I was recently contacted by a sister in Christ who is studying the Scriptures with a dear friend. They were discussing the topic of baptism and began to seek further understanding to the purpose of “rebaptism” (not a Biblical term but used to identify one who have previously been immersed). I began to reexamine the Word to refresh my memory in an effort to prayerfully give her an accurate Biblical response. You are now reading my studied conclusion.
To begin with I want to say that I appreciate the heart of one who is willing to talk to others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul reminded the Roman Christians in Romans 1:16-17 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
There are some fundamental commands we must obey found in the New Testament.
Notice the following:
Luke 9:35 –“And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” We must listen to Jesus!
Luke 12:8 – “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God.” We must confess Jesus!
Luke 13:3,5 – “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Jesus said to repent!
Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus said to makes disciples. Jesus said to teach. Jesus said to baptize.
See Acts 2:36-47 – The Apostles did what Jesus told them to do. They taught others to believe, repent, and be baptized.
They even gave the reasons why.
- Forgiveness of sins.
- Gift of the Holy Spirit
- The Lord adds that soul to the saved (church)
We find in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” In the midst of doctrinal confusion, Paul tells us there is only one valid baptism for us today. However; there are several baptisms mentioned in Scripture.
Some have inquired, “What happens if a person is baptized with the believer’s baptism but not the baptism Jesus commanded?”
This is where Acts 19:1-5 is vital for our understanding. The Scriptures state: “And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. “
- Whose baptism did these disciples obey? (John the Baptist)
- How did Paul handle this situation? (Taught them about Jesus and the Gospel)
- What did the disciples do after hearing this truth? (baptized into the name of Jesus)
It should be noted here that these men had been baptized, but not according to the baptism commanded by Jesus, so they need to be baptized in accordance with God’s word. To be baptized in the name of Jesus means: (1)To be baptized because Jesus commanded it (Mark 16:15-16), (2) To be baptized in the manner or mode that Jesus commanded, which is immersion. (Acts 8:38-39), and (3) To be baptized for the reason that Jesus commanded through the apostles – for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
THIS baptism brings one in contact with the blood of Jesus so that his/her sins are forgiven and God adds him to the church (Romans 6:3-4, Acts 22:16; 2:41-47). The same is true today. Everyone should evaluate his/her baptism as these people did to see if they have been baptized in the name of Jesus.