Matthew 28:19 says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". Water baptism is clearly not a requirement for salvation, according to the Bible (see Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 10: 9-10), but it is a command that Jesus made. If you are serious about living as a Christian, this is one of the steps you will need to take, and it's better to do it sooner rather than later. Here are a few reasons why:
- Jesus modeled it. Matthew 3 tells of Jesus going to John the Baptist to be baptized in water. While there He says that it must be done "to fulfill all that God requires (Matt 3:15, NLT)". This event marked the beginning of His public ministry.
- Jesus commanded it. In Matt 28:19 (see top) Jesus doesn't give the option of baptism, suggesting that it was to always be done.
- Baptism is symbolic of what Jesus did for us. Romans 6:3-4 says that in being baptized we identify with Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. It's a picture of what happened to us at salvation, and a great reminder of the cross.
- Baptism is a public act. When we are water baptized, we publicly tell everyone of the change that Jesus has made in our lives. It provides accountability by allowing others into the personal decision we made to follow Jesus.