Baptism is one of the most important things you can do to prove your Christianity. It represents a very strong and special connection between you and God.
If I believe that Jesus died for my sins, what’s the next step? It's in the Bible, “He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16, NIV). When a person accepts Jesus as his or her Savior, the next step is to be baptized, following Jesus’ instruction and example.
Do I have to be baptized to have my sins forgiven? No. In his sermon at Pentecost, the apostle Peter said, “All of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then your sins will be forgiven” (Acts 2:38, NIRV). God forgives our sins when we sincerely repent and ask Him to forgive us. The act of baptism, itself, doesn’t forgive our sins. But if someone loves the Lord and truly wants to live for Him, then he or she will also want to be baptized as Jesus has said. Sometimes there might be an extreme case when someone is unable to be baptized, but if at all possible, it should be a privilege to be baptized and become a part of God’s family.
What happens to my sins in baptism? The Bible says, “Why wait any longer? Get up and be baptized and have your sins washed away by praying to him [God]” (Acts 22:16, TEV). God forgives our sins when we ask. But baptism symbolizes the fact that our sins have been washed away.
What does baptism represent? It's in the Bible, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 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” (Romans 6:2-4, NIV). Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then rose from death to life. When we are baptized, it represents that we are following His example by dying to sin, being buried under the water in baptism, and rising up out of the water to live a new life in Jesus.
What happened when Jesus was baptized? It's in the Bible, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ ” (Matthew 3:16, 17, NIV). God the Father voiced His approval of Jesus at His baptism. Jesus is our example; so when you are baptized, God says the same about you. God sees Jesus in you, and He is well pleased with what He sees.
In what name are believers to be baptized—and why? It's in the Bible, “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” (Matthew 28:19, NIV). When you are baptized, it’s like joining a family—God’s family—and taking on the family name.
Today, people are baptized a lot of different ways. Is there more than one way to be baptized? Can I choose the way I want to be baptized? It's in the Bible, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5, NIV). Just as there is only one Lord and only one true faith, so there is only one biblical way to be baptized. Only one way correctly symbolizes our death and burial to sin, and our resurrection to a new life in Jesus. We can’t just choose whatever method of baptism we want; we need to follow what God says in His Word—the Bible.
According to the Bible, what is the correct way to be baptized? Let’s look at how the Bible describes Philip baptizing an Ethiopian eunuch. “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:36-39, NIV).
According to this story, the correct way to be baptized is to be completely put under the water and raised up again out of the water. (This is also how Jesus was baptized—see Matthew 3:16, 17.) This is the only method of baptism that truly symbolizes our death to sin, burial, and resurrection to a new life. Pouring, sprinkling, etc. are ways that sometimes are used for baptism, but the Bible doesn’t mention them, and they don’t truly illustrate what baptism represents.
What do I have to do before I can be baptized? It's in the Bible, “But when they believed Philip’s message about the good news of the Kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12, TEV). Before a person is baptized, he or she should understand and believe the gospel (the good news about Jesus) and accept Jesus is his or her Savior from sin.
Then once you’ve made it official, all of heaven will rejoice at another soul saved!
To learn more about the Bible and how to be prepared for baptism, and give follow Jesus, see our KidZone Guides!