Bible Study: WHY BAPTISM IS IMPORATANT? | Shinu K. Joy

Introduction
I’d like to provide a brief description about the Bible before I begin the study of Baptism. Since our proof about baptism relies primarily on the genuinity of the Holy Bible. Firstly, we must believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. There are so many explanations and facts linked to that. But I’m not going to explain any of those specifics in this moment, because my talk is about Baptism.

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But I would like to inform you that since the time of Jesus and its continuation, Christian faith has been targeted. There are number of criticisms that have gained so much media attention across the globe against the Christian faith. Many books and pamphlets which have been written and sold against Christian faith are bestsellers even in countries where buyers are not Christians.

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Many of the Christian students have in some way or other faced challenging questions from other students. Meeting Christian college students who are perplexed by questions thrown against their faith is very popular. Sometimes, they fall into the trap of thinking that if they do not know the answer, then there are no correct or satisfactory answers. Without getting a proper answer, their faith in the inspiration, authority and the infallibility of the Scriptures suffer very much. They come in split mentality. They think that it is these Scriptures which have brought the message of true salvation to them, but at the same time they do not know what all things written in this Book are believable!

When a person begins reading the Bible, he can see different such as “God said…,” “thus says the Lord,” or these are “the words of the Lord….” These kinds of statements appear hundreds of times in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, the ten commandments itself begins with the phrase, “And God spoke all these words” (Exodus 20:1). Thirty-three times in the book of Leviticus, we read the words, “the Lord spoke to Moses” (4:1; 5:14; etc.). In just Psalm 119 alone, the Scriptures are exalted as the Word of God in 175 times. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul claimed that his message was not received from man, but “came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12). Similarly, as he wrote to the church at Thessalonica, he claimed that what he wrote was “the word of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Truly, the writers of both the Old and New Testaments placed great emphasis on the fact that their message was of divine origin—that they spoke, not by the will of man, but “by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

In fact, there are number of proofs and evidence beyond the Bible, showing that the Bible is one hundred percent true and that it is God’s unfailing and inspired Word!

What is Baptism?
At the age of 12, I was baptized in a lake in my hometown that was witnessed by many non-Christian peoples. Some of them confused and asked each other ‘what they were doing there?’ Why did the Pastor plunge a boy into the lake? Few people have asked me what’s belief is this? What exactly is Baptism?

As all you know, we, Christians give much importance to the language Greek. Because most of all Scriptures are written in Greek, besides Hebrew. The Greek word for “baptism” is “βαπτιζω”. The English letters look like this: “baptidzo.” The Greek word “baptidzo” literally means to “dip” or to “immerse”.

Baptism is an outward act symbolizing the inward process of coming to and accepting Jesus Christ as true, as God incarnate, as the means of salvation by which those who believe in him may be reconciled to God for ever. The purpose of baptism is to bear visual witness to our commitment to Christ. This is the first step toward discipleship. (Acts 8:26-39)

The meaning of baptism is that just as Christ died because of our sins and was buried, so is the baptized person immersed under water. And just as Christ rose from under the earth, so the baptized person rises again from under the water. Under the water symbolize the old, dead, hard, suffocating life of the believer. Out of the water, washed by Christ’s blood, comes the new, pure, purposive life of the believer. Romans 6:4 states that through baptism to death, we were buried with Him. Now we are dead to the force of sin. Being uplifted from the water expresses our new life in Christ and union with him.

In Romans 6:3-4 the Apostle Paul puts the matter this way: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ 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.”

Who should be Baptise?
All who has made the decision to believe in Christ can baptized. In Romans 6, when Paul writes to the believers in Rome, he assumes that all of them have been baptized. The one criteria for baptism is belief in Christ !

If we see in Scriptures, many evidences disclosed that baptism is for those who can belief in Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptised.” Also in Acts 8:12 – “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.” We believe in getting children baptized when they are old enough to understand what it means and make a personal statement of belief.

When should I be baptised?
New Testament Christians were baptized the same day. He may be, and is encouraged to be baptized, as soon as a person chooses to believe in Christ. Those who are accepting Jesus as your personal savior, then why makes delay? As soon as possible, we should be witness for our personal commitment to Jesus Christ as my Saviour.

In Bible, we can see that “Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Acts 2:41. Also in Acts 8:35-39, it is written as “Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptised? And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.”

Therefore, it is not good to make delay to get baptized. If there is a chance, we should baptized on the same day. Else should do in the near future.

Why should I take baptism?
This is the common statement arguing by a common man. The reasons why we should take baptism is mentioned below. Because: –

1. It is Ordained by Jesus Christ
First, “We believe baptism is the Lord’s ordinance. “What we mean by this is that the Lord Jesus commanded it — he ordained it — in such a way as to make it an ongoing church practice. This we find most explicitly in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

“In baptism, by faith, we are united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.”

After that Jesus commanded to the Church to “Make disciples” of all nations and “baptizing them” and “teaching” them. Making disciples of all nations includes baptizing them. And the time frame is defined by the promise of Christ’s help in verse 20: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The promise of help is for as long as this age lasts. So the command he promises to help us with is that as long as this age lasts.

Thus baptism is the Lord Jesus’ order and ordinance to be followed in making disciples before Christ returns at the end of the age.

2. Baptism is an act of Obedience towards Lord’s command
As Jesus commanded to His disciple in Mathew 28:19,20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 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.” Jesus loves to those who obey His commandments. Jesus commanded us to baptize every person who becomes his disciple.

The early church followed this command very carefully, baptizing those who became Christians at Pentecost (Acts 2:41) and those who trusted Christ as a result of personal witnessing (Acts 8:38). Baptism does not make us Christians, but it is a very important response to God’s call to obedience.

3. Baptism is an act of witness and the expression of our faith
By baptism, we tell others of our new life in Jesus Christ. It shows others that we have already received this salvation. In the act of immersion, we are laid under water to symbolize the burial of the “old person” we were before accepting Christ as Lord. Then, we are lifted from the water to symbolize the resurrection of the “new person” we are in Christ now. It completes their dedication as the person makes public his or her own faith commitment.

Baptism is an expression of faith and therefore only for believers. So, the fact that it is an expression of the faith of the one being baptized. It is not something that an unbeliever can do. It is not something than an infant can do. That is why we don’t baptize infants.

One of the most passage we can see in Colossians 2:11-12: “In him [Christ] also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” — so Paul speaks of circumcision in “made-without-hands” terms. Circumcision today has meaning for the Christian, not as a physical act, but as a spiritual act of Christ in which he cuts away the old sinful body and makes us new. It is virtually synonymous with the new birth. Then he speaks of baptism — “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

So, the image of spiritual circumcision is closely connected with the image of baptism: “You were circumcised … having been baptized ….” The old “body of flesh” was cut away in conversion; you died and rose again in baptism.

Why did Jesus baptised & what is the importance of baptism?
Baptism has meaning and important only because Jesus’ death and resurrection are of everlasting value for our redemption from God’s wrath and our eternal joy in his glorious presence. I am not mainly talking about church tradition here. Here I am mainly talking about Jesus Christ in dying for our sins and rising for our redemption by His glorious work of salvation. Talking about baptism means talking about how Jesus taught us to express our faith in Jesus and his great salvation.

Jesus decided to be baptized at the beginning of His public ministry. John the Baptist called upon the Jewish people to confess their sins and to demonstrate repentance by immersing themselves in the Jordan River. At the river, sinless Jesus entered the crowd and asked John to baptize him. The Lord chose to affiliate Himself with sinful man. When we follow His example in the waters of baptism, we’re publicly confessing our faith in the Savior and identifying ourselves with Him.

Baptism allows us to demonstrate our connection with Jesus and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re all members of one body under the authority of the same Lord. But it’s important to remember that Ephesians 2:8-9 says faith in Jesus Christ is the only requirement for salvation, not baptism. But, to fulfill His command, we’re to be baptized following our decision to accept Him into our lives.

In Baptism, Jesus is speaking to the believer, to the assembled congregation, and to the watching world, identifying that this person with himself is in death, in burial, and in resurrection. And then what you have in Baptism is a sign of an execution. There is a sign of sinking. This is the reason why John the Baptist can’t believe it when Jesus is baptized. Jesus comes over to him and says, “I want you to baptize me,” and John says, “No, no, no, I need you to baptize me.”

Why is it that John is so alarmed? It is because of what he does with baptism. He says, “You are a bunch of snakes, you need to fall under God’s punishment.” And in Baptism, what’s happening? Water is scary. You go under water, you can’t breathe. It’s a picture of death and of the grave. In 1 Peter chapter 3 tells about the flood which God sends at the time of Noah, that’s depict baptism. Also God sends Jonah into the deep of the water, it is His judgment upon Jonah. God ultimately baptizes the world with fire.

So when Jesus says, “I want to be baptized,” John is alarmed by this because this is the sinless son of God. You would say, “Why would you want to be on that list? Why would you want to associate yourself with these snakes that are under God’s judgement?” But, of course, Jesus is doing exactly that. Not because he has sin, but because he’s identifying himself with sinful people.

So, when someone is going down into the waters of baptism, first of all, that person is confessing, “I deserve death. I deserve the judgment of God.” Jesus, through his church, is saying to the person, “Yeah, you’re right. This is exactly what you deserve, is death and the grave.” But the person is also acknowledging, “I am trusting in the power of God to raise me from death, and Jesus is affirming that in the physical act of the person being brought under water, can’t breathe, death, and then being pulled out of the water by a power that doesn’t belong to him. There’s a power that’s coming from the outside, bringing that person up.

So, that person now has identified with Jesus in his death, Romans chapter 6, in his burial, in his resurrection, the person also is acknowledging, “I was dead in trespasses and sins under the judgment of God, buried, but I am now raised to newness of life because I’m in Christ.” That’s a physical, visible sign of that. Here what happens in baptism is that Jesus is claiming this person as his own through the church, and the church is announcing, “This is one of ours. This is our brother and our sister.” This privilege could not get to those who are unbaptized.

So baptism is extraordinary important, this is the initial right of the Christian’s obedience and it also a sign that builds up the faith, not only of the person being baptized, but of the rest of the Church community. And every time we see baptism, we’re reminded that we should take this gospel to the ends of the earth, discipling the nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

How to baptized?
1. Immersed in Water
We believe this expression of union with Christ in death and resurrection happens “by being immersed in water.” The clearest evidence for this is Romans 6:3,4 which describes the act of baptism as burial and rising from the dead. This is most naturally understood to mean that you are buried under water and then come out of from the water to signify rising from the grave.

The word baptism in Greek means dip or immerse. And most scholars agree that this is the way the early church practiced baptism. Only much later does the practice of sprinkling or pouring water. But it has not any biblical validity.

If we see in the Bible, we can come to a clear conclusion that how to baptized. In Acts 8:37-38, the Ethiopian eunuch comes to faith while riding with Philip in his chariot and says, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Philip agrees and it says, “He commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” That they “went down into the water” makes most sense if they were going down to immerse him, not to sprinkle him.

Similarly, it says in John 3:23, “John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there.” You don’t need plentiful water if you are simply sprinkling. You just need a jar. So it is very clear to understand the way the early church baptized. They did it by immersing the new believer in water to signify his burial and resurrection with Jesus.

2. In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Baptism means doing this immersing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That’s what Jesus said in Mathew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This means that not just any immersing is baptism.

There is a holy appeal to God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to be present in this act and make it true and real in what it says about their work in redemption. There is no salvation without the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we call on their name, we depend upon them and honor them and say that this act is because of them and by them and for them.

Benefits of baptism
1. A move from death to life
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the dead. “Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive – right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14

2. Union with Christ
Second, baptism “expresses union with Christ in His death and resurrection.” The clearest teaching on this is Romans 6:3-4: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

In Romans, faith is the means by which we are united to Christ and justified. But we show this faith — we say this faith and signify this faith and symbolize this faith — with the act of baptism. Faith unites to Christ; baptism symbolizes the union. Paul is saying, “With this baptism you are united to Christ.” And the point we are focusing on here is that we are united to him in his death and burial and resurrection. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” So the imagery of baptism is death, burial, and resurrection. Christ was buried and raised to new life. Baptism dramatically portrays what happened spiritually when you received Christ: Your old self of unbelief and rebellion and idolatry died, and a new you of faith and submission and treasuring Christ came into being. That’s what you confess to the world and to heaven when you are baptized.

3. A brand-new life
It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. We bury the “old life” and we rise to walk in a “new life”. Baptism is like a wedding ring, it is the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis.

Here is one simple way to explain baptism: Baptism is a symbol. It’s meant to show the world that that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ. It’s like a wedding ring. An analogy would be saying, “With this ring I thee wed.” When we say that, we don’t mean that the ring or the putting of the ring on the finger is what makes us married. No, it shows the covenant and symbolizes the covenant, but the covenant-making vows make the marriage. So it is with faith and baptism.

If I have trusted Christ to save me from sin, and He is the lord and joy of my life, then I’ll want everyone to know about it. So baptism is a statement to everyone who sees it that I have trusted Christ for my salvation and I’m committed to living for Him.

As Bible says – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
“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 6:4
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9

4. A new family
Baptism also connects us to the “body of Christ” – his people in the earth. In baptism there is a real sense of being joined with other believers, not just participating in an individual act of our own spiritual journey. “For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Infant Baptism
Infant baptism arose from the teachings of some early second and third century church fathers that baptism washed away sin. This meant that if you died without being baptized then you died with your sins unforgiven and thus went to Hell (or purgatory as that concept developed over time). With the high infant mortality rate in the early centuries, the concept of baptizing babies as soon as possible came into vogue. Since it is not necessarily good to push baby heads underwater, the idea of sprinkling took hold.

Again, the word baptism does not mean “sprinkle or “pour”. The Greek word “baptidzo” literally means to “dip” or to “immerse”.

Throughout the years of the Church, baptism by immersion has taken several forms. Some baptize by dipping three times in the “Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. Others use the Jewish model for baptizing Gentile converts into Judaism. The initiates wear white robes and are dipped three times forward and three times backward. The most common mode of baptism is once backward to portray the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

According to Romans 6:1-10, baptism pictures at least three things:
1. First, baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. As we stand in the water we are representing Christ on the cross. As we are dipped underwater we illustrate the burial of Christ. As we come out of the water we demonstrate the resurrection of Christ.

2. Second, baptism is a personal testimony to us of the washing away of our sins. As we go under the water we reconfirm that our sins are forgiven and as we come out of the water we are resurrected to live a new life in Christ.

3. Third, baptism represents our personal identification with Christ. Paul declared in Romans 6:3-4 “We were buried with Christ in baptism and we are raised to walk in a new life” as forgiven followers of Christ empowered by the Spirit of God.

Being sprinkled or having water poured over your head when you were an infant, or too young to understand, missed the point of baptism on all three levels.

The Bible teaches that commitment to Christ always precedes baptism. In fact, baptism is your testimony of surrendering your life to Christ. The New Testament order is not be baptized and then receive Christ. It is always first you receive Christ and then you get baptized. If you were not aware of submitting to the Lordship of Christ then it is impossible to think of your baptism as a personal commitment to Christ.

Bible verses about baptism
Below mentioned some bible verses which depicts about baptism:
Matthew 3:11-17; 28:19, Mark 1:4; 16:16; Luke 3:16,21; John 1:3; 3:5,22,30, Acts 1:5; 2:38,41; 8:12,30,34-39; 9:18; 10:47; 11:16; 16:31,33; 18:8; 19:4; 22:16; Romans 6:3,4; I Corinthains 10:1,2; 12:13; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 2:8,9; 4:4-6; Colossians 2:12,21; Titus 3:5

Conclusion
Have you been born again? If so and you haven’t yet had a water baptism, why not? There is every reason for you to be obedient and follow God’s command for all believers to be baptized. By doing so, you’ll be identified with the Body of Christ, the church and you’ll be identified with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and you’ll also be baptized (or identified) into His death, burial, and resurrection, all of the things that the believer will experience for real someday. For those who die in the faith and those who die without Christ, Daniel speaks of this time “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2).

God Bless you..

In Christ,

Shinu K. Joy (M.Th, M.Div)

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