Baptism is something that has marked the response of people to Jesus for 2000 years. In the New Testament, every time someone started following Jesus, they were baptized. For those who have decided to follow Jesus, baptism is the next step. There are two foundational purposes of baptism. In Christianity, baptism is not intended to be a private experience. When you claimed Jesus as your personal Savior, it was an intensely private experience. But once you have entered the family of God, there is nothing private about it. You are a part of the Church, the Body of Christ, brothers and sisters related together in God’s family.
When Jesus was about 30 years old, He visited John the Baptist some six months after John began his preaching asking him to baptize Him at the River Jordan. John initially rejects saying, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you, and you are coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). John is aware that Jesus is God’s special Son. He also understands that the baptism he is performing is for those repenting of their sins. Yet, Jesus is without sin. Despite John’s objection, Jesus insists saying, “Let it be this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous” (Matthew 3:15).
The Bible tells us, “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).
Almost everything of spiritual significance that happens to you after your salvation happens in connection with your family – the extended family of God. That also includes baptism. Baptism is an ordinance of the Church of Jesus Christ. John baptized people. People didn’t get baptized on their own. In the early Church, following the Lord in the waters of baptism was the official, public pronouncement that a person was a believer in Christ and was part of the Christian movement.
When a person chooses baptism, they are saying, “I am part of God’s family.” Such a person comes into a family of mutual commitment, love and relatedness to one another.
There are a lot of questions that come up regarding Christian baptism. One that often comes up is, “Should you be baptized more than once in life?” This question is asked a lot by people who were baptized as children and as adults who are joining a church that practices believer’s baptism. This question also comes up when people have lost their faith and now want to commit their lives again to Christ. To answer this question, it’s important to look at what baptism symbolizes.
The truth is you only need to be baptized by water once because you are baptized in the Spirit once. Many churches have different views on baptism. The only truth we have is found in the Bible. Scripture tells us that every Christian is baptized in the Spirit once at the moment where they are born-again in Christ.
First Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we are all baptized by one Spirit as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” We also read in Ephesians 1:13-14, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.” Paul clearly states here that we were all baptized by one Spirit. We were marked with a seal when we believed. We were are baptized only once we choose our conversion. We should be baptized only once.
Another major reason why we should be baptized only once is because we can never lose our salvation. We are told in Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God.” Grace is God’s love in action. Though we are undeserving of grace, God loves us so much that He continues to save us. We needed to be rescued. God made us “in His own image.” Genesis 2:7 tells us “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” God energized Adam and Eve through His breath. Given man was created in God’s image, we know that they were perfect. But their disobedience showed not only their distrust of God, but their own brokenness. We are similar, being that we are like God, yet ungodly, victims in a world of sin. We are living in a world of lost souls. But God doesn’t want this for us. In fact, God rescues us from our sin. Our baptism represents our public choice to be rescued from a world of sin and find salvation through Jesus Christ.
To be saved, or born again in the waters of baptism is to accept the plan of salvation that Jesus offers us. In order to understand salvation, it’s imperative that we understand the death and resurrection of Christ which points to our salvation. The Son of God was made human, and during His earthly life, He lived a perfect life, and died not because He wanted to but because we needed salvation. He was made to die for us. Amazingly, God raised Jesus from the dead into new life, and promises to resurrect us when Jesus comes again. The salvation we need is Jesus, and can only be accessed through Him. We don’t need to be baptized more than once to receive salvation.