WHY CORRECT BAPTISM IS NECESSARY?
Adam and Eve, our ancestors were created sinless, but they soon succumbed to sin. They were cast out from Paradise. Children born of man like the fallen angels lost their chance to live forever. Men were so wicked that God decided to destroy all mankind save only Noah (who was considered a virtuous man) and his family. It took Noah a hundred years in building the Ark, and man had opportunity to repent, but did not. Only the family of Noah (8 persons) were saved. God gave man another chance to be His children.
For about 4000 years, God chose the Israelites to be His Chosen People, giving them free will to choose their own actions. God resolved to help man to succeed by sending Jesus, His manifestion as His Son to the earth to bring man back into His fold. When Jesus died, the Holy Spirit took His place and dwell in the hearts of the believers to teach them the will of God.
We should follow the example of Jesus Christ in baptism for all men born of women are sinful. Psalms 51:5 says, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Baptism in Jesus Christ will cleanse away our sins. Peter said, "Baptism, doth also now saves us ... (1 Pet 3:21),
Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
1 John 5:6-8 states: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin ..."
Baptism can have the effect of remission of sins, and wash away sins (Acts 22:16). "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Around the world, millions of people become Christians every year. Some are baptized as babies, others young adults who have joined the church of their choice. However,most of the rest are not correctly baptized.
TWO TYPES OF BAPTISM
JOHN'S BAPTISM FOR REPENTANCE
It is important to understand that there are two types of baptism mentioned in the Bible. The baptism of John the Baptist is for repentance (Mt 3:1-12, 3-17, Mk 1:4)
JESUS' BAPTISM FOR SALVATION
Baptism has the effect of remission of sins as "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk 16:16).
Once a baptized completed his baptism, his sins are wiped clean by the blood of Jesus in the water, his old self is buried and he is resurrected a new man. From then onward, he must follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. This is considered his first resurrection spiritually. He is a reborn creature.
EFFECTS OF JESUS' BAPTISM
Jesus' baptism has manifold reasons, namely for rebirth, remission of sins, justification and salvation, putting on Christ and finally adoption as children of God.
- The Lord Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:3).
- To be reborn from water and the Spirit is the indispensable step of entering the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5).
- Paul called baptism "the washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5)
REMISSION OF SINS
During baptism the minister will pray for the blood of Jesus to be in the water to cleanse the baptized from sin. When Jesus died on the cross a soldier pricked his side and water and blood poured out. This is a phenomenon. When any part of the body is pricked, only blood comes out, not blood and water as in the case of Jesus Christ. Baptism is carried on the earth, not in heaven, and the blood of Jesus is in the water. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.
One must believe that the blood of Jesus is cleansing the baptized. Belief is the faith of the baptized. Without belief, one cannot be a Christian.
1 John 5:7-8 states: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these are one.
(8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
That is why in baptism, the Spirit, the water and blood must be present at the time of Baptism.
- "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
- 1 John 5:6-8 states: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin ..."
- Baptism can have the effect of remission of sins, and wash away sins (Acts 22:16).
- "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
JUSTIFICATION and SALVATION
- Salvation means the redemption from sin in the world and in future entry to the heavenly kingdom. Baptism has the effect of remission of sins as "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk 16:16).
- Peter said, " eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereto even baptism doth also now save us" (days of Noah - 1 Pe 3:20-21).
- We are "justified by his (Jesus) blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom 5:9, 3:25-26).
PUTTING ON CHRIST
- Before baptism, we were "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph 2:12).
- By the precious blood of the Lord "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" God had redeemed us (Re 5:9-10).
- "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ ... And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:27-29, Rom 6:3).
ADOPTION AS CHILDREN OF GOD
- Originally, man was the son of God (Lk 3:38). He lost the honourable position by disobedience.
- God sent Jesus "to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal 4:4,5).
- We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus (1 Pe 1:18,19). His precious blood has brought us back to God (Heb 10:19-22), and has adopted us as the children of God (Eph1:4.5).
Around the world, millions of people become Christians every year. Some are baptized as babies, others as young adults who have joined the church of their choice. However, most of the rest are not correctly baptized.
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
Jesus came to John to be baptized in the river Jordan, but John told him, "I need to be baptized by you." John himself wondered why Jesus asked to be baptized. So Jesus replied, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness" (Mt 3:15)
Fulfilling all righteousness means to be free of all sins and that is why baptism redeems us from sins. Christians must strive to be righteous. Jesus was sinless and He did not need to be baptized, but He did to set us an example.
John then consented and baptized Jesus. As Jesus came up out of the water, heaven opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended upon him. Witnesses to the baptism heard a voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mt 3:17, Mk 9:7, Lk 3:22, 9:35, 2 Pe 1:17).
1 John 5:6-8 states: " This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ ... the Spirit that beareth witness, ... the Father (God), the Word (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit" bear record in heaven. ,,, "three bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one" (1 Jn 5:8).
During baptism the Holy Spirit, the water and the blood must be present. The belief that the blood of Jesus cleanses us must be present when the person is baptized for the blood in the water cleanses us of sins spiritually.
MODE OF BAPTISM (1) MUCH WATER
Baptism in the days of Jesus was done in River Jordan which separates Israel from Jordan. Other places mentioned in the Bible are the Red Sea, fountain and in places of much water as in the case of Philip and the eunuch.
Baptism in the River
- Jesus' baptism was in the river Jordan which separated Israel from Jordan. Christians should also be baptized in natural waters made by God such as seas, lakes, rivers, not in man-made tanks which become polluted in time. If 3000 people (as recorded) are baptized in a man made tank of water, you can image how filthy it soon becomes. Are man made tanks filled with constantly flowing water? In natural waters, the water is not stagnant. Jesus has set an example of baptism in River Jordan. All around the world are rivers and there is no reason why baptism should not be done in rivers, streams, sea, etc.
Baptism in the Sea
- 1. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
- And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1 Cor 10:1-2).
- 2. "... and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).
- 3. "... that made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over (Isa 51:10).
Baptism in Much Water
- Philip baptized the eunuch unto a certain water, which apparently was much water for in Acts 8:38-39 it showed much water for both "went down both into the water ,,, (39) And when they were come up out of the water."
Though in Zechariah 13:1, it was mentioned that a fountain would be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness, no example of baptism was found in the Bible. Remember to keep in mind, the disciples knew that when they baptized anyone, they remembered that they were baptized unto His death and burial. Burial means completely under the surface of the ground, so sprinkling of water or pouring of water on the head will not suffice. In baptism, it has to be in the likeness of Jesus' death and burial.
MODE OF BAPTISM (2) FACE DOWN
HEAD FACING DOWNWARD
A sinner would be ashamed and not face God when he is going to repent of his sins and be baptized. His head probably would look at his own feet. It is very unnatural for a person to be baptized bent backwards into the water with two assistants so he cannot fall. There is no evidence that when John the Baptist baptized the Jews, he had assistants to help with the baptism. When Philip baptized the eunuch, he was alone and he had no helper (Acts 8:38-39).
- 1. Romans 6:5, 8 tells us that to be "planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
(8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:"
- Jesus died on the cross, so his body was erect as like a person standing up. He bowed His head and died unlike others who most probably died on their beds. John 19:30 states, "When Jesus therefore had receive the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
- 2. "Iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up" (Ps 40:12).
- 3. "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
- 4. "If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head, I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction (Job 10:15).
MODE OF BAPTISM (3) BAPTIZE IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The word "Father" is a common noun and "father" is not a name. The "Holy Ghost" is not a name either, but "Jesus" is a name.
Throughout the whole book of Acts, all baptisms are carried out in the name of Jesus. Though Jesus mentioned earlier in Matthew 28: 19 to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the apostles baptized all the Jews in the name of Jesus. Were all the apostles disobedient to Jesus? Certainly Not! They were His apostles and understood what Jesus meant and that was why the apostles baptized in the Name of Jesus. Besides, the word "name" is singular and not plural. If there were three people, there would be three names.
- " Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38)
- "For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 8:16)
John 17:11 states: "Now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
The name of the Father and Jesus are one. John 5:43 says: " I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."
Jesus gave us two clues as to the name of the Father, one in John 17:11 and John 5:43. What more further proof would you want?The Apostles knew this mystery, so they baptized believers in the Name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16)
THE ADMINISTRATOR AND THE BAPTIZED
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BAPTIZED
- Believe that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour (Acts 4:12, 16:31-33),
- Believe that Jesus died for me and resurrected on the third day (1 Cor 15:3,4, Rom 10:9).
- Believe that His precious blood cleanses my sin through baptism (1 Pet 1:18,19, Rom 3:25, Heb 9:13,14,22, Jn 19:34, 1 Jn 5:6-8, Zech 13:1).
- Confess sins (Mt 3:6, Ps 32:3-5, Acts 19:18-19).
- Repudiate wickedness (Acts 3:26, Jon 3:5-10, Ps 37:27).
- Turn to God (Is 55:7, Acts 26:20, 20:21).
- Follow righteousness and do good deeds (Lk 3:7-14), Mic 6:6-8).
- Bear the cross and follow the Lord (Lk 14:25-33).
- One must pass through much tribulation to enter the kingdom of God (Act 14:22), 1 Thes 3:3).
- Must not look back but should stand fast (Lk 9:61,62, Mt 24:13, Acts 20:24).
- Should have a sincere faith (Acts 2:37-41, 8:36-38, 16:15, 30-33).
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM
The administrator must be one who is himself clean (Num 19:19).
- Peter was a chosen apostle of Jesus Christ and was qualifed to baptize others (Acts 2:38-41). Three thousand were baptized.
- He must be commissioned by God.
- "And how shall they preach , except they be sent? (Rom 10:15)
- Jesus said, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (Jn 20:21-22).
- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor... To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Lk 4:18,18, Jn 1:32-34).
- The Administrator has power to remit sins in the baptism he officiates (Jn 20:22-23).
- "Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.
The efficacy of the baptism in the remission of sins depends on the precious blood of Jesus Christ, man's faith. the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
- This is found in Romans 3:25, and 1 Corinthians 6:11.
- Anyone who performs baptism does not have the Holy Spirit, then God neither sends him, nor is with him (1 Jn 3:24).
BAPTISM IS NECESSARY TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
From the foregoing, baptism is definitely necessary for a believer to become a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Baptism has the power to remit sins and power is given the administrator to remit sins only during baptism. Other than baptism, no one has the power to forgive sins. The administrator is acting on behalf of Jesus Christ in this case. The apostles were given the power to baptize others, but not to judge nor forgive sins. Jesus was without sin, but He submitted Himself to be baptized by John as an example to fulfil all righteousness.
Some do not believe that baptism remits sins, but the Bible shows us that it does. How can one say that he believes in Christ and does not believe that baptism saves us from sin. Baptism through the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God and Spirit of Jesus), water and the blood of Jesus (in the water of baptism) save us. It is only through baptism that a believer dies in the likeness of Christ's death and is resurrected following baptism. This is the First Resurrection of a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
May the Lord Jesus Christ open our understanding of the scriptures. God bless.
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