Baptism is an event in the walk of salvation of a believer. In this event therefore, something happens, it is not a sign. Additionally, it is an event entered into by one who believes, therefor it is an event only rightly able to be entered into by a person who is able to repent and express faith in Jesus.
This therefor exempts child baptism, (children that are baptised are merely baptised into a community of people, the Church, there is no baptism into Christ). It also insists on sincere repentance and submission to the Lordship of Christ in faith. In that these ‘prerequisites’ are demonstrated Baptism is a one-off event. Regardless of one’s latter sins or growth in understanding or maturity of faith, baptism is required only once. Scripture does not give a basis for infant baptism by example or its possibility of the requirement of repentance. Additionally we may go on to ask in the case of an infant what exactly is being put to death or cleansed?
Baptism, by definition of the word, is full submersion. In Greek the word baptism is used terms of putting a solid completely into a liquid. When a ship is decommissioned and sunk in the ocean the word baptism is used. It is also used of putting fabric such as wool into a liquid dye for colouring. The word was never translated into the English language but trans literated so that the meaning was not specifically defined.
Baptism should not be thought of as just a symbol, or a dramatic representation of the Gospel or a personal witness to others, in fact baptism is valid with just 3 people, the baptisee, the baptiser and most importantly God. Baptism in essence, is The Lords work based upon repentance and faith.
There are some very significant things taking place in a baptism and we can simplify it by thinking of it as a Bath and a Burial.
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ Acts 22:16
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
Baptism cleanses us of our sins in our conscious, we come to Christ through repentAnce and faith and as Romans 8 says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Baptism is the event of this cleansing.
In baptism our conscious is cleansed from our sins, from our former ways. We no longer carry the shame and the guilt of our sins before God he cleanses us.
Secondly as we are called to put to death the ways of our old self the baptism of a believer is a burial in the water. A burial in which we are resurrected to life in Jesus.
“having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” Colossians 2: 12,13
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6: 3,4
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died [a]in vain.” Galatians 2 :20,2.
Baptism, in a very real sense build on all that we have learnt so far in this weeks teaching. The events that take place in Baptism is of the unseen realm and is spiritual in nature. It is therefore very important that the baptisee is aware of what is happening at Baptism as it adds richness and victory to the life of the disciple.
Baptism is a DELIVERANCE from the dominion of Satan. We are baptised into Christ's death, buried with Him and raised VICTORIOUSLY with Him. (Romans 6:3-11 & Colossians 2:11-12) Just as the Israelites were baptised into Moses and out of Pharoah's reach when they crossed the Red Sea, so when you are baptised you are delivered from the territory of Satan. You can say: "Satan, you attended my funeral. You have no more dominion over me."
The early Church expressed an eagerness to be baptised and when we consider the delight in being cleaned and the urgency of attending to the dead body it makes perfect sens and should continue to be a mark of every new believer. Throughout the book of Acts there was no such thing as an unbaptised believer Acts 2:37-42, 8:12, 8:36-38, 10:47-48, 16:13-15, 16:32-34, 18:8, 19:4-5, 22:12-16 but great encouragement to the need and importance of the cleansing of conscious, the proclamation of your life now dead to the world and alive in Christ as we identify our lives in Christ.
Matt 28:19 Jesus' command: " Go.... and make disciples..., baptising them .... " Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved. John 3:5 You must be born of water and of Spirit. Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of your sins
Acts 22:16 Get up ! Be baptised , and wash your sins away .