Baptism is the most important part of your salvation. However, how do you know when you are ready? How can you be sure that you will have proper baptism and it is acceptable to God? Most importantly, what does the Bible say about baptism? In this post, discover the 5 crucial requirements of baptism. Read more!
There’s nothing we can do to earn salvation. Eternal life is a gift from God. However, there are certain conditions that we must fulfill before we can be part of God’s Kingdom and Family. One of these conditions is baptism.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of baptism. In fact, the Bible shows us that people need to get baptized first before they can receive the Holy Spirit – the very power of God that allows us to follow Him and do His commandments.
Therefore, it is important for us to know the requirements before we can be baptized and ensure that our baptism is valid and acceptable to God.
Requirement no. 1: God calls you
Throughout the Bible, we can read that it is God who first reach out to man and not man reaching out to Him.
God initiates the relationship.
We love God because He first loved us (I John 4:19).
We read in John 6:44:
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The same thought is expressed in John 6:65.
From these verses, we can see that it is God who calls His people. He handpicked us from this world. We didn’t choose Him, but He chose us. Our calling was never an accident. It is the deliberate desire of God to establish a relationship with us.
Requirement no. 2: Faith
Faith plays a major role in the life of Christians or followers of God. The book of Hebrews tells us:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1, 6).
If you want to be baptized, you must first have the faith in God and His Son, Yahshua or Jesus Christ. Like what Hebrews mentioned, you can never please God without faith and this faith shouldn’t be just a mere belief in God but rather it should be accompanied with action (James 2:17).
The Bible clearly tells us the need for faith before you get baptized. We read:
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Faith in God includes believing that Yahshua or Jesus Christ became a human being who lived, suffered, and killed for the remission of sin. (Click here to know why Jesus has to die). It is the belief that we are nothing apart from God and we can only have a fulfilling life if we surrender our will to Him.
Faith is the strongest conviction that no matter what happens in life, you will stay true to your calling and keep on fighting until the very end.
Requirement no. 3: Repentance
You can’t properly be baptized without repentance.
Repentance is feeling sorry for your sin not because you were caught or because you are suffering from the consequences of your action, but because you want to change.
Repentance is more than just feeling remorseful, sad, and depressed. Judas felt those same negative emotions too. So, does Peter. Both of them betrayed the Messiah but it is only Peter who repented and actually changed. (Click here to learn the difference between the sorrow of Judas and Peter.)
We read in Acts 2:38:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As you can see, repentance is a prerequisite for baptism. You can never have a genuine baptism without repentance. The mere fact that you want to get baptized is for your sins to be blotted out – to be forgiven. How can you be forgiven if you don’t even ask for forgiveness? (Want to know why God won’t forgive you, click here to read the answer.)
Requirement no. 4: Count the cost
Baptism should never be taken lightly. Its solemnity, sacredness, and seriousness are way beyond our human imagination.
Baptism is the symbolic affirmation of our need for God’s forgiveness. It symbolizes our faith and acceptance that we need God’s help to overcome our human nature and wicked ways.
Yahshua or Jesus Christ gave us a parable about counting the cost:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him” Luke 14:28-29).
Counting the cost means that you know the seriousness of the commitment you are about to take. Do you know how serious baptism is?
We read the answer in Hebrews 10:26-27:
“For IF we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
There’s that one powerful word: IF. Now, if you sin willfully, even after getting baptized, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
Basically, the Hebrew writer is telling us that after getting baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit, you get your only chance of salvation. If you waste that, then you will fail and won’t be part of God’s kingdom.
This is the main reason that we must never baptize babies and children. We can’t see any indication in the Bible that babies were baptized. The reason behind this is that they lack the full maturity in making a decision on their own. Remember that baptism needs faith and repentance. You can’t have those if you are still a baby or a child for that matter.
Because of the seriousness and magnitude of baptism, one must seek godly counsel. Proper counseling with a pastor is important and should be done before baptism. This way, the pastor would be able, through God’s help, determine the readiness of an individual to get baptized.
Requirement no. 5: Baptism involves full immersion
Baptism came from the Greek word baptizo, meaning immerse, submerge, or put into. We don’t see in the Bible that people get baptized by a mere sprinkling of water.
We read that John the Baptist baptized people in a river (John 3:23). Jesus Christ was baptized by full immersion. We also read about how Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch into a body of water (Acts 8:38-39).
Why is it important to emphasize the need for a full immersion baptism? Because baptism is a symbolism of the death and burial of our old self – our carnal and wicked human nature. As we rise out of the watery grave, we are resurrected to a new life in Christ
We read in Romans 6:3-5:
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
One of the most important aspects of God’s plan of salvation is bringing more sons and daughters to glory – meaning, to expand His family and include converted human beings. God gives us the golden opportunity to be part of this glorious future. However, He doesn’t want us to give eternal life to just anyone.
Through baptism, we show God our commitment to His way of life. Through baptism and laying on of hands, we receive the Holy Spirit and the chance to be part of God’s Kingdom.
You just read the five vital requirements for baptism. I hope you now get a better idea of the importance of baptism and how we must prepare for this life-changing decision in our life.