The “How?” of Baptism

The form of baptism is also very clear in the scriptures.  It was an immersion in water.  Actually, the very word “baptism” means to submerge, plunge under or dip in water.  This statement can be verified by any of the lexicons of the Greek language, such as Kittel’s “Theological Dictionary of The New Testament” or Arndt and Gingrich “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.”   Also, this is seen throughout the scriptures but is especially evident in Romans 6:3-4 where the Bible reminds Christians in Rome, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”  Colossians 2:12 says, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  If you didn’t do it this way, you must decide whether you were really baptized or just sprinkled with a little water or perhaps some was poured over your head.  I can only tell you what the Bible says; you have to decide what it means for you.


The beauty of baptism, as stated in the Bible, is that by being baptized as Christians were in Bible times one symbolizes the significant events in Jesus’ life that had the effect of providing removal of sin.  The subject of baptism is one who, through faith, has repented toward her/his former life and is committed to wanting to follow Jesus.  Another way of saying that is that he/she has died to sin.  Once that has happened the person is ready to be buried in water just as the result of Jesus’ death was burial in a tomb.  However, that wasn’t the end for Jesus or for us.  Jesus came out of the tomb to a new, resurrected life and we come out of baptism resurrected to a new life of following Christ.  Thus, our baptism is a reenactment of the very events that brings about forgiveness of sins.  We die to sin, are buried with Christ in baptism where we receive forgiveness of past sins and then we rise to a new life of being in Christ and living for him. 


Romans 6:5-14 talks about how that new life is to be lived.  It points out the assurance we have by saying, “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5) and “If we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8).  Our sins have been forgiven because “one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:7).  This new life that we have is guided by a repentant heart and a knowledge that we have been set free from sin.  Therefore, our behavior can be described by the words, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Romans 6:12).


So, in summary, the “How?” of baptism is that it is to be done by one who believes, has reached an age of being able to make that mental change of attitude called repentance and has confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  That person is immersed in water for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.  Once that has happened the person can go on his/her way rejoicing as the Ethiopian did in Acts 8:39.

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