Jesus Christ went to the Jordan River and commanded John the Baptist to baptize Him (Matthew 3: 6 – 16).

As Jesus neared the end of His earthly ministry, He gave the church the “Great Commission” in which He commanded persons to be baptized after being saved (Matthew 28: 19, 20).

From this it is apparent baptism was important to Him.

The Greek word used in the New Testament meaning “to baptize” is “BAPTIZO.” It meant to immerse. That is what John the Baptist did to Jesus, he immersed Him.

All baptism, up until 330 AD, was by immersion. The oldest Christian baptistery in the world now exists in Nazareth. It was designed for persons to be immersed in it.

In 330 AD the Roman Emperor got the false idea that baptism saves. At that time the false teachers of baptism saving persons crept into the church. The Roman Emperor became the head of the church and introduced the concept. He believing this commanded all persons to be baptized. To facilitate this not only the meaning, but the method also was changed. They began sprinkling instead of immersing. The idea became popular and has been perpetuated in some churches.
True New Testament baptism, as experienced and commanded by Christ, was by immersion.

Secular records of the time of Christ use the word “BAPTIZO” in such a way as to underscore the meaning to be immersed. For example, there is a secular story of two ships having a sea battle. One is said to have “baptized” the other. That did not mean they sprinkled water on it or even that they poured water on it. It means they sank it, that is, they immersed it.

Another secular record involved a Roman Governor named John Hyracainus who was suspicious of his nephew aspiring to have his office. One day he saw him in the swimming pool and sent his servants out to “BAPTIZO” him to death. That did not mean they sprinkled him to death or even poured him to death. It meant they immersed him to death.

The motivation for being baptized is noted in Romans 6:4. We are “buried with Christ in baptism” and “risen to walk in a newness of life.” It is intended to depict the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Likewise, it illustrates we were once not in Christ (the person standing in water), but submitted our life to Christ and entered into union with Him (immersion), and He gave us new life (coming up out of the water).

In the New Testament every person who experienced Christian baptism was saved before being baptized. That one exception was put in the Bible to let us know baptism doesn’t save us.

The story of Simon, the person who was baptized but not saved, is recorded in Acts 8:9-24. He “believed,” that is, he accepted as fact all the truths about Christ. However, he did not follow his intellectual acceptance of facts with belief in Christ as his personal Savior and commit his life to Him. He was baptized but not saved. This story is included in the Bible to let us know baptism does not save us. If it did he would have been saved, and he wasn’t.

Jesus saves us when we repent and ask His forgiveness of our sins.

We are not baptized to be saved, but because we have been saved.

We are baptized as an act of obedience to Christ command as given in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”