Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching the to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
What is water baptism?
Water baptism is a commandment from Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Water baptism is for believers. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Water baptism is by full immersion. The greek word 'baptizo' means to immerse or overwhelm.
Water baptism is a symbol of a christian dying to the sinful self, burying this old life and gaining a new life just as Christ died, was buried and rose again. (Romans 6:4)
Water baptism is an outward testimony of what Christ has done for us on the inside.
When we baptize, we baptize in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Ghost.
In Acts 8, Philip comes across an Ethiopian man (a Eunuch) who was reading the scripture and not understanding it. The Eunuch invited Philip to explain the scripture to him. When they came to some water the Eunuch wanted to get baptized and because he chose to believe in Jesus Christ, Philip baptized him immediately. The Spirit then caught Philip away after the baptism.
Must we be baptized in water to be saved?
The thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) admitted that he deserved his crucifixion, while Jesus had done nothing wrong. He believed in Jesus and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus told him that he would be in paradise with Jesus that day. There was no time to be water baptized but yet he could still go to heaven.
In 1 John 1:8-9, it states that confessing our sins is what is what is needed to be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. There is no mention of water baptism here.
Likewise in Romans 10:9-10, it states that we must confess with our mouth and believe with our heart and we can be saved. Again no mention of water baptism.
Why do some people believe in baptismal regeneration?
Some people will argue that we need to be water baptised in order to be saved. They will use verses like Mark 16:15-16 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved' to prove their point.
Another verse is John 3:5 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' But in this example (see the context John 3:1-7) the water is not referring to water baptism but rather the physical birth from a mother's womb. We know this because Jesus talks about flesh giving birth to flesh and the Spirit giving birth to spirit (John 3:6). So Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus that being born again means that the Spirit has to impart something spiritual in us.
Acts 2:38 '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.'
In this example Peter is referring to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, water baptism is again an external confession of an inward experience. Repentance leads to baptism and baptism showed in the Bible days that the Christians had received salvation.
Acts 22:16 'And now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away they sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'
Because this verse talks about being baptized and having your sins washed away, some would say that the water washes away your sin. However, only the Blood of Jesus can wash away our sins.
Acts 10:43 'through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.'
It is only what Christ has done for us on the cross that can save us. It was never meant to be anything that we have done that can earn us salvation. And it was always meant to be a simple confession with our mouth and belief in our heart that allows us to receive the salvation which Christ has already paid for with His life. Christ broke himself that in our brokenness we can be restored, healed and forgiven.