First Steps in Christ │ Step Three │ Baptism │ Christ Assembly


Click to Enlarge

STEP3--Baptism     For PDF version, STEP3–Baptism STEP THREE BAPTISM

Baptism in the New Testament

Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples in all the world. As they made disciples, they were to baptize the converts and teach the converts all that Jesus had commanded them. Only believers in Christ should be baptized, because baptism expresses the saving faith of the person being baptized. As people forgiven by Jesus Christ, we should be careful to follow His example and commandments. Jesus ordained baptism, which identifies you as a Christian and proclaims your decision to follow Jesus Christ.

Authority of Jesus Christ


“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the age.'” │ Matthew 28:18-20, Page 1557


In Matthew 28: 18-20, we observe that Jesus had been crucified and resurrected. Just before He ascended to heaven, He left final commands for His disciples. He started by saying that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. Then, Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world, making disciples of the nations. Jesus commanded: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19, Page 1557. Notice that all believers must be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Apostolic Practice

[color-box]“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” │ Acts 2:41, Page 1703 [/color-box]

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples, then known also as the apostles, were gathered together in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and the church was born. These apostles then preached Jesus Christ to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem and thousands of people believed in Jesus Christ. The early church invited all believers to be baptized (Acts 2:38, 41, Page 1702) as a public proclamation of their faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior (Romans 5:8-9, Page 1764).

Faith in Jesus Christ


“And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;” │ Acts 9:18, Page 1717


The New Testament writers taught that only believers in Christ underwent baptism (e.g., Acts 2:38,41, Page 1702; 8:12,Page 1714; 8:36-38, Page 1715; 9:18, Page 1717; 10:47, Page 1721; 16:14-15, Page 1732; 16:33, Page 1733; 18:8, Page 1736; 19:5, Page 1737).  Baptism in the church occurred after personal salvation and only because of salvation. In other words, infants were not baptized (because they did not have saving faith), but rather new believers of all ages were baptized after they had been born again by faith (Acts 2:41, Page 1702; Ephesians 2:8-9, Page 1828; John 3:3, Page 1657). Believers are baptized because they have been saved from their sins and desire to identify themselves with Christ. The Ethiopian Eunuch listened to Philip preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him, and then proclaimed his need for baptism (Acts 8:34-39, Pages 17-15-1716). Immediately after believing, he received baptism. This pattern characterizes the practice of baptism immediately after salvation in the New Testament. 

 Baptism Proclaims Your Personal

Faith in Christ


“As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?'” │ Acts 9:18, Page 1717


Believers often received baptism immediately after conversion. The Ethiopian Eunuch sought to be baptized immediately after hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believing (Acts 8:25-40, Pages 1715-1716). Consider also the the Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who received baptism in the Jordan River and “fulfilled all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15, Page 1504). Immediately after Jesus rose from the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus as a dove and rested upon Him. Furthermore, a voice out of heaven said: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17, Page 1504). Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commanded His disciples to baptize believers. In Matthew 28:19, Page 1557, Jesus commanded: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Following the example and command of the Lord Jesus Christ, New Testament believers expressed their faith in Jesus Christ and proclaimed their salvation by receiving baptism. Jesus expected that every believer would be baptized. In the early church, we see the close relationship between salvation and baptism: “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts  2:41, Page 1703).

Identification with Christ


“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” │ Romans 6:4, page 1765


Baptism symbolizes the believer being submerged into the death of Christ and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life to the glory of God (Romans 6:4, Page 1765). Colossians 2:12, Page 1843 provides a similar view of baptism: “having been buried with Him in baptism in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” In both of these passages, baptism identifies the believer with Christ in two ways. First, each believer submerges in the water which pictures identification with the death and burial of Christ. Each believer has been crucified with Christ so that the old self with its passions and desires has died (Galatians 2:20, Page 1821;5:24, Page 1825). Second, every believer rises from baptism into the same standing that Christ had before God the Father (who said, “my Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,”) because we have become the sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14, Page 1769). Believers also called upon the name of Jesus Christ in baptism (Acts 22:16, Page 1745). Hebrews 10:22 (Page 1881) provides: “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Cleansing Symbol. The New Testament never teaches that baptism saves anyone. By grace through faith in Christ we receive the free gift of salvation (Romans 5:8-9, Page 1764; Ephesians 2:8-9, Page 1828). Baptism symbolizes cleansing from sin. In Hebrews 10:22 (Page 1881), the believers draw near to God, “having hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 6:11 (Page 1788), Paul described believers as “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Ephesians 1:3 (Page 1827) provides: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Baptism: Ordinance, Not Sacrament


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”│ Ephesians 1:3, page 1827


When a person receives Christ and His forgiveness by faith, Christ enters his life as Lord and Savior. At that moment, the believer has been made complete in Christ and blessed with every blessing in Christ in the heavenly places, even while living on earth (Ephesians 1:3, Page 1827). The believer does not depend upon anything except direct union with God to bring grace into his life. In contrast, some churches wrongly teach that “sacraments” are a means of God’s grace. Indeed, some churches mislead believers by holding that in the sacraments, the benefits of the new covenant are sealed and applied to believers (Reformed Church, Roman Catholic Church). Therefore, because the Bible informs us that God’s grace comes by faith alone, we do not recognize “sacraments,” but understand that many people still use the term. In contrast, the term “ordinance” conveys the truth that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbols of great events in the life of the church, but never communicate God’s grace in themselves. For example, the Lord Jesus said that the cup of the Lord’s Supper “is the new covenant in My blood.” He meant that we drink the cup in remembrance of Him, not as an infusion of grace or the application of the New Covenant. As believers, we receive the blessings of the New Covenant by faith in Christ alone, so that we are a “letter of Christ,” written with the Spirit of the living God (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, Page 1807). Therefore, we serve as ministers of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6, Page 1807), not because of the Lord’s Supper, but because of our faith in Christ. The New Testament knows nothing of “sacraments,” and never teaches that “sacraments” are a means of grace, or in any way seal or apply the New Covenant to believers. In fact, the New Testament knows nothing of “clergy” because all believers have spiritual gifts and perform the work of ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Page 1796; 1 Peter 2:5, 9, Page 1895), Indeed, every believer is a holy priest and royal priest. Therefore, all people who use the title “Clergy” fall into the Pastoral Heresy. Furthermore, the New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit communicates all truth directly to believers (John 16:13, Page 1688; 1 John 2:27, Page 1906). Paul wrote:  “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797).

Union with the Body of Christ


“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”│ 1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797


In baptism, the new believer identifies himself with Christ and with the body of Christ, the church. As individuals become believers in Christ, at the moment of spiritual rebirth, each believer joins the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, Page 1796: the body of Christ has many members, but forms one body). Jesus Himself baptizes each believer in the Holy Spirit, and so we are all baptized into one body, the body of Jesus Christ, called the Church. Likewise, believers also become united together as one holy temple of the Lord, and “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22, Page 1829).

Baptism Never Saves

[color-box]“And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.'” │ Luke 23:43, Page 1650 [/color-box]

Some people wrongly teach that baptism is essential to salvation and without baptism, you will not go to heaven. Those people even quote verses from the Bible that they claim teach this false doctrine of baptismal regeneration. One example shows the error of baptismal regeneration. Consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus Christ. After that thief made a profession of faith while hanging on the cross, Jesus promised him that he would be with Jesus in paradise the same day. Of course the thief never received baptism, but went to paradise with Jesus (Luke 23:43, Page 1650). Also, consider Acts 10:44-48, Pages 1720-1721. In this passage, gentiles believed in the name of Jesus Christ, and they received forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43, Page 720). The Holy Spirit then fell upon those believers, and the new believers began speaking in known tongues, exalting God (Acts 10:46, Pages 1720-1721). Notice that these believers received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues before they were baptized. Therefore, because the people had received the Holy Spirit and were already speaking in tongues, we know from the text that they were already saved. Only believers have the Holy Spirit poured out upon them. Only believers speak in known tongues, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, exalting God. Notice, they were saved before they were baptized in this passage. Therefore, salvation came before baptism. The people were not baptized until Acts 10:48, Page 1721. So, no one can argue that you must be baptized to be saved, because the thief on the cross was saved, but never baptized, and the believers in Acts 10:44-48 were saved and then baptized. Consider also Acts 8:36, Page 1715: “As they went along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?'”

Every Believer Baptized. Philip met a Ethiopian eunuch on a deserted road, and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with that eunuch. Immediately the eunuch believed and exclaimed that they had come upon water and he wanted to be baptized immediately.

Baptism: Believers Only

[color-box]“But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.” │ Acts 8:12, Page 1714 [/color-box]

Infants lack the capacity to believe the Gospel, and so infant baptism does nothing for the infant. Because baptism symbolizes and proclaims your personal faith in Jesus Christ, infants can never have such faith because they lack the capacity to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, baptism applies only to believers of all ages. Some children, not infants, can truly understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe for salvation. They are valid candidates for baptism. If you have not been baptized after you have been born again in Jesus, then let us know (Acts 8:35-39, Page 1715).



“Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;” │ Mark 1:10, Page 1558


Baptism means to be immersed. Jesus was baptized by being immersed in the  Jordan river. He went into the river to be baptized. John baptized where there was much water. The Ethiopian eunuch went down into the water to be baptized. In the New Testament, the physical pattern of baptism symbolizes the spiritual reality of being baptized. God says that we have been baptized with Christ into His death, and resurrected from death to eternal life, so that we are free from sin (Romans 6:5-7, Page 1765; Colossians 2:12, Page 1843).

First Steps in Christ–Step Three–Baptism


 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.