Salvation

Baptism in water

Baptism in water

The baptism of our commitment to God


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
John the Baptist

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Baptism in water is closely associated with repentance and baptism in the Holy Spirit, and all are associated with belief in Christ. Both repentance and baptism in water are something required of us – something we do. Baptism with the Spirit is something Christ does – he alone is the one who “baptizeth with the Holy Ghost”.

The concept then is very simple: we do something which God has asked, and God does something which he has promised. We commit ourselves to God, and God commits himself to us. This summarises the whole gospel of salvation through Christ.

A binding freewill agreement between two parties requires acceptance and confirmation from both sides. A commitment from both parties is required. In the case of the salvation agreement between God and man, two baptisms are required.

Water baptism is a burial or immersion in water. It is an act of belief, an act of repentance, an act of obedience, and an act of commitment. It is a public demonstration before man and God that we recognise our sin, and are dying to our old life and burying it. It is also a request for the new life Christ has promised in return. It is the humbling God requires for the exaltation he promises. And in repentance, baptism, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, we follow the pattern of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Jesus himself was baptised, and as he preached the gospel he directed his disciples to baptise others. He taught that baptism in water was from God, and rebuked those who were not baptised for their unbelief. He commissioned his disciples to preach baptism to all the world, as part of the gospel:

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:15-16

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19

And in his discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus explained the necessity of being born of water and of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5

On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles were asked by the convicted crowd, “What shall we do?” we read

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

And the response of those who listened is recorded as

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41

This same response – of baptism in water – is recorded again and again throughout the book of Acts, even where the details of the disciples’ preaching are not fully recorded. It was the response of the Samaritans when Philip “preached Christ unto them” and preached “the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ”. It was the response of the Ethiopian eunuch when Philip “preached unto him Jesus”. It was the response of Lydia and her household in Macedonia when she “attended to the things which were spoken of Paul”. It was the response of the jailor and his household when Paul and Silas told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and “spake unto him the word of the Lord”. It was the response of Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and his household, and those of his fellow Corinthians who “hearing believed, and were baptized”.

It was commanded of the Gentiles, Cornelius and his household, by Peter, after they received the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues. It was the response of the Ephesians when Paul explained to them the need to believe in Christ and receive the Holy Spirit. And it was the response of Paul himself, then called Saul, when in his blindness and unsaved state, Ananias was sent to him by Jesus that he might be healed and filled with the Holy Spirit:

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Acts 9:17-18

And the instruction of Ananias to Paul, recalled by Paul later in the book of Acts, is the message Jesus would give to us all:

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16

If you would like to follow the example and instruction of Jesus and his disciples, you can also be baptised today. Contact us to arrange a time and place. Why wait any longer?

Author

Mark Wattchow

Mark Wattchow is the pastor of the Christchurch Revival Fellowship in New Zealand. The thoughts and understandings expressed here are solely his own.

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