Baptism

(View the entire lesson here: Baptism)

Baptism

The Commandment to Be Baptized

Why must we be baptized?

“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Articles of Faith 1:4).” Baptism is an ordinance we must make in order to be accepted back into the presence of God. All people will be resurrected and judged for their works, but only those who obey the commandment to be baptized will be able to gain exaltation into the celestial kingdom. In John 3 we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (v. 3). . . Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (v. 5).” Baptism makes of clean of all sin and therefore worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will not stay where there is sin.

We Must Be Baptized for the Remission of Our Sins

Like it says in the fourth article of faith (see above), baptism is for the remission of sins. Being baptized cleans us spiritually, just as the water we are immersed in cleans us physically. This ordinance removes our sins from us and allows us complete forgiveness for the wrongs we have done prior to being baptized.

We Must Be Baptized to Become Members of the Church of Jesus Christ

When we are baptized we are formally accepted into Christ’s church. We make a commitment to do all that we can to move His work forward. We take upon ourselves His name and covenant to represent Him in all that we do. We cannot do the work of the Lord, without turning our hearts and desires over to the Lord and deciding to do His will. Our desires and the works we do in this life, will be the proof provided at the judgment day.

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

Just as I said above, being baptized by water prepares us for the baptism of the spirit. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is so precious. It will be the one thing that will always guide us to do what is right and to stay on the strait and narrow path that returns to our Father in Heaven. We should all have a desire to have this amazing gift.

We Must Be Baptized to Show Obedience

This life is an opportunity for all of God’s children to prove ourselves worthy of His blessings of eternal life and exaltation. The key to proving ourselves is obedience. We have been given the commandment to be baptized. We must be obedient to all of the commandments, if we desire to return to live with God again. In Matthew 3 we read, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him (v. 13). But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me (v. 14)? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him (v 15).” If the purpose of baptism was strictly for remission of sins, then the Savior himself would not have needed it. It is however a commanded ordinance, and all men must be obedient to receive the blessings of eternal life.

We Must Be Baptized to Enter the Celestial Kingdom

If we wish to enter the Celestial kingdom, then we must be “born of water and of the Spirit” (see John 3:3, 5 above). I know that we all have this desire somewhere within us because we all chose to follow the Savior and come down to the earth to be tested. We all were excited to prove ourselves worthy and I am sure that before coming to this earth, every person who has ever lived or will ever live, felt that returning to live with God was their goal. Only those who have been baptized, can be worthy of the glory of the Celestial kingdom.

The Correct Mode of Baptism

How should we be baptized?

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that the proper way to be baptized is by immersion and only after we have repented of our sins. The Lord revealed to the early saints the manner in which we should be baptized. In D&C 20 we read, “Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent (v. 72)—The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen (v. 73). Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water (v. 74).” In Matthew 3:16 we read that Jesus was baptized he came out of the water. We follow his example when we are brought out of the water as well. It is important to note also, that this can only be performed by one who has authority from God (see D&C 20:73 above). Anything else is not recognized by God as baptism, and is done in vain.

In the Book of Mormon, the Savior himself taught the precise way that baptism should be performed. In 3 Nephi 11 we read, “And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying (v. 24): 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. Amen (v. 25). And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water (v. 26). And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one (v. 27).”

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

The authority from God is required for all things that are done in the name of the Lord. In order to make the covenants of baptism two parties must be present; the person who is being baptized and committing to keep the commandments of God, and one who is authorized to stand in place of the Lord (because God is not physically there) to commit to give the promised blessings. Otherwise, there is no covenant and therefore there are no blessings that can be given by God.

In what ways is baptism by immersion like the burial and Resurrection of the Savior?

In Romans 6 we read, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound (v. 1)? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein (v. 2)? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death (v. 3)? 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 (v. 4). For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (v. 5): Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (v. 6).” When we are baptized with water, we are fully buried by it. When the Savior died, he was buried in the tomb. Then he was resurrected and came forth out of the tomb to live again. When we are baptized, we are brought out of the water, ready to live again. Writing this also makes me realize that the person who is in effect acting in place of the Lord, lifts us out of the water, just as the Lord is the only person who can lift us from the grave unto resurrection. This realization, in addition to the knowledge that only the Lord can free us from the sin that keeps us bound, makes the ordinance of baptism even more sacred to me.

Baptism at the Age of Accountability

Who should be baptized? What might you say to a friend who believes that infants need to be baptized?

All people who have the desire to be baptized and who understand and are willing to repent of their sins, should be baptized. There are some religions who perform baptisms of infants and children who do not understand fully what is right and wrong. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not believe that this is God’s will for little children. In Moroni 8, Mormon teaches us regarding this ordinance. “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me (v. 8 ). And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children (v. 9). Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children (v. 10). And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins (v. 11). But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism (v. 12)! Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell (v. 13). Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell (v. 14). For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism (v. 15). . . . Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy (v. 19). . . . For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing (v. 22)—But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works (v. 23).”

Any person, who is not capable of understanding fully about sin, is not capable of sinning and therefore needs no baptism. They are fully covered by the atonement of Christ and His mercy will save them. At the age of 8, all people with full use of their minds, are commanded to repent and be baptized. To anyone who says that children must be baptized, I would ask them when, in the Savior’s ministry, did he ever teach us that children were sinners. He did not. What he did teach can be found in Matthew 19:14 which says, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized

In Mosiah 18 we read, “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light (v. 8 ); Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life (v. 9)—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, 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 (v. 10)?”

What do you think it means to bear one another’s burdens? to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places?

When others are burdened, it is our responsibility as followers of Christ, to do all that we can to help them. When we serve those who are weighed down with trials, we begin to take some of that load off of their shoulders and these things become easier for that person to bear. Whatever service we can give is a fulfillment of the covenants we make, whether it is to be a listening ear, to give advice, or to physically help someone who cannot do what is needed on their own. When we do these things we are often times an answer to others prayers. We need to be in tune with the spirit so that we can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

It is also part of our covenant that we will take the name of Jesus Christ upon us and therefore we must stand as a witness at all times and in all places. This means that we must do more than make Sunday a day of worship. We must live as the Savior would have lived, every day of our lives. We need to remember to reflect the Savior’s life whether we are at church, in or homes, at work, or out in the world. We need to be an example to our children, our families, our peers, and so on. This also means that when we are moved upon by the spirit, we need to share our testimonies of God and His gospel.

Baptism Gives Us a New Beginning

How was your baptism a new beginning?

Baptism was the time when my choice to do what I believe to be right, became a sacred choice to me. I remember feeling clean and ready to commit myself to being good. Being baptized gives us a fresh start with the slate of our lives wiped clean. I love seeing converts of the church right after they are baptized, because you can see a new fire in them. Baptism brings a new excitement and joy in the hope of eternal life.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to know of the gospel and to make the covenants of baptism with my Father in Heaven. I am grateful to my parents for raising me in the church, so that I did not have to wait to have the blessing of the Holy Ghost. I am so happy to be a member of Christ’s church and to continue to strive daily to do what is right and to be a witness to others.

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