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Should I be baptized?

Posted by PW on June 7, 2013

Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:36-41; Romans 6:1-4 (cf. Ephesians 4:17-32 & Colossians 3:1-17); 1 Peter 3:21-22

Above are some of the key verses in the New Testament regarding baptism.  Reading these verses, you’ll notice that baptism is…

  • commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28)
  • closely linked to conversion and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)
  • identifies us with Jesus (Romans 6)
  • symbolizes salvation (1 Peter 3)

If you read through the book of Acts, you’ll see that baptism is the NORMAL response for those deciding to become followers of “the Way” (i.e. Jesus, Christianity, etc.).  Technically, baptism is the “initiatory rite” of Christianity.  In other words, once a person has made a decision to follow Jesus, they indicate this, formally, by being baptized.

At Crossroads, we practice what is known as “believer’s baptism.”  This is one of the very few distinctives that we have which set us apart from some other Christians.  While our position is based on a comprehensive study of Scripture, I think Matthew 28:18-20 makes the point.  Jesus commands us to “make disciples” and to “baptize them.”  Simply put, the person being baptized is a “disciple” (literally “follower”) of Jesus.

Who should be baptized?  You should be baptized if you have made a decision to be a follower of Jesus, and

  • you have never been baptized, OR
  • you were baptized as an infant (this was something that was done FOR you, probably by concerned parents)
  • you were baptized for the wrong reasons (for instance, some people get baptized because “everyone else is doing it”)

What does a person need to know in order to be baptized?  You don’t need to be a trained theologian in order to be a candidate for baptism.  You need to understand the basics of the gospel (Jesus died for your sins and rose again) and the uniqueness of Jesus (he is God’s “one and only Son,” the “way, the truth, the life” etc.).  Further, in baptism, you are making a commitment to be a follower (“disciple”) of Jesus.  In other words, you are accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord.  (See the Ephesians and Colossians passages listed above for what this means in some very specific and practical terms.)

When I baptize people, I ask 4 simple questions:

  1. Do you believe that Jesus is God-in-the-flesh? (John 1:1-5, 10-14; Colossians 2:9)
  2. Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 9:15)
  3. Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 2:32)
  4. Have you made the decision to accept him as Savior and Lord? (Acts 2:36-38; Romans 10:9-13)

If your answer is “yes” to these four questions and you have never been baptized, then you need to be baptized.

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