Water Baptism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. John E. Russell Sr   

Text: Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20, NASB).


After you accept Christ as your Savior, it is important to be baptized in water. Contact your minister for counseling and set a date soon. May God bless you as you obey his Word.

1. Christ commanded us to be baptized.

1.1 Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize believers. See the Great Commission in our text above.
1.2 Jesus was baptized as an example.

Jesus obeyed what God commanded others to do--he modeled the role. John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin, was preaching repentance and baptizing those who repented. John's baptism was a pre-Christian baptism. John came to bring people to God in order that they might accept their Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. O course, Jesus was sinless and did not need to repent. However, by being baptized, he identified with the people of God.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased" (Mark 1:9-11, NASB).
1.3 After we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are to obey Christ's command to be baptized in water.

2. It is a Rite or Ordinance.

It is an act or confession of our faith in Christ, in addition to a verbal confession of our faith in Christ. Paul taught,

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:8-10, KJV).

It is a good practice to have the candidate for water baptism to confess his faith in Christ before being baptized. Then, when we are baptized, we publicly declare by our actions that we are Christians--that we have accepted Christ as our personal Savior.

There are two Christian Rites or Ordinances: Water Baptism and Communion (The Lord's Supper).

3. It is by Immersion.

There are three modes of baptism practiced by Christian denominations today:

3.1 Immersion--the minister completely immerses the one being baptized, either once or three times.
3.2 Pouring (affusion)--the minister pours water over the head of the one being baptized, who stands in water or on the ground.
3.3 Sprinkling (aspersion)--the minister sprinkles water on the head or on the face of the one being baptized ["Baptism (Non Immersionist View)," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia].

Here a is case supporting immersion:

In Mar_1:9, Mar_1:10 the baptism is sharpened a bit in the use of eis [Greek preposition "into"] and ek [Greek preposition "out of"]. Jesus “was baptized of John in (eis) the Jordan. And straightway coming up out of (ek) the water, he saw.” So in Act_8:38 we read: “They both went down into (eis) the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of (ek) the water, the Spirit ... caught away Philip. If one could still be in doubt about the matter, Paul sets it at rest by the symbolism used in Rom_6:4, We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. The submergence and emergence of immersion thus, according to Paul, symbolize the death and burial to sin on the one hand and the resurrection to the new life in Christ on the other. Sanday and Headlam (Church of England) put it thus in their Commentary on Romans (p. 153): “It expresses symbolically a series of acts corresponding to the redeeming acts of Christ. Immersion = Death. Submersion = Burial (the ratification of death). Emergence = Resurrection.” In Col_2:12 Paul again says: having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. The same image is here presented. Lightfoot (Church of England) on Colossians (p. 182) says: “Baptism is the grave of the old man, and the birth of the new. As he sinks beneath the baptismal waters, the believer buries there all his corrupt affections and past sins; as he emerges thence, he rises regenerate, quickened to new hopes and new life” ("Baptism...4. New Testament Usage," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

4. The formula is found in the Great Commission.

4.1 Jesus taught that we were to baptize "...them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit..." (Matthew 28:19, NASB).
4.2 Some baptize in the name of Jesus, based on Peter's sermon:
Peter {said} to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, NASB).
I believe that Peter was defining this as Christian water baptism. He was distinguishing it from Jewish baptism (the Jews baptized new converts) and John the Baptist's baptism of repentance.

5. It is believers' baptism.

The baptism that Jesus commanded was the baptism of believers. Baptism does not save anyone. One is baptised because he believes. There is no such thing as baptismal regeneration--the belief that one is saved by being baptized. This belief can give a false sense of security to the sinner who has been baptized.

Infant baptism is invalid. This, too, can give the one who was baptised as an infant a false sense of security. Jesus said that all must be born again:

"Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again'" (John 3:7, NASB)

A biblical substitute for infant baptism is the dedication of children to the LORD as Hannah and the parents of Jesus did:

"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. "So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there (1 Samuel 1:27-28, NASB).
And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was {then} called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.  And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "EVERY {firstborn} MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD"), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS" (Luke 2:21-24, NASB).


Water baptism is important because Jesus commanded it. It is also important as a witness and confession to others. God will bless you and others as you obey him by being baptized in water. Sometimes it will serve as a point of contact to release your faith for a need that you may have.

Copyright ©John E. Russell 2004, 2017

In Essentials: Unity; In non-essentials: Liberty; In all things: Charity
—Peter Meiderlin 1626.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 23 September 2017 22:40