Baptism in the Bible Explained
A Christadelphian Video: Why Baptism Really Matters What we must do to be saved NO doubt many people today would say: “Why are you bothering with baptism? It’s only a ceremony, isn’t it? Having a few drops of holy water sprinkled on the head of an infant by a clergyman in church, or just having a bath? What real difference can it make? You’re wasting your time.” The short answer is that the New Testament has a great deal to say about baptism, from the lips of Jesus himself as well as through his apostles. Now the plain fact is that the Bible is all we have. If we want to know who Jesus was, what he taught and what he commanded his followers to do, we must go to the Bible for the answers. To look elsewhere is to rely on the opinions of men, whether of individuals or of bodies of men in Synods or Councils. What the Bible has to say about baptism must be vital for us. If Christ and his chosen apostles have declared certain things about baptism, then we ought to want to know what they are. The really important question must therefore surely be: What did Jesus command and teach and what did his apostles do as a result? “Born of water” To Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who came to him by night, Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus took these words literally, Jesus further explained: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3,5). But why should he say, “Except a man be born of water …” unless it was a clear reference to baptism? John the Baptist had been actively preaching repentance and baptizing many in the River Jordan. Jesus himself had been baptized by John saying, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15, RSV). There can then be no doubt that when Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water …”, he was saying that to enter the kingdom of God, a man or woman must be baptized. This is confirmed by the very clear command Jesus gave to his disciples as he was about to leave them on his ascent to heaven: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19,20) The task of the apostles after Jesus’ ascension was a teaching mission which explicitly included baptism.