Water baptism is symbolic of what has already happened to you when you believed on Jesus Christ for your salvation. A person has to be at least old enough to know what they are doing when they believe in Jesus Christ, so no, baptizing babies does not count. The symbolism of baptism shows that you were dead in your sins, and you have been raised to new life in Christ Jesus. Going down under the water and coming up again is symbolic of your dying with Christ and being raised with Him. Our word baptize comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means “to be identified with” and also “to be placed into”. When you are baptized in water, you are making a public identification with Jesus Christ! You do it in order to be obedient to God. He wants you to make that public identification, so that friends and family members will see that you are now identified with Jesus Christ, and a follower of His. In the spiritual realm, you have already been baptized into the Body of Christ, or “placed into” the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) the moment you believed and were born again. Water baptism does not save you or do anything more than give a public profession of your faith in Christ. It is an act of obedience to Him, and an outward picture of what has already happened to you on the inside when you believed (the “washing” of regeneration).
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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Colossians 2:12 & 3:1-3 “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above [heavenly things], where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
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