As a pastor, I have often been asked by followers of Jesus why they should be baptized. Here are six reasons.
Baptism is commanded by Jesus Christ.
Jesus commanded His disciples in Matthew 28:19 by saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then again in Acts 10:48 Peter “ordered that they be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.” From these Scriptures it is evident that baptism is a command of the Lord to those who believe in Him.
Baptism is commended by our Lord’s example.
Matthew 3:16-17 records the baptizing of Jesus in the Jordan River. He said He did it “to fulfill all righteousness.” He had no sins of His own but He endorsed the ordinance of baptism as practiced by John the Baptist. For Him it was a must. Peter tells us that Christ left us an example, that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21). His footprints lead every believer into the water of baptism. It must bring great pleasure to our Lord Jesus Christ to watch us as we are baptized in His name.
Baptism was common practice of the early church.
In Acts 2:41 we read, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” The first Christians baptized on a regular basis as people were getting saved. It was a common practice. Other verses to consider are Acts 8:35-38; 9:18; 10:43-48; 16:14-15, 30-34; 18:8.
Baptism is the believer’s public confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Baptism is the visible, outward expression of your inward decision for Christ. It brings you out on the side of Christ in a very definite way. It is a sign of your commitment and discipleship. When people saw Christians being baptized in the days of the New Testament, there was no doubt in their minds as to why they were doing this or to whom they owed their allegiance. For this reason baptism can be particularly helpful to young Christians brought up in non-Christian homes where perhaps their decision for Christ is hardly known. Their baptism will be their act of confession in which they make a definite stand for Christ. But whatever their background, their baptism will prove to be a source of strength and courage in their desire to follow Christ and witness for Him in this way.
Baptism is a challenge to live a godly life.
When we are baptized we are not just simply doing another religious ritual or ceremony. We are testifying to Romans 6:3-4 which states that “all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” It is a testimony that you will “not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13). The baptism of the believer is symbolic in that it shows that the death of the old life and the birth of the new. It symbolizes the washing away and the burying of sin and rising to walk in newness of life, cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It proclaims that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Baptism identifies believers as a part of the community of Christ.
Baptism symbolizes one of the purposes of the church: fellowship, which is identification with the body of Christ. As Christians we’re called to belong, not just believe. We are not meant to live lone-ranger lives; instead, we are to belong to Christ’s family and be members of his body. Baptism is not only a symbol of salvation, it is a symbol of fellowship. It not only symbolizes our new life in Christ, it visualizes a personal incorporation into the body of Christ. It says to the world, “This person is now one of us!” When new believers are baptized, we welcome them into the fellowship of God. They are not alone and have the body of Christ for support. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You are members of God’s very own family… and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB).
When considering the six reasons why a believer should be baptized it is clear to see that when a Christian is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they are being identified with everything that God is, has and represents. The believer is publicly identified as a child of God.