The subject of baptism is the focus of much discussion in religious circles. Some religious groups advocate that a sinner is saved by God’s grace through faith without the action of baptism being involved. Others affirm that baptism is essential to one’s being saved from sin. As with any religious subject, man would be wise to consult God’s word without preconceived notions in order to resolve the debate. The apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of God that there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:4). What does that “one baptism” entail? Who should be the recipient of it? For what purpose should it be administered? Is it a requirement of salvation from sin?
The Bible answers the question, “Who should be baptized?” It is imperative that a person hear the gospel of Christ in order to attain faith in Him as the Son of God (Romans 10:17). Proper instruction is essential to the development of faith (Acts 18:8; Matthew 28:19). Faith is required in order to please God (Hebrews 11:6; John 8:24). Repentance, or a change of mind that results in a change of life, precedes acceptable baptism (Acts 2:38). A confession of faith in Jesus as God’s Son is necessary before baptism is to be administered (Acts 8:36-38). These requirements of hearing, believing, repenting, and confessing negate the practice of administering infant baptism. The spiritual state of infants is such that baptism is unnecessary for them (Matthew 19:14). Furthermore, they cannot meet the requirements.
The Bible also addresses the question, “How should baptism be administered?” Some religious orders practice the sprinkling or pouring of water over the candidate. However, the Bible describes baptism as a burial in water (Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:12). That action is pictured in the baptism of the eunuch who went down into and came up out of the water (Acts 8:38).
Why should a person be baptized? Again, the Bible does not leave us guessing. No doubt, one should be baptized because it is commanded (Acts 10:48). Obedience to divine commands is essential (Hebrews 5:9). Jesus taught its necessity (Mark 16:16) and the apostles preached it (Acts 2:38; 18:8). Baptism is an act of faith (Colossians 2:12); not a work of merit. By obedience to this command one gains entry into the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). It is the culminating action by which the sinner finds reconciliation with his Creator (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21) and enables him to put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).
A frequently asked question is, “When should a person be baptized?” The fact that salvation is linked to the action suggests the urgency and immediacy of it. Folks in biblical times, upon proper understanding of the need, never ate a bite or slept a wink until they obeyed the Lord by being baptized. One should not procrastinate but obey immediately and be “immersed for the remission of sins.” If we can assist you in being baptized, or if you would like further Bible study, please feel free to contact us.