Truth about Water Baptism in Jesus Name
Every individual that comes to Jesus, being drawn by the Spirit, will want to be baptized. And in fact, to obtain full salvation, will need to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Jesus commanded baptism (Matthew 28:19) and said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
However, before baptism the baptismal candidate should be thoroughly repentant and believe with all his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 2:38, 8:37). The act of being immersed in water in the name of Jesus will not in itself bring about the remission of sins. Repentance and baptism in Jesus' name are required. A sinner who has no intention of turning from his life of sin will not be profited by the act of baptism.
Not until a sinner fully repents and believes that God has forgiven him, should he submit himself for baptism in the name of Jesus, by a duly authorized minister. However, failure to do so when he fulfills these requirements will put him in disobedience to the gospel of Christ and will inhibit spiritual development.
PURPOSE OF BAPTISM:
Baptism is an act of obedience to God by a person who believes in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The obedience is in order to receive remission of repented sins (Acts 2:38). In answer to a good conscience before God baptism does also now save us through the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Peter 3:21). Baptism is a type of putting on or being clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27).
By baptism a believer expresses his divorcement from his old sinful life and identifies himself as desiring to live a new life for Jesus. His previous life of sin is actually buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6:4).
PROPER MODE OF BAPTISM:
Sprinkling, pouring, and immersion are modes of baptism practiced today. Ephesians 4:5 states, "One Lord, one faith, ONE baptism." Therefore we believe there exists but one correct mode of baptism. That would be the one employed by Jesus and His disciples.
Two scripture references let us know what that mode is. "And Jesus, when He was baptized went up straightway out of the water. . ." (Matthew 3:16). Acts 8:38, 39, in reference to Philip baptizing the eunuch, says, ". . .And when they were come up out of the water. . . ." Went up straightway out of and come up out of strongly implies that baptism is properly administered by immersion in water. Paul's reference to baptism as a burial with Christ (Romans 6:4) supports this position. Study of the Greek word baptizo, from which baptism comes, gives conclusive evidence that immersion in water is the proper mode. Baptizo means to dip, plunge, or immerse.
SCRIPTURAL FORMULA FOR BAPTISM:
Jesus commanded His remaining eleven Apostles, in Matthew 28:19, to baptize. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them. . ." He spoke to men whose understanding had been opened to the scriptures (Luke 24:45). His words obviously captivated them. They were witnesses to His death, burial and resurrection. They were soon to witness His ascension. They knew He possessed the words of eternal life and they would not forget these.
He charged them previously, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Doubting Thomas, upon seeing the nail prints in His hand and the wound in His side, had already made the confession, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). The disciples knew He was God manifested in flesh, they did love Him, and they would not fail to keep this commandment.
On the momentous day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts the second chapter, we read for the first time they obeyed this command to baptize. They had all just been filled with the Holy Spirit of God and spake in other tongues as this Spirit gave the utterance (Acts 2:4). Peter had stood with the eleven and preached a message of Jesus the Christ and Him crucified. Jews and proselytes, gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, changed from mockers to inquirers. Pricked in their hearts from Peter's message, they asked what they should do to be saved. Peter, the logical spokesman due to the fact Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19), issued this reply, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God the Apostles received)."
Peter exercised his God-given authority. The other eleven Apostles stood in silent agreement with him. The people were receptive, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
At first glance this might seem to be a contradiction of what Jesus commanded them in Matthew 28:19, as to the formula for baptism (words said over a baptismal candidate as they are immersed). Knowing that all scripture is inspired of God (II Timothy 3:16) and therefore there can be no contradiction in scripture, we must analyze these two verses a little closer. In doing so we will find that Acts 2:38 is not in contradiction to but is the application of Matthew 28:19.
First let us observe what the Lord Jesus commanded, ". . .baptizing them in THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The command is to baptize in THE NAME (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In Peter's reply as to what should be done he said,". . .be baptized in THE NAME of Jesus Christ. . . ." In order for these to agree, and since they are both contained in the Word of God, they must, THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost must be THE NAME of Jesus Christ.
Scripture confirms this. "She shall bring forth a son, and thou Shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Matthew 1:25 adds, "...and he called his name JESUS." The Son, spoken of in Matthew 28:19 conceived by the virgin Mary of the Holy Ghost, received the name Jesus. This same Jesus states, "I am come in my Father's name. . ." (John 5:43). Jesus inherited His Father's name just like you and I inherit our father's name (Hebrews 1:4). The Holy Ghost comes in the same name, as Jesus speaking in John 14:26, denotes, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name. . . ." THE NAME of the Father is Jesus, THE NAME of the Son is Jesus, and THE NAME of the Holy Ghost is Jesus.
The Word of God again holds true; there is no contradiction. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are titles of one God whose name is Jesus. Peter and the rest of the Apostles knew that. Therefore, Peter gave the formula he did, and the rest of the Apostles stood in agreement with him.
Thus, on the day of Pentecost three thousand souls took on the name of Jesus in baptism. The name that Peter declared in Acts 4:12 was the only name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved. Philip invoked the same name in baptizing the Samaritans in Acts 8, ". . .only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Peter continued the pattern in Acts 10:48. He commanded a gentile household that had already received the Holy Ghost to be baptized in the name of the Lord. The word command takes on special significance here considering it was delivered to an Italian army officer. To him, disobedience to a command demanded severe consequences.
In Acts 19:1-7 we read of twelve men in Ephesus who lacked the gift of the Holy Ghost. Learning they had not received the Holy Spirit, Paul, the Apostle born out of due season (I Corinthians 15:8), immediately inquired of them unto what they were baptized. Since they were baptized only unto John the Baptist's baptism, a baptism unto repentance, Paul explained that they were to believe on the One who came after John, Christ Jesus. When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. This Bible narrative depicts to us two important points about baptism: (1) If a person has not received the Holy Ghost it may be because he has not yet been baptized in Jesus' name; (2) If a person had been previously baptized but not in Jesus' name, Paul rebaptized him in the name of Jesus.
Paul was a strong believer in the name of the Lord. He learned the name of the Lord in an unforgettable experience that transpired in his life on the road to Damascus. "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. . ." (Acts 9:3-5). Paul, formerly a persecutor of the Christians, became a Christian. He speaks of calling on the name of the Lord at his own personal baptism, in Acts 22:16.
Some other references signifying the formula for baptism to be in the name of the Lord Jesus are: ". . .baptized into Jesus Christ. . ." (Romans 6:3); ". . .but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus" (I Corinthians 6:11); "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).
Reference books further support the fact that the early church used the form in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as their formula for baptism. "The original form of words were 'into the name of Jesus Christ or Lord Jesus.' Baptism into the trinity was a later development," Dictionary of the Bible by Scribners, page 241, vol. I. "The early church always baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus until the development of the trinity," Canney Encyclopedia, page 53. The doctrine of the trinity was officially adopted by the Catholic Church in 325 A.D. approximately three hundred years after the beginning of the church.
Jesus commanded baptism. The disciples and the early church obeyed His command and commanded it to others. The Holy Bible, delivered unto us by the hand of the Lord, commands it Therefore, it is the responsibility of every individual seeking full salvation to be baptized, using the proper Biblical mode and formula.
The Bible contains no record of anyone being baptized any other way than by immersion in water (mode), in the name of the Lord Jesus (formula) We therefore conclude that baptizing in the titles using the words "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is a tradition instituted by men. Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19 is not being obeyed by using the titles; it is only being repeated. Peter and the rest of the Apostles were in obedience to God on the day of Pentecost in stating that baptism should be administered in the name of Jesus.
Salvation comes only by the grace of God. It is only by His grace that we can repent and be baptized in Jesus' name for the remission of our sins. It is our privilege and our honor to be buried with Christ in baptism in answer to a good conscience toward God. By our act of obedience in baptism, in the name of Jesus Christ, we receive the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost. All who have repented should be baptized in the name of Jesus even if they have already received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48). God commanded it. Every true believer will do his best to obey the commands of God. He would let nothing hinder him.