What is Water Baptism?
Water baptism is a process in which a believer is being immersed in the water for a short while and then being lifted out of the water to symbolize that he is a new born Christian. A new born Christian means you are now born of God and now live your life for Jesus instead of gratifying your sinful flesh desire (Ephesians 4:22; Romans 6:6-7).
Your sinful flesh desire, your old self, is a desire to gratify your flesh. Examples of fleshly desires mean drug addictions, overeating, vanity, greed, selfishness, hatred, jealousy, revenge, covetousness, sexual immorality, homosexual, lesbian, lying, stealing and etc. We do all these sins because we want to satisfy our own selfish fleshly desire. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, anyone who is in Christ is a new creature. Old things passed away, new things have come.
Once you are baptized, you must stop sinning. If you continue to sin, there will be no more sacrifices left (Hebrews 10:26). In Hebrews 6:4-8, it is impossible for believers who used to partake in the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God to renew again unto repentance because they are crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. The blood of Jesus is only sacrificed for those who sincerely repent and confess their sins to God.
When you are submerged under the water, it symbolizes that your old self has died and is buried with Christ. When you are lifted out of the water, it symbolizes that you have been resurrected with Christ and now you are a new person and will live your life for Christ. In Romans 6:4, we are buried with Christ by baptism into death. We also should walk in the newness of life, like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.
Is Water Baptism Necessary?
Water baptism is necessary for every person who had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). There are many different church denominations but not all church teach the right doctrine. You should get baptized into a church that teach the right doctrine such as Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and non denominational church. Examples of church that teach the wrong doctrine and will not lead to your salvation are Jehovah Witness, Mormonism, Unification church, Christian Scientist church, Unitarian Universalist church and etc.
Being baptized does not guarantee that you eternal life. In order to be saved, you must be baptized spiritually into Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 13:14) by taking up your cross and following him every day (Luke 9:23). To take up your cross means to sacrifice yourself for God, for example your time, money, possessions, strength, and etc. We love because God love us first. Christians must demonstrate love towards one another and live in unity. Whatever you do must be done out of love. Christians must be humble and always seek the interest of others, not to fulfill their own selfish interest.
Who Should Receive Water Baptism?
Before you get baptized, you must understand the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ. In Romans 10:9, anyone who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that he has risen from the dead can be saved. For it is with the heart that you believe unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Usually, the church will let you take some bible study classes prior to the water baptism. There is no need to baptize a baby or infant because a baby does not understand his or her salvation. A child who has accepted Jesus and understand his salvation can be baptized. It is okay to get baptized more than once. Usually, people who have backslided will want to get baptize for another time.