Why is baptism important? Do I need to be baptized? Jesus Christ commands new believers to get baptized as a picture of their new life in Christ. Some people think they have to be baptized to get to heaven. But the Bible says we can\’t get to heaven by doing things such as being baptized. Jesus did it all! He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for sin, and rose from the dead. We must trust in Jesus alone, not our own good works, to save us. Although it can\’t save you, baptism is important. If you have become a Christian by trusting in the Lord Jesus, He commands you to get baptized. Baptize means \”to dip under water. \” A pastor dips a believer under the water and then raises him out of the water a moment later. Going down under the water is a picture of Jesus\’ death and burial for sin. Coming back out of the water is a picture of Jesus\’ resurrection from the dead. Baptism shows what happens to a believer at salvation. Because Jesus died and rose to conquer sin, at salvation a believer dies to his old, sinful self and is raised to new life in Christ.
Some churches baptize babies before they are old enough to trust in Jesus. Some parents want their baby baptized to show that they will raise their child to follow Jesus. The important thing to know is that just because a person is baptized as a baby doesn\’t mean that person is going to heaven. Baptism doesn\’t save anyone from sin. Only Jesus saves! A new Christian should want to obey the Lord Jesus by being baptized. If you have trusted in Jesus, you can ask your parents and your pastor about baptism. \”Peter replied, \’All of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then your sins will be forgiven. You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit\’\” (Acts 2:38). \”Those who accepted his message were baptized. \” (Acts 2:41). \”By being baptized, we were buried with Christ into his death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father\’s glory. And like Christ we also can live a new life\” (Romans 6:4).
Jesus commands his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
So one of the reasons to baptise is because Jesus told us to (Matthew 28:19). But the question arising from this is, what is the point of baptism? What does it actually achieve? To answer this we need to understand what baptism actually meant to Jesus and his disciples at that time. There are many examples of baptism in the New Testament, and they all involve water (Mark 1:9, Acts 2:40, Acts 8:38) to mention just a few. The word baptise simply means to wash. So when the disciples baptised people they were in effect saying these people needed be washed clean. But what did they need to be clean from? The fact that anyone needs to be washed means that in the first place that they are dirty. The truth is people are dirty, or sinful before God and therefore need to be washed clean (Romans 3). Water cannot make people clean before God, therefore God sent Jesus to wash away, or take away our sin, which has he did through his death and resurrection.
So then all those who trust in Jesus have been made clean. What baptism says is that we accept that we are dirty and need washing. Baptism acknowledges the fact we cannot wash ourselves of our sin and needed someone else to take away our sin, (that s why baptism is always done by someone else). Baptism points to the fact that Jesus has done it for us in his death and resurrection. It is important to realise that Baptism cannot make anyone right with God. It is only Jesus death and resurrection that makes us clean. But what baptism says is, we acknowledge our need to be made clean before others and Jesus, and accept Jesus as Lord. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. By this I mean, though water does not take away our sin, the Holy Spirit does come into our lives and truly does by changing us to accept Jesus as Lord. Just as a final note, though Jesus was baptised, he did not need to in order to make him free from sin, which John admits when he baptises Jesus (Matthew 3:13).