IS BAPTISM NECESSARY?
Christ’s life is an example every Christian must aspire to follow. His teachings and actions we must inculcate into our lives. One of the teachings of Christ embodies baptism; in fact he himself underwent this symbolical ritual. It was obligatory for him to fulfill all his followers will be looked upon to fulfill. Christ was tempted, he prayed constantly to the Father, he fasted, he shared the good news and he was baptized etc. these are part of the essentials that make up a Christian life.
Jesus words in John 3:5 clearly placed a final decree on the importance of Baptism. Unless one is baptized of water and the Spirit the kingdom of God will elude him. For a person to truly become a Christian, he must be baptized. Paul told us this in Galatians 3:27; for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. To profess truly we are of Christ, we must be baptized into him, only then will our new life in him be complete.
SYMBOLISM OF BAPTISM
Many a time we ask ourselves why such emphasis on baptism. The human race from Eden has been stained with sin. The world itself is sin. From the foundation of the world has always been the plan of redemption. God through his son Jesus provided a new life for any who will believe. Sin brings death, death which transcends more than the normal death we know (eternal death).
Christ’s took our punishments for we are all sinners and died for our redemption. Baptism evolves from faith, faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. It is a personal agreement that Christ’s death is for us. Paul in Romans 6:1-4 encourages the withdrawing from sin. Paul asks us why should we who are dead in sin (through believing in Christ and being baptized) remain in sin. Verse3: know you not so many of us as we are baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father; even so we also should walk in the newness of life.
Baptism points at the cross. It brings back to our heart the sacrifice of Jesus and like Paul said, the newness of life baptism affords should be cherished and worked up. Worked upon through daily walk with God.
It also symbolizes the washing away of our sins through the death of Christ Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them ‘repent and be baptize every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. The beautiful symbolism of baptism clearly directs us to the cross. Baptism provides us the gift of partaking in the death and resurrection of Christ.
WHO ARE MEANT TO BE BAPTIZED
The Bible provided a good answer to this question. Many of the churches around us have failed to see that which the Bible directs. The clergy men continues to lead men astray, yet the Bible gave us answers. Many of our infants are baptized in these churches, but is this what the Bible directed. Luke 2: 21-28 told us our creator and redeemer was taken to God’s temple in infancy to be dedicated. If Baptism of infants is ideal, it would have been performed on Christ. Christ’s ministry also touched children, he told his disciples to allow the little ones come to him. He carried them and blessed them; he did not baptize any among them. In fact the whole stories of baptism scenarios in the bible involved only Adults. why only adults?
Acts 2:38; then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Peter requested all who are to be baptized to repent first. Repenting can only happen when one believes. We see a choice in Peter’s plea, it is of the hearers to believe or not to, there must be a choice. Choice always comes from understanding and it is only when one welcomes the good news through understanding first, then being baptized then will the Holy Spirit dwell securely in his heart. A heart that chooses Christ is always opened to the Holy Spirit and it is renewed. Infants lack this choice and the act of believing. At a tender age, the choices of the infants are left to the Parents. In the Bible we witnessed men and women being baptized because the first believed and then chose to be baptized.
In Mark 16:16 “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. The Master himself declares baptism is for those who hears and believes and not infant who neither understands or believe at tender ages.
Acts 2:37-41 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren what shall we do? And Peter said to them, repent and be baptized every one of you…
Acts8:12-13 but when they believed Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Christ, they were baptized both men and female. Here again the People believed after hearing. They believed and were baptized.
In Acts 8:26-38, the Ethiopian asked Philip what will prevent him from being baptized as they passed a body of water. Philip answered “If thou believeth in all thy heart, thou mayest and he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Philip showed us the criteria for baptism, simply by believing whole heartedly that Christ is God’s son and our redeemer (This infants cannot do) .it us not of parents to make the choice of baptism for their children, the heavenly race is a personal race. Parents should prepare the way for their children to follow, pointing Christ to them. Of age and with their personal decision will they choose to follow Christ through believing and being baptized?
HOW SHOULD ONE BE BAPTIZED
The teachings of the world contradict that which God’s word teaches regarding baptism. The word baptism comes from the Greek word Baptizo( meaning to immerse or to dip) in Matthew 3:16-17 we read of baptism of immersion. 16. And when Jesus was baptized he went up immediately from the water and beholds the heavens were opened. Christ came up out of the water, this fulfilled the death and burial with Christ Paul told us of. The Bible did not teach Christ was sprinkled upon but instead Christ fulfilled the righteousness that points to his death through being immersed and raised from the water.
This same baptism of immersion was carried out by Philip on the Ethiopian. Acts 8: 39 and when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip.
The death and burial with Christ is signified by the going down into the water, with the water covering the entire body. Rising with Christ is signified by the coming out of the water……..a new life in Christ.
DOES THE WAY BAPTISM IS DONE MATTER?
EPHESIANS 4:5 ONE LORD, ONE FAITH ONE BAPTISM