In whose name should baptism be conducted?

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Some have wondered about Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 in relation to whose name should the Christian be baptized. The baptismal formula is clearly given in Matthew 28:19 by Jesus Himself, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

As to Acts 2:38, Luke is not recording the baptismal formula but rather Peter’s exhortation to those who are willing to confess Jesus as the Christ. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

It is only logical that Christian baptism sometimes might be spoken of as if only in the single name, since of the persons in the Godhead, it is Christ particularly to whom baptism points. We must always consider the context in which a verse is given. In Acts 2, Peter’s hearers already believed in God the Father; the real test, so far as they were concerned, was whether they would accept Jesus as the Messiah.

As Christ had instructed, baptism was now given “in the name,” in vital connection with the person of Jesus Christ. Only by recognizing Him could the convert now come to baptism. The disciples had just experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and thus they were in a position to recognize the meaning of John the Baptist’s prophecy that Christ would baptize them “with the holy ghost and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). The mystical union between the believer and his Lord, made real by the Spirit, is signalized in the right of baptism. After all, baptism is confessing your sins and believing that Christ’s death on the cross has washed away your sins, and is an announcement that the person has chosen to confess His faith in Jesus.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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