Do you have to be baptized?
Jesus said: “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
What that means is: baptism is not an option for God’s people. It is commanded and expected by Jesus for all who would belong to Him.
In Mark 16:16 Jesus said “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…”
Peter said: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
In other words, baptism must be preceded by repentance… and the result of baptism and repentance is forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When Peter wrote a letter to early Christians, he compared baptism to the waters of Noah’s flood “…and this water (the flood) symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 3:21
Thus, according to Peter, baptism is part of the salvation act. It is a “pledge” or “appeal” to God and its power for salvation is based on the resurrection – not in the water.
Paul said “… 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” (Romans 6:3-4).
When we are baptized into Jesus Christ, we die to our old way of life, we are buried in a grave of water and we rise up out of the water to live a new life.
When Paul told of his own salvation experience, he said he was told: “… Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
According to Paul in that act of baptism he called upon the name of Jesus and his sins were washed away.
Paul also taught that in when we became Christians, we were “buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12) and when we are baptized, we clothe ourselves “with Christ” (“for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” Galatians 3:27).
To review: when we are baptized:
1. We obey our Lord
2. We call on the name of Jesus
3. We put on Christ
4. We die to our past, are buried and are risen up to a new life
5. Our sins are washed away
6. We receive forgiveness of sins
7. And we receive salvation
Want to learn more? Check out these videos in which Jeff teaches about baptism.