Why is it important to be baptised?
The Christian life is one of relationship with the Lord and not identified by ritual or religious practice. However, there are two simple practices given by Jesus for the Christian to perform. The first is baptism which only needs to be undertaken once in a believer’s life. The second is communion which reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus and is practiced regularly in a believer’s life.
The primary reason to be baptised is that Jesus commanded all believers to be baptised (Matthew 28:19). Obedience is an expression of love toward God (Jn 14:15).
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.
What is baptism about?
John the Baptist whose message was to prepare the way for Jesus, required baptism as an expression of repentance. This was different to Christian baptism which is identification with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection (Acts 19:1-5).
Biblical baptism is full immersion in water. As we go under the water we are identifying with the death of Christ and by faith, we “die to self” and as we come out of the water, we identify with His resurrection and our “new life” in Christ. By faith, we are asking Jesus to live His resurrected life through us having washed away our past.
4 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.
Old Testament stories of Noah and the Flood of the world, Israel crossing the Red Sea and Israel crossing the Jordan River, all tell us something about Baptism, burying and washing away the old sinful nature, and being resurrected to a new life.
Baptism is also a nonverbal physical expression of the faith in our heart and a statement to ourselves and the world that we have left the “old us” behind, and we now identify with Christ. In addition, some people are not able to state a date on when they were “saved” and a baptism event provides a date for a person to point back to which can be helpful.
Jesus was baptised
Matthew records that Jesus came to be baptised by John. (Matthew 3:13-17) When John said no, it should be the other way around, Jesus responded with:
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
If it was important for Jesus to be baptised, and, given he commanded His disciples to baptise new believers in Matthew 28, it should be important for us as followers of Jesus.
Baptism in the book of Acts
Baptism was clearly practiced throughout the first church as recorded in the book of Acts. New believers in the book of Acts were regularly baptised straight after their expression of faith in Christ:
- Philip and the Eunuch: Acts 8:36 “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
- The Apostle Paul after he believed: Acts9:18 “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized” Paul later reported on this event in Acts 22:16 and records: “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’”
- The first believing Gentiles: Acts 10:47-48: “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”
- The Corinthians: Acts 18:8 “And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized”
If you have not been baptised, since your confession of faith in Jesus, then your next step is to pray for, and look for, the next opportunity to be baptised.