Why Be Baptized?

When studying the Bible, often the question comes up, “Why must I be baptized?” God knows our hearts; He knows if we truly believe or not, so why must one go through the process of baptism?

Reasons for Baptism

Because It Is Commanded. In Matthew 28:18-19, the apostles are commanded to make disciples by baptizing people who believe. If one is to follow Christ, baptism is a commanded step to conform with. This is emphasized in Mark 16:15-16 as well. Here belief and baptism are tied together. Acts 2 marks the beginning of Christ’s church, and the people wonder what they should do to make their lives right in verse 37. Under direction of the Holy Spirit, Peter commands repentance and baptism in verse 38.

Saul of Tarsus and Cornelius both had amazing experiences. Saul saw a vision of Jesus; he fasted and prayed for three days, but Ananias said he needed to be baptized. Cornelius was told Peter would bring him words “by which he would be saved.” Peter tells him to be baptized in Acts 10.

Because of What It Symbolizes. In Colossians 2:11-12, Paul explains that baptism symbolizes a circumcision of the heart and a burial with Christ. Romans 6 also parallels baptism with Christ’s death and resurrection. Our baptism crucifies our sin, and we are raised as a new spiritual person (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:4-5). Baptism is a connection with the central theme of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Because of What It Does. Acts 2:38 explains that baptism provides forgiveness for sins. Paul, in Acts 22:16, says it washes away sins. Galatians 3:25-27 points out that it puts us in Christ, and God adds us to His church through baptism (Acts 2:46-47). Finally, I Peter 3:20-22 provides a parallel between the waters of baptism saving us and the waters of the Flood saving Noah’s family.


Baptism serves a role in God’s plan, and it is a role we must appreciate. Baptism is a command of our Lord; it connects us with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as we are born anew, and baptism washes away our sins, allowing us to be added the Lord’s body.

lesson by Tim Smelser