Baptism: Why, What, & Who?

Why be baptized?

For those who believe and confess Christ as Lord and Savior, baptism is obedience to His commands and a way to bring glory to the Father. It is very important to understand that faith in Jesus Christ and belief and confession in Him as Savior and Lord of your life is the only means that we have for salvation. John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and Romans 10:9-13 are just a few examples in Scripture that show this to be true.

According to the Bible, all those who have believed and confessed Christ as Lord should be baptized (Mark 16:16). However, baptism does not save the soul, nor is baptism Scripturally required to be saved. Baptism is obedience to Christ. In the believer’s life, it is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not merely a symbolic act; it is the identification of the believer as belonging to Christ. Baptism is a powerful tool in the life of a believer to testify to the saving grace of God.

We see that baptism is not required for salvation by looking at the thief on the cross at the crucifixion of Jesus.

In Luke 23:42-43, the thief never had the opportunity to be baptized; but Christ told him that on that very day, he would be with Him in paradise. The thief’s faith saved him. We also see that baptism is not proof of salvation through Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:4-24. Simon believed the Good News of Jesus Christ that was being preached and was baptized. Later he revealed that his motive was to make money and pro t from the things of God. Peter then told Simon to pray to the Lord for forgiveness and went on to rebuke him in verse 23 by saying, “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” Simon’s reply is even more telling of his lack of genuine salvation when he says, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

In Matthew 28:19, Christ tells His disciples to go “and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This is the command for every disciple of Christ to be baptized and to baptize others who profess faith in Jesus Christ.

What Does Baptism Look Like?

According to Scripture, baptism is full immersion in water. The original Greek word used in the Bible for baptism literally means to immerse, submerge, or dip repeatedly. Our Biblical foundation for this is found in Matthew 3:16, and again in Mark 1:10, in the account of Christ himself being baptized. In both accounts, we see phrases like come up from the water. We see the same language in Acts 8 with the account of Philip baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch. In verse 38, it says they both “went down into the water”; and in verse 39, “they came up out of the water.”

According to the Bible, to be baptized is to be immersed in and come up out of the water, after having believed and confessed Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. We see this in many instances, most notably with the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip in Acts 8:36. Upon the eunuch’s belief and confession it says, “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’”

Who is baptism for?

All throughout the book of Acts, there are accounts of people believing in Christ and immediately being baptized. Acts 2:41; 8:12 & 38; 16:14-15; and 18:8 all illustrate people believing and immediately being baptized. According to Biblical example, baptism is for any person who has believed in their heart and confessed with their mouth that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior and has sought His forgiveness for the sin in their life.

Discussion Points

  • If you are saved, have you been baptized?

  • If not, what is preventing you from being baptized? If you would like to be baptized and live locally to The Rock Church, we would love to help you. Please contact us at