At Bible Truth we follow the ordinance of Baptism as given by The Lord, as it is presented to us in the Divinely inspired and therefore authoritative New Testament scriptures. Baptism, which is by immersion in water, is for believers only, and should follow conversion to Christ.

The Ordinance of Believers Baptism

Our Lord left two ordinances to be observed by His disciples: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism, to be observed only once, after a profession of faith in Christ Acts 8:36-38; and the Lord’s Supper, which is to be observed each Lord’s day until the Lord Jesus comes back again. 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

The Definition of Believers Baptism

Baptism is the Divinely purposed picture, symbol or illustration of each believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It is important to notice it is only an illustration of this. The waters of baptism possess no saving virtue or magical quality that imparts eternal life, or regenerates the one who is baptized. This regeneration took place in the history of the believer when he received Christ as his own personal Savior, as we read:

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5.11-12

The Subjects of Believers Baptism

Scripture only contemplates one class of people who are eligible for Believers Baptism. They are those who, through personal faith in the Son of God, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, and are now called the children of God. John 1:18 This, as can be seen in the Bible, eliminates any idea of infant baptism. The New Testament teaches only the baptism of believers, whether old or young.

The Symbolism of Believers Baptism

Just as the bread and the cup, at the Lord’s supper, only pictorially represents the body and blood of Christ, so a believer, by his obedience in baptism, only symbolically demonstrates, to those who witness it. The believer shows that he has already identified himself with the Lord Jesus Christ who died for him and was buried and rose again. The Book of Romans puts the matter like this:

Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised again from the dead … even so we should also walk in newness of life. If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Romans 6:3-5

As a believer stands in the water, ready to be baptized, he or she is publicly declaring: “I hereby confess my identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore my sins, took my place, died in my stead and rose for my justification. By my baptism, I now publicly acknowledge Christ as my Substitute, Savior and Sovereign and, in this symbolical way, witness to the fact of my identification with Him in His death, burial and resurrection.”

The Spiritual Significance Of Believers’ Baptism

While the physical act of baptism takes but a few moments to perform, it takes the whole lifetime of the believer to live out all its spiritual implications! Though it is a simple ordinance, its spiritual significance is most profound and of very far reaching importance. However, it is not necessary for a believer to comprehend all the spiritual meaning that is involved in baptism before he or she can be baptized. However, it is good to be concerned regarding this matter and to understand its meaning.

  1. Baptism is a divine command to be obeyed.
    It is a simple act of obedience to the One who, as his Lord and Master, commanded it to be done. It is the duty of a believer to obey his Lord unhesitatingly, for obedience is essential to discipleship. The Lord said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. There is no substitute for obedience to the known will of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Baptism is an illustration of each believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
    • Identification into the death of Christ. God views each believer as having died in the Person of his Divine Substitute. This is a tremendous truth, that would be incredible but for the fact it is clearly stated in the word of God. The apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, puts it like this:

      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

      Death is the termination of a life, the life which a person lived prior to his conversion was a life characterized by spiritual death, or separation from the life of God. When the believer trusted Christ as his personal Savior, this old life came to an end, or, as the Bible puts it:

      Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

      The believer can say:

      In the same way, I count myself dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, my Lord! Romans 6:11

    • Identification with Christ in His burial.
      Burial is the proof of death, for only the dead are buried. This is why immersion is the only logical picture of baptism. The person to be baptized stands in the water. Unresistingly, he allows himself to be buried beneath the water, illustrating burial with Christ who died for his sins. Romans 6:4
    • Identification with Christ in His resurrection. The believer comes out from the water to publicly illustrate his resurrection with his Lord, to walk with Christ in newness of life. Romans 6:5
  3. Baptism should have a deep spiritual meaning for the believer. To treat such an ordinance with indifference, and label it a “non essential,” is to question the wisdom of the Lord in instituting it. Failure to obey the Lord in the ordinance of baptism may stem from various causes. It may be due to a lack of knowledge of this truth. It may be due to prejudice. It may be due to pride. Whatever the cause may be which keeps a believer from obeying what he knows to be the command of the Lord regarding baptism; it is too big a price to pay.

May each Christian give himself no rest until, like Ezekiel, he or she can truthfully say: “I did as I was commanded.” Ezekiel 12:7. Remember, there is no substitute for personal and prompt obedience to the known will of God, as found in His word. The words of Samuel the prophet to King Saul sums it up:

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22