Beauty and grace drip from the act of baptism. Unfortunately, baptism is often misunderstood. I’d encourage you to study the below Scriptures and ask, “What does the Bible teach about baptism?” There’s nothing fancy about the study – just Scriptures to read and a few notes – but I hope it proves helpful to you.
From Jesus’ point of view…
- He didn’t need to be baptized for repentance. He had no need to repent, but He came to John at the Jordan for this purpose.
- He thought it was important enough to come, walking no fewer than 60 miles.
- It signaled the beginning of His public ministry, and made a public statement that He was serious about following God’s plan for His life. This was a statement to both God and man.
From God’s point of view… According to Matthew 3:17, God was “well pleased.”
Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus thought it was important enough that He made it a command, not a suggestion.
Mark 16:16 – Belief and baptism are given the same consideration here. One is not elevated over the other. Both are part of the process of saying yes.
- Three thousand were baptized as the Church was established.
- Peter’s response to the crowd in verses 37 & 38, literally translated says, “Be baptized IN ORDER FOR your sins to be forgiven…” This was the first sermon preached after Jesus’ ascension. It was the birth of the church, and established the norm for being saved.
Acts 8:35-38 – Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch both went down into the water.
Acts 16:14-15 – Even though Lydia already believed and worshipped, she decided to be baptized.
Acts 16:30-34 – The Philippian Jailer and his entire household were baptized asap. (Also see Acts 18:8; 19:15.)
Romans 6:1-11 – Paul describes the symbolic significance of baptism, and the life of obedience it calls us to.
- Significant words: “…in the same way, baptism also saves us…”
- It’s not the act or the water that saves us, it is God’s removing of sin from us, which is pictured as dirt being removed.
- The word baptism means to dunk or cover over with water. It is used in the passive tense, which means that the person getting baptized is not doing the work. God is doing the work of cleansing us of sins and immersing us in His way of life, which leads to a life dripping with evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit.
- Belief (John 3:16), Repentence (Acts 2:38), and Confession (Romans 10:9) are also clearly connected with accepting Christ. This study is not meant to exclude any of these. All of these, along with baptism, are certainly part of the salvation process, and all of this is done through grace (Ephesians 2). None of us are worthy to have our sins forgiven, but God offers a gift to us (Romans 6:23).
- Another great exercise is to read Acts and ask, “What is the normal way for people to accept Christ?