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Before Jesus ascended to heaven He directed Christians to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). The verb, to baptize, means “to apply water.” To make disciples means “to make believers.” Therefore, Christian baptism is the application of water in the name of the true God. Its purpose is to bring sinners to faith in Jesus for salvation from sin.
THE CONVERTING POWER OF BAPTISM
It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus designated baptism to do this. Early in his ministry Jesus told the man Nicodemas: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Jesus is clearly referring to baptism here. The birth it brings is the birth of faith in his name. The Apostle Paul reflects Jesus’ teaching exactly: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
HOW CAN BAPTISM HAVE SUCH POWER?
If we focus on the water, we will not find the power to bring a sinner to faith in Jesus. This power belongs to God’s Word of promise connected with the application of water in God’s name! The Bible says, “Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25,26).
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Some say baptism is only for adults. But Jesus said that Christians should make disciples of “all nations” through baptizing and teaching. Do not both adults and children belong to “all nations”? Are not both in equal need of salvation from their sins, regardless of age? The Apostle Peter certainly says so. At the conclusion of a sermon he proclaimed, “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. This promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2:38,39).
SALVATION FOR ALL
It doesn’t matter if it is a newborn or the world’s oldest person: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore all people need to believe in Jesus, who gave up his holy life at the cross to forgive all sins and then rose again to bring eternal life. Baptism is a central means by which saving faith is born in the sinful human heart. Be sure that you and your loved ones receive this blessing for faith, forgiveness,and eternal life! (See also Acts 16:29-34.)
DAILY BLESSING OF BAPTISM
Remember that the power of baptism extends far beyond the moment of baptism. As we daily confess our sins and continue to trust in Jesus, we have baptism thank for this (Romans 6:1-4). God works through it every day of our lives until we enter heaven.