In order to understand the reason for being water baptized, it is important to carefully consider what the Bible says about it: Jesus himself was baptized. He was not a sinner, yet he humbled himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow.
At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.” Mark 1:9 MSG
Water baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for Christian life.
Then he said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned.” Mark 16:16 MSG
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the dead.
“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive – right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14 MSG
It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. We bury the “old life” and we rise to walk in a “new life”. Baptism the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“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.” Romans 6:4
Baptism also connects us to the “body of Christ” – his people in the earth. In baptism there is a real sense of being joined with other believers, not just participating in an individual act of our own spiritual journey.
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
As per the example of Jesus – by being immersed in water. The word "Baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse. In Hebrew it is referred to as a MIKVEH - an immersion.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16
Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion under water. The book of Acts shows us that this was the norm for every believer.
“Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came up out of the water…” Acts 8:38,39
Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ. When Paul writes to the believers in Rome, he assumes that all of them have been baptized (Romans 6). The one requirement for baptism is belief in Christ!
“Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Acts 2:41 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
We believe in baptizing children when they are old enough to understand what it means and make a personal declaration of belief.
Believers in the New Testament were baptized the same day. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, he can be, and is encouraged to be baptized!
“Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Acts 2:41
“Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:35-39