In order to help us understand Christian baptism or baptism of the Lord’s Great Commission, we have some well-worded questions that will pinpoint what this baptism does.
Does the Bible mention baptism? Yes.
There are over 100 references in the New Testament to the words baptism, baptize, and baptized.
Does the Bible Define Baptism? Yes.
In Col. 2:12 it reads, “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.” Also Romans 6:3-4, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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 also should walk in newness of life.” Baptism is a burial, an immersion in water. Sprinkling or pouring will not do. (For reference to one’s walking in newness of life, see 2 Tim. 2:19 and Titus 2:11-14).
Does the Bible give examples of baptism? Yes.
In Acts 2:37-41 we have an example of about 3000 being baptized. In Acts 8 we read of the Nobleman from Ethiopia.
Again, in Acts 16 we read of the conversion and baptism of the Philippian Jailer. In fact, if you will read the book of Acts you’ll be given a very vivid picture of many people being baptized in harmony with the Lord’s commands.
Does the Bible say what baptism is for?
We will let Acts 2:38 answer that question, “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.” Thus, baptism is performed in order that we might receive the remission of our sins,
and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Does the Bible say what baptism does?
Let us consider the following scriptures. In 1 Peter 3 :21 it reads, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Acts 22:16 reads, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” In Mark 16:15-16, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” In Gal. 3 :26-27 it reads, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” From the above scriptures, we can see that baptism saves, washes away sins, and puts one into Christ. With such testimony, who would say that baptism is not essential?
Does the Bible inform us who should be baptized? Yes, it definitely does. Note the following outline:
THOSE WHO ARE TAUGHT–Mark 16:15-16
THOSE WHO BELIEVE– Mark 16:15-16
THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO REPENT–Acts 2:38
THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO STATE THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST–Acts 8:37
THOSE WHO GLADLY RECEIVE THE WORD–Acts 2:41
Anyone who can meet the above requirements can be baptized. Those who cannot meet them are not ready for baptism. But someone says, “What about babies?” That is a good question, for there is no scriptural basis for baptizing infants. The Bible does not teach such. Infants are incapable of believing, repenting, confessing, and receiving the word. Because of this they cannot be baptized scripturally. Baptism is for the remission of sins, and infants have never sinned. Therefore, they do not need baptism. Please see Matthew 18:1-4 and Matthew 19:14.
Does the Bible say when one should be baptized?
Indeed it does. The answer is-NOW. Saul was asked in Acts 22:16, “Why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized…” In Acts 8:12 it is said that, “when they believed they were baptized.” The Jailer in Acts 16 was taken the same hour of the night and was baptized, verse 33. It is something that should not be put off. Death is too certain, and eternity too long for one to gamble with his soul. For this reason, when one understands his duty, baptism should follow as soon as possible.