What is baptism all about?
The term comes from the Greek word "baptizo". It did not mean sprinkle or pour. It meant to immerse, or plunge, or wash. Whether it was washing clothes, cleaning a wound, removing contamination, or a body bath it had only one meaning...a thorough cleansing.
Baptism became a Jewish ritual that was used as a sign of conversion from paganism to Judaism. After circumcision a convert was submerged naked in clean flowing water. After this they could take part in Jewish practices and Temple activities.
John the Baptist took it a step further. He was baptizing Jews. He was teaching a cleansing of the hearts and minds to repentance of sin, to make way for the coming Messiah.
After the Messiah was revealed, baptism came to signify that we have chosen to rebel against our sinful nature, to seek truth, to humble ourselves before our Creator, to put our complete trust in him. We accept the titles "Children of God", "Brothers and Sisters of Christ", " Dwelling Place of the Holy Spirit". We desire to now be able to stand clean and presentable before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Baptism is not a guaranty of eternal life. It is only a visible outward sign of our desire to be part of the Kingdom of God. It represents the cleansing of our souls by the redeeming blood of Jesus. Our acceptance of the free gift of eternal life. Remember the thief that was crucified with Jesus? He was not baptized. But given the chance I bet he would.
What we do after baptism is up to us. Do we commit to our choice? Or do we take it lightly and ignore the consequences? It is a very serious matter and a very serious decision. It is in effect a vow to Christ himself that we are putting our trust in him now. It means that we will have to fight diligently against our selfish human nature. It is an eternal life or death decision.
To accept Christ, desire to be with him for eternity, vow to trust him , and then reject it has only one very sad outcome...weeping and gnashing of teeth, and burned to ashes.
Don't be afraid. Jesus was human and he rejected sinfulness. With his help you can too. And if you screw up, just remember he loves you so much he gave his life for you. He will never give up on you.
The day is coming soon when the followers of Christ will face the most horrifying days ever known to mankind. Eternal life is waiting for those who endure to the end. Trust Jesus Christ. He won't fail you.
The Disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit in the days shortly after Christ ascended to heaven. That is another kind of baptism. The kind of baptism all true believers will experience when they meet Christ face to face.