Many people wonder if they should be baptized after putting their faith in Christ for the first time. Some wonder if they need to be re-baptized after having been baptized in another church, or after having been baptized a long time ago when it didn’t hold personal significance for them. Find answers here.
Do I Need to Get Baptized?
Salvation is by grace through faith alone, yet Jesus commanded baptism.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus Christ is your lord and savior and you trust him alone for your salvation, you should obey him by being baptized. Baptism is something we do to honor God.
When Should I Get Baptized?
When you know that you have a new relationship with God because of Jesus, there is no reason to hesitate in obeying Jesus’s commands. Early Christians were baptized soon after first believing.
Acts 8:34-36 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
It’s important that you have had a defining moment of faith – that you have repented of your old life and embraced new life in Christ – before being baptized. The Apostle Peter told his listeners in Acts 2:38 that they must repent before being baptized.
The Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8 viewed baptism not as an obligation, but as an opportunity to express his new faith. He was eager to do it. If you are a follower of Jesus, baptism is an opportunity to express your faith openly to God and to the world. Baptism is not about being a member of a church, but about identifying with Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-4).
What If I Was Baptized in a Different Kind of Church?
Every church that upholds the basics of historic, biblical Christianity, regardless of denomination, believes the same fundamental things about who God is and what our relationship to him is. For that reason, baptisms in these churches are valid, and you don’t need to be re-baptized just because you are attending a new church.
In Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes that “other gospels” are not gospels.
Galatians 1:6-9 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
If you were baptized in a church that doesn’t hold to the core doctrines of the historic, biblical Christianity Paul and the Apostles preached, then your baptism means something different than what it does in the Bible. In this case, you should be re-baptized, because you were baptized in the name of “another gospel.”
What If I Didn’t Understand What Baptism Was About When I Did It?
Baptism symbolizes dying and being reborn in Christ with a new life (Romans 6:1-4). If this is not what it meant for you when you were baptized – perhaps you were too young to understand the meaning of faith in Christ and of baptism? – then you should be re-baptized.
Baptism should be a real expression of wanting to live a new life with Christ. Because infants and even many young children don’t and can’t understand this, it’s important to be baptized after you have made a personal decision to follow Christ.
If you were baptized because it was a part of your family or church culture, examine yourself seriously. Did you do it because you trusted Christ fully for your salvation, or because you wanted to please others? If it was for any reason other than trusting Christ fully, you should be re-baptized regardless of how old you were at the time.
Pastors Bryan and Ross both decided that their first baptisms were not valid. They realized that it was their faith in Christ and Christ alone that made their baptisms valuable. The same is true for all of us. Without a faith in Christ, baptism is nothing more than washing the dirt from your skin (1 Peter 3:21).
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What led you to realize you needed to be baptized?
- Why did Jesus command his disciples to baptize new disciples (Matthew 28:19)?
- Read Romans 6:1-4. What does it mean that we are buried with baptism in Christ and raised to new life?
- If you have not been baptized, what is holding you back?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.