Since the words “baptism” and “baptize” are men- tioned over one hundred times in the New Testament, we must assume that this is a very important subject in the Bible. Thousands of people were baptized in the first century. Thousands were baptized in order to come into a covenant agreement with God. Millions since the first century have also been baptized for the same reason that the early believers were baptized. They were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Upon faith and repentance, you too can be baptized for the same reasons people were baptized two thousand years ago.

The Greek word baptizo that is used in the New Testa- ment was first transliterated in English Bibles with the new English word “baptize.” In the transliteration of the word baptizo, the equivalent sounds of the Greek letters were brought over into the English language to produce the words “baptize” and “baptism.”

However, the Greek definition of baptizo is “to dip,” “plunge,” “immerse,” or “overwhelm.” The most com- mon definition is “immerse.” Therefore, when the words “baptize” or “baptism” are used in the English Bible in reference to one’s salvation, the meaning of immersion must be understood. When people were immersed in the first century, they were immersed in “much water”.1 The New Testament teaching is that men and women were immersed in water for remission of sins.

                        THE ONE BAPTISM                      

Throughout the New Testament, six baptisms are mentioned.

(1) John’s immersion (baptism) unto repentance.2 (2) Immersion into the responsibility and burden of leadership.3 (3) Immersion with the Holy Spirit.4 (4) Immersion with fire.5 (5) Israel’s im- mersion in the cloud.6 (6) Immersion in water for remission of sins.7 When Paul wrote the Ephesian letter in A.D. 62, he proclaimed that there was only one valid immersion at that time.8 This is the immersion in water for forgiveness of sins that was first preached in Acts 2:38.

                CANDIDATES FOR BAPTISM            

In order to be a candidate for immersion, the following must happen before one is immersed: (1) Only those who can be taught are to be immersed.9 (2) Only those who can understand the command to be immersed are to be immersed.10 (3) Only men and women are to be immersed.11 (4) Only those who can hear the teaching of the gospel are to be immersed.12 (5) Only those who can believe are to be immersed.13 (6) Only those who can receive the word of God are to be immersed.14 (7) Only those who can repent are to be immersed.15 Therefore, baptism is only for adults who can make a free-moral choice to be immersed.

                THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM             

The New Testament records the examples of thousands of people who believed in Jesus and were immersed.16 They were immersed in obedience to the gospel for the remission of their sins.

  1. Immersion is obedience to the gospel.

The gospel is the historical event of the death of Jesus for our sins. It is the event of His burial and resurrection to give us hope of eternal life.17 This historical event is communicated to us through

the inspired word of God. Unless one obeys the gospel, he cannot be saved.18 When one is baptized, he is buried with Christ into His death in order to be raised from the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life.19 Therefore, the action of baptizo is immersion into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus in order to be saved. The believer obeys the gospel by immersion in water for the remission of his or her sins.

  • Immersion is for the remission of sins.

When one is immersed with Jesus in obedience to the gospel, he or she comes into contact with the blood of Jesus. He thus re- ceives forgiveness of sins.20 One’s sins are thus washed away.21 God subsequently adds the immersed believer to the church of His people who are in a covenant relationship with Him.22 Baptism, therefore, stands between being lost outside Christ and saved in Christ. It is necessary, therefore, that one be baptized into Christ.

                 THE RESULT OF BAPTISM               

Baptism is a response to and obedience of the gospel. When one submits to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus by immersion, he or she receives great blessings from God. The following things happen in the spiritual realm of his or her spiritual regeneration:

  1. One walks in newness of life (Rm 6:4).
  2. One becomes a new creature (2 Co 5:17).
  3. One appeals to God with a good conscience (1 Pt 3:21).
  4. One puts on Christ (Gl 3:27).
  5. One becomes an obedient subject of Christ (Jn 3:3-5).
  6. One becomes a part “of Christ” (1 Co 1:12,13).
  7. One comes into a relationship with Christ (Rm 6:3; Gl 3:26,27).
  8. One comes into Christ where he or she receives the following:
    1. All spiritual blessings (Ep 1:3)
    1. Redemption by Jesus’ blood (Ep 1:7; Cl 1:14)
    1. Forgiveness of sins (Ep 1:7)
    1. Sanctification from sin (1 Co 1:2; 1 Jn 1:7)
    1. No condemnation (Rm 8:1)
    1. A new creation in Christ (2 Co 5:17)
    1. Eternal life with Jesus (1 Jn 5:11)
    1. Salvation for eternal life (2 Tm 2:10; At 4:12; 1 Pt 3:21)

                   EXAMPLES OF BAPTISM                 

There are many examples in the New Testament where believing men and women obeyed the gospel by immersion in water for the forgiveness of their sins.

  1. The Jews on Pentecost (At 2:41-47)
  2. The Samaritans (At 8:5-13)
  3. The Ethiopian eunuch (At 8:26-40)
  4. Saul of Tarsus (At 9:17,18; 22:16)
  5. Cornelius and his household (At 10:34-48)
  6. Lydia and her household (At 16:14,15)
  7. The Philippian jailor and his household (At 16:30-34)
  8. The Corinthians (At 18:8)

Faith, repentance and confession are unto salvation.23 How- ever, immersion is into Christ where there is salvation.24 Men are redeemed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus.25 However, this redemption by the blood is in Christ.26 One must be immersed into Christ.27 Jesus sanctified the church by His blood.28 He continues to sanctify the faithful.29 Only the sanctified, therefore, are in the body of Christ.30 In order to be sanctified by the blood of Jesus, one must be immersed into the body of Christ.31 If one has been immersed for the wrong reasons, he should be immersed again for the right reasons.32

References: 1. John 3:23, 2. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4, 3. Matthew 20:22,23, 4. Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5, 5. Mat-

thew 3:11, 6. 1 Corinthians 10:1,2, 7. Acts 2:38, 8. Ephesians 4:5, 9. Matthew 28:19,20, 10. Acts 2:38, 11. Acts

8:12, 12. Mark 16:15,16; John 6:45, 13. Mark 16:16; John 8:24; 8:12, 14. Acts 2:41, 15. Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38;

3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9, 16. Acts 2:41; 6:7; 8:6,12, 17. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 18. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 Peter

4:17, 19. Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12, 20. Acts 2:38, 21. Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5, 22. Acts 2:47, 23. Romans

10:9,10; 2 Corinthians 7:10, 24. 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 3:21, 25. Acts 20:28; Revelation 5:9, 26. Ephesians 1:7;

Colossians 1:14, 27. Galatians 3:27, 28. Hebrews 13:12; Revelation 7:14, 29. 1 John 1:7, 30. 1 Corinthians 1:2;

6:11, 31. 1 Corinthians 12:13, 32. Acts 19:1-6

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