By Being Baptized

How Do I Respond to God?

Respond by Being Baptized

By Larry Fayer

 There are several baptisms in the Bible.  There is Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 1:4-5), baptism by fire (Matthew 3:11), baptism in a cloud (1 Corinthians 10:1-2) and the baptism of suffering/pain (Luke 12:50) to list a few.  You don’t choose these; they choose you!  These were baptisms specifically for certain people.

There is a baptism, concerning which, everyone must make a decision.  It is water baptism.  When the good news about Jesus was preached by Philip (Acts 8:35) the Ethiopian eunuch responded. “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’” (Acts 8:36)

Teaching about water baptism is a prominent theme in the New Testament.  Jesus told his disciples to teach about it: “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’” (Mark 16:15-16)

We know that the early Christians taught it.  As Peter preached the first gospel sermon, he was asked by those who believed what they should do since they were guilty of sin. “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38).

Peter wrote concerning baptism: “Who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through waterBaptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20-21 RSV).

Water baptism was a part of the conversion process in the scriptures.  It was done for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.  Each time baptism took place, it was done by immersion in water.  Immersion is important:

1.   Because that is what the word means:

      #   To dip, plunge, immerse

      #   An example would be as in a ship sinking, it was being “baptized.”

2.   Because of what is symbolized:  Baptism symbolizes what Jesus went through to provide salvation for us: “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.  For 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 6:3-5).

This is the reason the scriptures say concerning the Ethiopian, “And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38).

When one hears the gospel and believes, the response begins with a change of attitude (repentance), continues with a confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and culminates by being baptized by immersion for the forgiveness of sins.  At this point, this simple, yet profound response, makes us followers of Christ and forgiven of sins.  It sets us on our way to heaven. 

 

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