This article analyses the Biblical truths about water baptism and how God requires His people to become water baptized.
“He that BELIEVETH and is BAPTIZED shall be SAVED; but he that believeth not [about the need for Baptism] shall be damned [in Hell].” (Mark 16:16)
Throughout the past two thousand years, water baptism has been an outward symbol of a Christian’s public demonstration of their faith. This study will look at the following topics associated with Water Baptism.
- Opposing beliefs and practices within Christianity to Water Baptism
- Non-biblical ways to baptize
- The spiritual meaning of baptism
- The process of Water Baptism
There are some Christian denominational churches and cults that hold opposing views to the Bible’s account of what water baptism represents, so we will have a brief look at these.
Opposing views within Christianity to Water Baptism
There are certain church denominations within the broader context of Christianity that depart from the generally accepted method of water baptism by full immersion. In this, their preference is to baptize babies — usually through sprinkling of water over their heads. This form of water baptism ceremony is much the same for babies and adults.
The following list of churches that perform a sprinkling water baptism are these:
- Eastern and Oriental Orthodox,
- Moravian Church.
This form of water baptism is false, because to first become ‘Saved’, one first has to:
- HEAR the Gospel,
- BELIEVE it, and then
- CONFESS AND REPENT FROM THEIR SINS, and to then
- ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST as their Savior with one’s mouth (Rom 10:9-10)
No infant is able achieve those requirements prior to undergoing water baptism.
This means that the process of water baptism associated with the above listed churches is false because it generally represents the ‘faith’ of the parents placing their faith in what their church believes and NOT placing their faith in the words of the Bible.
It also means that anyone who has been water baptized as an infant in one of the above churches is NOT ‘Saved’. If anyone has participated in a ‘sprinkling baptism’ in the past, they need to CONFESS IT AS A SIN (of their parents) and ask God to forgive their sin (Nehemiah 9:2).
Another Non-biblical way to ‘Baptize’
The Bible speaks about “baptism of the dead”:
“Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor 15:29)
This rather bizarre ‘water baptism’ shown to the right takes the verse above from the Apostle Paul above and twists it into something he never meant it to be.
In this, the Mormon cult create this elaborate fount and say this to justify their heresy of baptizing alive people for their deceased ancestors:
Baptism for the Dead is Unscriptural
- It is a law of Scripture that every doctrine must be proved by two or more scriptures (2 Cor 13:1; Matt 18:16; Deut 19:15-18) but this verse is the only one that casually mentions the subject.
- Those in the Corinthian Church were involved in many errors and heresies (1 Cor. 11:19). Their belief and practice of Baptism for the Dead was only one of these heresies.
- Water baptism alone does not ‘Finally Save’. Only a living man who repents and meets the gospel’s Conditions of Salvation [Matt 10:22] becomes ‘Saved’. Similarly, water baptism cannot not ‘Save’ a dead man who did not meet conditions while he was alive. (Luke 13:1-5; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9).
- Salvation is a personal matter and cannot be obtained by anyone else standing in as a proxy (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16-20; Acts 3:19; Rom 1:16; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9).
- Here, Paul is simply showing the inconsistency of false teachers at Corinth who were denying the Doctrine of the Resurrection and yet accepting the fallacy of Baptism for the Dead. He does not sanction such a doctrine or practice just because he makes one passing reference to this error.
The Biblical method of Water Baptism
The method of water baptism described in the Bible is by full immersion. This is seen by John the Baptist baptising Jesus. It is also seen by Phillip baptising the Ethiopian eunuch.
Christ’s water baptism
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:" (Matthew 3:16)
The eunuch’s water baptism
"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water..." (Acts 8:38-39
The spiritual significance of Water Baptism
The person baptising someone else (the new Christian) MUST inform them of the CONDITIONS associated with Salvation. A number of these CONDITIONS can be found identified in my article The Ten Commandments of Jesus.
After the new Christian understands and then accepts these CONDITIONS, the baptism can then take place.
The Water Baptism Ceremony
When the new Christian prepares to enter the water:
- He or she must first confess some of their sins openly (Matthew 3:6).
- The new Christian must then recite from their heart that Jesus Christ:
— Was with God in the beginning, being known as ‘The Word’ (John 1:1);
— Was born of the virgin Mary and became the only begotten Son of God (Matt 1:23);
— Lived His early life as a carpenter (Matthew 13:55);
— Suffered rejection and hatred towards Him from the religious Jews (John 10:31-32; John 15:18);
— The Jews falsely accused Him to Pilate, causing Him to be murdered (Mark 15:14-15);
— Christ shed His blood on the cross to pay the price for sin to anyone who calls upon Him in faith (John 19:33-35; John 19:34);
— Three days and nights after He died, He rose again from the dead very early on the first day of the week (Matthew 12:40; Mark 16:9);
— He later ascended into Heaven after revealing Himself to over 500 witnesses (1 Cor. 15:3-7; Acts 1:1-11);
- I now accept Him as my Saviour from Hell.
- I now choose to be one of His disciples so as to live forever with Jesus.
- After saying the words above, the new Christian is then placed under the water to symbolise their death to the things in this sinful world;
- He or she is then raised up out of the water to symbolise their spiritual resurrection from the dead and the commencement of their new life in Christ!
The Biblical truth about water baptism shown above symbolically represents the signing of a contract between God and the new Christian. If the CONDITIONS of the contract are fulfilled by the Christian, God will honour His responsibility to grant him or her eternal life with Him.