Baptism. It’s more than a mere “formality” or “tradition.” Nowhere in the Bible do you find it being administered after someone had been reportedly saved. It is never described as “sprinkling.” And not once was it ever used to “join” someone to a particular congregation or denomination (as if denominations existed in the 1st century).
So why should someone be baptized? The Bible says:
To be saved. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). “Baptism […] now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21, ESV).
For the forgiveness of sins. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
To wash away sin. “Why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16).
To be born again. “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
To enter the body (the church) of Christ. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).
To put on Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).
To get into Christ and His death. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3).
To begin a new life as a follower of Jesus. “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” (Rom. 6:4).
To be buried and raised with Jesus. “Having been buried with Him in baptism” (Col. 2:12).
All of these verses state in different ways the simple truth about baptism. Baptism, if done correctly, is the point at which one identifies with Christ and is saved from sin (cf. Rom. 6:17-18).
Therefore, you are confused if you want to be baptized “because I have already been forgiven” instead of “because I want to be forgiven.” You are confused if you want to be baptized “because I am in Christ” instead of “because I want to get into Christ.” You are confused if you think you must be baptized “because I am already born again” instead of “I want to be born again.” You are confused if you think “I will be baptized next week when it is convenient for me” instead of “what hinders me from being baptized right now?”
The Bible is clear about the purpose of baptism and the point at which one becomes a Christian. Therefore, shouldn’t we be clear on this too?
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