What does Bible teach about baptism?

Category: Doctrine | Title: Baptism |  Written by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Monday March 19, 2018

Significance of baptism

A. Baptism is a burial and resurrection with Christ

1. It is a baptism into the death of Christ – Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

2. It is a burial with Christ into death (His death, we are crucified with Him!) – Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,…

3. It is done so that we might walk in newness of life – Romans 6:4-5 … 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,

4. It involves crucifying the old man, that the body of sin may be destroyed – Romans 6:6 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.

5. It thereby frees us from sin as we die to sin, that we might live with Christ – Romans 6:7-11 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Baptism service is a funeral service. But not just death of the old person, but the resurrection of the new person.

B. Baptism is how we put on Christ

Galatians 3:26-27 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (identification with Christ)
1. From we learn that baptism is involved in the process of becoming sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus
2. Baptism is therefore the means by which we “put on Christ”, and become sons of God!

C. Baptism is a work of God

Colossians 2:11-13 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
1. A “spiritual circumcision” in which sins are “cut away” – Colossians 2:11
2. A burial with Christ, and also a resurrection with Him – Colossians 2:12
3. Made effective “through faith in the working of God” – Colossians 2:12
4. In which GOD makes us “alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” – Colossians 2:13

D. Baptism is a “washing” and “regeneration”

Titus 3:5 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit

  1. Is Paul talking about baptism in Titus 3:5?
    1. The term “washing” certainly refers to the baptism
    2. Washing has to happen with water
  2. Thus God saves us in baptism: (read Titus 3:5 again)
    1. It is a “washing of regeneration” – a washing in which we are reborn
    2. It is a “renewing of the Holy Spirit” – a renewal in which the Spirit is at work — Just as Jesus said: “…unless one      is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:1-5

E. Baptism is fulfillment of all righteousness

Matthew 3:14-16 (read)
Is baptism more important than Salvation by the blood of Jesus? One may consider Baptism as just an external work or sign or even just as a doctrine. I agree there is nothing compared to the work on the cross and the salvation Christ purchased. But Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist says, it is appropriate to fulfill all righteousness. We don’t want to lose any of the blessings in this earth and even in eternal that is the result of obeying to this basic doctrine.

Who can be baptized?

The Great Commission

Mark 16:15,16 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Baptism cannot be administered to an unbeliever.
  • Baptism is a step of faith.
  • Baptism cannot be administered to the one who has not repented from the sinful life.

Can infants be baptized?

Infants cannot believe, they cannot have faith and they don’t need to repent.
Luke 2:21-24 21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.(it was circumcision and naming ceremony – not baptism) 22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, (a child dedication service – not baptism)

Luke 18:15-16 15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

  • Children can be brought to the church, Pastor, a minister of God or an elders can lay hands and bless them-that is not baptism.
  • Infants don’t have sin in them.
  • The original sin – Even though the sinful nature is in them by birth, they are not  sinners until they are accountable for their sin.
  • Infants are not held accountable for the guilt of their ancestors – Ezekiel 18:20 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
  • The logical conclusion from the Biblical evidence is that infants
    • Are born into this world without the personal guilt of their ancestors
    • Are not lost, so they are not in need of salvation
    • Are “safe” (eligible for eternal glory, not marked for punishment)
  • Remain safe until they reach an accountable age where they become guilty of their sins, and in need of salvation

Do I need to be re-baptized?

If the first baptism was not according to the Bible it was not really a baptism. In that case, a re-baptism is necessary.  If we were already baptized and our baptism lack any of the below four essential elements of Bible baptism we need to be re-baptized.

  1. The proper mode – immersion (if the first one was sprinkling, or pouring)
  2. The proper authority – Father, Son and Holy Spirit-Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (if the first one was in the name of Jesus or Jehovah, some other saints etc.)
  3. The proper purpose – for remission of sins (the one who lost in sins and need forgiveness) (if the first one was infant)
  4. The proper subject – a penitent believer (believer who feels sorry for the sins and repented from such life) (if the first one was given even without knowing what is baptism, for the sake of membership in a church, or as a process of conversion)