(Rom.6:3-12) Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection; (6) knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; (7) for he that hath died is justified from sin. (8) But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; (9) knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. (10) For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (11) Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof.
I find that so many do not know the importance of baptism. We should baptize people when they first believe, as our scriptural examples. I baptized almost a whole church once after I preached on baptism. The pastor didn't know how. He had never baptized anyone. So I taught him how.
Baptism is an act of faith in which we believe that we are united with Christ in the likeness of His death, burial and resurrection as it's written in Romans 6. We accept that we are now walking in the resurrection power of Christ. We know that we have power over sin because the old man died in the waters and the new man, Jesus, came up.
The fulfillment of this baptism is when this is truly manifested in the natural realm. This happens as we submit to the water of the Word, as Paul called it, so that it puts to death our old man and brings to life our new man, Jesus. Many sincerely get baptized only to reject the Word which renews the mind in order to be transformed (12:2) And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I don't believe in the magic of the water but the power of faith. When the Devil tempts me I point him back to my baptism and say, "You can't tempt me for that is where Dave died and Jesus came to life. It is no more I that live but Christ". When elders lay hands on the sick what they are saying is that now we agree that by His stripes we were healed. That person accounts it as done from that moment. That is the way it is with baptism. Now it is done.
Our minds are great procrastinators. Tomorrow never comes. Our imagination needs help to say, "Now it is done. I am dead to self and alive to God" (Rom.6). When we take the Lord's Supper we accept that now His blood (His nature) - (Lev.17:11) "For the life of the flesh is in the blood;" is in me and not my corrupt blood passed down from my parents. Now His bread (the Word) is in me and not mine own. The Spirit and water of the Word fulfill baptism in the person who continues to walk by faith.
I believe baptism is a most important means to an end. Being that the Word by the Spirit will put to death the old man. We are born from above by water and Spirit, totally recreated in the image of Christ.
Some believe that all they have to do is be baptized and they will be in heaven no matter what, but Jesus said, we must lose our life to gain our eternal life. The Israelites did not walk by faith in their baptism at the Red Sea and they died never seeing the Promised Land.
Circumcision was not the fulfillment of that covenant. It was an act of faith that says, "Now the flesh is cut off and I will no longer sow flesh but a good seed and so reap a good harvest from the Lord". There is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5) "one Lord, one faith, one baptism", because all other baptisms are to fulfill that one, the death burial and resurrection of Christ in us. We don't have to agree on all of the theology on baptism. We just need to obey. It should be as important as it was to the disciples who rushed people to the water in the middle of the night like the Philippian jailer and his family.
Baptism is an act of faith, like laying on hands. Baptism in the name of Jesus does not mean just saying His name over someone. Many do that and nothing happens. It is doing it in Jesus' name, which means doing it representing Him, for we are ambassadors for Christ. Name in Greek means character and authority.
We baptize in His character and authority as any ambassador who represents His president and country. We do all in the name but that doesn't mean we say "I brush my teeth, walk, sleep, etc, in the name of Jesus". We do it having been sent with authority to do it. Many use the name instead of act in the name.
Look at the following verses. (Mat.7:22,23) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Act.19:13-15) But certain also of the strolling Jews, exorcists, took upon them to name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. (14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, who did this. (15) And the evil spirit answered and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?
In the name is not saying the name but acting in the name. Some say the name of Jesus over the sick, demonized, or those needing to be baptized and nothing happens but you can't be in the Name and nothing happen. The person being baptized if they have come in the name of Jesus to be baptized it doesn't matter that the man doing it may not be right. (4:10-12) be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] in him doth this man stand here before you whole. (11) He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. (12) And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, where in we must be saved.
As we accept the mind of Christ, which is the Word of God, it transforms us. (Rom.12:2) And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. If we do not repent (Greek: "change our mind") when we read the Word, we do not accept the transformation to the life and work of Christ. The first thing we must believe is the gospel. (Gal.2:20) I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me .... The old me died at the cross and now Jesus lives in me. Faith in this fact justifies us and entitles us to the power to bring it to pass.
Because many do not understand this, they believe we have no hope but to continue in sin and count on God's grace for forgiveness. (Rom.6:1) ... Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Notice that because of grace we do not have to live in sin. (3) Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life ... .
When we were baptized, the old sinner died and was buried so now we can walk in new life. (5) For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection. By faith at baptism we both die and resurrect. Neither a dead man nor a resurrected man can sin. (6) knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin. Through faith we died, and now Jesus lives in us. We were "delivered out of the power of darkness" (Col.1:13). This is the real good news.
We are only free from the power of sin if we believe it. We can now use these promises as a two edged sword to destroy corruption in our lives. (2Co.7:1) Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. We are responsible to cleanse ourselves by faith in the promises.