Baptism In Water

The Word Of God - Lesson IV A

Baptism In Water

Today we will study the subject of Water Baptism which is to take place after someone has come to faith in Christ Jesus. Water Baptism can be compared to circumcision in the Old Testament which God established with Abraham, as we can read in:

Genesis 17:9-14

“Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is My covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner – those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

However, even in the case of the Old Testament believers, their acceptance by God was based on their faith and not just on the outward sign of their circumcision, as we can read in:

Hebrews 11:8-11

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith, he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city without foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith, Abraham, even thought he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered Him to faithful who had made the promise.”

Jesus had this to say about Abraham in:

John 8:56

“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing My day; he saw it and was glad.”

And the Apostle, Paul, writes in:

Romans 4:1-3

“What then shall we say, the Abraham, our forefather discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

We can read this in:

Genesis 15:6

“Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”

How can believers apply this to their lives? Paul explains it in

Romans 2:28-29a when he writes to Jewish believers:

“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code….”

This refers to our born again, or born from above experience experience which is the work of the Holy Spirit for He has come to bring conviction, as we can read in:

John 16:8

“When He comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.”

Jesus spoke about this born again experience in:

John 3:5-7

“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The Apostle Paul teaches what happens to those of us who have become believers in:

II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.”

And Philippians 3:13

“This I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.”

And Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the Law of Sin and Death.”

Although in the Old Testament only males were circumcised, in the New Testament, this circumcision of the heart that Paul speaks of is for men and women, for we who are believers are all sons of God and co-heirs with Christ, as we can read in:

Romans 8:14-17

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”

For the New Testament believer the outward sign of the born again experience is water baptism, as Paul explained in:

Romans 6:3-4

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

And in Colossians 2:11-12

“In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

And in Galatians 3:26-27

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.”

Luke gives us various accounts of believers who were baptised, as in:

Acts 2:38-39

“Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptised, everyone of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 2:41

“Those who accepted his (Peter’s) message were baptised …”

Acts 8:12

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised both men and women.”

Acts 8:32-38

“The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so He did not open His mouth. In His humiliation He was deprived of justice. Who can speak of His descendants? For His life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. “Why shouldn’t I be baptised?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.”

Acts 9:18

“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He got up and was baptised.”

Acts 10:47-48

“Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptised with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Acts 19:4-5

“Paul said, “John’ baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe on the One coming after him, that is in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised into the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Jesus Himself was baptised in water, as we can read in:

Matthew 3:13-16

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John (the Baptist). But John tried to deter Him, saying, “I need to be baptised by You, and do You come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do so to fulfil all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water….”

Jesus included Water Baptism in His Great Commision, as we can read in:

Matthew 28:18-20

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

From Scripture we can learn then that the first step a person has to take is to repent of his sins and believe in the Lord Jesus and the following step is Water Baptism as an outward sign of what has already taken place in a person’s heart. Even though Water Baptism in itself does not save a person, it is an important step of obedience for a believer.

In our next study we will look at the subject of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Lesson IV B - Baptism In The Holy Spirit