Jesus commanded His followers shortly before His ascension, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19.; & Mark 16:15). And this is precisely what the disciples did after the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15, 33; 18:8).
Clearly, though, baptism did not contribute to salvation; rather, it followed immediately. Cornelius was baptized after having received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48). The ordinance of baptism is a symbol of the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3; Colossians 2:12 and 1 Peter 3:21).
Four key ones are:
- “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16);
- “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38);
- “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you: (1Peter 3:21).
- But in all these cases, faith must come first. The biblical order is repentance, belief, baptism. Scripture is abundantly clear that purification from sin is not the result of baptism (Acts 15:9; 1 John 1:9).
Some households are baptized (Acts 10:48; 16:15, 33, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16), and this has been constructed to mean that even infants were baptized. “Household” does not necessarily demand that there were infants; and further, in these cases mentioned above, those who were baptized were those who heard the Word (Acts 10:44) and believed (Acts 16:31,34). Nowhere does Scripture teach that infants were baptized. Dedication of the child to the Lord by his parents is to be performed above infant baptism.