Water baptism is a command by Jesus, the Christ, for it is the will of God (Matt. 28:19-20; John 4:1-2;Luke 7:30; Acts 10:47-48). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mar. 16:16). If there was anyone who didn’t need to be water baptized it was Jesus. Jesus was dedicated in the temple as an infant but this wasn’t the same as being water baptized. When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John actually “tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him” (Matt. 3:13-15). Jesus did this to fulfill all righteousness and to leave us His example to follow. As Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
WHY WATER BAPTISM?
Under the Old Covenant every new priest was washed in water (Lev. 8:6). Every believer under the New Covenant is a priest and needs to be water baptized (1 Peter 2:5). “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore 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” (Rom. 6:3-4; Ezek. 16:1-10).
CONDITIONS OF BEING WATER BAPTIZED
- They come out of their own freewill, not forced by anyone (incl. parents), As they need to be able to repent and accept Jesus the Christ as their Lord and Savior for themselves (Rom. 10:9; John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 5:10-12; Acts 10:47-48; 8:37; 19:4-5);
- They need will be submerged into water (e.g. John 3:23). The Greek word ‘Baptízo’ means to immerse, to totally submerge, saturate, to overwhelm, to cover over.
- Under the New Testament, the person performing the water baptism needs to be a disciple of Jesus Christ already (Matt. 28:19; John 3:22).
After Philip, a disciple of Jesus, shared the good news of Jesus Christ with the Eunuch, the Eunuch instantly wanted to be water baptized. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:35-38).
I encourage all believers to “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. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39). “Now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). So “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22).