Baptism is an important step in following Jesus. It symbolizes one’s death to sin, burial of the old life, and a resurrection to new life in Christ—just as Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose to life again (see Romans 6:3-5). Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:18-20). Baptism has no saving virtue in itself. Jesus is our only Savior. But those who love Him will follow Him in baptism to signify their decision to accept Him as their Savior.
According to the Bible, what are the prerequisites for being baptized?
1. Confess your sins. The Bible says of John the Baptist: “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins (Matthew 3:5, 6, NKJV). We need to acknowledge that we are sinners and confess our sins to God. If we do, He will forgive us (see 1 John 1:9).
2. Repent of your sins. When Peter preached to the people in Jerusalem on Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, many of them were convicted by the Holy Spirit and asked Peter what they should do. He replied, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).
3. Believe on Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Savior from sin. When Philip met an Ethiopian and told him about Jesus, the Ethiopian wanted to be baptized. Philip told him, “ ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ . . . . And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:37, 38, NKJV). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16, NKJV).