Here are some of the verses that make me realize baptism is important:
Romans 6:3-7 "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin."
Galatians 3:27 "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Matthew 28:19 & 20 "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; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Mark 16:15 & 16 "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
I Peter 3:21 "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Colossians 2:12 "Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
Acts 2:38 "Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
We also can notice in Acts (where the beginning of the church is told about) that every time there are details about a person becoming a Christian that baptism is included. Here are some examples of verses that discuss that: Acts 8:12, Acts 9:18, Acts 10:47 & 48, Acts 8:36-39, Acts 16:33.
Some things that we should notice as we read these verses:
- Baptism is not discussed as a "work" or a way that we can earn our salvation. It is not. It doesn't any more earn our salvation than reaching out our hand to accept a million dollar diamond ring would cause us to earn that.
- Baptism was something that people who knew what they were doing did. It says that those that were baptized also repented, had faith and believed. This is not something that babies can do. I do not see any reason from scripture to promote or endorse infant baptism.
- Baptism means to be immersed, dipped or plunged into. That is what you will see if you look at the Greek meaning of the word - it is also what we see if we look at scripture. In Acts 8:38 &39 we see the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch and when he wanted to be baptized the found water and went "down into it" and "came up out of it". Also you will notice in several of the verses above it speaks of Baptism as a burial. That requires a covering up - we don't just get sprinkled with dirt when we are buried.
- Notice from the scriptures mentioned that baptism is the point that we "walk in newness of life", "clothe ourselves with Christ", are "saved", get "forgiveness for our sins" and "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit".
- Simply getting dipped in water does nothing. Baptism is something that is to be combined with our belief, faith, confession and repentance.
- Baptism is not the ending point. It is the starting point for a new life with Christ. Elsewhere in scripture we see the need to remain faithful and live a new life.
This is a huge subject and one I feel passionate about. I would love to have you join in the discussion with any comments or questions that you might have!