Here is something for you to pray about – being baptized. You may not be familiar with the word or perhaps you’ve heard the word but wonder how and when it applies to you.
The teaching in the New Testament is for every Christian to be baptized. Jesus taught it. The Apostles taught it and yes, Christians practised it. It wasn’t an optional thing depending on a person’s perspective. It is taught in the Word of God as a ‘must’ for Christian obedience to Christ and one’s testimony in the world.
Let’s start with Jesus. After His death, burial and resurrection and just before He went back to Heaven (ascension) here is the commission He gave to His disciples:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
His words were clear. After sinners trust Christ and become one of His followers (disciple), they are to be baptized.
Perhaps you have heard of babies being baptized in some churches. First of all, as you read your Bible, you will see no support for that church ritual. Christian baptism, in the New Testament, is always based on the individual’s intelligent response and conscious choice to the Gospel and to Christ. Obviously, infants are incapable of making such a choice. Secondly, infant baptism is conducted by someone sprinkling drops of water on the baby. That’s not even the Bible’s definition of baptism.
Baptism means to immerse or to put the person into the water – submerse and then emerge – come back up out of the water. Sprinkling was never the thought.
In Acts Chapter 2, the Apostle Peter preached to a very large crowd of people in Jerusalem. 3000 in the audience abandoned their old religion and embraced Christ as their Saviour and Lord. They received the message personally. What was their next step as new believers in Christ?
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (42) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Act 2:41-42
In the next email, we will talk more about what the significance of baptism is but for now let’s list a few things that baptism is NOT:
- Water baptism has nothing to do with washing your sins away. Only the blood of Christ has that efficacy. 1John 1:7
- Water baptism is not one of the rungs on God’s ladder to Heaven to ultimately be accepted by God and to be saved. Your forgiveness of sins and acceptance into God’s family is by faith alone in Jesus. John 1:12
- Baptism does not make you more secure in Christ or more sure of Heaven. The thief on the cross, next to Jesus, was never baptized before he died and yet he went to be with Jesus. Luke 23:43
- Baptism is not into a church and does not make you a church member – according to the Bible.
Finally, here are a few verses and occasions where new Christian converts were baptised:
Acts 8:12 – men and women converted in Samaria
Acts 8:38 – man from Ethiopia who was saved in his chariot
Acts 9:18 – Saul of Tarsus who was saved on the Damascus Road
Acts 16:15 – the business lady from Thyatira who owned the Fabric Shop in Philippi
Acts 16:33 – the jail manager and his saved family
Acts 18:8 – many people who believed the Gospel in Corinth
Acts 19:5 – converts in Ephesus
In the next email, we will learn more about what believer’s baptism actually symbolizes and why it is so important in your new life in Christ.
- Pray that as you read your Bible, the Holy Spirit will give you more insight into the important truth of being baptized as a Christian.
- Read the great story of the high ranking Ethiopian government official who received Christ and wanted to be baptized immediately. Acts 8:26-39