Christian Baptism is one of two ordinances that Jesus instituted for the church. Just before His ascension, Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28: 19-20) These instructions specify that the church is responsible to teach Jesus' word, make disciples, and baptize those disciples. These things are to be done everywhere, "all nations," until "the very end of the age."
Baptism is important because Jesus commanded it. Christian baptism is the means by which a person makes a public profession of faith and discipleship. In the waters of baptism, a person says, wordlessly, "I confess faith in Christ; Jesus has cleansed my soul from sin, and I now have a new life of sanctification."
THEN PETER SAID TO THEM,
"REPENT, AND LET
EVERY ONE OF YOU
-IN THE NAME OF-
FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; AND
YOU SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean."
Christian baptism illustrates, in dramatic style, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. At the same time, it also illustrates our death to sin and new life in Christ. Very simply, baptism is an outward testimony of the inward change in a believer's life. Christian baptism is an act of obedience to the Lord after salvation: although baptism is closely associated with salvation, it is not a requirement to be saved. The Bible shows in many places that the order of events is;
1. a person believes in the Lord Jesus
2. he is baptized
The sequence is seen in Acts 2:41, "Those who accepted Peter's message were baptized."