When asking, “What must I do to be saved?” we must also ask --
What is the meaning and purpose of Baptism?
The work of the cross is God’s offer of life
Baptism is our acceptance.
There are many teachings and many traditions regarding the subject of baptism. This has long been one of the most controversial points of doctrine since the church began. The goal of this website is to explore strictly what is written on the topic in the New Testament scriptures themselves. We will look at the scriptures on baptism in question first and let God’s Word speak for itself.
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flowers fall away: But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
-- I Peter 1:24-25
and pay close attention, for
He who rejects me, and doesn't receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day. -John 12:48
So let us not allow the traditions of men to come before the Word of God as revealed in the scriptures. Christ spoke of this inclination of people
“-making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this."
and He condemned it.
Let us remember instead that those who are blessed are those that obey and KEEP God’s Word:
But he said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God,
and keep it." -- Luke 11:28
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
For the purposes of the rest of the discussion it will be noted that the mode of baptism is used in the definition of full water immersion. The Greek for the word “baptizo” means to immerse, plunge, dip, or bury in water.
The very Greek word itself excludes it from meaning “sprinkling.”
Let’s begin by looking at each individual passage that relates to baptism and then at all of them together as a whole and let the Bible speak for itself:
▼Click on the blue headings for commentary▼
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
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.
This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, it saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Get up, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. And he got up and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and stay close to this chariot. And Philip ran up to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, Do you understand what you are reading? And he said, How can I, except someone should guide me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.” And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I ask you, of whom is the prophet speaking? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to some water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what keeps me from being baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stop: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and Philip baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, and the eunuch saw him no more: but he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewal of the Holy Spirit
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.
And Peter said to them, "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." And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
† CONVERSION STORIES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS (they all contain the element of baptism)
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Site last updated: May 15, 2022