Make a Donation
About The Author
Holy Day Calendar
Free Online Bibles
Bible Reading Plan
|Get Daily Bible Study on Facebook||Get Daily Bible Study on Twitter Follow @WayneBlank|
The New You
by Wayne Blank
Baptism symbolizes the death of the old self (by repentance and the turning to a new life), burial (by complete immersion in water, just as a body is completely immersed in the earth) and the resurrection (the coming up out from under the water) to eternal life for those who repent:
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of The Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His." (Romans 6:3-5 RSV)
The English word baptize is derived from the original Greek word of the New Testament which literally meant to immerse in water. As the Scriptures above make clear, Jesus Christ considered baptism to be an important act, so much so that He insisted on it when John hesitated to baptize Him, as an example for those who claim to follow Him. Jesus' baptism was then done in The Jordan River, perhaps not far from the place shown in the photograph. The usual order was repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him." (Acts 2:38-39 RSV)
Baptism was and is an act of repentance (the only exception was Jesus Christ, Who was baptized as an example only - He had absolutely nothing to repent of), made by those capable of making such a decision for themselves, whether someone who discovered the Truth as an adult, or someone whose parents brought them up in the knowledge of the Lord so that they could make the decision to be baptized when they were mature enough, and responsible enough, to make such a commitment. There is no record in the Bible of infants or young children being baptized - nor is there reason to fear that if a child were to die before being baptized that he or she is somehow forever "lost" (see The Last Day).
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38 RSV)
Any baptized believer who was living a life in keeping with obedience to God was "qualified" to baptize (Saul, who became the apostle Paul, was baptized by Ananias, a "lay member" of the church - Acts 9:10), however in most cases those who baptized were also teachers. It often depended on circumstances. It's a surprise to many that Jesus Christ did more water baptisms than John the Baptist, although Jesus' students (disciple literally means student) did the actual baptizing for Jesus, in Jesus' Name i.e. by the authority given to them by Jesus, just like a police officer might say, "Stop in the name of the law":
"After this Jesus and His disciples went into the land of Judea; there He remained with them and baptized ... Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John, although Jesus Himself did not baptize, but only His disciples" (John 3:22, 4:1-2 RSV)
Fact Finder: How and when did Christian baptism begin?