Christ was thirty years old when He was baptized.
Since He is our example in all things, why are we baptizing children and babes? Where in the Word were young children and babes simply baptized? Nowhere!
Christ commands us:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19, 20 KJV).
Did you get that? Teaching precedes baptism!
So many are being baptized, not knowing what they are really doing. Many think that baptism is just the public action of what one has only vowed and that it is after baptism that one begins the “change” journey. Many are being baptized with all their habitual sins intact and not under attack.
This leads to the belief that they are saved, simply because they were baptized. They believe they can still live the same, because they have been told everyone will sin until Jesus returns. They think Jesus will only separate the believers from the unbelievers when He comes. All they have to do is say they believe and love. But what believing and loving really is, they do not know. They do not realize that Jesus says that if we love Him, we would obey His commandments. (See John 14:15.)
Ideally, when any soul comes to Christ in complete surrender to God, the person has already been learning of God. She or he has been praying and studying and rightly understanding the Word of Truth. They know what the love of God is, what loving God is, what His seal is, what His ways are, what His character is. They have learned by studying the Bible. In this way, they are beholding Him daily.
Besides, there has been an obvious lifestyle change, because of the change taking place on the inside. Others notice the effects of the Holy Ghost, because the change has already been illuminated outside. Branches have been pruned. Old bad habits have been discarded. New habits bud and produce good fruit.
They turn away from sin. They forsake old bad habits and old stomping grounds. They forsake all to gain Christ. It becomes a daily renewal of vows: theirs and Christ’s. Daily the soul chooses to die that the old self decreases and the new life in Christ increases. And daily through claiming the promises found in the Word of God, Christ’s promises to them are renewed. It is an experience that continues growing and strengthening until death or until Jesus returns.
First, however, the soul should sit down and count the cost before completely surrendering to God. Otherwise, they become quickly zealous and just as quickly burn out. The fire goes right out as soon as some challenge is not wisely faced. They turn back to their vomit—to their old habits—and then blame others for their backslidden state. They don’t seem to realize that they have turned away from God. Some become so blinded they no longer understand God’s Word. They no longer desire to even hear the Word of Truth, let alone live it.
It has been said, “They did not teach first in Christ’s day. They just went and healed—not saying you gotta stop eating this or stop doing that. They just baptized. Teaching first hinders the Holy Spirit; change comes after baptism.” Such thinking shows only surface study of God’s Word, if any at all. It shows no deep diving for the hidden treasure in Scripture.
Scripture reveals that as early as twelve years old, Christ taught with authority. Those who heard Christ were being taught of God. Therefore, when they came to Him to be healed of all manner of disease and sickness and sin, they had a made-up mind to die and follow Christ. He bid them to go and sin no more. He also warned in one case that a worse thing would come with continued sin. They knew what had to be forsaken: all sin.
The problem is many do not know how to identify sin in their lives. Why? No teaching. Or incorrect teaching. They haven’t been taught of the Holy Spirit. If there has been any teaching, it has been the traditions of men only. They accept the lies and deny the truth.
Yes. We come as we are. Yet the choices made by faith should have already brought about such healing that a change is literally seen, as well as heard.
The baptism then is likened unto the marriage—the wedding—or the final cap on the vows made before God: to God first and then to one another. All come to see and celebrate, thanking God for those who have come out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. The baptism is the glorification of souls rejoicing over the miracles of God in their lives. Baptism symbolizes the burial and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the burial of self and the resurrection of Christ in the lives of those submerged into the watery grave and lifted up in victory over sin through Christ.
And No. It is not necessary to wait until thirty to get baptized. Rather, the principle is to first be taught of God and by the godly, to be rooted in His Word, have experienced the working of the Holy Spirit in the life, to be committed to serving and worshipping GOD in sincerity—in spirit and truth—regardless of the challenges. Thus like Christ, that one can be assured to stand in the sight of a holy God and be found in the faith of Jesus—built up on the Solid Rock.