What is Water Baptism?
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|Baptism is a form of
obedience that Christ requires of every believer (John
3:5). Unless you have exercised genuine faith, repentance
and surrender to Christ, baptism is a meaningless
exercise. You would just be a wet sinner, and it means
nothing. True baptism means that you must believe, repent
and surrender, that you must give your life totally and
unremittingly in service to Him.
Every true believer, when given the opportunity, will be baptized. It is not a perfunctory ritual that is performed after salvation, but it is part of salvation (Acts 22:16). I Peter 3:21 says that "baptism doth also now save us." That is why Jesus said that believers must be "born of water" to enter the kingdom:
What does "born of water" mean in this passage? Is it talking about the bag of waters that was broken when we were originally born in our mothers' wombs? No, Nicodemus said, "when he is old." Jesus did not correct Nicodemus on this point.
Some people actually believe that "born of water" refers to the water that broke at our original birth. But if we accept this idea, we are saying that a work must be performed (i.e. water breaking at birth) in order for us to be saved. That would not be a "faith alone" gospel. Salvation has nothing to do with water breaking when we are originally born.
Some well meaning Evangelicals say that "born of water" refers to Ephesians 5:26 or "the washing of water by the word." However, this phrase refers to the sanctification of Christ's church, those who have already been converted. In talking about being "born of water," Jesus was not referring to Ephesians 5:26 which was written much later.
The fact is that being born of water involves exercising faith, repenting of our sins and surrendering to Christ as Lord. Without these there is no baptism, and being born again is impossible.
Through the restored gospel of Christ, you can know what it means to truly be born again and enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. But true baptism must involve the following:
1) A covenant relationship in which you will serve Him and be willing to obey Him (Matthew 28:19-20).
2) A remission of your sins (Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16).
3) Entrance into Christ's church (Acts 2:41; I Corinthians 12:13).
Have you considered the impact of this message on your life? Perhaps you have been baptized. Was the commitment you made based on "acceptance" of Him? Was obedience merely an option? Was your repentance merely a change of mind? Did you truly experience an abrupt and lasting change in your pattern of sin? You can find victory and renewed hope in Christ through His restored gospel.
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