Today, I’d like to discuss the purpose behind baptism and being born again, sometimes referenced as being saved, or the day you were saved and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. For this, I am not just discussing baptism as a child, when you were a baby and unconscious of the decision, but rather, as a young adult or older, making a very conscious choice and decision.
Baptism is an act in which a Christian is submerged in water to symbolize an old life, and moving forward into a new life with God at the forefront and Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The Bible first mentions baptism in the book of John the Baptist. The baptism of John was for the forgiveness of sins. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but He who is coming after me is mightier than I … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11. When Jesus died on the cross, it made baptism about more than just the forgiveness of sins—it is a covenant to live the life of a disciple before God.
If you need further insight, take a look at 1 Peter 3:18-22 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. As always, I very much recommend you read the entire 1 Peter.
So, should you get baptized? Absolutely! It is confirmation of accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior; a conscious decision that you are leaving behind an old life of sin and being born again into a new life obeying God. You are consciously making the decision to be a Christian and follow the ways of Jesus.
Will you go to hell if you don’t get baptized? I do not believe so - as Scripture dictates a person can be saved and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and make it to Heaven to be with Him. Rather, you NEED to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Take a look at Luke 23:42-43 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” This is referencing another person, the thief, hanging on a cross next to Jesus, whom was also being crucified for his bad deeds. I urge you to read all of Luke - as you will see in more detail that the thief realized just before his own death, that Jesus indeed was the Son of God, and Jesus responded by saying he will be with Him in paradise. This indicates that, even though the thief was never water baptized, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior just before death, and was saved.
Take another look at other Scripture on being born again:
"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." John 3:3
“Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” John 3:5
There is more in John about this topic - but the message is clear, to be saved and get into the Kingdom of God, you must accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Baptism is a conscious way of showing this, and beginning a new life in Christ. One thing for sure that God made certain, though, is that Jesus is the only way!