THE MEANING OF BAPTISM
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:3-6
The word “baptism” should not be found in any English translation of the Bible. I cherish above all translations the old Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible. I consider it to be the best English translation there is, and the most readable. However, the translators were men who practiced sprinkling for baptism and administered the ordinance to unregenerate, unbelieving infants. They were Anglicans, working under orders from the Anglican (Church of England) king.
Consequently, when they came to the word baptism in the Greek text, instead of translating it, they transliterated it. That simply means they coined a new word. They simply spelled out the Greek word in English letters. Had they translated the word, it would have been translated “immersion.” To baptize means to “immerse” or “dip.” Wherever you read the words “baptism” and “baptize” in the New Testament, the word should be read “immersion” and “immerse.” Immersion is not a mode of baptism. Immersion is baptism. Sprinkling is sprinkling. Pouring is pouring. But immersion is baptism.
BAPTISM IS A BURIAL. It has no reference whatsoever to the Old Testament law of circumcision. It is a symbolic picture of the believer’s death and burial with Christ. Being crucified with Christ, we are buried with him in the watery grave, because we are now dead to sin and dead to the law. There is not a single New Testament connection between baptism and circumcision. Baptism is always represented as a picture of our being buried with Christ, by which we show to all how that our sins were washed away by our Savior’s death as our Substitute.
BAPTISM IS A RESURRECTION. As we died with Christ, so too, we are risen with him to walk in the newness of life. As our Lord came “up straightway out of the water” when he was immersed by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:16), so every believer, when he confesses faith in Christ, comes up out of the watery grave with an avowed, public commitment to Christ, to walk with him in this world in the newness of life in hope of the resurrection.
BAPTISM IS FOR BELIEVERS ONLY. Nowhere in the Bible is there a single example of infant baptism. The one condition required for baptism is faith (Acts 8:36-37). I have many friends whom I highly esteem in the kingdom of God, who practice infant baptism. I would not offend them for the world. But I must state the matter frankly and clearly - There is not a shred of evidence for the practice in the Word of God. Were it not a doctrine promoted and maintained by religious tradition, no one would ever conclude by reading the Bible alone that baptism should be performed by sprinkling, or that the ordinance should be administered to unregenerate, unbelieving babies. This is not a trifling matter of insignificance. Neither is it merely a Baptist doctrine. Believer’s baptism is an ordinance of divine worship. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God. It is the believer’s first public act of obedience to Christ as Lord and King. Let every believer therefore be immersed with Christ in the watery grave, confessing his sin and his faith in the sin-atoning sacrifice of God’s dear Son. AMEN.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #630
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org