Biblical Baptism: 3 Important Truths About Baptism

There are different views concerning the meaning and importance of baptism. Some think that baptism can get them to Heaven. Of course, this belief is in disagreement with the Bible. At the same time, others have different methods of baptism. To avoid error in this doctrine, we must carefully examine what the Bible says about biblical baptism.

Biblical baptism is the first step of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. God commanded us to be baptized after salvation (Matthew 28:19.) Many believers claim they want to follow Christ. However, they can’t even obey His command to be baptized. Even the Lord Jesus Christ set an example for the believers to follow.

13Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:13-15

The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t need to be saved before John baptized Him since He is the savior. However, He submitted Himself to baptism “to fulfill all righteousness.” As Christ is about to commence His work, He gave an example that believers should follow. If Christ submitted himself to baptism, then believers must also be baptized.

Biblical baptism is also a public confession that believers identify with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Biblical baptism represents the gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-7.) Therefore, our baptism signifies that we believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of course, human eyes can never observe the salvation of a soul. However, biblical baptism is a public testimony that a person believes in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21.)

Biblical baptism: It is not necessary for salvation.

Biblical baptism is a beautiful work that a believer must do. Yet the Bible explicitly mentions that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9.) No amount of our work can save us from the penalty of sin. This includes baptism. Good works should come after salvation, not precede it (Ephesians 2:10.)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

Paul reiterates that the gospel is what makes the difference in salvation. Baptism has nothing to do with getting saved.

  • Baptism does not cleanse sin (1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5.)
  • Baptism cannot give us the new birth (John 1:13, 1 Peter 1:23.)

Believing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the basis of our salvation, not baptism. Paul explicitly mentions this to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 15:3-4.) He also separates the gospel and baptism.

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1 Corinthians 1:17

Therefore, a person can get to Heaven without being baptized if he believes in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The penitent thief on the cross is the perfect example of someone who went to Heaven without baptism (Luke 23:43.)

Biblical baptism: It is for believers only.

The Ethiopian Eunuch is a perfect example of a person’s salvation and baptism in the Bible. The Eunuch asked Philip what hindered him from getting baptized (Acts 8:36.) Philip told him he could be baptized if he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Acts 8:37

The Bible teaches that salvation precedes baptism. For this reason, it is unbiblical and illogical to baptize babies. Salvation and baptism are choices to be made. A person must understand the gospel before trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. And he must also understand the meaning and purpose of baptism before he submits to water baptism.

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:12

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 18:8

Biblical baptism: It is by immersion only.

Baptizo” means to immerse, dip, or put into. When the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, he and Philip went into the water (Acts 8:38.) This means the pool of water where the Eunuch was baptized had enough volume to contain two men. John the Baptist baptized his followers in the Jordan River. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was baptized, went up out of the water (Matthew 3:16.)

And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

John 3:23

Since baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, it only makes sense that the believer is immersed underwater to represent the burial of Christ. Therefore, biblical baptism is immersion, not sprinkling.

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