While Jesus was on the earth he gave so many instructions to his disciples to accomplish. Among them, baptism is one of the most important instructions that he has given to his faithful followers. We find that his disciples were obedient and they did not neglect it. But in today’s time, many so-called Christians do not take it seriously and they think only faith and repentance are enough to be saved.
A proper reading of the scripture always points out that only faith and repentance in Jesus Christ are not sufficient to enter into the kingdom of God. When Jesus was on the earth he taught us to repent for our sins as the kingdom of God is near and to enter into that Kingdom we all have to experience the new birth which directs us to go through the water and spirit baptism.
We must be serious regarding our salvation and if we neglect it then we will have to pay the cost for it. The Bible teaches us that we are the citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we all will be resurrected at the second coming of Jesus. And the Lord Jesus Christ will judge us according to our works on earth.
We cannot deny the importance of water baptism as it was commanded by the Lord Jesus to bring the righteous into his kingdom. Let us see the importance of baptism from the scriptures.
It’s a Commission (Matthew 28:19)
Jesus called all of his disciples to meet on the mountain in Galilee where he commanded them to preach the gospel to the entire world and to teach them what he had taught them.
So we need to remember that all of the teachings of Jesus Christ were given to us by the apostles. Through the teachings and works of them, we can understand the kingdom of God, the judgment, and the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ which was shown on the cross for the sake of mankind.
Jesus told them that all the power and authority of heaven and on the earth was given to him. And Jesus told them to baptize anyone who will believe him as his savior to inherit the kingdom of God.
We can learn that it is important. We need to pay attention to it because this is the commission from Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. We should take it seriously so that we can obey his commandments and we will be blessed.
For Our Salvation (Mark 16:16)
Jesus rebuked his disciples who did not believe his resurrection. He told them to be His witness throughout the world where sinners will confess their sins and surrender their lives before him to be saved.
We can understand that Jesus commissioned his disciples to baptize people who will accept him. There are so many people in the world who believe in Jesus but they don’t want to take water baptism.
They simply say that if we just believe him then we don’t have to take water baptism. The scripture guides us Only believing Jesus is not sufficient for salvation. To obtain salvation we all have to confess our sins before the Lord and we have to turn our lives from the sins and we need to take water baptism.
It is not so difficult for us to take water baptism because if we really love him then we should also believe his commandments. If we take water baptism then we are confessing that we are dying with our sins in him and we are resurrecting with him being a new creation.
To Flee from God’s Wrath (Luke 3:6-7)
Before Jesus started his ministry, John the Baptist prepared the way for him. In his time he baptized people in the river of Jordan so that they can repent for their sins. Many Jews at that time came to him and they took baptism by him.
Luke 3:6-7 teaches us that baptism is important to get rid of God’s Wrath. The Lord Jesus has introduced the baptism system so that we can believe in him and take baptism in water so that we can become true followers. It is needed to take baptism as it helps us to forgive our sins as well as it also helps us to flee from God’s wrath.
The Bible tells us that we are living in the grace period but at the second coming of Lord Jesus this earth will be destroyed by fire and he will renovate this earth where only the righteous will be inherited.
On the other hand, the unrighteous will be thrown into the lake of fire where they will have to face God’s wrath. If we really want to live with the Lord then we have to take water baptism as it is mandatory for every believer who trusts in the Lord.
Forgiveness of Sins (Acts 2:38)
Jesus told his disciples to start their ministry from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the entire earth. According to that instruction all of his disciples used to gather together and pray in Jerusalem in the upper room.
When the day of Pentecost had fully arrived the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they spoke in different tongues. The surrounding people were amazed to see them and some of them thought that they were drunk.
At that time Peter stood up and told them that they were not drunk by wine but they received the holy spirit. He reminded them about Jesus whom they have crucified on the cross and he also explained the reason for his crucifixion.
When the people got to know the reason for Jesus’s death, they were repented for their sins and they asked Peter how to be saved? Then Peter replied to them that their sins will be forgiven if they repent and take water baptism. So, again we can understand that baptism is important for the forgiveness of our sins.
Washing Away of Sins (Acts 22:16)
Paul once was a persecutor of Christians but when he made Jesus on the way to Damascus he realized that Jesus is the only living God. He narrated how he encountered Jesus while he was on the way to Damascus to persecute the Christians. He was a Jew by birth and had taken knowledge of laws from Gamaliel.
But while he made Jesus he asked who are you Lord and Jesus answered him that I am the Lord of your father’s. He lost his sight for three days by the light of the Lord and he heard the voice of the Lord. So, Paul understood that Jesus is the only living God and he was before Abraham.
After which he took baptism because it is important for everyone who believes in Jesus. Before he encountered Jesus he had done so many sins in his life. But his sins were washed away while he took the water baptism.
The Bible teaches us that we should not take baptism lightly. It washes away our sins and helps us to be born again. From the baptism of Paul, we can learn a lesson that if we prepare our hearts and decide to walk in his ways then he will help us to take the baptism.
To Clothe in Christ (Galatians 3:27)
In the old testament, we can find that Jews had the privilege to walk with the Lord. And the gentiles were away from God’s presence. But Jesus gave his life on the cross and connected every person with him in the world to get the privilege like Israel.
He offered himself and he purchased everyone by his precious blood from the power of sin. But to put on Jesus in our lives we have to take water baptism. By putting our faith in Jesus Christ we become his sons and we will be clothed by Him in baptism.
So, the importance of baptism is tremendous in Christian life and to the rest of the people in the world. Baptism washes away our sins and helps us to put on Jesus in our life.
By Jesus, we are free and we have the freedom to live on this earth. We are only accountable to him and we should not fear the world and the things of the world. Because the Bible tells us that we will be inherited in heaven if we walk along with the Lord.
Circumcision in Christ (Colossians 2:11-12)
In the old testament, the Lord called Abraham and through him, he made a great nation that is Israel. The Lord also commanded him to circumcise every male child on the eighth day of their birth. This circumcision was a symbol of the Lord’s covenant that he made with Abraham. Abraham obeyed the Lord.
Even Jesus also had gone through this circumcision as he was a Jew by birth. In the old testament, the Israelites needed to go through circumcision and by doing so they became the children of God.
But in the New Testament era, we can become the children of God by circumcision in our hearts. If we confess our sins and remove all our fleshly desires from our hearts and surrender ourselves to Jesus then we can become the children of God.
Here, we have to take water baptism and by doing so we can circumcise ourselves in Christ Jesus. Again we can see the importance of baptism in our Christian life. None of us can deny the fact of the importance of baptism for our salvation. As the Lord Jesus Christ himself commissioned his disciples to baptize everyone who will believe him to inherit the kingdom of God.
To Witness Christ’s Dead, Burial and Resurrection ( Romans 6:3-7)
When we take baptism we confess that we are also dying with the Lord Jesus Christ and in baptism, we also acknowledge that we are also going through the burial as Jesus had gone. And we also believe that like Jesus, we will be resurrected from death.
We have a hope of eternal life in heaven. In Jesus, we become a new creation through baptism. No longer do we belong to the world but we become the children of God. So, we can understand that water baptism is essential for every believer. This water baptism is for all the faithful believers who have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross and after which his body was buried in the grave but on the third day he resurrected and came before his disciples and lived on the earth for forty days.
Some of his disciples had doubts about him but when they realized that he is their Jesus then they believed him because they understood that one day they will be resurrected like Jesus.
We can learn from this incident that the importance of baptism cannot be measured.
Salvation As Noah’s Ark (1 Peter 3:20-21)
Noah and his family were saved by the Lord through the ark. And the rest of the people and animals on the earth died due to the great flood. At that time only 8 souls were saved.
Now we will be saved by water baptism. In the time of Noah and his family were delivered by the ark that was designed by the Lord. For their salvation, the Lord gave them some instructions to build the ark by which they were saved.
In the grace period, Jesus gave us some instructions to get salvation for eternal life. Water baptism is one of the instructions by which we can get our salvation. To be redeemed from the sin we have to take water baptism. We should have depth knowledge about the importance of baptism as it will help us to enter into the kingdom of God.
What Happens If You Do Not Take Baptism
The above Bible verses strongly recommend us to take water baptism as it is instituted by the Lord Himself. All the disciples of Jesus completely obeyed him and they also took it as their duty in order to fulfill the plan of God.
The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus helps us to understand the significance of baptism. Jesus told that one will be inherited God’s kingdom when he is borns of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). If we closely observe these words of Jesus, then we can understand that Jesus is warning us to take baptism in order to be saved. Water and spirit baptisms play a vital role in our salvation.
If we deliberately violate what Jesus says about baptism then we will surely have to face the wrath of God.
What About The Thief On The Cross
At the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, there were two rubbers who were also crucified due to their criminal offenses. One of them believed in Jesus and repented for his sinful acts and immediately he was received the grace of God and Jesus told him that he will be in paradise.
In this incident, we notice that the thief was saved without being baptized. In today’s time, many often raise that event and try to explain that baptism is not essential only faith and repentance are important to be saved.
To understand it we must go deep into that incident and we will get to know the truth. The time when the thief was saved was before the beginning of the grace period which was started after the death of Jesus Christ. The thief was saved as the Lord Jesus commanded him and gave him the authority to be with him.
Hebrews 9:15-17 makes it more clear that the death of Jesus makes the new covenant where the old covenant has no more effect. So the thief was saved according to the old covenant but after the death of Jesus, we have to access through the new covenant that will lead us towards God.
Jesus is the testator and the new testament was in force through his blood and we are to follow this rule.
Now let us examine two incidents to understand them more closely. The thief and Paul both were sinners and enemies in the sight of God before their repentance. The thief realized Jesus as the Lord and repented for his sins and paul also met Jesus and sought forgiveness for the unintentional works that he did to Christians.
The thief was saved without being baptized because at that time the Testator (Jesus) had not died (Luke 23:43). So he was not needed to be baptized. But in the time Paul, it was different. He was asked to be baptized and he obeyed (Acts 22:16). As the Testator (Jesus) had died he had to do so in order to be delivered from his sins.
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to receive water and spirit baptism to be redeemed from our sins. Only faith, repentance, and holy life will not make us worthy to dwell in God’s kingdom. We are to follow the complete gospel which encourages us to
- Belive Jesus as our personal savior
- Water baptism in Jesus name
- Holy Spirit baptism
- Holy life till last breath
The above steps must be maintained to obtain salvation. Throughout the book of Acts, we see that all the disciples of Jesus Christ followed it and we must imitate them too.