Joe Teisan: February 2018
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM IN THE LIGHT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT?
AN INVITATION TO BELIEVERS WHO HAVE NEVER
OBEYED OUR LORD’S COMMAND
Definition: Baptism as seen in the New Testament is the immersion in water of a believer who has made a voluntary and public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. It is administered upon the authority of a New Testament church to show a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Mark 1:9-10, Acts 8:38-39, 2:41, Rom. 6:3-5).
Baptism shows our death to sin, our resurrection to new life in Christ and it points forward to our bodily resurrection (Col. 2:12, 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Believer’s baptism, which was commanded by Christ in the Great Commission, is necessary for membership in a local church (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 2:41, 47). If you were sprinkled as an infant, you have never been scripturally baptized. Baptism does not save or even help save you, but is only for those who are already saved, those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-12).
1. Truth protects from error: By following the New Testament, you are protected from the great errors that are practiced in the name of baptism. Infant sprinkling not only fills the church with lost members, but it is no baptism at all. The other serious error is the belief that sprinkling or baptism can wash away your sins and give you new, saving life. Baptismal regeneration is the false doctrine that baptism saves you. This false view, uncorrected, can send a person to the fires of hell. False teachings cut the sinner off from the truth of salvation in Christ by faith.
2. Our first act of love, duty and obedience to Christ: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples … baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Baptism is the only act commanded by Christ to be done by the local church in the name of the Trinity. It can be done only once.
3. Baptism is an act of public profession, of public announcement that we belong to Christ and have made our break with the world: “They that gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead … even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:2-6). Not only is baptism an act of imitation in which the disciple follows his Lord, but it is an object lesson that pictures the gospel, which Christ did for us, what we believe and our future with Christ. Going under the water and coming up out of the water shows our death to sin and our resurrection to a new, a holy, a Christ-like life.
4. It is the most powerful preaching and teaching symbol in the whole Bible: Compare the teaching value of the Old Testament animal sacrifice with all that immersion shows. At the start of His public ministry, Christ insisted that John baptize Him, “for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). “The Pharisees had heard how Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself baptized not, but His disciples)” (John 4:1-2).
Joseph A. Teisan
Bethel Baptist Sunday School