What is the meaning of an adult believer's baptism by immersion?
Water baptism is to be viewed as an act of obedience that identifies the new believer with Jesus Christ and His people. Our risen Lord and Savior instituted water baptism as an important observance for those who are His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; 9:17-18; 10:47-48).
In water baptism the believer gives public confession to the great gospel truth that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for his sins by dying on the cross. Baptism pictures that the believer’s old life was crucified with Christ when Christ died for his sins, that he was buried with Him, and that he has arisen to a new and eternal life with Christ.
Spiritual baptism takes place at the point of salvation, at which time a believer is united with Christ (Romans 6:4-6; Colossians 2:12), receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), and is placed in Christ's body (1 Corinthians 12:11-13).
Water baptism does not produce forgiveness, cleansing from sin and new life, but rather pictures it. After a person places his or her trust in Christ, water baptism should be viewed as an integral step of obedience for the new follower of Christ. Water baptism, which is to follow one’s spiritual baptism with Christ, is a significant symbol of a believer's identification with Jesus Christ.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith...it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Why be baptized by immersion?
The Greek word for "baptize" literally means "to be dipped or immersed," and because of this and the pattern illustrated in the New Testament, baptism should normally occur by immersion in water (Acts 8:35-39).
Who should be baptized?
Every person who has believed in Christ.
"Those who believe and accepted His message were baptized..." Acts 2:41
"But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News ... and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." Acts 8:12
When should I be baptized?
After you have believed and have the opportunity.
"Those who believe...were baptized...that day!" Acts 2:41
"Then Philip began with the scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water, and the man said, ´Look, here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized right now?’ Philip said, ´If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The man answered, ´I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.´ So they went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:35-38
For a message on this subject, visit Topic: Baptism.