My Thoughts. . .
There are a lot of different ideas about water baptism. Some submit to it in order to be obedient to biblical commands. Some believe it is necessary to be obedient to the Lord, but not essential to their salvation. Some believe it is an outward sign of an inward condition. Some believe baptism means immersion while others believe it may be practice in one of three modes: 1) sprinkling of water upon the candidate, 2) pouring a small amount water upon the candidate’s head, or 3) immersing the individual into a burial in water and raising them from it. There are some who believe it is commanded because it is essential to surrender and obey. There is one denomination that does not practice it at all.
Some churches teach baptism is essential in order for a person to become a member of their denomination. Some vote on whether to accept that person into their membership. If “yes,” then the person is immersed. The baptism is essential to gain membership in a fellowship that is non-essential to his salvation.
Although Jesus was without sin, he still went to his cousin John and submitted to his baptism. Although John immersed people “for the remission of sin,” Jesus had none to be remitted (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). Yet he submitted to that “for the remission of sin” baptism. John argued that Jesus needed to immerse him, but Jesus insisted that John baptize him “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). The apostles had submitted to that “for remission of sins” baptism. They had sins that needed to be removed. The only ones who rejected that baptism were the Pharisees and lawyers (Luke 7:30). If the Son of God, who had NO sin, saw the necessity to be immersed “to fulfill all righteousness,” why do some think they would not need to follow his example? Are they without sin? Are they more righteous than Jesus? By refusing, they would be following the example of the Pharisees and lawyers! If they are guilty of sin due to their imperfections, and if they were second in line after Jesus, why would they hesitate to do what our Lord did? Since we do have sin and John was immersing people to remit their sins, wouldn’t that be our reason to be in line?
When Jesus was immersed by John and started to come up out of the water, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lit upon him. A sign of God’s approval of what Jesus had done. Why do people argue against the baptism performed on Pentecost in Acts 2? Jesus was approved by God when he submitted to John’s baptism which was “for the same remission of sins.” Did Jesus, who had no sin, need that immersion? No, but he submitted to it to fulfill all righteousness. Since we do have sin, what Godly reason would we have for rejecting is as the Pharisees and lawyers did?
After the dove landed on Jesus, God spoke and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). If God was pleased with Jesus, who had no sin, but submitted to a baptism that was “for the remission of sin,” why do we who are guilty of sin, argue against submitting to a similar baptism? Do we hesitate being immersed “for the remission of sins,” because like Jesus, we have none? How can we refuse to be immersed for that purpose when we are sinners and are not fulfilling all that is right by our refusal? To claim to follow Jesus to fulfill all righteousness yet deny the purpose of that baptism is inconsistent.
On the day of Pentecost people asked Peter what they needed to do. Peter told them to 1) repent and 2) in the name of Jesus, 3) be immersed for the remission of sin, and 4) they would receive His Spirit. Yet, despite about 3,000 obeying Peter’s command and being saved, some will justify not obeying that same inspired instruction unless they remove the words “for the remission of sins.” Do we have the authority to rewrite scripture?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).