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DOCTRINE QUESTION 88
John baptised for repentance, and Jesus was baptised by John. I understand why, but if John did that type of baptism, wasn't it by sprinkling instead of immersion according to Jewish customs?
John's baptism was not after the Jewish custom. He baptized IN, and not WITH water. Had he baptized with water in the Jewish custom, he would not have had to go to the River Jordan, where Jesus' baptism took place. "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." Matthew 3:16. You will note that Jesus "went up straightway OUT OF THE WATER." This would not have been possible if He had of been baptized by the sprinkling of water. Also, He would not have been IN the waters of the Jordan River. "And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." Acts 8:38.
Here are the only two actual records of baptism in the Bible. Both speak of them being IN THE WATER. In addition to this, in Romans 6:3, and 1 Peter 3:21, we are told that baptism is the believer's identification with the death, burial, and the resurrection, of Christ. A mere sprinkling of water does nothing at all, it is in the blood.
Tradition has taught different forms of baptism, and for many reasons. Some baptize infants, which is totally foreign to the Scriptures. Others teach it is necessary in order to be saved, again, this is not taught in Scripture. They use verses like Mark 16:16 and Acts 22:16 to substantiate their claim. Granted the word "baptism" is used in both of these verses, and the latter has the word "wash" in it. Washed by what? It is faulty interpretation to take a verse or two, draw conclusions from it, and then teach a doctrine which contradicts the truth. The truth is found in dozens of other verses. The proper thing to do is to reconcile the two to the dozens who are in harmony with each other.
Dear Reader, "Are you saved?" If not, why not repent and trust in the Saviour today? If you are saved, you ought to be baptized. This is scriptural. It is one of the first steps of obedience in the life of a new believer. If you haven't taken that step, then you are a disobedient believer. God will not bless our disobedience. Have you trusted Him?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen