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Home The Light Articles from 2001 Baptism Is for Believers

Baptism Is for Believers

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Baptism Is for Believers

A convincing case can be made from the New Testament regarding the fact that immersion is the Scriptural mode or method of baptism. (Such wording as you have just read is only to accommodate the current ecclesiastical use of "baptize." With immersion inherent in the word baptizo, it is nonsensical to speak of a "mode" of baptism–baptism is immersion, period. Does it make sense to say, "Immersion is the Scriptural mode of immersion?")

To illustrate, Philip and the Eunuch "went down both into the water…and he baptized him," then they came "up out of the water" (Acts 8:38-39). Immersion. Further, immersion most accurately portrays Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-4). All of this is true, but even more convincing is the case that can be made for the fact that believers, as opposed to infants and unbelievers, are the only appropriate subjects for the ordinance.

To the eunuch’s question "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip responded, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest" (Acts 8:36-37). On the day of Pentecost, it was those who "gladly received the word" that were baptized (Acts 2:41). It was after Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to the Philippian jailor and his family that they were all baptized (Acts 16:32-34). To everyone who believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, baptism is commanded (Acts 10:48), for faith without works is dead. An infant cannot believe, cannot "gladly receive the word," cannot even hear the Word in the sense of understanding it.

Baptism is the act of faith, by which a believer makes a break with his past lifestyle, turns from his idols, and sets out to follow the Lord Jesus Christ for the rest of his life. It is a dramatization of repentance at a radical level, a turning point in life marked by a distinct and voluntary decision to die to self and to live completely and only for the Lord. It is, spiritually, the contacting of the blood of Jesus, and the precise point at which this blood cleanses the sinner of all past sins. It is the believer’s testimony, first to the local fellowship, and then to the watching world, of personal faith in Christ Jesus.

It is a courageous act of essential submission, in which one risks the embarrassment and vulnerability of scorn and ridicule as the first step of a Christian discipleship that will be marked by ongoing persecution. It is a confession that the believer is not ashamed of the gospel or embarrassed to obey the Savior, but willing to suffer humiliation for the One who laid down his life for him. Like the entire Christian life, this first step may be inconvenient and physically unpleasant, but a true believer is more than willing to suffer hardship for the name of the Christ. Yes, baptism is by immersion, and for believers. –Adapted



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