Baptism 101

What is Baptism?  Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is a public declaration of our belonging to the family of God through our salvation. Nobody can see what’s in our hearts (except for God), and so we publicly declare our stance by being Baptized.

When did we first start baptizing people?  Baptism first came about with John the Baptist’s ministry.  He preached the coming Messiah, and baptized people who believed that the Savior would come and take away their sins.  “The next day John saw Jesus coming unto Him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water” (John 1:29-31).

We don’t do the baptism of John anymore… because it was in anticipation of Christ.  Christ has come – He has fulfilled that which was set before Him to accomplish, and we have the gift of eternal life.  So since His resurrection, we baptize in the same manner the apostles set precedence with – as an outward show of our inward change.

Do you need to be baptized to be saved?  NO.  Big noExtremely big no.  You are a Believer when you ask Christ to forgive you of your sins and to be the master in your life.  It has nothing to do at all with what you can you… you can’t do anything.  Christ did it all.  We simply accept His gift of salvation and invite Him to be the center of our lives.  Ephesians 2 says For by grace are you saved thru faith, and yet not of yourselves – it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Why is baptism important?   Baptism is as crucial to a Believer as salvation, and that is made clearer than clear by Christ in the Great Commission:  Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  (Matthew 28:19)  It’s something we’re told to do once we’re Believers.  We’re to teach (so that other’s may come to know Christ… and so that people can know if we’re ‘real’ or not, as I’ve posted before), and we’re to be sure they’re baptized.  Why?  Well, partly because it was something Christ commissioned us to do – Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them.  It’s not optional – it’s a Biblical mandate.  If you don’t show outwardly what you’ve pledged inwardly, there is no accountablility, and no action to verify your stance.  Baptism signifies inclusion in God’s family.  It’s a symbolic act (like marriage) that shows unity with Christ (Gal. 3:27)

When do we get baptized?  It is clear in scripture that this is not something to be put off when you accept Christ.  In the NT, people were baptized as soon as they believed, and in the Great Commission, Christ also sets that precedence  (Go – Teach – Baptize).  At Pentecost, three thousand were baptized as soon as they believed.  The Ethiopian leader was baptized on the spot when he was converted, and Paul and Silas baptized a Phillipian jailer and his family at midnight.  There are no ‘delayed baptisms’ in scripture.

How does Baptism work?  The answer is in Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6:3-4… Do you not know that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Did you catch that?  It’s symbolic of the death of Christ – who was buried (put under) and was raised (brought up out) into new life.  So to symbolize this, we are immersed (put under) and raised out (brought up out) of the water to new life.  It’s a picture to others of our dying to sin and rising as a new creation in Christ.  Nowhere in scripture does it say that people are baptized by being sprinkled in Christ.  That was not how it was done then, and by precedence and scripture, that’s not how we’re supposed to do it today.  In fact, the Greek word “baptism” means to immerse, submerse and emerge.

((Which was – btw – where SL and I parted ways.  She said that everyone should accept whatever people choose to do, because it’s not important.  If it was part of Christ’s Great Commission, I beg to differ – it is important.  And if it’s something set up in scriptures, it’s not okay to accept things that aren’t scriptural.  If that was true, then let’s accept those who say you can’t be saved without speaking in tongues… after all, that’s not important, right?  Let’s accept those who believe Christ is a reincarnation of His original self, because it’s not important, right?  Believing in Him is all that matters, that and everybody getting along… right?  Screw truth.))

What about infant Baptism?  Well, to begin with, there are no infant baptisms in the Bible.  True, there are places in the Bible where it says someone and his familywas baptized… but it never says babies are baptized.  And something else important to note:  Jesus was not baptized as an infant.  He was taken to the temple and was blessed by Simeon and Anna… which is why Christian churches have baby dedications – because that’s what Mary and Joseph did with Jesus.  (It’s found in Luke 2:25-39.)

Second thing about infant baptism is that it’s not scriptural because it does not fit within the definition of baptism.  Baptism is an outward display of an inward decision to follow Christ.  Infants cannot accept Christ – they don’t understand it, so they aren’t able to make that outward declaration.  They aren’t declaring anything.  It’s an empty ritual not supported by scripture in any way.

You will also notice that the ‘baptism’ they perform on infants is not immersion into water at all.  That’s not baptism according to the Bible, or even according to the Greek word ‘baptism.’

So there ya have it… Baptism 101.  ((wink!))  I’ll be sure to add this to my sidebar thang for you.

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