When Should You Be Baptized
Jesus commissioned the apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved. . .” (Mark 16:15-16). Obviously, baptism is a vital part of our salvation. People sometimes ask, “When should I be baptized?”
When you are old enough. The New Testament teaches that baptism is the response of a believer. When the Ethiopian asked what prevented him from being baptized, Philip answered, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). To be baptized you must be old enough to understand the gospel message and believe it.
Baptism is for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Infants cannot sin, and young children are not mature enough to fully comprehend right and wrong and be accountable for their sins (Romans 7:9). Are you old enough to understand right and wrong and their consequences? Read on.
When you are knowledgeable enough. As we have already seen, to be baptized you must believe in Jesus, which requires knowing who He is and what He has done for you. He is God (John 1:1), who came in the flesh (John 1:14) and died on a cross to pay the price for your sins (1 Peter 2:24). God raised Him from the dead. He ascended back to heaven, where He now rules at God’s right hand (Acts 2:31-36).
You need to understand that baptism is part of becoming a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 28:19). A disciple is a follower, so baptism is a commitment to a new way of life. It is the point at which you are added to Christ (Romans 6:3), to His kingdom (Colossians 1:13-14), or to His church (Acts 2:47).
You don’t need to know everything about Christianity before making the decision to follow Jesus. It is possible to learn what you need to know in a short time, as did the Ethiopian in Acts 8 or the jailer in Acts 16. Do you think you are ready to be baptized? You are, only. . .
When you are committed enough. A new life in Christ means a changed way of thinking and living. The Bible calls this repentance. If you are not determined to live as Jesus directs, being baptized will do nothing more than get you wet. But if you realize your lost condition out of Christ, and you are ready to become His disciple in order to be saved, you need to obey Him at your first opportunity. “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16).