What is water baptism and who can be baptized?
Matthew 28: 19 gives a brief summary of the post – What is water baptism and who can be baptized. It says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Water baptism is one of the many teachings of Christ among others that every child of God should observe. The things that Christ taught his followers and in turn his church today are very important and sacred that none can be overlooked because these are what mark believers as true children in God’s kingdom and also proves their identification with him. From the text above, Christ mentioned that water baptism should be taught to all nations.
In today’s post, I want to state what water baptism is according to Scripture, and how it should be done using Christ as the example. Also, who can be baptized and who can’t.
Christ submission for water baptism
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.”
Christ always made himself the perfect example and model every true child of his should follow. He submitted himself to be baptized by John the Baptist even though John wished to be baptized by Him, but Christ knew the importance of the scriptures and that it should be fulfilled, allowed it before he started his ministry. He practiced what he commands us to so we can have a clear understanding of his precept and how it must be done.
Who should be baptized?
From the account of Mark gospel, Jesus said,
“…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” – Mark 16:15a
Those that should partake in water baptism according to the text above are those that have believed the gospel. This was Christ’s charge to his disciples before his ascension into heaven “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”. So we must first believe in Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins before we can be baptized. We also saw that clearly while John the Baptist baptized the people at Jordan when they came to him confessing their sins. Repentance from sin comes first before water baptism because it signifies being dead to sin, buried with Christ, and resurrection to a new life. We cannot be baptized with our sins present neither can baptism take sins away.
This then means that, if for any reason someone was baptized before repentance, then it must be repeated when that person comes to the knowledge of his or her sin at any point in life because the first was not according to Christ’s command. We must be fully aware of ourselves and have gotten to the age where we can acknowledge our sins, knowing right from wrong, and can sincerely and penitently ask Jesus to forgive us our sins.
Therefore, water baptism is not for newborn, infants, toddlers, sinners, etc. It is for boys and girls, men and women who can and have acknowledged their sins and have come to God in genuine repentance.
How water baptism should be done
From the account of Matthew 28:19 Christ said,
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Water baptism should be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The Godhead plays an all-important role in the life of every believer because the salvation they received came by the mercy of the Father through the death of the Son and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. These Three are united in One. After this is spoken, the body goes down into the water. It is important to note that the whole body is completely immersed in water and brought out ONCE. The nostrils and mouth of the person are properly closed so that water doesn’t pass through.
The wrong way of water baptism
× Baptism by the sprinkling of water
× Baptism by pouring a handful or a measure of water on the forehead, or any part of the body
× Baptism by dipping thrice in water — in the name of the Father (one), and of the Son (two), and of the Holy Ghost (three)
× Baptism by dipping in water once before saying, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”
Water baptism is a public declaration to the world of your decision to walk with God in the newness of life and everyone who has turned a new life can be baptized in water. It symbolizes being dead to sin and being raised again to a new life of righteousness in Christ. It also symbolizes been dead with Christ in his burial and alive with him in his resurrection. Without it, a believer can’t truly and completely identify with Christ. That is the reason for its importance and more so, to be done as commanded by Christ who showed us the pattern.
√ Christ thought repentance before baptism
This repentance can come when a man or woman, boy or girl becomes aware of his/her sin and genuinely ask God for forgiveness with an intention of not going back to it.
Have you been baptized? “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:16
If you have not believed in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and turn from your sins, you cannot fulfill this mandate of Christ except you want to do it the wrong way. But if you have turned from your sins already and still not baptized, you can meet your teacher or leaders in the church and tell them of your readiness to be baptized in water. This shows your obedience to God your Father who has commanded those who believe to get baptized.