Salvation Through Christ

The Commandment to Be Baptized

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be aborn of bwater and of the cSpirit, he cannot denter into the kingdom of God.

Today, as in the days of Jesus, there are certain principles and ordinances of the gospel that we must learn and obey. A gospel principle is a true belief or teaching. An ordinance is a rite or a ceremony. The first two principles of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. One of the instructions the Lord gave His Apostles was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).

The first principles and aordinances of the Gospel are: first, bFaith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, cRepentance; third, dBaptism by eimmersion for the fremission of sins; fourth, Laying on of ghands for the hgift of the Holy Ghost. (Article of Faith #4 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Baptism.

From a Greek word meaning to dip or immerse. Baptism in water is the introductory ordinance of the gospel, and must be followed by baptism of the Spirit in order to be complete. As one of the ordinances of the gospel, it is associated with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and the laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Baptism has always been practiced whenever the gospel of Jesus Christ has been on the earth and has been taught by men holding the holy priesthood who could administer the ordinances.

Baptism in water has several purposes. It is for the remission of sins, for membership in the Church, and for entrance into the celestial kingdom; it is also the doorway to personal sanctification when followed by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

Today, as in the days of Jesus, there are certain principles and ordinances of the gospel that we must learn and obey. A gospel principle is a true belief or teaching. An ordinance is a rite or a ceremony. The first two principles of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. One of the instructions the Lord gave His Apostles was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).

The Correct Mode of Baptism

Baptism symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection, and can only be done by immersion. It is clear that John the Baptist and Philip baptized in that manner (Matt. 3:16; Acts 8:37–39; Rom. 6:1–6; Col. 2:12; D&C 20:72–74; 128:12–13).

How should we be baptized?

There is only one correct mode of baptism. Jesus revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a person having the proper priesthood authority to baptize “shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism. … Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (D&C 20:73–74). Immersion is necessary. The Apostle Paul taught that being immersed in water and coming out again is symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. After baptism we start a new life. Paul said:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:3–5).

Baptism by immersion by a person having the proper authority is the only acceptable way of being baptized.

baptism
“Enter ye in at the gate” ( D&C 22:4 ).

Elder James E. Talmage explained: “When the Lord established his Church amongst the Nephites upon this continent, he told those who were chosen and ordained, unto whom authority was given, just how to administer the ordinance of baptism. They were to say: ‘Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ That does not give us in this age any such authority. The words that Christ spoke unto his apostles of old would be no authority unto the apostles today, nor unto any of the elders of the Church. I repeat, the words that he, the Lord, spoke unto the disciples who were chosen from among the Nephites would be no authority unto us; but in this day and age he has spoken again, and has given that same power and authority to speak in his name, and to administer the ordinances of the gospel, after the pattern that he has set; and therefore the elders and priests who take candidates, who have professed their faith, and who have repented of their sins, into the waters of baptism today, declare that they have authority given them; and, being commissioned of Jesus Christ, they baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1924, p. 68.)

Baptism is an essential ordinance.

“Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the Kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Smith, Teachings, 198).

“The special purpose of baptism is to afford admission to the Church of Christ with remission of sins. What need of more words to prove the worth of this divinely appointed ordinance? What gift could be offered the human race greater than a sure means of obtaining forgiveness for transgression? Justice forbids the granting of universal and unconditional pardon for sins committed except through obedience to ordained law; but means simple and effective are provided whereby the penitent sinner may enter into a covenant with God, sealing that covenant with the sign that commands recognition in heaven, that he will submit himself to the laws of God; thus he places himself within the reach of Mercy, under whose protecting influence he may win eternal life” (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 122).

1. Baptism is required of us if we are to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:5 ; 2 Nephi 9:23–24 ; D&C 84:74 ).

2. Baptism is necessary for us to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth (see D&C 20:37, 71–74 ; Moroni 6:4 ).

3. Baptism is an essential step in receiving a remission of sins (see Acts 2:38 ; Alma 7:14 ; 3 Nephi 12:2 ; 30:2 ; D&C 33:11 ).

4. Baptism is a prerequisite for receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:37–38 ; Moses 6:52 ; D&C 35:6 ).

5. Baptism is a necessary part of the process of personal sanctification (see 3 Nephi 27:20 ; D&C 76:51–53 ).

We Must Be Baptized for the Remission of Our Sins

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and are baptized, our sins are forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

From the scriptures we learn that John the Baptist “did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). The Apostle Peter taught, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

Acts 19:1–6
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Following Paul’s conversion, Ananias said to him, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16).

We Must Be Baptized to Show Obedience

Jesus Christ was without sin, yet He was baptized. He said His baptism was necessary “to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). The prophet Nephi explained that the Lord told him, “Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do … with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism” (2 Nephi 31:12–13).

We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized

Many scriptures teach about baptism. In one of these scriptures, the prophet Alma taught that faith and repentance are steps that prepare us for baptism. He taught that when we are baptized we make a covenant with the Lord. We promise to do certain things, and God promises to bless us in return.

Alma explained that we must want to be called the people of God. We must be willing to help and comfort each other. We must stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places. As we do these things and are baptized, God will forgive our sins. Alma told the people who believed his teachings about the gospel:

“Behold, here are the waters of Mormon. … And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, … what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8, 10). The people clapped their hands for joy and said it was their desire to be baptized. Alma baptized them in the Waters of Mormon. (See Mosiah 18:7–17.)

Alma taught that when we are baptized we make covenants with the Lord to:

  1. Come into the fold of God.
  2. Bear one another’s burdens.
  3. Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places.
  4. Serve God and keep His commandments.

When we are baptized and keep the covenants of baptism, the Lord promises to:

  1. Forgive our sins (see Acts 2:38; D&C 49:13).
  2. Pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon us (see Mosiah 18:10).
  3. Give us daily guidance and the help of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:38; D&C 20:77).
  4. Let us come forth in the First Resurrection (see Mosiah 18:9)
  5. Give us eternal life (see Mosiah 18:9).

Baptism Gives Us a New Beginning

With baptism we begin a new way of life. That is why we call it a rebirth. Jesus said that unless we are born of the water and of the Spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:3–5). This principle was explained clearly to Adam:

“Inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten” (Moses 6:59).

The Apostle Paul said that after our baptism we should begin a new life: “We are buried with him by baptism; … even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). One of the great blessings of baptism is that it provides us with a new start on our way toward our eternal goal.

We Must Be Baptized before We Can Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost

The Lord said, “If thou wilt turn unto me, and … repent of all thy transgressions [sins], and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, … ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).

Joseph Smith said: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (History of the Church, 5:499).

We Must Be Baptized to Enter the Celestial Kingdom

Jesus said, “Whoso believeth in me, and is baptized … shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned” (3 Nephi 11:33–34). Baptism is the gateway through which we enter the path to the celestial kingdom (see 2 Nephi 31:17–18).

Baptism – Bible Dictionary

“Chapter 20: Baptism,” Gospel Principles, (2009)

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