by Marius Wolfaardt
1. What Is The Baptism?
The subject of baptism is very controversial with a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of people are infatuated by the baptism and it becomes an obsession. Many times it causes unbalanced and foolish questions that lead to Christians arguing over the baptism. Titus 3:9-11 states that such arguments are useless. This causes partisanship and divides people into camps. This is not our goal, we want to invite people to do as it says in Acts 17:11- “…they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
The Bible teaches us that there were two sacraments that Jesus taught His disciples to obey: the Holy Communion and baptism. He Himself established both and ordered us to obey them.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In other words, our baptism isn’t optional, it’s an order from God, which we have to obey. We baptize in the way that is presented to us in the Bible and that is through immersion. The Greek word “baptizo” has but one meaning – to dip, to press under, to sink and to immerse. It’s derived from the root word “bapto” which was commonly used by the Greeks when they dyed their clothes, by pressing it under dye water, or when they put a jug underwater to scoop up the water. Therefore we read in:
“And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”
“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
2. How Important Is The Baptism?
There are more than 60 references in the New Testament about baptism.
God Himself established baptism. He sent John to baptize in John 1:33 and He also ordered His disciples to baptize. During Jesus’ ministry on earth, His disciples baptized those who believed in Him (John 4:12) and on the day of the Pentecost, His disciples also baptize those who got converted.
Baptism is the natural result of faith and conversion (Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 2:38)
Christ Jesus, Himself was baptized (Matt 3:16) and He named the baptism the fulfillment of the righteousness (Matt 3:14-15)
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit approved the baptism and blessed it (Mark 1:10-11)
The Bible says that the lawyers and Pharisees rejected the counsel of God by not getting baptized (Luke 7:29-30). Therefore, if we reject it, we also reject an institution of God.
3. When May A Person Be Baptized?
When you’re a baby, through your parents’ devotion, or when you’re an adult by your own choice? This is a very important question because this is where many churches in their belief. When is it admissable to be baptized? Which Biblical terms should be adhered to before one can or may be baptized?
- Those who heard and understood the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 8:30-31,35)
- Those who are under deep conviction of their sins (Acts 2:38 – Peter’s advice)
- People who have converted (Mark 1:4 and Acts 2:38)
What is conversion?
When you have sincere remorse and sorrow in your heart and you reproach yourself because you regret your sin and rebellion against God.
There is a deep desire within you to be different – to be obedient to God, to be loyal to God, and live holy, to submit yourself to the will of God. You want to please God in everything and become a follower of Jesus.
There is a definite decision within you to choose God’s side and to choose against sin and bad things that cross your path. You choose to deny the world and all its lusts and to give up all ungodly pleasures, so you can serve the Lord.
- They who believe: Acts 8:12 and Mark 16:16.
Faith comes before baptism “He who believes and baptizes himself shall be saved” To believe is to put all my trust in Jesus as my savior: so He can forgive my sins and so His blood can fully cleanse me from all my sin and dept of sin. There must also be the faith that you will live with Him in a new life because He made you freed you from the hold of sin.
- The fruit of conversion must be visible in your life.
- From the above reasons, it becomes clear why we cannot baptize babies and children.
4. What Is The Meaning And Reason For Baptism?
There are churches that believe that by baptism people become saved, they come to this conclusion mainly from Titus 3:5. The text makes use of figurative language that Jesus fully cleanses us at salvation. Baptism is the outward sign of the inner washing that has already occurred in my life.
Through the ages, people had the need for outward signs for spiritual realities. For example, the circumcision; Noah – the rainbow; Israelites – the cloud and fire column, and even to this day people still give each other rings when they get married. It’s the same with baptism.
It is an outward sign of our spiritual unity and identification with Jesus in His baptism, funeral, and rise from death. 1 Cor. 12:12-14 – we are made spiritual (invisible) apart of a body, namely the church of Christ. We are made a member because we were baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Illustration: Sponge and water.)
How does it happen that I become a part of the body of Christ? It happens in three steps. There are three inner spiritual realities that I must experience in my life that the baptism is now a sign of.
When I walk down into the water, I make a complete break with the past and consider myself dead with the world and my old life.
If I go under the water, out of sight, it is as if I am buried and I identify with Jesus in His funeral (Rom. 6:4-6).
If I come up out of the water, it is a sign that I rise in a new life with Christ, just as He rose out of the dead. My spiritual unity with Him in His rising, assures that I walk in a new life.
5. What Happens After The Baptism?
Do I receive a special stamp from heaven that tells the devil: “Handle with care” or “Leave alone” or “Super Christian”. NO! All that happens now is that I’m bound to a life of discipleship, with no chance of turning back.
I must be prepared for tests, trails, and tribulations (Matt. 4:1 and Mark. 1:9-13).
- Persevere in the teachings
- Persevere in the community
- Persevere in the prayer
- Persevere to live in joy as a child of God and to praise God.
The Big Decision
All the knowledge in the world doesn’t help at all unless I make a choice in the light that I have now!
Did the Lord speak with you about the baptism?
“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”