Water Baptism Defined

Taken from Water Baptism Defined.

What is Baptism?

  • Baptism = to dip; immerse
    • Root word – bapto – “to dip” (used in Luke 16:24; John 13:26; Revelation 19:13) (Prince 176-177)                                                               .
      • bapto – “cover wholly with a fluid…dip” (Strong 16)
    • Matthew 3:16 – “baptized…came up immediately from the water”
    • Acts 8:38-39 – “went down into the water…baptized…came up out of the water” 

Water Baptism

Note: When baptism is mentioned on its own, it probably refers to water baptism (for instance, see Acts 8:36-39 and 10:47-48)

A new baptism initiated

  • Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus fulfills all righteousness in being baptized by John
  • John 4:1-2 – Jesus’ disciples baptized followers at the same time John was baptizing.
  • Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus initiated a distinctly Christian water baptism
    • Mark 16:15-16 – this baptism is THE deed that accompanies faith and salvation
    • Acts 2:37-38; 8:12,36-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:11-15,31-33; 18:8; 19:1-5; Hebrews 6:2 – the early church emphasized baptism as a necessary and immediate response to faith in Christ 
  • Acts 19:1-5 – Christian water baptism is distinct and separate from John’s baptism 

What is the meaning of water baptism?

  • 1 Peter 3:21 – NOT outward cleansing, but response of inner conviction
    • Hebrews 9:14; 10:22 – a good/clear conscience that comes through faith in Christ
  • Romans 6:1-6 – baptism = burial of old, dead flesh
    • Colossians 2:11-12 – relates to the cutting off of flesh; which is the killing of our old sin nature.  Circumcision and baptism are closely connected (see chart below).
CircumcisionBaptism
Is the cutting off of the flesh (Genesis 17:11)Is the cutting off and burial of our fleshly/sinful nature that was crucified upon faith in gospel (Colossians 2:11 and Galatians 2:20)
A sign of one’s covenant with God (Gen. 17:11)A sign of one’s covenant with God (Matt. 28:19)
Done AFTER someone was born an Israelite (Gen. 17:12)Done AFTER someone is born again (John 3:7) into the “Israel of God” – which happens upon believing the gospel (Galatians 3:26,29; 6:16).
Done when an infant is 8 days old (Gen. 17:12)8 is a number that represents a new beginning – there were 8 people who began the new earth after the flood, the priests began their ministry the 8th day (Leviticus 9:1), the 8th day is the beginning of a new week, circumcision was done the 8th day, King David was the 8th son, etc.  Thus, baptism is also done after the “new beginning” that comes with faith in Christ.
Contingent upon obedience (Romans 2:25)Contingent upon faith/obedience in Christ (just as John’s baptism of repentance could not be received by those who didn’t evidence repentance in their life, see Luke 3:8)

Old Testament pictures of water baptism

  • Exodus 14:15-31; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 – Red Sea is a symbol/type for baptism
    • Israel leaving Egypt by blood of Passover Lamb = Christians leaving the oppression of sin by the blood of Christ (Revelation 11:8; 1 Corinthians 5:7)
    • Israel walking under and out of a wall of water = Christian baptism.
    • Egyptians being covered by the water = sins being covered by water
    • Hebrews 11:29 – faith was necessary for their crossing the Red Sea, just as faith is necessary for baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
  • Genesis 6-8; 1 Peter 3:20-21 – Flood of Noah is symbol/type for baptism
    • Ark brought salvation, having only one door = Jesus as the only way to salvation.
    • Sins of world covered by water = our sins covered by water of baptism
    • Ark resting after waters subside on 17th day of 7th month (Gen. 8:4) = the end of death over sin (Jesus was resurrected the exact same day!                                                               ).
    • 8 people on boat = beginning of new life
    • Dove finding olive tree after flood = Holy Spirit initiating our new life (Luke 3:22; Romans 11:17)

What is required to be baptized in water?

  • 5 households baptized in Scriptures, comprised of believers:
    1. Cornelius’s (Acts 10:48) – All of the household is said to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit BEFORE they were baptized (11:14-15)
    2. Lydia’s (Acts 16:15) – We are not told the status of this household when they were baptized.  However, the distance of their journey would seem to suggest that infants could not have been present (Acts 16:12,14).
    3. Philippian jailer’s (Acts 16:33) – All of this household believed the word of the Lord BEFORE they were baptized (Acts 16:31-34)
    4. Stephanas’s (1 Corinthians 1:16) – All of this household is called the “firstfruits,” and those who devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Cor. 16:15).  Thus, they were all believers and ministers of the gospel at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, which makes it highly probable that they were believers before Paul baptized them.
  • Repentance and faith come before baptism in the Scriptures – Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12,37; 10:44-48 (compared with Acts 11:14-15); 16:14-15; 16:31-33; 19:4-5; Hebrews 6:1-2
    • Heb. 11:29 – in the passing of the Red Sea, which is a type for water baptism (see 1 Cor. 10:2), faith was required
  • 1 Peter 3:21 – baptism is defined as “the answer of a good conscience toward God”.  Therefore, it is necessary that those who are baptized have a good conscience toward God.

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