(How to…#2) be baptized in water.

October 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

"Be baptized, everyone of you..."

Water baptism can be a point of contention among Christians.

Churches have split and even friendships were ruined because of the hotly debated subject of water baptism.

There are primarily four areas of differences:

  1. Babies or adults?
  2. Sprinkling or immersion?
  3. Once or three times?
  4. The name of the Lord or the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Before the “how to” can be answered,

the “why” must first be looked into.

John the Baptist first introduced baptism and his baptism followed the confession of sins – therefore called “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”. (Matt 3:1-6; Mark 1:2-5; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:4)

The Apostle Paul proclaimed that the baptism of John was not the fullness of what water baptism is all about, but just the beginning.  (Acts 19:1-5)

In the Greek, the word baptise has the meaning of immerse, submerge for religious purpose, to overwhelm, saturate and to wash.

In Mark 7:3-4 we read, “For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not.  And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.”

In this portion of scripture where the verb wash is used for the first time it is the Greek word níptō, which means to wash part of the body such as the hands. The 2nd and 3rd words wash and washing are the words baptízō and baptízōmai which indicate the washing of hands or cups using water (usually through immersion but also under running water).

Corresponding to the above is Hebrews 9:10 “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation”.

Here too the word washings, is the Greek word for “to baptise”.

The essence of baptism is not the immersion or the sprinkling

but the washing and cleansing.

This is what John the Baptist understood when he called on the people to repent of their sins (under the Old Covenant) and be washed and cleansed (baptized) from the stain of sin.  It was an outward act, believing God for an inward work.

The baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ is a New Testament sacrament,

which does more than the baptism of John, but has the same foundation of washing and cleansing.  (Acts 8:37; 19:4)

7 Scriptural truths about water baptism.

  1. Jesus was baptized in water in order to be in right standing with the Father, “But Jesus replied to him (John the Baptist), Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him.” (Matt 3:15 AMP) The NLT puts it this way, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”
  2. It is for the cleansing of sins. (Acts 2:38; 22:16)
  3. Baptism cleanses/washes our consciences from the guilt and shame of our past. (1Pet 3:20-21)
  4. As the Israelites followed Moses through the Red Sea, so we are following Jesus Christ through baptism and as the Israelites were cut off from Pharaoh and the slavery of Egypt, so we are saved from the stronghold of Satan and the bondages of sin. (1Cor 10:1-12; Eph 2:1-5)
  5. We are entering the kingdom of God through water baptism. It signifies the death of the old life and being birthed into a new life with Christ. (John 3:5; Rom 6:3-6)
  6. It replaces the OT covenant of circumcision – which was the removal of the flesh and the sign of being God’s chosen nation – and is the beginning of the removal of the sinful nature. (Col 2:11-13)
  7. You activate God’s purpose for your life through water baptism. (Luke 7:29-30)

All of the above you will experience, if you believe the Word with all your heart, trusting God to perform His word and promises concerning water baptism in your life. (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17b; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38 “the just shall live by faith”)

Water baptism follows the born again experience. (Acts 8:37-38)

I have personally seen how people were delivered from oppression, evil spirits and addiction through only water baptism.

I have witnessed how people after water baptism, began to understand the Bible and be freed from the guilt of their past deeds.

I have observed how Christians once baptized in water, had taken hold of God’s plan for their life and grown spiritually, ministering to many others.

Coming back to the four points of contention

among so many Christians.

1. Can babies believe for all of the above?

2,3. The issue is not immersion or sprinkling, once or thrice, but the washing and cleansing – the inner work performed by God. The outer work is only a demonstration and an act of obedience to what you are trusting God to do inwardly.

4. The Bible states that the fullness of God is within the Lord Jesus Christ. (Col 1:17-19; 2:9) Therefore, to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Matt 28: 19) or to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) is actually the same.

Have you been baptized in water?

Did you trust the Lord to do the abovementioned things in your life through water baptism?

What is stopping you from being baptized?

Lastly, if I was baptized as a child or not knowing the truth about baptism, may I be baptized again?


Even Paul baptized people a second time, because with their first baptism they did not know and understand the Lord Jesus’ baptism. (Acts 19:3-5)


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About Edgar Phillips
Husband, Dad, Ordained Minister and Missionary who loves God, Pastoral & Functional Therapist, Imago Professional Facilitator, EFT practitioner.

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