My belief is that New Testament Baptism is by immersion in water as it is a picture of being buried with Christ and then rising again. I believe that a person who has trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior, believing the gospel to be true makes a personal choice to be baptized as a public declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord of their lives. I do not believe that a person must be baptized to be eternally saved. Still, I also think a person who refuses to be baptized may not be a born-again believer headed for heaven. Let me explain;
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and when He came up out of the water, God the Father spoke from heaven audibly, saying, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. “ Why was Jesus baptized, and why did the father express His pleasure right at that moment?
There came a point in Jesus life when He fully understood and knew what the plan was to save the world from their sins, and that at the center of the plan was Him becoming the substitute redeemer for mankind and that the price He would personally pay to make it possible for us to live eternally with Him would be incredibly high. He needed to accept that role, be willing to pay the price, and to offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He did that twice in His life. The second time was in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed to the Father, right before His arrest and crucifixion.
Luke 22:41-42 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
The first time was when Jesus was baptized, in essence what He was saying was, “not My will, but Yours be done.” When He went under the water He was dying to Himself running His life, and when He came up out of the water He was declaring that He was only going to do the will of the Father.
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
John 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
We are saved by grace through faith apart from any works of righteousness, but if we are truly saved, born again, our heart is changed and we will have a very strong desire to do the will of God.
Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Ephesians 6:6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
The problem we have is the desire to do God’s will is in us, but we mess up constantly, and we get discouraged and think we will never be able to grow in holiness.
That is why our baptism is so important. “God’s power flows to commitment!” our baptism is a public declaration of our commitment to die to self, “not my will,” and be resurrected to newness of life and declare, “I will obey You and do Your will.”
Every time we blow it we confess that we sinned and declare again to God our commitment to pursue righteousness.
Our baptism is so foundational to our growth in holiness. If you have not yet been baptized you are declaring to God that you will run your own life and you will be good without His help.