According to the Bible, on Pentecost in 30 A.D., the apostle Peter gave a powerful message about God that convicted the hearts of those who heard him. After their conscience began to stir within them regarding their sins, they asked what they needed to do. Peter answered that it was time for their baptism.
'Repent and be baptized (placed under the waters of baptism) . . . and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' (Acts 2:37 - 38, HBFV).
Peter states that, before we can forgiven of our many sins and receive God's spirit, we must repent and then receive a baptism. These conditions are no different than what Philip required of the Eunuch who was from Ethiopia.
the eunuch said, 'Look, there is water! What is preventing me from being baptized?' And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, it is permitted' (Acts 8:36 - 37)
Like Philip, Peter required no lengthy probation period and no days of fasting and prayer. How could he, when he and the other disciples baptized three thousand people on the day of Pentecost alone (Acts 2:41)?
The most important decision
Baptism is a major turning point in a person's life. In fact, it is arguably THE most important decision someone will make, as it will affect every moment of his or her life on earth. Here is a question. Why did the early New Testament church seem to baptize so quickly? What was the rush? It was because Peter, Philip and the other disciples knew that baptism was a requirement for salvation (see Mark 16:15 - 16).
A call from God
God does not expect perfect obedience or any kind of perfection from those He is calling into His truth. What He looks for is a heart that is willing to listen and WANTS to obey Him and the words He inspired in the Bible. Any personal works of righteousness cannot save us. It is of grace, of God's mercy, out of His love for us.When God begins to call a person it is His Spirit working with them. The Spirit prompts a person to begin taking him seriously and begin to obey him. A person begins to show submission to God by a changed lifestyle, by starting to produce good fruit. It is then that their baptism can occur.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if you are ready for baptism or not.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God who came and died for not only the sins of the world - but also YOUR sins?
Do you believe you have sinned and have begun repenting of your sins? Repentance means we voluntarily submit to God's way of life. If we are not committed to doing what is right in God's eyes (and not our own), then we are fooling ourselves and not truly repentant (John 4:23). In such cases, our baptism would provide us with nothing more than getting us wet.
Do you believe a CHANGE in your life is needed, that it is now time to begin obeying God? Have you begun to question and reject the world's holidays that promote a Christ DIFFERENT from the truth of God's word (e.g. Christmas, Easter, etc.)? Have you also begun to reject the world's day of worship - Sunday - for God's day of worship - the seventh day or Saturday? Obedience to God is not "salvation by works." He states that He will give His Holy Spirit only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).
Are you embarrassed by obeying Jesus in certain areas? If you answer YES you may wish to postpone baptism and pray about this.
Are you willing to commit eternally to Jesus? Are you willing to put God and Jesus FIRST in your life? Are you prepared to surrender your entire life to them?
Are you prepared to make an eternal covenant and commit to an eternal relationship with God and Jesus?
When you step out of the waters of baptism, you are a new life to God, just as a new baby is to a mother. God's Spirit has united with your spirit to form a new creature. You are a "babe in Christ" with much to learn! Thankfully, the way He wants us to live as Christians - the evidence that we are truly converted - is clearly shown in Scripture!