Baptism, a Commandment. By Immersion for the Remission of Sins

“Sunday Sermon”

“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, 4)

The Bible proclaims there should be “One lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) Unfortunately, this “unity of the faith” does not exist. (Eph. 4:11-14) Currently, there are thousands of conflicting Christian churches with differing beliefs about baptism.

For example, Christian denominations, like Catholics and Orthodox, believe that baptism is a commandment, and is essential for salvation.  On the other hand, some Protestant sects believe that baptism is optional.

Some churches believe that baptism can only be performed by someone with the proper ordained priesthood authority.  Other churches believe that anyone can perform baptisms.

Some denominations believe that baptism must be performed by immersion. Other sects perform baptisms by sprinkling or pouring.

Some churches believe that a person must reach the age of accountability, and have faith in Jesus and repent, in order to be baptized.  Other denominations baptize infants and have these covenants made by godparent proxies.

Baptism is a Commandment and is Necessary for the Remission of Sins

As taught in the New Testament, and modern revelation, baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. Baptism is not optional.  It is a commandment and is necessary for salvation.  (See: John 3: 3-5; Matt 28: 19-20; Mark 16: 15-16; Luke 7: 28-30; Acts 2:37-38; Galatians 3: 26-27; Matthew 3: 13-17; Acts 10: 47-48; 1 Peter 3: 18-22; 1 Cor. 15: 29.) If baptism was necessary for Jesus to “fulfill all righteousness,” then it is even more necessary for us to be righteous. (See: Nephi 31: 5; Bible Dictionary: “Baptism is not Optional.”)

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and are baptized, our sins are forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

From the scriptures we learn that John the Baptist “did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). The Apostle Peter taught, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Following Paul’s conversion, Ananias said to him, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16). (Gospel Principles, Chapter 20)

Immersion is the only correct mode of baptism

There is only one scriptural, authorized, and acceptable mode of baptism – immersion.

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a person having the proper priesthood authority to baptize “shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism. … Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.” (D&C 20:73–74).

The Apostle Paul taught that being immersed “in” water and “coming up out” of the water, is symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. After baptism, we are born again, and we start a new life. (Romans 6:3–5; Col. 2:12.)

Baptism” is a transliteration of the Greek word “baptizo“, which literally means “to immerse” or “to submerge.”

Baptism was performed in rivers because “there was much water there.” (John 3: 23) When Jesus and others were baptized, they went “down into the water,” and then “came up out of the water.” (Matthew 3: 16; Mark 1: 5-10; John 3: 23; Acts 8: 38-39.)

New Testament scholars agree that in the early Christian church, baptism was performed by immersion, and only by immersion.

(Bible Dictionary: “Baptism by Immersion; “Immersion Baptism,” “Affusion” “Infant Baptism,” Wikipedia; “How Sprinkling or Pouring Replaced Scriptural Baptism,”; “The Mode of Baptism: Sprinkling, Pouring, Immersion?”; “Baptism: Changed from Immersion to Sprinkling,”; “Immersion, Pouring, and Sprinkling A History,” Truth Magazine,; “History of Sprinkling,” files,; “Church History: When Did Churches Stop Baptizing by Immersion?” )

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