Baptism is a special time for any Christian. Christian baptism is one of two ordinances that Jesus instituted for the church. Just before His ascension, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and 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."
These instructions specify that the church is responsible for teaching Jesus’ Word, making disciples, and baptizing those disciples. These things are to be done everywhere until the end of time. If for no other reason, baptism has importance because Jesus commanded it. Baptism was practiced before the founding of the church. The Jews of ancient times would baptize proselytes to signify the converts’ cleansed nature.
The History of Baptism
John the Baptist used baptism to prepare the way of the Lord, requiring everyone, not just Gentiles, to be baptized because everyone needs repentance. However, John’s baptism, signifying repentance, is not the same as Christian baptism, as seen in Acts 18:24-26. Christian baptism has a more profound significance. Baptism is done in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, making it “Christian” baptism.
Through this ordinance, a person is admitted into the fellowship of the church. When we are saved, we are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, which is the church. First Corinthians 12:12 reminds us that we are all baptized by one Spirit to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. We are all given the one Spirit to drink. Baptism by water is a reenactment of the baptism by the Spirit.
Christian baptism is how a person makes a public profession of faith and discipleship. In the waters of baptism, a person says, wordlessly, I confess faith in Christ; Jesus has cleansed my soul from sin, and I now have a new life of sanctification. Christian baptism illustrates, in dramatic style, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. At the same time, it also represents our death to sin and new life in Christ.
What Baptism Signifies
As the sinner confesses to the Lord Jesus, he dies to sin and is raised to a brand-new life. Being submerged in the water represents death to sin, and emerging from the water represents the cleansed, holy life that follows salvation. Romans 6:4 says that we were buried with him through baptism into death so that we can resurrect and live a new life, just like Jesus did.
Very simply, baptism is an outward testimony of the inward change in a believer’s life. Christian baptism is an act of obedience to the Lord after salvation. Although baptism is closely associated with salvation, it’s not required to be saved. The Bible shows in many places that the order of events is that a person believes in the Lord and is baptized. Acts 2:41 says those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized.
A new believer in Jesus Christ should go through as soon as possible. In Acts 8, Philip speaks “the good news about Jesus” to the Ethiopian eunuch, and, “as they traveled along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’” Right away, they stopped the chariot, and Philip baptized the man. Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Everywhere the gospel is preached, and people are drawn to faith in Christ, they are baptized.
Ways to Prepare For Your Baptism
Baptism is like a rite of passage in the Christian faith. It’s not something that you shouldn’t take lightly. It means that you’re ready to give up your life of sin and join God, relishing in His powers and eternal kingdom. Here are some ways to prepare your mind and heart for your baptism.
- Figure out your motive for baptism.
Before asking God for this gift, the first thing you must have is the right motive. This one right here is where many Christians miss getting it the first time around. Some people may want this gift because some of their friends may have just received it, or they want the gift of tongues, or they want God’s power to be able to do what their will is rather than what God’s will is going to be for their lives. In other words, they want this gift for their selfish purposes rather than for what God wants to do with their lives. God will be able to read right through your thoughts and motives on all of this. If you are not sincere with Him as to why you want this gift or seek after this gift for all of the wrong reasons, God will see right through your impure motives.
- Decide if you want it.
Once you have examined your motives and know that you can approach God with the right reasons and justifications for wanting this gift, the next step is to decide if you want this gift. This may sound a bit redundant, but it isn’t. This gift is only for those who want to go all out for God. It is only for those who are willing to put the pedal to the metal for God. If God is going to allow the Holy Spirit to release up into your soul area, then He is going to want you to do something with it. God has a specific plan and destiny for each person’s life. If God allows the Holy Spirit to release up into your soul area, then you are going to have God’s power available to you to do what He wants you to do with your life. If you are not willing to be used by God for whatever He wants to use you for in this life, then His anointing is just going to be wasted.
- Fully surrender yourself to God.
Once you realize what this gift entails and that you will have to be willing to fully surrender to whatever God’s perfect plan and destiny will be for your life, then the next step is to take that giant leap of faith. You have to surrender everything over to God the Father fully. God wants four specific things from you: your body, soul, spirit, and entire life. However, if you’re not ready to make that choice, you shouldn’t get baptized. If you can now say that you wish to receive this gift for all of the right reasons, you have no fear in receiving it, and that you will now be willing to surrender every aspect of your life to God fully.
- Fully cleanse yourself.
Before asking God to allow this gift to be released in you, every Christian should be willing to go through a complete cleansing. This entails that you confess any known sins that you may have on you that have not already been revealed and forgiven under the Blood of Jesus. It would be like going to confession before receiving communion for those of you with a Catholic background. Imagine if you got a message from God the Father and He told you that He would send Jesus down to visit you at your house on a specific date. What would be the first thing that you would want to do? You would like to clean your home from top to bottom.
- Pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The only thing left to do is go to God the Father in prayer and ask Him to allow the Holy Spirit to release up into your soul. It is that simple. You do not have to go into any significant toiling or prevailing trying to get God to release this gift to you. You may have also wrestled with the Lord on going through the cleansing process about some past or hidden sins that He wanted you to confess as sins for your house to be clean enough to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into your soul.
Baptism is an essential rite of passage for every Christian. It signifies your desire to have a better relationship with God and join His kingdom. Baptism is cleansing your former life and stepping into your new life with Christ. However, it would help if you only got baptized for the right reasons. Don’t get baptized because someone is forcing you. Choosing to get baptized is an individual decision you should make with earnest intentions.