One spiritual exercise that has generated a lot of debate in the Christian faith is baptism. While some denominations believe that baptism should be by immersion, others believe that it can also be by sprinkling water on the believer as there is no strict form baptism has to take. In so far as there has been a symbolic act to signify baptism, that settles it.
This leads us to the question – What is Baptism?
The word ‘Baptism’ is a transliteration of the Greek word ‘Baptizo’ which means to immerse. The same word is also referred to as ‘Mikveh’ in Hebrew to mean an immersion. Basically, it is an immersion into another substance, for the purpose of being saturated with it, such as water in this instance. The new covenant also presents the immersion of a believer ‘’in the Spirit of God’’ and also ‘’with Fire’’ Matthew 3:11. For the purposes of this article, we will limit it to water baptism.
Baptism was seen as a ritual cleansing referred to as ‘Mikveh’ in Hebrew and was an established practice in Israel which was understood to be a work of the Spirit of Yahweh for inner cleansing. John’s Mikveh immersion was an outward symbol after an inner change that enabled repentant individuals to enter into an elevated state to prepare them to receive the Spirit of God and enter the Kingdom of God. John 3:5.
Baptism is, therefore, a higher spiritual exercise where the heavens open unto the believer for which matter it has to be dealt with in all seriousness. After John had announced the coming of the Messiah, he eventually baptized him in the Jordan River, further confirming the significance of water baptism. We read in Matthew 3:16 that after Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.
As Christians, we are charged to go into the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:9 KJV. This means that after a person has believed in the word of God, the second part is baptism, which is an outward expression of the believer’s faith in God.
Therefore, from what has been enunciated, a believer is either baptized or not baptized as there is no middle ground; Baptism is only by immersion!
This is a Guest Post submitted by Ernest Nana Osei. Ernest is an ordained minister of the gospel, journalist and a law student.