Baptism is necessary
for salvation - it is the
"washing of water by the word"
cp Mark 16v15,16; Acts 8v12
Baptism must be preceded by a belief in the Truth, as shown above. It is an outward expression of an inward belief - and it is a demonstration that the one baptized is "dead to sin", Romans 6v2, and is in this way joined with Christ by being "baptized into his death" (v3). And "as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father...we also should walk in newness of life" (v4).
Baptism is IMMERSION, not "sprinkling", which was originally a pagan Roman rite, and was subsequently adopted into the apostate "church" teaching. It is therefore another example of the evil of that system of iniquity revealed in Revelation 17v5 -
"MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" -
link to 'God', 'spirit', 'mortal', 'devil', 'satan'. The process of apostacy is traced out in 'departure'. We have to ask, what repentance could any new-born babe have? It is a mockery of the Divine command, and only came into vogue because of the erroneous belief in "the immortal soul". It shows how one error leads to another, and illustrates how careful we must be.
Being "born of (Grk.'ek'= 'out of') water" and then at the resurrection "of spirit" is essential for us to "enter the kingdom of God", John 3v3-5. John the Baptist "was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, BECAUSE THERE WAS MUCH WATER THERE", John 3v23. "Much water" was needed for IMMERSIONS. Note that "Jesus, when he was baptized,
WENT UP straightway OUT OF THE WATER", Matthew 3v16. Cp v15 -
"thus it becometh US to fulfil all righteousness". Baptism is for those who are "dead to sin", which is not applicable to a new-born babe. The dead are BURIED. "Therefore we are BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH", Romans 6v4. Belief comes before baptism - Ephesians 5v26.
Baptism is also a "dyeing" process. W.E. Vine - 'Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words' writes -
"To baptize, primarily a frequentative form of 'bapto', to dip, was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment". Belief in the Truth followed by immersion is thus a "dyeing" process.
The blood of Christ figuratively dyes the water, making the immersion a true baptism. The end of the life-long process thus begun for the redeemed is in Revelation 7v14 - "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have WASHED THEIR ROBES, and MADE THEM WHITE IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB". Cp ch.1v5 - "Unto him that loved us, and WASHED US from our sins IN HIS OWN BLOOD" - "THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" - 1st Peter 1v19.
The process begun at baptism must be a continual service to God - see Romans 6v3 mg "we are baptized" - v4 "we are buried" - v6 "our old man is crucified"-"For he that is dead is freed from sin" (verse 7). This dedication would have no beginning however if we were not "born out of water". Such follows a belief in the Truth, including God's promises, focalized in the Sacrifice of Christ - see links to 'promises' and 'sacrifice' , bottom of page.
It is natural to question why it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized. It was not for sins committed, for He was "without sin", Hebrews 4v14,15 - cp John 8v46; 1st Peter 2v21,22. The answer, which all false theories of the Sacrifice of Christ fail to grasp, is this:
His baptism demonstrated the repudiation of His inherited "sinful flesh", which repudiation was later sealed in His sacrifice - Luke 12v50.
Note the underlying message of John the Baptist - "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" - Matthew 3v3 quoted from Isaiah 40v3 - is Isaiah 40v6-8:
"What shall I cry? All flesh is grass……..
the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever". For true baptism we must endorse this principle. Any other immersion is unable to confer the "righteousness" of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 3v15 -
link to 'committees'.
Note the analogy by the Apostle Paul between baptism and circumcision on the 8th day, Colossians 2v10-15 - link to 'grace'- page 2. The principle is two-fold - i.e. the cutting off of the flesh and faith in God. See further on this important matter Jeremiah 4v4; Romans 2v25-29. Jesus preached "the gospel of the kingdom", Matthew 4v23 etc. But after His sacrifice had made the future fulfilment of the promises sure, the disciples "preached the gospel..the things concerning the kingdom of God, AND THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, (and) they were baptized, both men and women" - Acts 8v25,12; 28v31.
"The Name of Jesus Christ" involves the truth concerning His sacrifice for sin, without which the future fulfilment of the promises of eternal inheritance would have been impossible. We must be "baptized..in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" -
Acts 2v38; 8v16; 10v48; Luke 24v47;
Matt.28v19 (orig.text-link to God - p.2).
It is instructive to look at an occasion when "certain disciples" found at Ephesus were found to have had a defective understanding of the Truth. They had not understood that "John's baptism" involved "believ(ing) on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus", Acts 19v3,4. And in v5,
"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus".
In contrast to this, we read in Acts 8v24-28 of a disciple named Apollos, who was "mighty in the scriptures...instructed in the way of the Lord..and spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord", although "knowing only the baptism of John". It was unnecessary for him to be re-immersed (baptized), for his baptism had been effectual in the sight of God.
All that remained was for him to have "expounded unto him the way of God MORE PERFECTLY". There is only "one baptism", Ephesians 4v5 - it can only occur once. Then we "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that (we) may grow thereby", 1st Peter 2v2.