What We Believe About Baptism

Jesus commanded this for all who become disciples, followers of Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Baptism is for believers (Acts 18:8, et al). There is no instance in the Bible of anyone being baptized too young to have made a commitment to Jesus. In Acts 16:31-34, all the members of the Philippian jailer’s household believed. Infant baptism has no precedent in Scripture.

Water baptism does not save in itself. It is a symbol or figure. First Peter 3:21 (NIV) puts it this way: “And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It symbolizes the initial baptism, which is spiritual, being baptized into the body of Christ: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NKJV; see 1 Corinthians 12:13).

It is also symbolic of:

  • Identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; as well as death to self and resurrection life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:3-11; Colossians 2:12).
  • Washing away of sins (Acts 22:16).
  • Lives immersed in Jesus (John 15:7; Galatians 3:27).

Water baptism is by immersion. The Greek baptizo always means to dip or immerse. Immersion also best portrays death and resurrection. The element, water, portrays spiritual washing.

When should you be baptized? At your first opportunity after salvation (Acts 8:35-38; 10:44-48; 16:33). If you have not been baptized since receiving Christ, see your pastor right away.

A profession of faith must be made to demonstrate that true belief accompanies the act (Acts 22:16; compare with Romans 10:9).

From “The Church” by Ken Horn

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