
a. "The sacrament of baptism was administered in this century (the first) without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by an immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font." - MOSHEIM (Mosheim's Church History)
b. "For the explanation of this figurative description of the baptismal rite, it is necessary to call attention to the well-known circumstance that in the early days of the church, persons, when baptized, were first plunged below and then raised above the water." - THOLUCK (Commentary on Romans)
B. HOW DO WE RECONCILE THESE SCHOLARS WITH THEIR DENOMINATIONS' PRACTICE?
1. Since these scholars (and many others) admit and affirm that immersion is the only "form" of baptism taught in the Bible, are they to be charged with dishonesty and insincerity because they practiced "sprinkling" or "pouring"?
2. Not necessarily, rather they fell into the fallacy of assuming:
a. Apostolic commands and examples are not binding
b. Human wisdom may alter specific Bible teaching in what they call "rites" or "customs"
3. But Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day for making the same mistake! Mt 15:1-9; Mk 7:1-13
a. Laying aside the commandments of God, they were keeping traditions of men
b. By keeping certain traditions, they were not keeping the commandments of God!
4. When one practices pouring or sprinkling, they are keeping traditions of men; they render the commandment of God to be immersed (baptized) of no effect!
5. Though sincere, one is not necessarily right; we are right only when we do the Father's will! - Mt 7:21-23
1. What have we learned?
a. That "sprinkling" or "pouring" is inconsistent with the FIGURES OF SPEECH use in the Bible to describe baptism
b. That the Greek words can only mean "immersion"
c. That there is no question "immersion" was the mode of baptism in the Bible and the early church
2. As a final confirmation, consider the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:35-39
a. "both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water"
b. "he baptized (immersed) him"
c. "they came up out of the water"
3. And what of yourself?
a. Was your baptism like that described in Ac 8:38-39a?
b. If you were sprinkled or had water poured upon you...
1) You were keeping a tradition of man
2) You have not yet kept the commandment of God!
4. If you have not been baptized (immersed) as commanded by Jesus and His apostles...
a. You are still in your sins, by disobeying! - Ac 2:38; 22:16
b. You have not yet put on Christ and become His disciple! - Ga 3:27; Mt 28:18-20