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Many people believe water baptism is essential for salvation. Water baptism cannot deliver anyone from the penalty of sin. A person is saved by faith in Jesus, not by works such as water baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; John 5: 24; Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-10). Water baptism is for those who have ALREADY trusted Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. For example:


Acts 2:23-24 Peter shared the gospel. He pointed out that Jesus was killed on the cross and that He resurrected the third day. (Acts 2:41) – “Those who accepted His message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” The crowd accepted Peter’s message by placing their faith in Jesus. After they accepted Jesus as their Savior, they were baptized.


Acts 10:23-48


Peter shared with Cornelius and all those with him, that Jesus was crucified on the cross. Three days later, Jesus arose from the dead. Peter concluded in verse 43, “All the prophets testify about Him (Jesus) that everyone who believes in Him (Jesus) receives forgiveness of sins through His name” Acts 2:44 tells us the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius, his family, and all who heard Peter’s message. The Holy Sprit indwells those who believe in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14). After Cornelius, his family, and household were saved, they got baptized – Acts 2:48.




Water baptism expresses a believer’s desire to obey Jesus. Jesus commanded His disciples in Matthew 28:19, “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.”Water baptism illustrates the burial of Jesus. Colossians 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.”


When a believer is placed in a pool of water and submerged, it signifies Christ’s death and burial. Dr. Woodrow Kroll wrote, “Baptism symbolizes your break with your old life, with the past and its sin.” Dr. Richard DeHaan writes in his book, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, “When a person receives the Lord Jesus as his Savior, he dies to the domination of sin. Yes, in Christ, believers have died to sin, and this is the truth symbolized in baptism. By going down into the waters of baptism, we who have placed our trust in Christ testify that through our union with Him we have been buried with Him in His death. Having died to sin, we are no longer under its condemnation or bondage.”


Water baptism also illustrates the resurrection of Jesus. Colossians 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Dr. Kroll illustrates, “Although every believer sins after they are saved, baptism proclaims to the world they are headed in a new direction, they are on a new road, and they are taking the first steps on that road.” “The emergence from the waters of baptism symbolizes that through our union with the living Lord we have been raised from death with Him. We now have new life– that which gives spiritual victory,” states DeHaan.




The word baptism means to dip, submerge, or immerse. Only immersion pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word sprinkling in Greek is rhantizo meaning literally to sprinkle. The Greek word rhantizo is never used in the Bible for Christian baptism. In Matthew 3:16, Jesus went up out of the water. In Acts 8:38, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch both went down into the water.




Early believers were baptized soon after salvation – (Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, and Acts 18:8). The longest anyone ever waited to be baptized in the Scriptures is 3 days – (Acts 9:9, 17-18).