Baptism What When Why Who?
What is Baptism?
What is this rather strange undertaking Christians do once in their life?
MY Short Definition;
Baptism is the public identification of the believer with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. It is a testimonial representation of that which has already occurred within the believer when they have believed by faith that Jesus had paid the full penalty of their sins.
They had first died to themselves, the old nature is buried, and they have risen in newness of life.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as werebaptized into Jesus 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 newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.Romans 6:1-7
The first true baptism occurred when you died to yourself and gave your life to Christ Jesus.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
None of the good works could have saved you, did you notice that last line?
for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
When you believed at that very moment by your faith of what Jesus had done for you, the Bible teaches that you were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. This is why Paul wrote 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
John the Baptist also spoke of this occurring when Jesus would come.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Those who believe the Gospel will be Baptized with the Holy Ghost, those who will not believe it shall be baptized with fire.
One has died to himself, and rose to newness of life, the Other Shall die, be buried and in HELL lift up his eyes.
- There will be a resurrection of life and there will be a resurrection of damnation (Jn 5:29)
- Those who take part of that first resurrection are deemed Blessed and Holy, and will live eternally with God in heaven. (Rev 20:6)
- Those not a part of the first resurrection will suffer a second death in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. And there they shall remain evermore. (Rev 21:8)
For God will indeed purge his floor and gather his wheat, but he will burn the chaff of this world who will deny that perfect gift of atonement for their sins.
Those who foolishly hate God have chosen to suffer their end with those fallen from heaven, and so the fire will indeed be “unquenchable”.
But those who choose life, those who will believe God at his word, these are born again, they have now risen with Christ.
So, what we first see is that the true and real Baptism has already occurred in the heart of the believer. They trusted the Gospel of Christ, and the Spirit if God came into them the moment they believe the Gospel. The Sprit of God is given as ‘the earnest of our inheritance” in Ephesians 1:14, in other words, he is given as a down payment promise to secure our future hope.
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Baptism is that which occurred in REALITY the moment you believed the Gospel and were saved.
The Baptism of water, spoken of by the eunuch, the jailer and all others, is that outward testimony of that which has occurred inwardly.
When Is Baptism?
Let’s give a Biblical consideration as to When this outward baptism is to be attended to.
When should a person be Baptized?
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 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. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
12 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. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 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.
17 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. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
What do we see in those passages, when was it that each person was Baptised, before or after they believed?
Phillip told the Eunuch that he could not be baptized UNTIL he Believed the Gospel. It was his ONLY hinderance.
Just in these passages alone tells you plainly that there is no cause to Baptize an infant. In fact, according to the scriptures they are directly excluded from Baptism as we may identify in the last point of WHO can be Baptised!
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Why is Baptism?
To fulfill all righteousness
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
It is commanded.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 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.
Who Should Be Baptised?
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 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. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
There are indeed quite a few natural questions we come to ask about this, somewhat, unusual act we are to give consideration to in the Bible. Firstly, not everyone is expected to be baptized, not all people are ‘unhindered’ from the waters of baptism.
The Eunuch in this passage clearly tells of just this very thing assumed in the question;
“what doth hinder me to be baptized”
And so we ask naturally that final question. Who Should Be Baptised?
Well, Phillip gives to us an indication of that which may hinder a person from Baptism and what we find is quite telling of who is NOT excluded from Baptism;
- Non-jews are NOT excluded. This is important in our consideration, because you see Jesus was a Jew who came for the salvation of Israel in particular. The Gospel was “for the Jew first”. John reminds us in his Gospel account, that Jesus “came unto his own”. But this man (the Eunuch) is a servant of the Queen of Ethiopia and there is nothing in the text that would permit us to consider him as a Jew. And so Non-Jews are not excluded from Baptism.
- The Morally imperfect are also not excluded from Baptism. In the verses earlier the Eunuch asks “Of whom speaketh the prophet this, of himself or of some other man” (v34). The place he was reading from was that incredible passage of Isaiah 53 written so clearly of Christ some 700 years before his coming into the world as a man. In the passage the Ethipian was reading it speaks of one who shall “justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11). Clearly then, ONLY THEY WHO HAVE INIQUITIES are included for the potential of Baptism. Those who are perfect, they are EXCLUDED.
- But then in verse 37 Phillip provides the answer more directly; If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. Those who believe that Jesus died for their sins, all those who believe this with all their heart, are NOT Excluded from Baptism.
- All people potentially included.
- All imperfect people.
- All who believe.
THOSE EXCLUDED ARE;
- All who believe themselves to be without sin.
- All who will not believe the Gospel.
Lets consider another event in the book of Acts and see what is found;
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Again, we see the same prerequisite going before the baptism of the jailor and his family. They believed the Gospel, they first believed and then they were Baptised.
Is there anything else?
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
John baptized the baptism of repentance, this was John’s baptism (See Acts 19:4)
John was that prophet that was written of centuries before he was born, he was the one charged to “prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight” (Matt 3:3 referring back to Isa 40:3).
What sort of preparation was it? Surely it was not a road building project. What was it?
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
There had to be a preparation in the heart, that is, a heart of repentance. A heart of contrition, a heart that turned away from unbelief and come to believe the Gospel.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
So, this is the sum related to the question of who;
- All of mankind are included in the opportunity of baptism.
- All who are SINNERS are included in the potential for baptism
- All who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died for their sins can be baptised.