Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized,
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38).
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He asked His disciples for one thing.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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"(Matthew 28:19, 20).
These instructions were not only for the disciples but also for us. So, according to this command, many Christians have preached the gospel, and been baptized even through many difficulties.
The term, "Baptism", is translated into "christening" in the Korean Bible. The term, "christening", is not a correct interpretation of "Baptism". So we should correct it. Baptism is a very important ceremony to be a believer.
Then, what is needed for baptism? What can we do?
"Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you" is the first order of Jesus. Therefore a person who wants to be baptized must learn the truth of the Bible and accept them by heart and keep them. Then he must believe in Jesus as his Savior.
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"(Mark 16:16). Faith is the first condition of salvation.
That is, we must trust Jesus, as our Savior, and our Redeemer.
Then what is the next one? It is repenting our sins and repeating them. As our parents forgive our mistakes when we own up to them, Jesus also forgives us. And He helps us to leave our sins behind.
Preparation to be baptized
1. Receive His teaching and believe in Him as your Savior.
2. Repent your sins and leave them behind.
"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38).
Repentance means being convinced of our sins, grieving them and confessing them to Jesus. This is just like asking for forgiveness from our friends.
The repentance is not always to God. If we hurt someone, we must go to him, confess our faults and ask to forgiveness.
Pastors can baptize those who are enough old to learn to the Bible truth, repent their sins decide to be baptized.
But infants or babies who don't know what sin is can't get baptized. It's originated with ancient idol worshipers, and several hundred years later (A.D), the Roman Catholic Church followed it.
The lives of children who cannot distinguish good and evil is in the loving hands of Jesus.
How can we be baptized?
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all"(Ephesians 4:5, 6).
We know that baptism should be done in only one way. Then how was Jesus baptized? Matthew wrote about it like this,
"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized and he came up out of the water; The heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and landing on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased"(Matthew 3:13-17).
Jesus was baptized in the right way. It is the only way to be baptized. He was baptized by immersion in the Jordan River. After Jesus was baptized, when he went up out of the water, the Spirit of God descended in appearance of a dove with a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased" It was the sign that God consented to Jesus' baptizing. Therefore the right baptism ceremony is immersing into water.
“Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized"(John 3:23).
Philip and the baptism
Several years after Jesus ascended, an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza"(Acts 8:26).
Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. He was a minister of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, and in charge of all her treasure.
When Philip came near him, he was reading Isaiah 53:7, 8. Philip asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He said, "How can I understand it unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up in his chariot and sit with him.
And he read continuously. "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken"(Isaiah 53:7, 8).
The eunuch who was reading the Bible asked Philip. "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" (Acts 8:34). Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they went along the road, they came to see some water, the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?"
Philip said. "If you believe with all your heart, you may."
He replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God"(Acts 8:37).
And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him, and they came up out of the water. This way is the same as the way that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. That is, it is immersing whole body in the water.
The original language of "christening" in the Korean Bible "baptism" means not to wash with water, but to immerse in water. Therefore the dropping of water is not a right way to baptize.
"Christening" began in the Roman Church from about 8th century, for the children and the sick who couldn't get into water and it spread widely after the 12th century.
"Christening, dropping the water on the head, is not a right way. Baptism, the full immersion into the water, is the right way biblically."
The meaning of baptism
The apostle Paul said,
"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”(Romans 6:3-7, 11).
The ceremony of baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection. Therefore, all of us who believe in Jesus and are baptized indicate that we died, were buried and were raised by Christ Jesus.
That is, person who is baptized is forgiven his all sins of the past and is cleansed. And it indicates that he will be enslaved to sin no longer, by being buried into the water with the Lord. So when he comes up out of the water, he will be born again.
Like this, the baptism indicates that the dead sinner is buried and is raised again as a new person.
New life after being baptized
Baptism is a symbol and experience of being born again. Therefore our lives after we are baptized must be changed. The old person is dead and the new person is born, so we should live a new life.
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity"(Colossians 3:1, 2, 8-10, 12-14).
The person who is baptized and enters the church has to live with a good character as the disciples of Jesus. Whatever you eat, drink, wear, or whatever you do, and you must do all to the glory of God.
"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God"(1 Timothy 2:9, 10).
Our clothes represent our minds. Therefore revealing and expensive clothes are not appropriate. Christians do not have to be leaders in fashion, but should not be too out of date. Our pure hearts and noble personalities should be apparent through our clothes.
Pleasure and tastes that have a bad influence on our characters and make us waste time are inappropriate as well.
We should do everything for the glory of God.
We must avoid novels or magazines that give us dangerous thoughts and make us deny God. We must choose carefully the movies or TV and Radio programs we are entertained with; otherwise we are apt to be influenced unknowingly. These can be Satan's evil instruments and are not only used for spreading the gospel.
Sometimes Christian life can be regarded as glooms, dry and dull, but it is not true at all.
The secret of victory
The last problem is how the person who is baptized and enters the church can preserve his faith.
Paul explained the secret as follows.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(Galatians 2:20).
To live a life where Christ lives in us and conducts us...This is the secret of victory and keeping the faith.
Ellen G. White, a religious author in North America, said,
"The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave behind many bad habits, and for a time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end"(The Desire of Ages 324).
To have a true and healthy relationship with Christ, we must think about the following things.
First, You must not neglect secret prayer.
Second, You must study the Bible everyday.
Third, you must share the grace of Christ with others daily.
Fourth, you must take part in church services earnestly.
Fifth, and you should make an effort to get acquainted with friends who believe in Jesus.
You are apt to fall into the temptation and your faith is easy to weaken if you make friends with unbelievers. For the power of the Satan is very strong.
There is another thing you must consider. If you realize all this, you do not have to remain a slave of Satan anymore. You must immediately resolve to obey the truth, be baptized and enter the church.
If you enter the church and have a membership, you shall have a courage, power and faith to face the devil.
The apostle Peter said that baptism is "the figure of the salvation"
“And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”(1 Peter 3:21).
When God created this world, it was much more beautiful than it is today. If we could visit the Eden Garden even once its beauty would blow us away.
Today nature is only the shadow of what it was originally. There were many flowers, trees, and pretty birds and animals living together happily.
Even a big lion or tiger was so meek that he didn't hurt other animals. They all obeyed Adam and Eve.
No animal was afraid of man. There was no sickness and no death.
But after sin came to this world, everything changed completely. Animals became cruel and fierce. The flowers withered. In autumn, the leaves fell down and the grass withered, as well.
How sad Adam must have felt he saw all of this! It happened because of his sin.
God promised to give another world free of death and despair. Since then, people have believed that promise. Jesus is building mansions in heaven for us. What a great promise it is! It is the best hope for believers. Our lives are often compared to that of pilgrims. We are traveling…
"We are all pilgrims bound for heaven."