Purity & Power
1. Is baptism really essential?
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16.
Answer: Yes, indeed! How could any language or words make it plainer?
2. But the thief on the cross was not baptized, so why should I be?
"For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." Psalms 103:14.
Answer: Neither did he restore what he had stolen, as the Lord specifically directs in Ezekiel 33:15. God holds us accountable for what we can do, but He also recognizes the limitations of "dust." He will not require a physical impossibility. Could the thief have come down from the cross, he immediately would have been baptized. This is the only example in the Bible of an exception to this rule. God wanted to make certain that no one would be presumptuous in refusing baptism.
3. There are many ordinances called baptism. Isn't any one of these acceptable, provided a person is sincere and earnest about it?
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism." Ephesians 4:5.
Answer: No! There is only one true baptism. All other so-called baptisms are counterfeits.
Note: The devil's "buffet" plan for baptism says, "Take your pick. The method of baptism doesn't matter. It is the spirit that counts." But the Bible says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." Ephesians 4:5. It also says, "Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord." Jeremiah 38:20.
4. How was Jesus baptized?
Answer: By immersion! Notice that after the ordinance, He came "up out of the water." Jesus was baptized "in Jordan," not on the bank, as many believe. John always found a place to baptize where "there was much water" (John 3:23), so it would be deep enough. The Bible commands us to follow Jesus' example (1 Peter 2:21). Any baptism other than immersion breaks this command. The word "baptism" comes from the Greek word "baptizo." It means "to dip under or submerge or immerse." There are eight different Greek words in the New Testament used to describe the application of liquids. But among these various words--meaning to sprinkle, to pour, or to immerse--only the one meaning "to immerse" (baptizo) is used to describe baptism.
5. But didn't the disciples or the apostles change the method of baptism?
Answer: No! Please notice that Philip, a leader in the early church, baptized the treasurer of Ethiopia by immersion precisely as John baptized Jesus. And the apostle Paul warned that any who teach contrary to what Jesus taught should be "accursed." Galatians 1:8. No person--no matter how godly--is authorized to change God's words and commands.
6. Since Jesus and the disciples baptized by immersion, who introduced these other so-called baptisms which exist today?
"In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9.
Answer: Misguided men introduced other forms of baptism in direct contradiction of God's Word. Jesus says, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." Matthew 15:3, 6. Worship that follows human teaching is "vain." Just think of it! The sacred ordinance of baptism has been changed and made of little consequence during truth's hazardous journey through the centuries. No wonder the Bible exhorts us to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3.
7. What must a person do to prepare for baptism?
A. Learn God's requirements. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them ... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19, 20.
B. Believe the truth of God's Word. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Mark 16:16.
C. Repent of and turn away from his sins and experience conversion. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." Acts 3:19.
8. What is the meaning of baptism?
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:4-6.
Answer: It represents the believer following Christ into His death, burial, and resurrection. The symbolism is perfect and filled with deep meaning. In baptism the eyes are closed, hands are folded, and breath is suspended as in death. Then comes burial in the water and resurrection from the watery grave to a new life in Christ. When raised from the water, the eyes open and the candidate begins breathing again and mingles with friends, a complete likeness of resurrection. The great difference between Christianity and every other religion is simply the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In these three acts is made possible all that God desires to do for us. To keep these three vital acts alive in the minds of Christians until the end of time, the Lord instituted baptism by immersion as a memorial. There is no symbolism of death, burial, and resurrection in other forms of baptism. Only immersion fulfills the meaning of Romans 6:4-6.
Death to sin. Old life buried in the waters. Raised a new person in Christ.
9. But a person shouldn't be baptized until he is certain he will never slip and fall, should he?
"If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." 2 Corinthians 8:12.
Answer: This is like saying a baby should never try to walk until certain that he will never slip and fall. A Christian is a newborn "babe" in Christ. This is why the experience of conversion is called "the new birth." The ugly, sinful past no longer exists for a child of God. A person's sinful past is forgiven and forgotten by God at conversion. And baptism symbolizes the burial of that old life. We begin the Christian life as babies, rather than adults, and God judges us on our attitude and the trend of our life, rather than on a few slips and falls that we may experience as immature Christians.
10. Why is baptism an urgent matter for a converted sinner?
"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16.
Answer: Baptism is a public testimony that the repentant sinner has been forgiven and cleansed by Jesus (1 John 1:9) and that his sinful, traitorous past is behind him. No incriminating evidence against a person exists after conversion.
Men and women today stagger and struggle along under heavy loads of guilt and sin. This contamination and burden is so devastating to the human personality that people will go to almost any length to achieve a sense of forgiveness and cleansing. Many have been driven to the psychiatrist's couch, where human beings earnestly attempt to assist other human beings. But the real help is found in coming to Christ, who says to all who approach Him, "I will be thou clean." Matthew 8:3. Not only does He cleanse, but He crucifies the old nature of sin within you. Burial in the water of baptism symbolizes the burial of the ugly corpse of the old sinful life. The ordinance is of utmost importance because it publicly represents the most stupendous provisions ever made for people.
11. How long does it take to prepare for baptism?
Answer: That depends on the person. Some grasp things more quickly than others. But in most cases, preparation can be made in short order. Here are some Bible examples:
A. Ethiopian treasurer (Acts 8:26-39)baptized same day he heard truth.
B. Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16:23-34)baptized same night they heard truth.
C. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-18)baptized three days after Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus.
D. Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48)baptized same day he heard truth.
At conversion, God:
1. Forgives and forgets our past.
2. Miraculously transforms us into new spiritual beings.
3. Adopts us as His own sons and daughters.
Certainly no truly converted person would want to delay baptism, which publicly pays tribute to Jesus for working all these miracles.
12. How does God feel about the baptism of a converted person?
Answer: He said at His Son's baptism, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17. So, today, God is well pleased when a person is baptized by immersion in harmony with His command. Those who love the Lord will always strive to please Him (1 John 3:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:1). Is God pleased with your baptism?
13. Can a person experience true baptism without becoming a member of God's church?
Answer: No! God clearly outlines this. Notice the steps:
A. All are called into one body. "Ye are called in one body." Colossians 3:15.
B. The church is the body. "He is the head of the body, the church." Colossians 1:18.
C. We enter that body by baptism. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." 1 Corinthians 12:13.
D. God's converted people are added to the church. "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47.
14. Notice four things that baptism does not do:
Baptism itself does not change the heart of man it is a symbol of the change that has taken place. A man might be baptized without faith, without repentance, and without a new heart. He might even be immersed after the example of Jesus, but he would simply come up a wet sinner instead of a dry one, still without faith, without repentance, without a new heart. Baptism cannot make a new person. Neither can it change or regenerate anyone. It is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that changes the heart in conversion. One must be born of the Spirit as well as born of water.
Baptism does not necessarily make a person feel better. It doesn't necessarily change his feelings. Some people are disappointed because they do not feel different after baptism. Salvation is a matter not of feeling, but of faith and obedience.
Baptism does not remove temptations. The devil is not through with a person when he is baptized. But Jesus is the helper of every believer. He says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5. No temptation will come without a way of escape. This is the promise of Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Baptism does not guarantee salvation. It is not a magical rite. Salvation comes only as a free gift from Jesus Christ when one experiences the new birth. Baptism is a symbol of true conversion, and unless conversion precedes baptism, the ceremony is meaningless.
15. Jesus asks you to be baptized by immersion as a symbol that your sins have been washed away. Would you like to plan for this sacred ordinance soon?
1. Is it ever proper to be baptized more than once?
Yes, Acts 19:1-5 shows that the Bible endorses rebaptism in certain cases.
2. Should infants be baptized?
No! No one should be baptized unless he (1) knows the truth of God, (2) believes it, (3) has repented, and (4) has experienced conversion. No baby could possibly qualify here. No one has a right to baptize a baby. In fact, to do so completely disregards God's direct commands regarding baptism. Misguided men in the church years ago decreed that unbaptized babies are lost, but this is scripturally untrue. It defames God as an unjust tyrant who would destroy innocent infants who died, simply because unworthy parents failed to have baptism administered. Such a teaching is tragic beyond words. It is bad enough to sprinkle babies and call it baptism. It is infinitely worse to hold to the unscriptural concept that babies are lost eternally because careless parents failed to do their duty.
3. Isn't baptism just a matter of personal opinion?
Yes, but not your opinion or mine. It's Christ's opinion that matters. Christ says baptism is important to Him. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5. To refuse baptism is to refuse the direct counsel of God (Luke 7:29, 30).
4. How old should one be to qualify for baptism?
Old enough to understand the difference between wrongdoing and right-doing, and to make an intelligent decision to surrender to Christ and follow Him. Many children are ready for baptism at 9 or 10 years of age, some at 7 or 8. And some are not ready at 12 or 13. No age level is specified in the Bible, because children have different levels of experience and understanding. Some are ready for baptism earlier than others.
5. Can baptism in and of itself save you?
No! But refusing baptism can cause one to be lost, because it means disobedience. Salvation is for "all them that obey Him." Hebrews 5:9.
6. Isn't baptism of the Holy Spirit all that is necessary?
No! The Bible shows in Acts 10:44-48 that water baptism is necessary, even when the baptism of the Holy Spirit has preceded it.
7. Shouldn't we be baptized in Jesus' name only?
In Matthew 28:19, we are told to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These are Jesus' words, and we consider them very sacred. In the book of Acts, we find the new believers were baptized in the name of Jesus. Identifying Jesus as the Christ and Messiah was present truth for the people of that day; therefore, it was crucial for them to be baptized in His name. We believe it is very important for today as well. Combining the testimonies of Matthew with the book of Acts, we baptize people in the name of the Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Following this method prevents exalting one Scripture above another.
8. There is one sin I do not wish to surrender. Should I be baptized?
No! Obviously you are not ready to be buried in the baptismal waters, because the old life of sin is not dead. It would be a criminal act for a funeral director to bury someone who is not dead and equally serious for a minister to baptize one whose old sinful life is not dead.
9. Can you explain Galatians 3:27?
Here God compares baptism to marriage. The person who is baptized thus publicly acknowledges that he has taken Christ's name (Christian), just as a bride publicly announces the taking of her husband's name at the time of the wedding. In baptism, as with marriage, several rules always apply:
A. It should never be entered into unless true love rules supreme.
B. It should never be entered into unless the candidate has determined to be faithful through thick and thin.
C. It should be approached with full understanding.
D. It should not be unduly delayed.
1. The Bible tells us there is one Lord, one faith, and (1)
_____ 15 baptisms.
_____ 5 baptisms.
_____ 12 baptisms.
_____ One baptism.
2. Did Jesus teach the necessity of baptism? (1)
3. Jesus was baptized by (1)
4. The word "baptize" means to (1)
_____ Be happy.
_____ Dip under, or immerse.
5. The many counterfeit baptisms of today were given to us by (1)
_____ The apostles.
_____ Misguided men.
6. Mark the things a person should do to prepare for baptism: (4)
_____ Read the Bible through five times.
_____ Believe the truth.
_____ Experience conversion.
_____ Pray for 10 days straight.
_____ Spend 40 days fasting.
_____ Learn God's requirements.
_____ Repent of and forsake sin.
7. Baptism is a symbol of (1)
_____ The creation of the world.
_____ The Bible.
_____ Christ's death, burial, & resurrection.
_____ The angels.
8. A newly baptized Christian is a (1)
_____ Spiritual baby.
_____ Spiritual adult.
9. Baptism, when entered into with prayer, sincerity, and understanding (1)
_____ Publicly acknowledges conversion.
_____ Means no more than going swimming.
_____ Assures a person he will never be tempted again.
10. Is infant baptism scriptural? (1)
11. Some children are ready for baptism earlier than others. (1)
12. Is it always necessary for a person to take many weeks or months to prepare for baptism? (1)
13. Can a person experience true baptism without becoming a member of the church? (1)