Summary: A review of Biblical reasons for being baptized.
Why Should I Be Baptized?
Scripture Ref: John 1:6, 31, 33
Other References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
All the Doctrines of the Bible, Lockyer
Based in part on a message by Jonathan McLeod
a. Randy Travis released song in 2002 entitled Pray for the Fish. Listen to the 2nd verse and the lyrics.
Well, the preacher ducked him under that cool clear water, then he did it again.
Eddie came up yellin': "Lord in Heaven, hallelujah! I'm a brand new man!
Well, the water got to bubblin', sky got to rumblin' an' the thunder backed up the choir.
The fish started jumpin'; it was like they were swimmin' in a lake of fire.
Then Eddie's Momma stepped outta the crowd, And started yellin' out loud:
"Pray for the fish!
"They won't know what's coming when the sin starts rollin' off the likes of him.
"Lord, be with 'em, they ain't done nothin'.
"Please won't you leave 'em just a little bit of room to swim.
"Pray for the fish."
b. While Randy’s song is cute and gives a humorous view of baptism, it does not answer questions that need to be answered.
(1) Why must I be baptized?
(2) What are the precedents for baptism?
2. John the Baptist Divinely Commissioned
a. Read John 1:6—There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
b. Read John 1:31—“I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.”
(1) Though John and Jesus were related, since Mary and Elizabeth were relatives, nothing is known of any contacts between them when they were children.
(2) John did not know that Jesus was the coming One until God revealed it to him. John knew that he was to prepare the way for Him by baptizing with water.
c. Read John 1:33—I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
(1) John again states that he had been ordained or employed to initiate the rite of baptism to prepare the way for Jesus and to reveal Jesus to the world.
d. Why should I be baptized?—Just as baptism revealed Jesus and His ministry to the world, my baptism reveals to the world that I am a Christian and it reveals the beginning of my ministry.
3. Jesus Submitted Himself to Baptism
a. Read Matthew 3:13-17
(1) John recognized that Jesus did not fit the requirements for his baptism, which was for repentance from sin.
(2) Of what did Jesus have to repent? He had never sinned, so he could officially be entering into John’s baptism even though he was seeking to be baptized by John.
(3) Some scholars and theologians feel Jesus was confessing the sins of the nation as Moses, Ezra, and Daniel had one on previous occasions. However, another possibility is suggested in verse 15.
(a) Jesus’ response to John was that it was fitting for Him to take part in John’s baptism at this time in order to fulfill all righteousness. What did Jesus mean?
(b) The Law included no requirements about baptism, so Jesus could not have had in view anything pertaining to Levitical righteousness.
(c) John’s message was one of repentance, and those experiencing it were looking forward to a coming Messiah who would be righteous and who would bring in righteousness. If the Messiah were to provide righteousness for sinners, He must be identified with sinners.
(d) It was therefore in the will of God for Him to be baptized by John in order to be identified with sinners.
b. Why should I be baptized?—If Jesus, who was without sin, was baptized to identify with me, a sinner, then I should be baptized to identify myself with Him.
4. It Identifies Us with Jesus
a. Baptism depicts the symbolism of our marriage with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
b. Our statement of faith, The Baptist Faith and Message, says “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.”
(1) Read Romans 6:34 — Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.