Summary: The TRUTH... about BAPTISM and salvation!
And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Jesus said to Nicodemus that for anyone to see the Kingdom of God, they needed to be ’born again’, that is to be spiritually born by receiving God’s own Holy Spirit. John 3:3 Jesus then said, "Unless one is born of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." John 3:5 When Jesus said "born of the water and the Spirit", He associated being ’born of the Spirit’ with being ’born of the water’. Being "born of the water" refers to water baptism. Jesus himself received the Holy Spirit at His own water baptism, after He who never sinned, had participated in John’s baptism of repentance from sin Mathew 3:16, replying to John the Baptist that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness. Mathew 3:15 Jesus started His public ministry, being empowered by the Holy Spirit, after His own water baptism. And after His resurrection, He commanded His disciples to go to all the nations and baptize them. Mathew 28:19
Water baptism was done by fully immersing the body under the water Mathew 3:16, thus cleansing the body, and the act of cleansing gave the word baptism the meaning of cleansing. John’s baptism of repentance was for for cleansing of the spirit, and gave new meaning to the word ’baptism’, joining the act of water immersion with the prerequisite of repentance from sin, and showing that true spiritual cleansing requires an end to sinful behavior, with the first step in that process being repentance from sin. John further testified that the process was completed by being "baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire", a process that Jesus himself underwent Mark 10:38 Luke 12:50, and that He would effect in the life of the believer. Mathew 3:11 John by referring to these processes as baptism showed that he viewed the whole process of cleansing the spirit from sin as one, and that water immersion was a part of that process, otherwise it would have been omitted.
In the beginning God created the world out of water 2 Peter 3:5, the source and symbol of life. Through which He later on at the time of Noah cleansed a wicked world of godlessness, using it as an instrument of salvation on the one hand to destroy evil but on the other hand to create life and a new beginning through a race of faithful people. The human race had been ’born again’ through the flood which Peter described as a ’type’ of baptism 1 Peter 3:20-21, a pattern and prophecy of the coming baptism and salvation in Jesus Christ. For the old testament is in the new testament revealed, and the new testament is in the old testament concealed. And later on when Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, God used water to destroy His enemies but to save His people, leaving another sign pointing to baptism because scripture says that they were baptized into Moses. 1 Corinthians 10:2 And afterward Joshua, who’s name is the hebrew form of Jesus, led the children of Israel through the waters of the Jordan (which means descend) into the promised land, a type of the kingdom of God. They descended down into and rose up out of the water to inherit the promise. Joshua 4:19 And later on God cleansed Naaman the leper of his leprousy (which symbolized sin) when he obeyed Elisha the prophet by going down into the waters of the Jordan river seven times. 2 Kings 5:14 Jesus himself saying that the ’unclean spirit passes through waterless places seeking rest’ Luke 11:24, and He destroyed the power of unclean spirits by drowning their unclean hosts when they ran down into the water Mathew 8:32. So water is the scource and symbol of life as also is blood because scripture says that life is in the blood Leviticus 17:11 which is made of water, and these two came out together out of His body on the cross. John 19:34
The power and significance of water baptism lies in the fact that it is a spiritual burial for the believer and a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3-4 For the believer obeying the commandment of the Lord and proclaiming his faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord, is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, before men and the heavenly court. Mathew 28:19 And being completely submerged under the water, momentarily stops breathing, figuratively as a dead man. He therefore through obedience takes on the spiritual status of a dead man, and is freed from the condemnation of God’s holy law Romans 6:7 which is binding only while one lives Romans 7:1, having had his sins washed away Acts 22:16 by the water and the blood of Jesus which sanctifies the water of baptism John 19:34, because whatever is touched by what is holy itself becomes holy Exodus 30:29, and the blood of Jesus was holy because He who descended from heaven was sinless. Furthermore scripture says that we have been cleansed by the ’washing of water with the word’. Ephesians 5:26 Just as Peter also testified that baptism was for forgiveness of sins Acts 2:38. And having been legally cleansed according to God’s holy law, the believer is able to be spiritually cleansed by being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore rising out of the water and possessing the gift of the Holy Spirit, he is now joined to Jesus Christ Romans 7:4 and has through baptism become a part of His body 1Corinthians 12:13, that is the church... God’s family and kingdom.