Doctrinal Beliefs

What You Need to Know About Baptism

What You Need to Know About Baptism
IS WATER baptism essential to salvation? What about the "thief on the cross"? Was he saved without it? What is the proper form, or mode sprinkling, pouring or immersion? Should babies and children be baptized?

Suppose you were baptized by a minister you have since lost confidence in. Should you be baptized over again? Suppose you were baptized "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost [Spirit|." Should you be baptized again "in the name of Jesus" only?

Should one be baptized IMMEDIATELY, or only "after a six months' probation"? Must the ordinance
be performed by an ordained minister?
What You Need to Know About Baptism

Introduction

Are there many roads to salvation? Churches and denominations have many practices that differ greatly. Though all claim to be right, each takes a different pathway. Even their baptismal ceremonies are different. Some sprinkle or pour. Others fully immerse believers in a pool or river. Some groups baptize babies, while others do not. Still others believe there is no need for establishing a relationship with God, what comes to mind? Do you envision attending a revival meeting or following a televangelist? How about prayer meetings or church-sponsored bingo games? Perhaps your only contact with religion has been hard-sell, door-to-door evangelism or street-corner preachers.

Faced with so many varying and contradictory approaches, it isn’t surprising that many people have become cynical of religion altogether. To some, the idea that one can live forever surely must be one of those too-good-to-be-true notions. To the hard-core cynic, baptism may sound like just an empty religious term or quaint custom, and suggest- ing that it’s a necessary step for eternal life might seem preposterous. Others simply don’t know what to make of it.

But what about you? Do you know what the Bible reveals on this vital subject? Notice what Jesus Christ Himself has to say: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44, emphasis added throughout).  However, God wants all to repent and become His children (2 Peter 3:9; John 1:12). For this to happen, God in His great mercy begins leading us to repentance (Romans 2:4). (Acts 2:38). Then God gave those who did so His Holy Spirit, which He will also give to us if we follow these same steps, enabling us to live the new life to which He has called us.  Notice how God used the apostle Peter to instruct those He was calling. In Peter’s first recorded sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Baptism represents the most significant commitment a human being can make in this life. Though a simple ceremony, it powerfully acknowl- edges profound changes in a person’s heart and mind. It represents utter rejection of past sinful ways and embarking on a new life of fully yielding to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

God earnestly desires that we take this path. Peter tells us, “The Lord is . . . longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Accepting His offer allows us to become His children. In John 1:12 we read, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.”  Those listening were “cut to the heart.” They implored Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Baptism, as explained in your Bible, is much more than a means to join a church or just a religious ceremony for infants. It represents a mature, life-changing decision, made only after careful deliberation. Jesus cautioned anyone who would follow Him to “count the cost” before committing (see Luke 14:27-33). Baptism portrays the magnitude of that commitment—and is a major step on the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

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Doctrinal Beliefs
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