Often when we talk about baptism, we just think of the fact of being immersed in water for a few seconds, and then emerge.
You can hear phrases like: "Have you been baptized?”, meaning to the person who speaks, just the fact of being plunged in water for a few seconds.
But baptism the Bible refers to is much deeper than that.
In the original, the word translated as baptized (for salvation) is BAPTIZO. This word has the notion of being immersed in a permanent way . The image is that of a boat that would have been sunk, remaining at the bottom of the sea.
In another sense, we find in the original, and in other passages, the word BAPTO, meaning plunge in and out immediately. We find this word in the following passage:
Luke 16:24 Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip (BAPTO) the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
This image of BAPTIZO differs from the concept of being immersed in water for a few seconds, as we can see during baptisms by immersion.
There would be therefore in a practical side, two ways or options of doing regarding this notion of permanent baptism immersion (BAPTIZO):
It is not difficult to see that only this second option may be used, as we are not here to drown people.
The simple fact to see Jesus speaking to the thief on the cross, telling him that he would be saved, shows us that the fact of being immersed in water for baptism is not mandatory to be saved.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
On the other hand, when Jesus says that we must believe and be baptized to be saved, we could ask ourselves some questions.
Mark 16:16 those who believe and who will be baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Would Jesus contradict Himself?
In the example of Mark 16: 16 , the original BAPTIZO is still used, fully immersed and in a permanent way.
This shows us that when the Bible speaks of being baptized, it doesn’t mean to be immersed in the water and come out a few seconds after.
Would that mean that it is not necessary to immerse people in water for baptism?
No, not at all, for examples show us that, when possible, we must be immersed in water for baptism.
So the baptism the Bible is talking about isn't the fact of being physically immersed in the water. The water baptism is the fact of being immersed into the person of God who comes to dwell in me by His Spirit. This fact is permanent and can be undone only by myself (through the sin against the Holy Spirit). I am baptized when I accept the offer of Jesus in my life and that His presence immediately fully immerse me. It is this experience that the Bible calls the baptism of water.
Being physically immersed in water for few seconds is not baptism in its wholeness. It is only a tangible image to symbolize the death of my old self and its resurrection through the person of Jesus.
In most cases the life comes out of the water, whether it occurred at the creation when waters covered the Earth, or at the birth of a human being when he comes out of the water from his mother’s womb. The water has this meaning to produce life when one comes out. It is this image that the fact of being immersed in water for a baptism, gives us. So it isn't the fact of being physically immersed in the water and coming out immediately that saves us, but rather the fact of being immersed for eternity in the presence of God, totally wrapped in His person.
It is truly about being immersed, enveloped in the person of God when the Bible speaks about being baptized. The fact of being physically immersed in water is required if the conditions are possible. For example the thief on the cross didn't have the opportunity to be immersed in water. Similarly a person who would come to have a fatal accident, and who would accept the salvation that Jesus offers him in his last moments of life on Earth, would neither have the opportunity to be immersed in the water.
What saves us is the fact of being baptized (BAPTIZO), immersed as a boat that sink, in the presence of God. I receive this baptism when I realize and accept in full knowledge the offer of Jesus for my life. That's when I am baptized, BAPTIZO, into the presence of the person of God in my life.
When we have the opportunity, the Bible teaches us that we must give a concrete expression to this baptism that we received, by a physical immersion in water, symbolizing our death and our resurrection in Jesus Christ.
This tangible and physical immersion in water, is my statement towards all spiritual beings, that I receive this baptism (BAPTIZO) of the presence of God into me, and in a permanent way. I can also take the opportunity of this moment to publicly declare that I choose to belong to Christ.
This confirms not only that salvation is permanent and cannot be lost, but also that this is not the fact of being plunged in water that saves me.
Many people have been immersed in water through a water baptism and will unfortunately not be saved for all that. Simply because they have not really and fully accepted the offer of Jesus in their lives. They thought that the fact of being immersed in water was enough to be saved.
This is why Paul had to baptize John's disciples who had been immersed in water for their repentance in:
Acts 19: 3-5 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
These disciples of John did not receive this baptism of the presence of God, immersing themselves in His person. They had just been immersed in water for their repentance. When they say that they have been baptized with the baptism of John, the word translated here by baptism is BAPTISMA. These disciples had received a baptism for the death of their old ways of thinking (repentance), but not that of the resurrection in Jesus.
Here BAPTISMA has this notion to be plunged into the water.
It is not written that these disciples were immersed in the water again. It is written that they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Here the word baptized is BAPTIZO, which isn't necessarily an immersion in water, but an immersion into the presence of God.
The following verses confirm this.
Acts 19: 6-7 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.
Paul taught them about what Jesus offered them through the salvation on the cross. These twelve men accepted this offer following their baptism of repentance. They accepted the offer of Jesus in their lives, and received this immersion of the presence of God into them. They received this permanent baptism (BAPTIZO) of God abiding in them. As a result they received the Holy Spirit in them with the evidence of speaking in tongues and telling prophecies.
Baptism is a total and permanent immersion of the person of God into me, and not only being immersed into water. To receive it, we simply need to accept it. A video about it is on our home page, check it out if you feel concerned.
Bye for now…