Christian baptism is the means by which a person makes a public confession of faith and discipleship. Baptism is an outward testimony of the inward change in a believer’s life. Baptism illustrates the believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s total trust in, and total reliance on, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the commitment to live obediently to Him.
“We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:4–6).
It is essential to know that baptism symbolizes not only death and burial but also resurrection. The ceremony points in two way, back to our death to sin and forward to our new life in Jesus. As the death of Christ had the resurrection in view (Romans 4:25), so also the ministry of grace does not terminate with the Christian’s death to sin. Rather, this death to sin hopes for a newer, holier, and better life. Justification looks forward to the believer’s full sanctification.
Tips Before Baptism
The Scriptures give us tips that a believer needs to regard before baptism:
A. Learn God’s requirements. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19, 20). Christianity spread by teaching not by force. God appeals mainly to man’s mental reasoning (Isaiah 1:18). Man’s mental abilities were given him to use, and he can make no better use of them than to discover the advantages of obedience and the disadvantages of disobedience.
B. Believe the truth of God’s Word. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Faith is the inward acceptance of salvation that is given by the vicarious death of the world’s Savior (John 3:16 also 1:12).
C. Repent and turn away from your 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). Spiritually, the word “repent” means not only a change of mind but a new direction of the will. It means a changed purpose in life.
D. Ask for God’s grace to do His will. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8). Man can’t change his life by his own power (John 15:5). He needs to claim God’s grace by faith to do the work of transformation (Philippians 4:13).
The Great Commission
Concerning baptism, Jesus instructed the early the church before His ascension saying, “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 28:19–20). Christianity was the first religion to have an international nature. Heathen religions lacked a missionary goal and activity. These instructions specify that the church is responsible to teach Jesus’ Words, make disciples, and baptize those disciples.
In His service,