© 2011 • Hillcrest Church of Christ
by Danny Boggs
Baptism is for sinners. In Acts 2:38 Peter charged, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Saul was urged, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). Neither Peter’s listeners nor Saul were accused of inheriting a sinful condition. They all needed to be baptized because they all had accumulated their own sinful records. Baptism is the way that faith secures the benefits of God’s grace.
Since no one inherits sinfulness from his parents (Ezekiel 18:19-20), and since Jesus requires that we become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4), little children need not and should not be baptized. “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Through the blood of Christ, baptism allows us to regain such an innocent standing before God.
Baptism is for believers in Christ (Mark 16:16, Acts 8:12). Unless one is mentally capable of believing that Jesus is the Son of God, he has no need to be baptized. Unless one is willing to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and to become His disciple, baptism will accomplish nothing spiritually.
God designed baptism for those with a Biblically motivated belief in Jesus that leads them to repent of their own sins and to seek forgiveness in the way He commands. Do you need to be baptized?