The Meaning Of Water Baptism
What must YOU do... to be saved? The apostle Peter answered this question on the day of Pentecost by saying, "REPENT, and be BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT." Acts 2:38 And Jesus described salvation saying that it was necessary to be ' BORN AGAIN 'John 3:3, saying "unless you are born of the water and the Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:5
The conception and birth of Jesus our Messiah
1. Mary first had to believe what the angel of the Lord were telling her were true, and then accept it.
2. The Holy Spirit came upon her and conception took place. (Spiritually the Word was implanted.)
3. She started feeling growth of a new life in her womb. (Spiritual awareness of a new life in you)
4. She started getting Birth pains. (Spiritually the pain of remorse over your sins)
5. Just before birth the Water breaks. (Spiritually water baptism)
6. The Birth of Jesus. (Spiritually birth of your new life in Christ)
7. Cutting of the umbilical cord (Spiritual cutting of the old sinful carnal man.)
8. One new Man, new creation, new Identification. Seperated, Set apart.
The power and significance of water baptism lies in the fact that it is a spiritual burial for the believer and a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:3-4 For the believer obeying the commandment of the Lord and proclaiming his faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord, is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit Mathew 28:19, before men and the heavenly court. And being completely submerged under the water momentarily stops breathing, figuratively as a dead man. He therefore through the obedience of faith takes on the spiritual status of a dead man, and is freed from the condemnation of God's holy law Romans 6:7 which is binding only while one lives Romans 7:1, having had his sins washed away Acts 22:16 by the water and the blood of Jesus which sanctifies the water of baptism John 19:34, because whatever is touched by what is holy itself becomes holy Exodus 30:29, and the blood of Jesus was holy because He who descended from heaven was sinless. Furthermore scripture says that we have been cleansed by the 'washing of water with the word'. Ephesians 5:26 Just as Peter also testified that baptism was for forgiveness of sins Acts 2:38. And having been legally cleansed according to God's holy law, the believer is spiritually cleansed by being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore rising out of the water, he has now died to sin Romans 6:7, and possessing the gift of the Holy Spirit is joined to Jesus Christ. Romans 7:4 And has through baptism become a part of His body 1 Corinthians 12:13, that is the church... God's family and kingdom.
In the beginning God created the world out of water 2 Peter 3:5, the source and symbol of life. Through which He later on at the time of Noah cleansed a wicked world of godlessness, using it as an instrument of salvation on the one hand to destroy evil but on the other hand to create life and a new beginning through a race of faithful people. The human race had been 'born again' through the flood which Peter described as a 'type' of baptism 1 Peter 3:20-21, a pattern and prophecy of the coming baptism and salvation in Jesus Christ. For the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed, and the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed. And later on when Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, God, on one hand used water to destroy His enemies but on the other hand to save His people, leaving another sign pointing to baptism because scripture says that they were baptized into Moses. 1 Corinthians 10:2 And afterward Joshua, who's name is the Hebrew form of Jesus, led the children of Israel down through the waters of the Jordan (which means descend) and up into the promised land, a type of the kingdom of God. They descended down into and rose up out of the water to inherit the promise. Joshua 4:19 And later on God cleansed Newman the leper of his leprosy (which symbolized sin) when he obeyed Elisa the prophet by going down into the waters of the Jordan River seven times. 2 Kings 5:14 These acts of salvation using water from the Old Testament are clear 'types' pointing forward to the significance and importance of water baptism in the New Testament. This is re-enforced by Jesus himself saying that the 'unclean spirit passes through waterless places seeking rest' Luke 11:24... and also He destroyed the unclean spirits by drowning their unclean hosts when they ran down into the water Mathew 8:32. Therefore water is symbol of life and instrument of salvation.
Humankind is made of flesh and born under the dominion of sin, unable to understand the mind of a Holy God or keep His Holy commandments. To have power over sin and know the mind of God , one needs to receive God's very own Holy Spirit who understands the thoughts of God 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 and which is given at baptism, just as the apostle Peter said, "Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 To receive God's Holy Spirit at baptism is to be BORN AGAIN... just as Jesus Himself described receiving the Holy Spirit through baptism as being 'born again' saying to Nicodemus "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be BORN AGAIN." John 3:5-7 When Jesus said "born of the water and the Spirit", He connected being 'born of the Spirit' with being 'born of the water' which refers to water baptism, just as Peter also said that the Holy Spirit is given to the repentant believer at baptism saying "Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 But someone might argue that Cornelius received the Spirit before he was baptized. Acts 10:44 That's true, but receiving the Spirit alone does not make you born again as Jesus said, one needs to be "born of the water and the Spirit", that's why Peter ordered Cornelius to be baptized immediately. Acts 10:48 Did John the Baptist receive the Holy Spirit? Yes. Luke 1:15 Was John 'born again'? No. Did John enter the kingdom of God? No. Mathew 11:11 Therefore receiving the Holy Spirit alone does not make one 'born again' until one is buried with Christ, being united in His death, and dies to sin in the waters of baptism. Because we must die before Christ can live in us. When did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit? Jesus himself received the Holy Spirit after His own water baptism, after He who never sinned, had participated in John's baptism of repentance from sin Mathew 3:16, replying to John the Baptist that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness Mathew 3:15, because He who intercedes for us had to be like us in all things. Hebrews 2:17 Therefore if He had to be like us then we have to be like Him, which means that we also receive the Holy Spirit after baptism and are then BORN AGAIN.
When drinking Coffee and enjoying a Rusk at the same time, to get the hard dry Rusk soft an juicy you do not sprinkle the Rusk with the coffee to get it soft. You immerse the Rusk into the coffee taking it out to munch the soft part of the Rusk.
The biblical method of baptism is by immersion in water, which can be seen by looking at two baptisms which are recorded in the New Testament including the baptism of Jesus Mathew 3:16, and the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch Acts 8:38, which is recorded in the book of Acts. These two accounts contain the only descriptions of the baptism procedure, with both accounts showing that it was done by full immersion in water with the baptized 'going down into the water' or coming 'up out of the water'. They were not sprinkled with water but immersed in water. There is no mention in scripture of baptism being done by sprinkling with water, neither is there any mention of infant baptism. The reason for this is clear, because baptism must be voluntary and accompanied with repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ. An infant can do neither, and those who practice infant baptism are only practicing erroneous religious symbolism which is devoid of power. The power of baptism lies in the reality that in baptism the believer is united with Christ, sharing in His death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 As Christ rose from the dead with power so does the faithful believer rise from his burial in water with power for he has been given the Holy Spirit and eternal life. The believer stands in the water and after confessing his faith in Christ before any witnesses and the heavenly host, is laid down horizontally in the water momentarily in the likeness of a corpse, and is lifted up again as the baptizer says "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" just as Jesus instructed. Mathew 28:19
Baptisms In The Early Church:
After His resurrection, Jesus commanded His disciples to go to all the nations and baptize them. Mathew 28:19 This commandment of the Lord reveals the importance which Jesus attached to baptism. And this commandment was obeyed by His apostles. The book of Acts is about the creation of the early church and describes many conversions to the Lord Jesus Christ, with most accounts being joined with a reference to water baptism, showing the importance which the apostolic church gave to it in the believers relationship with Jesus Christ, receiving the Holy Spirit, and entering His kingdom. Beginning at Pentecost when Peter was asked what was needed he said, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". Acts 2:38 Acts:2:41 Further conversion accounts from the book of Acts include Phillip in Samaria Acts:8:12, The Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:38, Paul's conversion Acts 9:18, Lydia at Philippi Acts 16:15, The jailer at Philippi Acts16:33, and Crispus the synagogue leader Acts 18:8. The fact that these conversion accounts also mention the believers baptism, demonstrates that Baptism was one of the fundamental teachings of the Apostolic church. Hebrews 6:1-2
The Holy Spirit is only given to those who repent and are willing to obey. Hebrews 5:9 This explains why some believers don't receive the Holy Spirit immediately at baptism because in the depths of their hearts they have not yet submitted completely to Jesus Christ. But if they later on repent and submit to Christ they shall receive the Holy Spirit. To submit to Jesus Christ is to obey His commandments and to LOVE one another John 15:12, because we all have a relationship to each other Romans 12:5 as we have been baptized into one body, the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13
John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Mathew 3:11 To be baptized with the Holy Spirit simply means to receive and be sanctified by the Holy Spirit which is described using the picture of baptism, because just as baptism washes the body, so does sanctification by the Holy Spirit cleanse our spirit. And included in this process of sanctification is our 'baptism of fire', which refers to the sanctifying effect of the suffering and persecution which the faithful believer will experience as Jesus did Luke 12:50 and which he foretold for us. Mark 10:38-39 The baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire was symbolized on the day of Pentecost when at the sound of a violent wind, tongues of fire appeared and rested on the disciples as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:2-4
Someone praying a "sinners prayer" CAN'T become miraculously Spiritually Born again. The Bible states this every time very clearly receiving the Spirit alone does not make you born again as Jesus said, one needs to be "born of the water and the Spirit.
And what about the person who has never heard the gospel of Christ. He will be judged according to his conscience and how he has responded to the measure of light that he has received Romans 2:14-16 because God speaks daily to the conscience of everyman as the scripture says 'Jesus is the savior of all men'. So these can be saved from the judgment and enter eternal life by the grace of God
Therefore baptism is the entrance to the kingdom of God just as Jesus said, "Unless one is born of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." John 3:5
So with this in mind we should obey the commandment of the Lord when He said, 'Go into all the world baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.' Mathew 28:19
This is but a small part on the study of Baptism. There is much more.