Jesus came and told His Disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make Disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new Disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Baptism is commanded for all who believe in Jesus (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38) and it naturally followed after conversion (Acts 2:37; Acts 10:47; Acts 16:33). But what does it mean?
What is baptism?
Christian Disciples are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3), and into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is to show a total identification with Jesus Christ, whereby Christian Disciples are baptized into His body (1 Corinthians 12:13) and His death (Romans 6:1-6). Our old inherent sinful natures are seen as buried with Christ and we are raised to live a new life with a new nature! Baptism is also a public testimony that Christian Disciples have entered into God’s blessings.
Who should be baptized?
There are two main schools of thought over who should be baptized.
Firstly there is “Believers baptism”, which is for all who confess faith in Christ and is mentioned frequently in the New Testament (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41). This was by full immersion, usually in a river or other public place.
Secondly, there is what is called in some parts of the church as “Christening” or “Infant baptism”. This practice and teaching was also passed down by the Apostles and was current by the time of the early church Fathers, Origen and Tertullian. The basis for Infant Baptism lies in the Old Testament, where the sign of the covenant between God and His people was circumcision of the male babies. Baptism can be thought of as the equivalent in the New Testament and therefore applicable to infants (Colossians 2:6-12).
Suffice to say, that God has used proponents of both opinions! If you have not been baptized and would call yourself a Christian, then go and ask your church leader about how you can undergo this vital part of Christian life.