Summary: Information on baptism
Basics of Baptism
October 14, 2007
“Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then
teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and
be sure of this--that I am with you always, even to the end of the
Matt 28:20 (Living)
The act of water baptism is a very important first step in the Christian
life. It is a sign that we are putting our faith in Jesus. In Matthew
3:13-17, we see Jesus Himself coming to John to be baptized, in order to
"fulfill all righteousness." John asked Him why He was coming to be
baptized. He said, “I should be baptized by you!” Jesus didn’t NEED to
be baptized - but He wanted to leave us with an example to follow. If HE
was baptized - all of His followers should be baptized as well.
Today in America and in most of the world, baptism doesn’t seem like a
big deal. But in the Early Church’s day, it could cost you your life to
be baptized. Even today, in some places of the world, baptism is a
dangerous thing. Chuck Colson points out:
"Most Westerners take baptism for granted, but for many in the world the
act requires immense courage. In countries like Nepal it once meant
imprisonment. For Soviet or Chinese or Eastern bloc believers, it was
like signing their own death warrant."
A wedding ring is an outward sign that a person is married. A military
uniform is an outward sign that a person is involved in that particular
branch of service. Similarly, water baptism is a symbol designed by God
to identify a person as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
When we are saved, we are spiritually baptized into Christ. The Word says,
“For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and
we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by him.
We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men
or women, but we are all the same--we are Christians; we are one in
Gal 3:26-28 (Living)
When you become a Christian, you become one with Christ through baptism.
You are enveloped by Him. The King James version of that Scripture say,
“You have ‘put on’ Christ. In other words, you have taken on His
qualities and character. You have become Christ-like. Not that we are
perfect or have reached perfection - but that is the mind set we need to
have. We have died to self - and now Christ lives in and through us.
Baptism is an outward representation of these inward realities. In Bible
symbolism, water represents inner cleansing:
“... Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water and by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot,
or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
Eph 5:25-27 (KJV)
“let us go right in to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him
to receive us because we have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make
us clean and because our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
Heb 10:22 (Living)
Water baptism is, in essence, a funeral. It is an act of faith in which
we testify, both to God and to the world, that the person we were before
is dead and buried, and we are raised as a new creation in Christ. The
"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
walk in newness of life."
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through
the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
When you are baptized, you need to understand that the old you is dead.
You have buried that old you in the water of baptism. When you come up
from the water - it is a new you. You are a new creation in Christ. You
have been born again. Now you talk differently and you walk differently.
You have a new heavenly home and a new purpose in life. The old has
gone. The new is come.
We need to understand, also, that being baptized is a command from God.
It’s not an option. It is an act that God requires of every believer. In
fact, among Jesus’ last recorded words on earth were. "He that believeth