Summary: Biblical look at the importance of Baptism.
Before the time of Christ the Jews were granted favor through the Old Covenant of circumcision but now Gentile and Jew alike are saved through baptism, the promise of the New Covenant. It is through baptism that we are given the grace to do good things onto others, to preach to others, and to become one with God on judgment. Baptism is the cleansing of all sins for God forgives when you come to Him. But I shall explain to you the purpose of baptism and its significance.
The need for baptism comes from the reality of Original Sin, a sin that taints all human beings. It is not an offense in which one commits or earns but rather a sin that originates with Adam and Eve. With the fall of Adam and Eve comes the heavy price that every man is tainted with sin and without baptism will be depraved of the graces necessary for salvation.
The eating of the fruit condemns Adam and Eve to a spiritual death, (Gen. 2:17) for they did not die on the day that they ate the fruit. Rather they died inside and from that day Satan was cursed for corrupting man into disobeying God’s command. Women from that time forth were forced to feel the pains of childbirth and man was forever to labor and toil for his nourishment. (Gen. 3:14-19) As Satan shall be cursed, women shall feel pains, and man shall toil, so be it that all of humanity from that time on be tainted with original sin.
But why should man have to face such a burden due to the sin of just those two? It is necessary in order to bring man to God. In the Garden of Eden God was always present and in no place could Adam hide. Outside the Garden it is necessary for man to declare his dependency and faith in God. Without baptism are we no better than Cain and his descendents? They were children of Adam and Eve yet they did not follow God and were destroyed in Noah’s flood.
And so the descendent of Seth, Noah, was saved from the waters and was granted a Covenant that declared that the world was safe from another flood. And so it was revealed to the Jews, the descendents of Abraham and Isaac of original sin. For indeed, how can something of sin, how can one that is unclean, bear a child that is pure. Even an infant a few days old is unclean and full of trouble. (Job 14:1-4)
We can admit as a people that we are born in inequity and that we have been conceived of sin. (Psalm 51:5) However, there is still hope and is through the grace of baptism. For Adam’s sin entered the world, caused death by sin, and so death is passed to all men, it is thus that all men has sinned. (Romans 5:12) But we are given a free gift of baptism but it is not just for Original Sin but in the many offenses against justification. The obedience of Christ has allowed for the free gift of baptism that may make many worthy of justification. (Romans 5:16-19)
Through Adam there came death but through Christ there is life. (1 Cor. 15:21) For man without the grace of God is corrupt, sinful, wrathful, disobedient, and works in the fulfillment of the flesh and not of the spirit. (Ephesians 2:1-3) It is needed the grace of baptism for a change in our nature and in our justification.
Why does Paul bring up the sin of Adam? To reminds us of an irrelevant fact? No, for he reminds us the true reality of man. Man is unclean from the moment of conception for no creature can be pure of sin from a creature that is unclean except Christ. For how is it possible for such a person to be perfect from an imperfect being? But how can an infant sin or even a child? Within each and every person is the desire, the thought, the possibility to sin. And this possibility and ability to sin makes us different from Christ who had none. In this sense, Original Sin is not what we have done but what we could and will do which makes us unclean. It is our spiritual condition. It is through baptism at any age that cleanses one of Original Sin.
In a physical sense how can we see the regenerative abilities in baptism? I would say that in (2 Kings 5:14) we can see the power of water and the Holy Spirit at work. For baptism is a regeneration of the soul, we can see the regenerative qualities in Naaman’s joy of being healed. It was prophesized that Lord would come to pour out his water and his spirit upon the people. (Isaiah 44:3) For the Lord will sprinkle water upon us to clean us of our sins and idols. The Lord will give us a new heart and a new spirit and as such you will obey the statutes and the judgments of the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)