We have all heard about water baptism and without a doubt, it is perceived very differently by different people. But what does the Bible really have to say about it?
Water baptism“in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”is not just a religious tradition or custom. It is a commandment of Jesus Christ and not a suggestion. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, after His resurrection, before ascending to Heaven, He said:
Matthew 28:18-20And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore andmake disciples of all the nations,baptizingthemin the nameof theFatherand of theSonand of theHoly Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Amen.
Mark 16:15-16And He said to them,“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He whobelievesandis baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
What is the gospel? The original Greek term means the "good news," about salvation, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the four Gospels, written by the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we read about the life of the Son of God, beginning with His incarnation and continuing with His ministry and life lived in total obedience to Father God that ended with fulfilling the plan of salvation for mankind. Jesus Christ chose to live as a man, being the perfect model to follow, without sin.The core essence of the Gospel is contained in three biblical and historical proven facts: the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). No one can be saved and forgiven of sin without following the steps that Jesus commanded: to hear the Gospel, to believe it and then to be baptized. If a person is baptized without believing the Gospel, he will enter into the baptismal water as a dry sinner and will only come out as a wet sinner! Nothing will have changed. This sounds harsh, but it is true. Baptism without faith in Christ, does not accomplish anything for the one who receives it.
There are no bible verses anywhere that support the idea that a sinner can be saved without believing and being baptized. The thief on the cross next to Jesus, was not able ask the Roman soldiers to get him down from the cross to be baptized... But those of us who can and do not heed this important command, have no excuses. This will be expounded upon further in this message. Improper baptism does not save anyone. The baptism of a small child or of a person that has not heard, believed and received the Gospel, without repenting of sin and sincerely choosing to live for Jesus, is not a baptism unto salvation. In other words, the fact that my parents took me to a priest to baptize me, when I was only a few months old and had no idea what was happening to me, could not help my salvation. I received the true baptism when I heard, believed and received the Gospel, following the steps that Jesus commanded and I chose with all my heart to fulfill this covenant.
Jesus gave us a clear command, for those who believe the Good News of the Gospel, to repent and be baptized in“the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”It is true that in the book of Acts, the Christian baptism is mentioned as being done only in the name of Jesus, but Jesus did not come to fulfill His own will, but the Father God's will, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Some theologians are saying that the Apostle Luke mentioned only Jesus' name, because He was the Savior and through Him the Gentiles could come to God; others say that those who were baptized in the book of Acts, were Jews that were already believing in God the Father and the Holy Spirit, so now they were making a covenant as they were then becoming believers upon Jesus Christ, as savior and Son of God. There are so many opinions on this matter, but one thing is for sure, Jesus gave us a clear command and what Jesus said is the most important of all, as He is the son of God and God also.Clearly, if baptism is not an important step for salvation, Jesus would not tell us to do it. The Lord even commands it previous to discipleship, as the next step after the person who hears the Gospel and believes that Jesus is the Son of God, unlike many today who will not baptize a new convert until after weeks or months of discipleship.
Acts 2:41Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were addedto them...
Acts 8:35-38Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
It was just a matter of a few hours since Philip started sharing about Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch when he saw water and asked to be baptized. For sure Philip included the need of the water baptism in his preaching about Jesus, because that would have been the only way for the eunuch to know about it. Philip told him: ”If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch believed, was born-again and baptized then “hewent on his way rejoicing” as we read in the next verse,Acts 8:39. There was no waiting time or courses required!
All the baptisms in the New Testament, took place right after conversion and then those that were baptized, were taught how to live their new lives with Jesus. There are no verses found mentioning the necessity of a certain period of time passing between believing the Gospel and being baptized or that new believers had to take discipleship courses before being baptized (Acts 8:12, 8:35-38, 10:42-48, 16:13-15, 16:33, 18:8, 19:4-6, 22:1-14). If you would like, you may read more of the verses here: “Water Baptism – Bible Verses.”
Because I decided to be baptized only the evening before the event, I did not attend any discipleship classes prior to my baptism, July 9, 1994. I had been attending church for about seven months and this was the first water baptism ever offered b the young church where I received Christ. This happened 23 years ago, and never in all these years, did it ever cross my mind to renounce Jesus. After the baptism, I started to seriously study the Bible and grow spiritually.
Sadly, I can say that throughout the years, I have seen many cases of people that were discipled for months before being baptized, and then after different periods of time, they still went back to their sinful lives. Can anyone know for sure what someone else will do, if we will remain on the “narrow path of faith” or not? How many of the discipled ones truly understand the importance of water baptism and that it has to be taken seriously?The water baptism is an important part of the covenant with God that has eternal implications and should be treated very seriously.
Through baptism, we publicly declare that are renouncing our old sinful life and starting a new life with Jesus. Have you ever wondered why some Christians do not last long on the path of faith? One of the main reasons is that many never truly understood that "through baptism" we “die to self and are buried with Christ" and that rising up from the water, are “resurrected with Him" to live a new righteous life. We no longer belong to ourselves; or are the lords (masters) of our lives, but Jesus is, having He paid the ultimate price to redeem us. Sadly, many who get baptized, do not really realize this concept about leaving the old life with sin as our master behind and becoming new in Christ with Jesus as our true Lord, is one of the main reasons why some Christians fail in following Christ. I am very happy that I am not in charge of my life anymore! With the limitations of the human mind and emotions, I made many bad decisions that I regretted and had to pay the price for them. The more I have learned to ask the Lord for direction and live in obedience to that direction, the more my life has become better and better. And I would not change this for anything! God loves me more than I could ever love myself and He wants the best for me more than anyone else. Sadly, many people believe that they are better off trying to "direct their own lives" - even when their choices have produced a long list of failure. My parents raised me with a healthy fear of God and we never ate a meal, left for a trip or went to bed without praying. But I was praying because I feared God, not because I belonged to Him. I knew nothing about having a true relationship with the Lord. But, since I learned that it is possible and how wonderful it is, everything changed and my life started to make sense and became infinitely better! Thank You my dear Lord! I wish so much, that all people could understand what Jesus did for them and find new life in Jesus, which is the only life that is really worth living!
Through biological birth, we all inherit Adam's sinful nature. But when we believe upon Jesus, repent of our sin and become born-again, we inherit the righteous, sinless nature of Jesus Christ in our spirits. This is only possible by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. We must born -again and grow in the Lord and His Word, learning our places and rights in Him which “are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18), so that we will not continue living our lives vulnerable to the deception and wiles of the devil. The benefits and blessings of a life lived right with Jesus, are exceedingly greater than any “short lived” pleasures offered by sin. The more we study the Scripture and understand who we are and what we have in Jesus "in this life and what is prepared eternally for us in heaven" the more we will no longer want to return to what we had before conversion. We will be free from our past as Jesus says“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”(John 8:32).
The enemy knows well the weaknesses of mankind and best ways to get Christians to fall into sin. Once one has sinned, the devil tells many if not everyone, that they cannot be forgiven and that God no longer loves them. Sadly, many fall for his age-old tricks and lies. But the real truth is that as long as one regrets his sin and is looking for forgiveness, he can find it! God never quits loving us, not even for a second! His love is unconditional, meaning that it is not based upon our performance, but because of who He is and who we all are to Him! If you like, you may read more on the subject of forgiveness being available to those who repent at-Return to the Lord.”Does this mean that we are free to sin as much as we like, because God is love and we are forgiven anyway? No way! If we know something is a sin and still do it, then it means that we love the sin more than we love Jesus. This is a harsh reality and means that we value the sin more than all the Lord's suffering that was taken in our behalf. InJohn 14:21and23, Jesus makes it crystal clear to us, that we cannot say we love Him, if we do not live right, keeping His commands. The life lived right, in obedience to God's Word is followed by amazing promises! God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ come and dwell in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit! This is an amazing love! Nothing is greater than having God in and with us all the time! It is no wonder, that the devil tries so hard to stop new believers from being baptized. Jesus would not command us to be baptized if it were not important. Being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is a public confession of faith, showing the disconnection to the past and the beginning of a new life in Christ. Some people refuse to get baptized out of fear of disapproval from some cultures, family and friends. The fear that their family or friends (who are against God) will find out about their conversion can be costly. For those of us who love God and live for Him, we are always thrilled to hear that new believers want to be baptized, and there are some who the others are either neutral or against it. For certain, the enemy will do its best to intimidate and make things look worse and more serious than it really is for the new convert wanting to be baptized. In almost all the cases I've heard of over the years, once the person went ahead and got baptized, those who really loved them, accepted it and did not act upon their threats.
God is bigger than any and all threats and He can turn any oppression against His children, into something beneficial in the long run. When Jesus is our Lord and we do what He tells us to do, we are blessed in long term, even if in the short term it seems costly. Sometimes, losing relationships with those who reject God and do not want to hear about Him is actually a plus for us. We love and pray for them to find the truth and repent, but we cannot continue to spend time with them with the old temptations trying to lure us back to our previous life style. We cannot continue to do what they do or go to many of the places we used to go with them to in the past, because now our goal is to please God and glorify Him through our lives. Paul says: “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” -1 Corinthians 15:33.
The Greek word translated by “baptism” is “baptisma” and it means "immersion," not sprinkling, not partially wet. Actually, the word baptism is not really an English word, but a transliteration, being “borrowed” from the Greek language. In the case of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is an immersion coming from above, covering the person completely, being soaked in the Spirit, like getting drenched by being under a big waterfall.
In the New Testament we find three types of Baptisms for Christians. The first one mentioned is the baptism of John the Baptist, the second is the water baptism and the third is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist said, as quoted inJohn 1:31“I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
John the Baptist also said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’(John 1:23). The purpose of his ministry, was to prepare the hearts of the people, to receive Jesus as Christ.
Mark 1:4-5John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Acts 19:1-6And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
The Apostle Paul explained to these in Acts 19, that John the Baptist's baptism was not enough for salvation and that it was for preparing the hearts of those baptized by him for the coming of Christ Jesus. Paul did not take any time to disciple John's followers first, before baptizing them into water. We even read in the following verse that “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” and then as Paul laid hands of them they were also baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke with other tongues and prophesied.
Matthew 3:13-17Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied,‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’
Jesus was baptized by John, but not unto repentance, because Jesus had no sin to repent of, as He never sinned, but to “fulfill all righteousness.” And because Jesus fulfilled it, we now can be justified and made righteous, as Paul says:
Romans 5:1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...
Romans 5:9Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
Jesus fulfilled all the steps necessary for us to be counted righteous, by faith in Him. We are not “sinless” (righteous) in ourselves, but Father God actually sees us pure, as long as we fully commit our lives to Jesus, we abide in Him and He abides in us. After Jesus was baptized, the heavenly Father honored His obedience, confirming that He is His Son and well pleased with Him.
Water baptism is actually a physical act through which we identify with what the Bible says that Jesus did for us. The symbolism involved in our baptism is amazing to consider. The impact of the physical implication of following the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, step by step, even if it is just symbolic, helps us to get a deeper understanding of what Jesus did for us. This also causes the sacrifice of Jesus' death and resurrection, and its benefits, to become very real and personal. It is crucial to understand that our "old lifestyle died” when sinning was not a big deal and we used to do whatever we wanted, because we were our own lords. That “carnal nature” “died” in the baptismal water, was “buried” at the bottom of the water and we were “raised up” from the water with the “new spiritual nature.” This results in us searching for God's will and following the direction of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus is now our Lord and not ourselves anymore. But because God respects our free will (He created us that way), He does not force us to change, but it is up to us to die to our old selves and do what Jesus says to do inLuke 9:23b: “...If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”What is Jesus actually saying here? He says thatin order to follow Him,we have to renounce being our own lords and we must take up our crosses daily (crucifying our carnal nature every day). Becoming a Christian is not a one-time decision.If you want, you may read more at:"The True Meaning of Following Christ.”
Colossians 2:10-14... and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
The Law given to the Jewish people through Moses, requires the circumcision of male babies, but the new covenant in Jesus Christ requires the death of the whole carnal nature for all men and women, not just the removal of a small amount of male tissue. Only by the "putting to death" our carnal nature and its burial, can we be resurrected by the same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from death. Only in this way, can we be born-again to live a new life, through faith in Jesus Christ. Through the death of the carnal nature, we step out from under the ownership of sin and enter into true life! Jesus fulfilled the law, by His perfect and complete sacrifice, once and for all. John the Baptist said that Jesus is:“the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). Through His crucifixion, He canceled our sins and our penalty on the cross,“the charge of our legal indebtedness" which stood against us and condemned us. He took our place, fulfilled what was needed for those who will receive Him. Since Jesus was resurrected and ascended unto heaven, we now live under the New Covenant and not under the Old Law. The Son of God never sinned, He paid the full price for our sins, dying in our place and God the Father, resurrected Him so He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places (Hebrews 12:2). You might say that the Pharisees criticized Jesus many times for not keeping the law. But the Pharisees were referring to their law, “Talmud” which is a Pharisaical, man-made instructional book about how to keep the Law (the “Torah”or “Pentateuch” - the first five books of the Bible). It was written by men and not inspired by God as the Christian Bible is. Of course Jesus was not here to obey men as He came to fulfill His Father's will.
1 Corinthians 10:1-2Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea...
Paul explains in his first letter to the Corinthians, that every Israelite, after being delivered from Egypt, had the experience of the baptism in the cloud of the Holy Spirit, that came from above, and in the water. They all entered the water and stepped out of it, recognizing the leadership of Moses (God's chosen leader for them). After stepping out of the water, they started a new life, under a new leadership. This is all “type and shadow” of the Christian baptism. By faith we are also baptized for Jesus and we receive His righteousness. (“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land...”-Hebrews 11:29a)
Ephesians 2:6And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...
The same Holy Spirit, that raised Jesus from the dead, is raising us too, as we step out of the baptismal water, to live a new life under the leadership of Jesus Christ. He is seated, because He ended His work for the salvation of mankind, and we, God's children, are seated in Him, too at the right hand of Father God. There is nothing we can add to our salvation as Jesus did it all, we are saved by grace and not by deeds. Because we love Him, we keep His commandments and we desire to live right, to please God (John 14:21). If we continue to choose to sin, we give the devil the legal right to hurt and destroy us. Sin comes with consequences.
The second baptism mentioned in the New Testament and the most important for salvation is the water baptism, in the name of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commands us to do it inMatthew 28:19.
Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power from above, so they could start their ministry for God's Kingdom. After they received the baptism into the Holy Spirit, Peter preached the first evangelical message. When he finished, thousands of Jewish people heard the gospel, believed it, admitted that they were sinners and asked what they should do to be saved. Below is Peter's answer:
Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit was speaking through Peter and convinced the multitude that what they were hearing was true. They believed that Jesus is the Son of God who was wrongfully condemned by two human courts (Jewish and Roman) unto death, without being guilty and that God raised Him from the dead and He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of Father God.
Jesus is very clear when He says that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day”(John 6:44).
1 Corinthians 12:3b... And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
To be born-again one has to follow certain steps: to hear the Gospel, to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died in his place paying for his sin, to repent of his sins in order to have a clear conscience, to desire from his deepest heart to become Jesus' follower, be baptized in water and then to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Without admitting that we sinned and asking God sincerely to forgive us, wanting to change, then all the other steps would be for nothing. Certainly a little baby cannot fulfill any of these steps, so his baptism cannot be what Jesus commanded us to do as part of the salvation process.
The original word for repentance is “metanoeó” in Greek, which comes from `metá`, which means "changed after being with..." and `noiéō`, meaning “think.” According to “Thayer Greek Lexicon,” the term means “to change one's mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins used especially of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent on obtaining God's pardon; to repent.” None of these steps are possible without the divine help of the Holy Spirit.
Peter tells us something more about the water baptism in the following verses:
1 Peter 3:20b-21... When once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...
The New King James Version, translates the original Greek word, "antitype” through a transliteration “antitypon.” According to the “Strong's Concordance,” the term means: “a thing formed after some pattern or something in the Messianic times which answers to the type, as baptism corresponds to the deluge.”
The NIV translation seems easier to understand:
1 Peter 3:20b-21(NIV) ... when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...
And the Amplified version:
1 Peter 3:20b-21When the great patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons [Noah’s family], were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that [rescue through the flood], baptism [which is an expression of a believer’s new life in Christ] now saves you, not by removing dirt from the body, but by an appeal to God for a good (clear) conscience, [demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...
The Apostle Paul explains that baptism does not wash away dirt from the physical body, instead it is the proof of a pure heart and mind, that became pure after the person's sins were cleansed in the blood of Jesus, after he sincerely repented and asked God for forgiveness. The believer now enters into a new life, being righteous because of Jesus' righteousness, not of their own.
God was very patient until Noah finished building the ark (which according to many theologians over time, is estimated to be about 50 to 75 years), before pouring out the flood waters that covered the earth completely, drowning all the iniquity and all those who were practicing it. God saved only eight righteous souls from the flood water. Historians estimate that there were about two million people living on earth at the time. The water that buried the sinners together with their sinful acts is the same water from which Noah and His family were saved. This was actually a pre-figuration of the Christian baptism.
The new birth is not a second biological birth. We cannot go back into our mother's wombs to be reborn, but we are reborn in the spirit. The baptismal water is also symbolic of the womb's “water” (the amniotic fluid). As we believed and received the Word of the Gospel's seed, we are born-again by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Word that became flesh and came to live among us and through Him we enter into a new life.John 1:14 says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
After we are born-again, we are no longer from Adam's seed, but we are the children of God.Our first birth was in sin, because Adam, the first man, did sin and we all inherited his sinful nature. The new birth, comes from the second Adam, who is Jesus, and who is totally holy and righteous. When truly born-again, we inherit His nature(“And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” -1 Corinthians 15:45). It is up to us to realize and to know that once we are born-again, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are born to live a new, pure life, finally being able to become what God intended for us to be in the first place, when He created mankind in His own image. We turned our hearts towards Him, because He first loved us and we do not want to continue living in sin, as we become the righteousness of God in Christ(“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”-2 Corinthians 5:21).We are not our own anymore,Jesus paid the highest price to redeem us("Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Inside of us, we have the same Holy Spirit that raisedJesus from the dead (“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”-Romans 8:11).These bible verses show us, that it is up to us to know what we have in Christ and to fight against sin, choosing to do what is right and pleasing to God.
Ephesians 1:13-14In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The seal of the Holy Spirit that is upon those who believe in Jesus, is the warranty, the earnest proof, that we belong to God; that we are His and will inherit eternal life together with all its benefits.
Ephesians 4:4-6There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Biblical water baptism is not about becoming members of a certain church or denomination. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and as Paul says, we are all part of the same body, which is the body of Christ, the universal church with Jesus as its head. In other words, through water baptism we belong to Christ and live for Him, to the glory of God who becomes our Father.
Romans 6:3-12Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
When entering into the baptismal water, by faith in Christ, we surrender fully to Him, declaring that our old carnal nature is dead and that we no longer want to live by the lusts of our flesh because the Holy Spirit through the truth of the Gospel, changed our hearts, desires and purpose. Our born-again spirits no longer have the old desires, now want to please God. This is the new birth. We are dead to sin and alive for Christ. We step out of the water symbolizing new life, just as the mother's “water breaks” (and the baby leaves its intrauterine life) and the baby is born coming into a whole new life.
We make a covenant through the water baptism with God and as a result we no longer live for ourselves, but live for Jesus Christ who redeemed us with the price of His own life. We renounce all our rights, except the right to become like Him.
The true liberty comes from the desire to live just for the One who died in my place and in your place. Only after we understand how much Jesus loves us, as He died for us and washed us clean with His blood, we will be able to fully renounce our past and start a new life, free of sin, righteous and made whole by the Holy Spirit and being truly happy and free!
Romans 6:3-4Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.