Baptism, Do I Need to Do it and What Does it Mean?
Have you ever wondered if you need to be baptized? And if so, what does baptism mean? These are great questions and honestly, baptism is not something you want to enter into lightly. We could try and convince you of what you should do when it comes to baptism and why you should do it, but, we find it’s so much better when you actually engage the what the scripture says about baptism and make up your own minds about what you should do in your pursuit of Jesus. Baptism is such a personal decision, a person needs to have decided in their heart that they are ready to follow Jesus in a forever kind of way. Maybe you’re thinking, “but I don’t even know where I would start in the bible to find out more about baptism.”
That’s why we decided to put together this list of scriptures about baptism that you can read through and consider as you think about your next steps (or share with someone you know about their next steps) with Jesus. Let’s get started:
Scriptures About Baptism
- First of all, in Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus commanded that His followers go out and make disciples and to baptize those new disciples (this word simply means being an apprentice to Jesus) in His name, His Father’s name, and the name of the Holy Spirit. Baptizing in the name of the trinity is essentially saying that you belong to and identify with the God of the bible.
- In Acts 2:37-41 Peter has just finished preaching his first recorded sermon ever and forgot to give people a way to apply what he preached. The people are cut to the heart and ask what you should do in response to his message – Peter’s answer: “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the holy spirit.” Peter is as clear as he could possibly be, that in his mind, repenting (turning away from your old life) and being baptized is the means by which you access God’s forgiveness of your sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit (this is God’s Spirit that indwells within Christians – it is God with us)
- In Romans 6:3-11 – Paul says baptism is an initiation into Jesus’ death and His resurrection. He makes the analogy that through baptism we are burying our old life in the waters we are baptized within and allowing the new life through resurrection to come into us as we come up out of the water.
- In 1 Peter 3:18-22 Peter compares baptism with the flood of Noah. He says that just as the ark saved Noah and his family from the flood so, “baptism now saves you.” Peter makes it clear that it is not the cleaning of the physical body, but the washing of the conscience that occurs through the power of the resurrection of Jesus.
- When it comes to salvation and responding to the good news of Jesus in your life, the scripture also talks about confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ (meaning King or messiah – the chosen one of God) and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Confessing and believing are a part of any true follower of Jesus’ path to salvation.
- When the Holy Spirit first came on non-Jewish people to show Peter and the other apostles (up until this time only Jewish people were followers of Jesus) that God was bringing salvation to all people, the first thing they did was to baptize them, Acts 10:47-48.
- When the Ethiopian Eunuch heard Philip unpack passages from Isaiah the Eunuch looks out and sees water and asks what should keep him from being baptized, and they did it right then and there (Acts 8:36-38). In the early church decision and baptism were the same thing, they didn’t separate faith and response as we do in our modern-day.
- When Paul turns to Jesus he is baptized – Acts 9:18.
- Acts 19:1-7, a group of disciples who had been baptized into John the Baptists’ baptism, but had not been baptized in the name of Jesus (meaning they had not identified themselves with Him, His death and resurrection). Paul finds out and baptizes them into Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit comes on them (before their baptism they had not received the gift).
Members Make a Difference @ Harmony
At Harmony, we take membership seriously because our members make a serious difference!
Be we also think you should be able to become a member on your own time. That's why we created an innovative way to learn about membership and take your next step into becoming a central part of what makes our church amazing! Simply listen to a 9 episode podcast we produced and complete 6 online pledges - let us know you've completed the process and you will have become a member! Click below to visit the membership track podcast and get started today!
Common Questions About Baptism
“So, is a person saved even if they’ve never been baptized?”
That’s a great question! The reality is, what saves you from your sin is the power of Jesus and His grace – but part of the means of connecting with the power is the act of Baptism. It is an act of faith to trust that God is working in a mysterious way to bring about your connection with Him through this ritual of water baptism.
Baptism is as much an act of faith and belief as someone who confesses their faith in Jesus is. Baptism is simply the mode through which God has chosen to intersect with His disciples to give us a physical representation of the spiritual work being done in, through, and to us.
It is, your death brought to life through Jesus!
“I’m waiting till I can get some things in order in my life before making that decision, I just don’t feel like I’m good enough”
It’s understandable to feel this way, but it’s the wrong way of looking at it. You will never be able to get your life in “order” enough to deserve or be worthy of baptism (following Jesus). The question you need to wrestle with is, do you believe Jesus and want to follow Him. He came to bring His Kingdom from heaven into your life now (Matthew 4:17). He didn’t wait till you had it all together, actually, He came knowing the worst part of you and still wanting you. The question of being ready to get baptized or not is the question of are you ready to follow Him. He’s the one whose business it is to get rid of sin, to wash you and make you clean. Your job is just to follow Him. This why when we baptize someone we only ask a few questions. “Do you repent of your sin?” (want to turn around), “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ (king), the son of the Living God?” “Do you want to make Him your Lord and Savior, the boss of your life?”
“Do I have to get baptized in front of a bunch of people, I’m kind of shy.”
You can get baptized whenever and where ever you want. We have found that getting baptized with other believers around is a really powerful event for the person getting baptized because it’s an encouragement to have so many other witnesses saying the same things, they believe in Jesus! But the reality is, this is a commitment between you and God, so if you’d rather it be by yourself or with a small group of family and friends, let’s get it done!
“I was baptized as a baby, do I still need to get baptized as an adult?”
While what your parents did with you was a wonderful celebration of a family wanting to raise their child to know Christ, the reality is, baptism of an infant is not a decision they have made on their own. In scripture, the only people who were baptized were people who had the mind and thoughtfulness to make a decision that is a life commitment – typically this is an adult or older child. I guess the question you will need to answer for yourself is if you felt like your baptism meant for you what you see in the above scriptures?
Do you still have more questions, or maybe you are ready to take your next step in baptism? Why not get in contact with one of our staff and let’s get together to talk! We’d love that.
Have a kid that’s interested in learning about baptism or has started asking you questions?
Sign up to get baptized:
At Harmony you can be baptized any time you want (although we do hold baptism services once or twice a year). Sign up below to get your name on the list for one of those services or to get baptized during one of our weekly services on the date of your choosing.