Why should one be baptized? It sounds like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? But is it? And, why did God require baptism, anyway?
Today I want to point out and emphasize certain things about what may seem to be the simplicity of baptism. Why baptism? ( Mr. George Trent, President of the Church of God, New World Ministries, gives a thorough explanation on this subject in our
Correspondence Course, lessons 7, 10, 11,
available upon request.)
Do you realize that hundreds, even thousands of God’s own people did not understand the answer to this question? Obviously, if they had, they would still be with us today! And I’m not just talking about our former members in the rather large “former association” of The Worldwide Church of God either! We’ve had people who “submitted” to the ritual of baptism in many other areas of God’s Church, that are no longer attending Sabbath services in the Church of God. What happened? Where are they? And some of these seemed to be leaders in God’s Church! I John 2:18 “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19. They (people whom God labels as antichrists) went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
These people surely rejected the doctrines of God’s Church, including baptism! Thus they are called “antichrists” - against Christ! They left God’s True Church!
The 6 doctrines of Jesus Christ are given in Hebrews 6:1&2. We can see that baptism is listed as the third doctrine, following repentance and faith. Similar instructions were given on that first Pentecost in 31 A.D. Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (faith) for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. The meaning of baptism is explained in Rom. 6:3 “Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? 4. 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.” (This “new person” is to be our lifestyle, following the example of Christ, for the rest of our life) 5. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” I John 3:2 says “we shall be like Him”. How seriously do people take these Words? Undoubtedly some do not! (Review Luke 14:25--33 to see what you must be willing to give up.) It goes on to say in, Hebrews 6:4 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit”, 5. --- 6. “If they shall fall away to renew them again to repentance;” --- This is speaking to those who seemingly did not get the true and awesome significance of baptism. It’s just as important as the other tenets or doctrines leading to salvation. We must believe and understand the absolute necessity of baptism. Your eternal life depends upon it!