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Lately I have been asked many questions about baptism. Is it necessary to be baptized to go to heaven? Why do I need to be baptized? What is the purpose of baptism? These are just a few. Today I would like to try to answer those and others.
In response to the question do I have to be baptized my first response is a question. Was the thief on the cross baptized? Did not Jesus say to him "today thou shalt be with me in Paradise?" (Luke 23:43) Obviously the thief was forgiven of his sins but he also was not baptized in water. But he was told he would be in Paradise with Jesus, therefore I do not believe it is a REQUIREMENT to get into heaven.
Jesus instructed his disciples to go unto all the world and preach the gospel and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19) John the Baptist did baptize by water. Even Jesus himself was baptized of water. (Matthew 3) When Jesus was baptized it was in the river Jordan and obviously a very public place. The believers were supposed to be baptized as a sign to the world they you had come out from among them and had a new birth. The water baptism doesn't save you any more than a man forgiving you saves you. It was simply given as something that should be done because Jesus commanded it. To have been baptized meant they had been spiritually cleansed and they were baptized in water as a sign of of this new birth. When the eunuch asked Phillip about being baptized Phillip told him that nothing hindered him as long as he believed. (Acts 8:26-40)
Bearing this in mind, that water baptism is merely a sign to the world, I have to wonder about the purpose of the baptisms that are held inside the churches. Who are you showing? the other church members? They already know it. They know it by the fact they were there when you confessed your sins to the Lord or you have told them by your testimony. A lot of churches use the argument "but the waters are so polluted now". I really doubt that since government regulations are stricter, cattle aren't allowed to graze near streams and rivers, people don't take baths in the rivers like they used to etc. Of course its more convenient when its right there in your pulpit and there's not the "embarrassment" of going to a public place to do it. Its more "dignified" that way. If you are considering being baptized ask yourself and the Lord how he would have you to be baptized and follow his leading on it.
In order to follow the examples that are given us in the word yes we should be baptized but it isn't a requirement to get into heaven. We are supposed to be Christ like and if Jesus himself was baptized then yes I feel we should be also.
Hope this helps someone and have a blessed day.
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