John’s baptism was appropriate for its time.  Let’s read of John in Matthew 3:1-6, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”  The baptism of John the Baptist is different that the baptism we observe today.  The mode seems to be the same…immersion in water.  However, the reason for the baptism is different. 

John baptized those who came to him with a repentant heart, confessing their sins.  Their baptism indicated that they knew they were sinners and were sorry for their sins.  We read in Acts 19:4, “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”  As John baptized those who came to him, he told them about the Lord Jesus Christ and that they should put their faith in Him for salvation. 

When we are baptized today, it is not an act of repentance, it is a public act of a believer identifying with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  We read in Romans 6:3-4, “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.”  John’s baptism had nothing to do with identifying with the Lord in His death for He had not been crucified yet. 

Let’s read some of the final words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples before ascending back to Heaven.  Matthew 28:16-20 says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” 

We have an example of this being carried out in Acts 8, where Philip leads the Ethiopian eunuch to faith in the Lord Jesus.  I encourage you to read the entire account, but for the sake of time, we will only look at 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.” 

I want to point out that baptism has nothing to do with our salvation.  It is the act of one who is saved seeking to be obedient to his savior by publicly identifying with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection.  The baptized believer is then taught to “walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).  He has publicly professed Christ as his savior, so he should live his life accordingly.  (378.6)