Today many churches sprinkle infants on the head and call it baptism. When we look at baptism in the Bible this is not what Jesus spoke about. When the Bible speaks of baptism it tells us of adult men and women who make a deliberate choice to be baptised and are completely covered in water; a good example of this is Acts chapter 8 verse 36:
As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Why do we have to be completely covered by water you may well ask? God chose immersion in water because it has a powerful way of showing us that our sins must be forgiven. Believers realise that they need saving from sin and require Gods grace.They go under the water at baptism and their sins are washed away along with their old way of life and come back up out of the water to a new life. In baptism believers identify with the death of Jesus who died for us. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, they rise from the water to a new life as described in Romans 6 verse 4:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Immersion, a burial in water, is necessary as a symbol of the death of our old life, and coming out of the water is a symbol of the beginning of a new life in Christ. It also means that just as Christ was raised from the dead to eternal life, we also have hope of rising from the dead to eternal life, at his return. Romans 6 and verse 5 says:
If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Baptism is therefore an act of union with Christ, both in his death and in his resurrection. By this union we are brought into the family of God, the household of faith. We can now call God our Father, and serve him as His sons and daughters. Galatians 3 verse 26-29 says:
There is among us no barrier of class, colour or gender—we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Through baptism we are “in Christ”, heirs of the promises made to Abraham:
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
There remains then for all of us the question, “Why am I not truly baptised?” Let nothing stand in your way. If you truly believe “the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12), follow him along the path which leads to all the blessings of that Kingdom.
Christian baptism is by immersion in water, and must follow knowledge, understanding and belief in the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of death and resurrection, and following baptism the believer begins a new life in the family of God.
Are you wise enough to follow the command of Jesus to believe and be baptised? A blessing awaits if you are as God will bless you with life for evermore when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom on earth as we are told in Romans 6 verse 23:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.