Listen:  87 Question 2

Let’s look at a couple of portions of scripture to see the purpose of Christian baptism.  First, let’s read Romans 6:3-11, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  The Apostle Paul is writing to believers to remind them of the significance of water baptism.  He points out the importance of their baptism; that it set forth their identification with a crucified, buried, and risen Lord.  In their baptism they had confessed their choice of Him, as against sin and the old life.  Thus, they are exhorted to ‘walk in newness of life.’

Now, let’s look at the account of one who was baptized.  The Lord sent Philip into the desert to meet a man of great importance.  He was an Egyptian eunuch and was traveling through the desert in his caravan.  As he was traveling, he was reading the book of Isaiah.  We read in Acts 8:30-31, “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”  Looking at the portion, we see that this eunuch was reading from Isaiah, chapter 53Acts 8:35, says “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”  Philip used that portion in Isaiah 53 to show the eunuch that Isaiah was actually speaking prophetically about the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is obvious that Philip presented a clear gospel message to this man.  We read next in Acts 8:36-38, “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”  We learn from Philip’s words that baptism is reserved for those that truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  This eunuch had accepted the Lord and wanted to follow the Lord’s desire and be baptized in water as a testimony that he was now a believer on the Lord.

We see, then, that the purpose of water baptism is to show our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  Once we have done this, there is no need to repeat it.  We have exhibited to the world that we belong to Christ.  There is no example in scripture of anyone being baptized more than once.  Baptism was not meant to be used as a re-dedication to the Lord.  We may fall, and, in our lifetimes, we may fall often, but by the grace of God, we get back on our feet and continue on with a life for the Lord.  Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again…”    After falling, we should repent and confess our sins to the Lord and He will forgive and cleanse us as we read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (87.2)