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Water Baptism

What does the Bible say about water baptism?


Baptism for Believers

In New Testament times, baptism followed repentance and faith. Peter invited his listeners on the day of Pentecost to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Three thousand people responded to the invitation, and “those who accepted his message were baptized” (Acts 2:41).

When the apostles took the gospel across the Roman Empire from Jerusalem, new churches were planted, and believers were baptized soon after they turned away from sin and put their trust in Christ for salvation. Acts 18:8 says, “Many of the Corinthians who heard [Paul] believed and were baptized.”

Alliance churches follow the same practice of baptism subsequent to conversion to Christ. Those who have repented of sin and put their faith in Jesus for eternal life are encouraged to take this step of obedience.

What Does Baptism Mean?

In early times baptisms were held in public places where family and friends could gather. This public witness marked the believer as a follower of Christ. Today, baptisms often take place in church buildings for the sake of convenience, but a public statement still is a part of the meaning. The person who is baptized identifies with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The apostle Paul explained that baptism also symbolizes the believer’s union with Christ: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4).

Immersion in the baptismal waters symbolizes the end of the old way of life. Coming up out of the baptismal waters pictures the new life found in Christ. The person who was previously dead in sin has been made spiritually alive by the same power that raised up Jesus from the grave. United with Him, the believer is released from the power of sin in order to obey God. Paul portrays this life change as putting on new clothes: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

Water baptism identifies a person as a disciple of Christ and celebrates the passage from an old life into a new life in Christ. Simply stated, it is an outward sign of an inward change.

How Should You Be Baptized?

The Bible word for “baptize” means to “immerse, douse, or saturate.” In the two full descriptions of baptism found in the New Testament, individuals were immersed in water. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River to identify Himself as God’s Son: “As soon as He was baptized, [He] went up out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).

The apostle Philip baptized the Ethiopian by going down into a body of water and coming up with him (Acts 8:38–39). In both of these examples, a large enough quantity of water was required to immerse the person.

Because of the meaning of the word baptize and the mode of the first baptisms, Alliance churches practice baptism by immersion.

(The above was from the Alliance website.)


Further questions you might have: 


Is water baptism required of salvation?


1) The Bible is clear that salvation is by faith alone through repentance of sin. John 3:16, Rom. 3:22, Galatians 2:16, etc. 

2) The thief on the cross went to be with the Lord without being baptized.  Luke 23:42

3) The purpose of baptism is to be a pubic witness and a symbol that we have died to the world, and rose with Christ for a new life. Romans 6:3-4.

But how about John 3:5 when Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Doesn’t that mean that baptism is essential for salvation?  Not at all.

A) Notice that Jesus said “born of WATER and Spirit” not “born of baptism and Spirit.” So to say that “water” here refers to baptism is nothing but mere assumption. There are two problems with assuming here that “water” is a reference to “baptism”.
        1)The Bible never uses “water” as a reference to baptism.
        2) If water refers to baptism than this scripture contradicts all the previous scriptures that
teach that salvation is by faith alone. Those who teach that baptism is essential for salvation must find a way to reconcile all these scriptures together.    

B) Water here in John 3:5 is a reference to the Word of God. Jesus was saying that when you obey the Word of God (water), the Spirit of God (Spirit) that is when you become born again. This agrees with the testimony of the rest of the Bible:
        1) The Bible uses water as a reference to the Word of God elsewhere.  Ephesians 5:26
        2) The Bible also teaches that we are “born” by the Word of God. 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:18

But how about Mark 16:16 “ He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned”?

Notice the following:
1)  There are many textual problems with Mark 16:9-19. I, personally, don’t think that this passage was in the original Gospel of Mark.
2) But let us assume that it is in the original. Notice the verse doesn’t say “but he who believes but isn’t baptized shall be condemned”

Consider this example: "Whoever believes and lives in Kansas will be saved, but those that do not believe are condemned." This statement is strictly true.  Kansans who believe in Jesus will be saved. However, to say that only those believers who live in Kansas are saved is an illogical and false assumption. The statement does not say a believer must live in Kansas in order to go to heaven. Similarly, Mark 16:16 does not say a believer must be baptized. The verse states a fact about baptized believers (they will be saved), but it says exactly nothing about believers who have not been baptized. There may be believers who do not dwell in Kansas, yet they are still saved.  And there may be believers who have not been baptized, yet they, too, are still saved.  

If you have more questions, please

Do infants need to be baptized?


We have seen from Romans 6:3-4 that baptism is outward proclamation subsequent to the inward repentance. Baptizing infants has no place in Christianity since infants are incapable of making a commitment to follow Christ.

But how about Acts 16:15?  We see that Lydia was baptized with all her “household” and in Acts 16:33 we see that the Jailer was baptized with all his “household.” Doesn’t that mean that the infants of their households were baptized too?  Not at all.

The Bible doesn’t say that there were infants in their household.  On the contrary, the Bible tells us that ALL their households were believers. We see that all the household of Lydia were believers (Acts 16:40,) and all the household of the Jailer were believers (Acts 16:34.)