Why should I be baptized?

This is part 1 in a series on baptism I will be posting over the next few days.

Why should I be baptized?

People ask me this question with increasing frequency. Some ask because they were baptized as infants. Some ask because they have never been taught what the Bible teaches about baptism. Some ask because they have been professing Christians for a number of years and are embarrassed about being baptized so “late” in their Christian life.

I want to make one thing crystal clear from the beginning. Baptism does not save you. The Lord Jesus Christ saves you based on His death on the cross. He saves you completely by His grace, through no work of your own (Ephesians 2:8-9). There will be believers in heaven who have never been baptized (Luke 23:39-43). Baptism is not the most important issue in your Christian life, believing the gospel is (1 Corinthians 1:17). However, you should be baptized.

Baptism is directly commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an essential element of making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Baptism is an issue of obeying the Lord. Churches that do not require their members to be baptized are disobeying the Lord. Christians who refuse to be baptized are disobeying the Lord.

Baptism is also a beautiful symbol of our death and resurrection with Jesus Christ. When we are immersed into the water and raised up again, it is a visible picture of our spiritual union with Jesus in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).

Baptism is the visible means of entrance into the community of faith. In Jesus’ day, it was a sign of identification with a group. So, throughout the Bible, when men and women believed in Jesus, they were baptized to publicly proclaim their faith (Acts 2:41; 8:12-13, 36-38; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:3-5). I find it interesting that when the gospel first came to the Gentiles, Peter argued that the waters of baptism could not be withheld from those who so obviously had received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:47). For the early church, baptism was expected, not avoided. I can only think of one individual who was not baptized after believing in Jesus – the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). I suspect that if his circumstances would have permitted, he would have been baptized too!

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