Why DO we need to be baptized?
It’s a question many have asked, myself included. I’ve often wondered this. I was baptized when I was about 8-years-old after I accepted Lord Jesus as my Savior. I often wondered if for some reason I might need to be re-baptized as I came back into my faith (after living my life for myself for years) but that discussion is for another time.
But why do we need to be baptized? I’ve asked the Lord this many times and I finally got my answer today as I was reading in Numbers. Let me give you part of the back story I was reading:
Numbers 19:1-12 KJV
(1) And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
(2) This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
(3) And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:
(4) And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:
(5) And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:
(6) And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.
(7) Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.
(8) And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.
(9) And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.
(10) And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.
(11) He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
(12) He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
Numbers 19:13 KJV
(13) Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.
I would say many people now don’t know why we need to be baptised. If you ask they might respond with, “Well that’s what the Bible says to do” and “It’s just what you do.”
Well that doesn’t explain the why. It’s important to know the reasons behind why we do things in all areas and especially in our faith. If we cannot explain why we do something other than, “well it’s just what you do and the Bible says to” then we do not understand the true nature of God.
Anyway, He did finally show me the reasons for it which I’m excited about.
Genesis 1:6-7 KJV
(6) And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
(7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Water equals purification.
In Genesis we see there is a separation between us and God by water. The firmament is the expanse, air, space, atmosphere, etc. In verse 6 we can clearly see that the Lord separated the waters, placing the firmament in between them. (This is NOT a verse talking about land. Firmament does not mean land, ground, or dirt. Also keep in mind this is the ONLY verse in the beginning of creation where the Lord does not “see that it was good.” The Bible says He wants to be close to us so I would say He doesn’t like us having to be separated.)
The separation from us and God has to be there because of our sin. God is righteous. If we did not have this separation we could die at His presence because of our sins. This is also why it is so important that we accept Jesus as our Savior and are washed in His blood (spiritually speaking) and baptized.
We see throughout the Old Testament times when the Lord told others (usually Moses) to not let the people come near lest they die. This is because they were still in their sin, had not been purified, and we did not yet have the atonement of Christ (yes, they had the animals but the blood of animals is not eternal. Jesus is eternal; the Son of God).
(On a side note: Have you ever wondered why they used animal blood for the atonement of human sins? It’s because animals did not have sin. They don’t have the laws like we do or are even able to recognize such things.)
Okay, so God uses water to separate and purify the things that cannot come near him, which would be us in our sins. Blood is used to make an atonement for our sins and we are washed with water for purification.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we are accepted through His blood. Jesus came through blood and through water:
1 John 5:6-8
(6) This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
(7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
(8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
So why do you need to be baptized?
It’s not just symbolic for our own benefit, its purification of ourselves for our Lord. Christ came by water and blood, so having an atonement of the blood is not the full story; water must also be present as it is how Christ came! I hope this was clear or cleared up some questions (I’m not always the best at describing the explanations or revelations I’m given).
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Peter 1:22-25 KJV
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 2:11-14 KJV