No – the Bible doesn’t teach that. When Jesus was dying on the cross, a criminal was crucified next to Him. The thief recognized who Jesus is. Even that late in his life, even after a life of crime, the thief made a request to Jesus, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said, “Where I’m going, you’re going.” Wait! What about baptism? There was no chance for this man to be baptized. There was no chance for this man to do anything good – yet he was in. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. When we trust in God, we’re saved. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9 (ESV) Baptism has never saved anyone. It can’t. It’s an external work, and works don’t save. Saving grace only comes when we repent of our sin and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, believing on His name (John 1:12). Keep in mind that baptism is only a symbol. It’s a symbol of an important reality. Baptism symbolizes that reality.
In the Greek language it’s baptizo. Now, what does the word mean? If you look up the word “baptize” you’ll find that it is really just a common, ordinary word. It’s not really a religious word. It means to dip, to immerse, and to plunge. Look in any reputable Greek dictionary. They all say the same thing. If a ship sunk, it was baptized into the sea. If cloth was dyed, it was baptized into the dye. If a cucumber was turned into a pickle, it was baptized into spices and vinegar. Originally, there was no theological meaning. Everyone knew that the word simply meant to dip, to immerse, and to plunge. So, βαπτίζω (baptizo) does not mean “sprinkle” or “pour.” Think about the symbolism of baptism. Immersion symbolizes what saves us. When we go under the water and then are lifted up, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are clearly pictured. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. That’s why we are saved, and baptism by immersion pictures it perfectly. Immersion also pictures our own death to sin and our own new life in Christ (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-5). When you are “buried” in baptism, you are submerged backwards underwater for just a second and then you are brought back up, representing the resurrection. Water baptism by immersion is a beautiful worship experience. It reminds you that your sins have been cleansed because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It encourages you to daily die to self and to live the new life in Christ
If baptism is for believers, then baptism is not for babies. Some Christians who believe in infant baptism look to passages about household baptisms in the Bible to justify their point. There’s just no evidence in the Bible anywhere that infants were baptized. I know that lots of churches encourage parents to have their infants baptized. Many outstanding Christians practice infant baptism. I think the intentions are good, but there is no place where the Bible clearly teaches infant baptism. When it comes to infant baptism, the practice is not in the Bible. There’s are certain churches that call sprinkling babies “baptism,” but there’s really no such thing as baby baptism. As you read your New Testament, you’ll see that it’s not there. There is not even a hint of such a thing. This raises a question. Why is it that in many religious traditions baptism happens right at the beginning of a person’s life? How did that get started? If you were raised in certain denominations, a tradition of baptizing babies was established that your parents perhaps followed. They didn’t follow that tradition because the Bible taught it, they just did what the leaders of the church said to do. In a lot of religious traditions, people treat the Bible with respect. They believe it’s true – but they never really read it. They aren’t encouraged to read the Bible, so, they just do what the leaders say to do without seeing what the Bible has to say. When you don’t read the Bible for yourself, you’ll just do what the church tells you to do.
Some of you might be thinking about how we do baptisms at Cuyahoga Valley Church where we hear verbal or video testimonies from those being baptized, and you might be wondering, “What about this testimony thing? Do I have to do that?” Well, we want to help you make your story public.
People can see your face and hear your voice. It’s one of the best ways to brag on what Jesus has done for you. It’s a great way for you to go public. Once you have put your faith in Christ, then we want to help you follow His example and command and make your faith public. You may say, “Well, my story is not that special. It’s just like everybody else’s.” Hundreds of people you’ll never meet will be encouraged. They will hear your story and they will think, “God is still changing lives. There He goes again. Isn’t God good? God is at work in the lives in people just like me.” And who knows? Maybe your story will be the story that will inspire someone to walk across the line of faith into the arms of Jesus. You don’t know how your story will impact others. Tips for writing your story.