When we become Christians we start our spiritual life. The next step is to be baptised. Let us then look at the subject of baptism by asking a series of questions and seeking to answer them from the Bible.
Who Should Be Baptised?
Before He returned to heaven the LORD Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples saying “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). In doing this he established that all disciples (Christians) should be baptised. This order was immediately followed by the disciples and on the day of Pentecost when those who accepted his message were baptised (Acts 2:41a).
How Should Someone Be Baptised?
The word used in the New Testament which is translated baptism has its root meaning in the process whereby cloth was dipped in a liquid to make sure that it was fully dyed. Thus baptism means that someone is fully immersed in water. Accordingly, in the New Testament we see that when the Ethiopian Eunuch believed the message about Jesus preached to him by Philip both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptised him. (Acts 8:38a).
Also we note John was baptising in John 3:23b where “there was plenty of water”.
Does Baptism Make Me A Christian?
No it does not. To become a Christian you must “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
What Does Baptism Signify?
In Romans 6:1-6 Paul uses the imagery conveyed by the act of baptism to show the change that takes place in a person’s life when they became a Christian. This person no longer wants to live for sin, but to live for righteousness. So just as the LORD Jesus finished with sin by dying on the cross so we show our desire to be finished with sin by “being buried with him through baptism into death” (v4a). Then we show our commitment to living in a new life (v4c) when we are raised out of the water; “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father” (v4b). When we are baptised we are publicly telling everyone that we are finished with living for ourselves and now want to live for God.
If I Was Christened Or Baptised Before I Became A Christian Do I Still Need To Be Baptised?
The aforementioned Scriptures all appear to set the order of first becoming a Christian and then being baptised. Accordingly, it would seem right to stick to this order. Therefore, it is inferred that, upon becoming a true believer in the LORD Jesus we should be baptised regardless of what has happened in the past.
How Long After Becoming A Christian Should I Be Baptised?
Having heard the message concerning Jesus, the Ethiopian eunuch says to Philip “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?” (Acts 8:36b). Philip then tests to confirm that the eunuch now truly believes (v37) and, upon his confession of faith baptises him (v38). Similarly the preaching of Peter on the Day of Pentecost indicates that baptism follows on from conversion. Peter’s words were “Repent, and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38a). When we become Christians then we should immediately move on to considering being baptised.
Where Should I Be Baptised?
In baptism we give a public display concerning what has happened privately in our hearts. We are telling everybody that we now belong to the LORD Jesus. Baptism should therefore take place in public.
It should also be associated with a local church. This is because they are the people who by meeting together publicly confess that they belong to Jesus who is their LORD. In baptism we do not signify that we are lone rangers, but rather that we are now part of a great group of people, called the church who follow the LORD Jesus. This is seen 1 Cor. 10:1-2 where the nation of Israel were all together in committing themselves to the leadership of Moses. This is seen as being baptised into Moses. So whether we are baptised in a baptistry, a river or the sea it should be done in connection to a local church.
What Should I Do After I Have Been Baptised?
You should continue to witness for Him. It is interesting that baptism signified the commencement of the public service of the LORD Jesus (see Mark 1:9-15).
Similarly with Saul (Paul) after he was baptised, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20). For ourselves one crucial aspect of continuing this witness is to be a member of a local church.