Being baptized is an important experience for Christians. Even so, there are some common questions that many have about the water baptism. Hopefully this article helps to answer these questions.
What is the purpose of the water baptism?
The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word, ‘baptizmo,’ meaning submerge or immerse. When considering what the baptism is, these words make perfect sense. Water baptism is symbolic of our journey as Christians, and what we are looking to through Christ. When Jesus was baptized, it was symbolic of His purpose – to be crucified and buried, then raised again.
As Christians, water baptism is an act of obedience, a statement of our faith in what Jesus did for us. It means we believe in his death and resurrection, and we also believe that he will do the same for us – that in Christ, we will put to death our earthly nature and be raised again in newness of life – both in this present world and in the world to come. Baptism of water does not in itself save us or transform us from our fleshly nature, but signals an intent to obey Jesus and continue in the faith, so we might seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 3:21
In who’s name should you be baptized?
When being baptized, you might wonder in whose name you aught to be baptized. Many are used to hearing something like, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Saying this during water baptism is not necessary, but rather, one should be baptized in the name of Jesus. The reason Jesus told his disciples to baptize followers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19) is because we should experience ALL of these forms of baptism – but usually not at once. When being baptized in water, it’s sufficient, and actually more appropriate, to call on the name of Jesus.
Think of it this way. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost are three distinct entities, yet they are all one. Our construction is similar. We are soul, body, and spirit. Each of these parts of us are individual. Your soul cannot be your body, neither can your spirit be your soul, but they are all you. Each part of you must be baptized. Your flesh baptized in water in the name of Jesus, your spirit in the name of Jesus and his Holy Spirit, and your soul in the name of the Father, as he continues to pour more of His Holy Spirit into your heart.
Do you receive the Holy Spirit during water baptism?
When speaking of the Holy Spirit, there are some things that are always true, but we should be careful when speaking of all things of the Holy Spirit in a strict sense. The Holy Spirit is alive, and able to come and go as he wills. So, to say he does something one way or another, might not always be true every time. For some, they might receive the Holy Spirit at the time of water baptism, others might not.
Some take scriptures like Matthew 3:11 and the account of Jesus’s water and simultaneous Holy Spirit baptism in Matthew 3:16 and form a one-size-fits-all view of the water baptism. In reality, there is no formula or set rule here. It’s in the hands of God. But, even if they do happen in close succession, the water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are two separate events. The latter marked by a powerful experience that is not associated with water baptism alone.
Click here for more on the Holy Spirit baptism.
Is getting baptized really that important?
If we want to follow Jesus, we should be ready and willing to follow his example. He was baptized in water, and we should do the same. Water baptism is no small thing. It represents an intent to put our sins to death, by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. His death isn’t something we should take lightly, and neither is baptism.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. – John 3:5
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? – Romans 6:3
What should you do after getting baptized? Does this mean you are “saved”?
Though water baptism should never be underrated, it is not all there is to salvation. For some, it is the beginning, a moment when they dedicate themselves to Jesus. For others, they decide to become baptized long after they commit to Jesus, as a sign of obedience and faith. There is no strict rule here, only that you should follow your own conscience.
It is important to understand that a one-time declaration of faith does not save you, and neither does water baptism alone. We must go on from there and seek the full promises of Jesus for remission from all sin, so that we may put on Christ, that we may be born again!
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. – Galatians 3:27