Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit is essential for salvation. Jesus explained to Nicodemus how to be saved saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). To be “born of water and of the Spirit” is equivalent to being “born again,” that is, “from above.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Baptism symbolizes following Christ into His death, burial, and resurrection. “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).
While the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith and grace alone (John 1:12; John 3:16), baptism is the means by which a person makes a public confession of his faith to the universe. It is an outward testimony of the inward change in a believer’s life. “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38). Those who are born from above have God as their Father and resemble Him in character (1 John 3:1–3). They aim, by His grace, to live above sin (Romans 6:12–16).
Jesus taught, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). And just before He ascended to heaven, He instituted Christian baptism as an ordinance for the church: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 29:19-20).
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In His service,
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