Who Should be Baptized?

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Who Should be Baptized?

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Having seen why someone should be baptized, let us now determine who should be baptized.  We have already seen hints at this in both of the texts we already looked at.  Acts 2, it was the people who were responding to the preaching of the Gospel that were baptized.  In Matthew 28, it is those who have been “made disciples” that are baptized and taught (and these disciples are to be from all nations, there is no restriction based on nationality).

The following should be true of those who are to be baptized:

  • They have heard and believed the Gospel.  In each of the following examples in the book of Acts, each time it may be established the people had heard and believed the Gospel:
  • Acts 2:41 – “So those who received his word were baptized”
  • Acts 8:12 – “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
  • Acts 16:14-15 – “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized…”
  • Acts 16:32-33 – “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him … and he was baptized at once…”
  • They have begun the Christian life.  For the sake of space, let us consider only a few examples:
  • One area of having begun the Christian life is that there must be something of the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • We see in John 16:8 that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of their sin.  Surely this is something that those who heard Peter’s sermon recorded in Acts 2 experienced (see verse 37).
  • Additionally, in Acts 10:44-48, we see that for those who have received the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, baptism is indeed appropriate.
  • The working of the Holy Spirit will produce obedience to the teachings of Jesus (consider alongside Matthew 28:20).
  • A second area of having begun the Christian life is that they must have manifested some measure of repentance.
  • We see in Acts 2:38 that repentance comes before baptism.
  • In Matthew 3, although this is in reference to the baptism being done by John the Baptist, we see people coming to him, confessing their sins, and being baptized (3:6).  And specifically to the Pharisees, John instructs them to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (3:8).

In summary then, we may say that those who are believers—having heard and believed the Gospel, responding in repentance and obedience—should be baptized.